Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


Saturday Is Caption Day! – The Bake Yummy Assistant One

Mammasaurus and I are creating a new blog called Bake Yummy which clearly called for the creation of a new cake using up some Lindor eggs – and an assistant…

You know the drill…what would your caption be?

Now mooch over to Mammasaurus blog and see what else needs your captioning skills this week


The Gallery – Easter

This week’s theme on The Gallery is Easter.   We’ve had a pretty low-key Easter this year – the Cheetah Keeper’s father did a brilliant egg hunt, my sister cooked the most awesome lunch (which considering I hadn’t been able to eat for a week with this ***** throat infection was even more awesome) and well, we kind of chilled.  As much as you can chill with 2 children.  Here’s our Gallery for Easter 2012

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Spiced Toffee Apple Cakes

There are many advantages to living down the road to Renata who writes at Just Bring the Chocolate – not only does she write an awesome blog, dish out oodles of common sense, know how to perform the odd miracle, manipulate the NHS and give me a good kick up the backside when it’s needed, I also get home from work on some days to find a dozen eggs waiting for me.  Her chickens are laying and therefore cake is required.

Whilst I know that she is after a batch of my rolo cakes I need to restock on rolos so in the meantime, I set about creating something with the bramley apples that I have in stock.  I wanted to do something a bit more with them than just grate the apple into the sponge mix so I softened the apple off first in a caramel…

So, preheat your oven to about 190C, 170C (Fan), Gas 3/4ish and line some deep bun tins with cases – this batch made 16 cakes.

Peel and core 2 largish bramley apples and chop into small dice.  Pop these into a frying pan (you want a single layer) with 3 heaped tablespoons of caster sugar and 1 tablespoon of water and cook very gently for about 10 minutes until the apple is soft and there’s no obvious liquid left.  As you turn the heat off, stir in 1 teaspoon of mixed spice and leave it to cool a little.  The apple should be soft, slightly golden but not disintegrating completely.

Then, in large bowl put in 150g softened butter, 150g light muscavado sugar, 150g Self-Raising flour, 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder and 3 eggs. Beat together with your trusty handmixer until you’ve got a smooth batter.  Finally, add you warm apple mix and give it one big mix together.  Unless you’ve let the apple cool completely, the warmth of the apple mix will mean you get quite a runny batter and you need to work relatively fast once you’ve mixed it in because the baking powder will start working and you need to make the most of it!

As usual, the ice-cream scoop method of filling the cases works really well and I filled them to about ¾ full which gave nice domed cakes.

I didn’t want to slather these in buttercream but wanted to add a bit more toffee to them so I sprinkled some little fudge chunks (ice-cream sprinkles) on some and some caramel sugar (other ice-cream sprinkles) on the others.  Demerera sugar or crumbled sugar lumps would do the same job – or bashed up bits of toffee.  You don’t want too much otherwise it will push the cakes down as it melts (still tastes good though).

I baked mine for 20 minutes and they came out looking like this.

I think they’d be great warm with cream, ice-cream, custard (or natural yoghurt if you’re feeling worthy).  Cold, they’re just as yummy.  Enjoy

Other recipes from my kitchen:



Bake Sale Cakes

This week I was asked to make cakes in aid of Shelterbox – the charity that the Cheetah Keeper’s sister and her classmates are raising money for this term.  “For people who need things more than we do” according to her.  They’ve raised well over £300 so far and will be auctioning off a sari next week to see if they can make that total even bigger.

Seemingly, I have a bit of reputation in the cake department but on this occasion I was asked to produce small cakes and plenty of them… The sale was aimed at the children so cakes were being sold at 30p each – they didn’t want my grand concoctions.

So, I thought I’d share with you my recipe for the basic bake sale cake – they’re still yummy but cost less to produce (baking marg is half the price of butter and there’s no added chocolate goodies).  This recipe makes about 36 cakes – adjust it if you can’t bake all these in your oven at once.  I have a basic fan oven and adjust the shelves so that one tray sits on the bottom of the oven, one on a middle shelf and the other near the top.

I would also really, really recommend the investment in some decent muffin tins – my favourite being these from Lakeland as they let the cakes cook gently and evenly.

So, for 36 little cakes you’ll need to pre-heat your oven to about 180C, 160C(Fan) or Gas 4

3 bun tins lined with cases (I tend to go pretty basic for school)

5 eggs, 250g baking margarine or similar (softened), 250g self raising flour, 250g caster sugar, a generous pinch of baking powder (if you can be bothered) and a splodge of milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Stick all the ingredients in a bowl apart from the milk and beat together to a smooth batter.  It should be soft dropping consistency so add milk until you get to that stage.

Use your ice-cream scoop to dollop out the mixture (don’t overfill the cases) and then bake for about 17 minutes until the cakes a just golden and spring back to the touch.

Allow to cool and decorate as you wish.  I just swirled a bit of buttercream on top (200g very soft butter, 400g icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of boiling water) and a popped a sweetie on the top.



Do Something Yummy – Share Cake

This week, Love All Blogs are asking us to “#dosomethingyummy – share cake!”  and post a picture of cake to raise awareness and support of Yummy Mummy Week – 10-18th March 2012. Yummy Mummy Week is a week long fundraising event where mums are being asked to get together with friends and family and ‘do something yummy’ for CLIC Sargent.

So here you are – cake,

And if you want to do something yummy and bake some cakes in support of CLIC Sargent (or any other charity for that matter) here are some of my very easy recipes – great for baking with children.


Coconut & Raspberry Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Icing

What do you do when you’ve got half a tin of “rich & creamy coconut milk” lurking when you’ve made a Thai curry?? Make cakes, of course.  You’ll need

3 large eggs
150g butter – softened
150g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
about ¼ can coconut milk (the creamier the better) – about 100ml
frozen/fresh raspberries
100g dessicated coconut

Find a yourself a useful child to line your muffin tin with muffin/cupcake cases and preheat your oven to 180C/160C(fan)/Gas 4 (the lower end of 4).

Put the softened butter (20 secs in the microwave will do it nicely), caster sugar, flour and coconut into the bowl.  All together.  Using the trusty hand mixer, beat all the ingredients together – with the additional coconut this will be quite a thick mix.


Add the coconut milk/cream a bit at a time until you get the mix to the ‘soft dropping’ consistency.  The coconut will absorb some of the moisture when it’s cooked so it can be pretty soft!  Get some help to do the mixing (or tolerate your sister having a go).


Take your bowl of raspberries – these are from a frozen mix of berries – it would have been far more sensible to use the pack of frozen raspberries I later found at the bottom of the freezer.  You need at least one raspberry per cupcake, ideally 2 or 3.

Using your trusty ice-cream scoop dollop gently fill each case to about ¾ full (two thirds is just as good).  Then push raspberries into the top of the mix.  We put ours into the middle of each cake but you could spread them around the top.  It’s probably best not to put them too close to the edge as they’ll stick to the case and that’s just a waste!

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  I know I always say this, but I don’t know what your oven is like.  They need to look like this when they come out the oven:

Leave to cool.

In the meantime, you can make some coconut icing – if that’s what floats your boat with:

150g very soft butter
300g icing sugar
50g dessicated coconut
about 50ml of coconut milk

Beat the butter, sugar and icing sugar together.  Don’t set the mixer running too fast because you’ll cover the kitchen with icing sugar.  Add the coconut milk a bit at a time until you get it to a smooth, soft butter icing.  Pipe/swirl as you so wish.

If you fancy a more grown up icing – use Malibu or another coconut liqueur as your liquid instead of the coconut milk.