Friday, 29 May 2015

Mini Clementine Upside-down Cakes


These little citrus-filled cakes are deliciously summery, and are a perfect pudding served with your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream or some vanilla soy yogurt.

Lightly spiced, citrus-infused sponges are topped with a slice of clementine and soaked in a sweet syrup to create these perfectly delicate Mini Clementine Upside-down Cakes.


Mini Clementine Upside-down Cakes
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 12

For the sponges
12tsp sugar
3 clementines
1 1/2C self-raising flour (or plain flour + 2tsp heaped baking powder)
1tsp baking soda
1C sugar
Zest of one clementine
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/3C vegetable oil
1 1/4C almond or soy milk

For the syrup
1/2C clementine juice
3/4C sugar

Preheat the oven to 150 and grease a muffin tin. 
Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar into the base of each hole of the muffin tin and set aside. Peel the clementines and slice each one into four pieces. Place one piece into each muffin hole and set aside while you make the sponge batter.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the mix and add the oil, milk and zest. Mix until there are no big lumps left in the mixture. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter evenly between the 12 muffin holes. Bang the tray on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any excess air in the batter and then bake the sponges for 12-15mins, or until the sponges are risen and lightly golden, and a knife inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean. 

Leave the sponges to cool for 5mins in the tin before carefully using a spoon to scoop them out of the tray and place them, clementine side-up onto a cooling rack while you make the syrup.

In a small saucepan whisk together the clementine juice and sugar. Simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup has thickened slightly (this should take around 5mins.) Once the cakes are almost completely cool, spoon a generous amount of the warm syrup over each sponge and leave them for around 15mins to allow the syrup to soak into the sponge.

Serve the sponges warm with a scoop of dairy free vanilla ice cream for a summery treat.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Candy Floss Macarons


These macarons make the girly-girl in me ever so happy! Not only are they candy floss flavored (candy floss is what us Brit's call cotton candy) but the shells are marbled pastel pink and blue! And of course I couldn't resist dusting them with some gold edible glitter!

 These pretty pastel macarons would be perfect for a bridal shower or a girly Birthday party.

You can watch a step-by-step video of how to make macarons here.


Candy Floss Macarons
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 15

For the macarons
3/4C aquafaba
1/2C sugar
1/4tsp candy floss flavoring
2-3 drops blue coloring
2-3 drops pink coloring
1 1/4C ground almonds
1/2C powdered sugar
Edible glitter (optional)

For the frosting
2Tbsp vegan butter spread
4C powdered sugar
1/4tsp candy floss flavoring
4 drops blue coloring
2-4tsp almond or soy milk


First make the macaron shells
Pour the aquafaba into a small saucepan and allow to simmer over a medium heat until it has reduced to 1/3C, this usually takes around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the reduced chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add half the sugar and whisk until well combined, then add the remaining sugar and vanilla and whisk at high speed until the meringue is glossy and thick - it should be the consistency of marshmallow fluff. Add the candy floss flavoring and mix. Separate the meringue mixture equally into two medium sized bowls and add the pink coloring to one and the blue to the other. Set aside while you prepare your dry ingredients.

Pulse the ground almonds a few times in a food processor until very finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and process for a few seconds, until the two are well combined.
Sieve the almond-sugar mixture and discard any large pieces. Pour half the dry mixture into each of the meringue bowls and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, pressing the dry ingredients down into the meringue until everything is incorporated well.

Now it's time for a crucial step - the macaronnage. Firmly press the batter against the side of each bowl and then scoop it up and turn over (see this video.) Repeat this process a further 19 times. After macaronnage the batter should be thick and glossy but should fall slowly off the spatula like a ribbon and then settle/spread slightly in the bowls. Spoon alternate tablespoons of pink and blue batter into a piping bag and seal at the top. Use your hands to gently squeeze and twist the piping bag so that the colors blend together slightly.

Line two large baking trays with grease proof paper and carefully pipe 15 circles onto each, in one smooth motion holding the piping bag directly above the center of each macaron. Drop the baking sheets twice onto a hard surface (this helps to get rid of air bubbles and develops the 'pied') Dust with the edible glitter, if using.

Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2 hours. Once ready to bake, place the first baking tray into a COLD oven, and then immediately set the oven to just under 100 degrees Celcius. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes (some ovens you may have to bake for longer but don't bake for more than 30 minutes) you can check that the macarons are sufficiently baked by gently lifting up a corner of the grease proof paper and lightly peeling it from a macaron shell. If it comes off easily and the macaron doesn't stick then you can turn your oven off!
Turn off your oven and leave the macarons inside with the door shut for 15 minutes, then open the door and leave them to cool inside the oven for a further 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on the baking tray at room temperature.
Once the oven is COMPLETELY COLD you can repeat the baking process with your second tray of macaron shells. Once the shells are cooled, gently peel them from the baking paper and place them on a tray or rack, ready to fill.

Make the frosting
Cream together the butter spread, candy floss flavoring, blue coloring and half the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and as much milk as needed until the frosting is thick but soft enough to pipe. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and seal at the top. (This time I used a fancy tip on the end of the piping bag, but a regular tip is fine.)

Assemble
Pipe a generous swirl of frosting onto each base macaron shell and then sandwich together with the top shells.

Place the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight before eating (this allows the flavors to develop and gives the desired chew) 
Macarons keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for months.


Saturday, 23 May 2015

Step-by-step Vegan Macaron Video!


I'm so excited to finally share my step-by-step macaron video with you! I really hope you guys like it and find it helpful when making your own macarons. The full recipe for these Rhubarb-Lemon Fizz Macarons is here. Enjoy!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes


These cupcakes are ridiculous. In a good way! I get a lot of inspiration for my baking creations from Instagram, and I recently found the account of Jenna Rae Cakes - a family run bakery in Canada. Sadly none of their baked goods are vegan, not that I could eat them anyway as I'm nowhere near Canada! But I love looking through the gorgeous photos on their Instagram and getting ideas.

When I saw a picture of their Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes I knew I had to make some. Immediately. 

Sadly actual 'Birthday Cake Oreos' aren't vegan as the sprinkles they use contain shellac, but I just use regular oreos in these cupcakes and it doesn't make any difference when there's lots of sprinkles on top!


Birthday Cake Oreo Cupcakes
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 12

For the cupcakes
1 1/2C self raising flour (or plain flour + 2tsp baking powder)
1tsp baking soda
1C sugar
1/4C cocoa powder
1/3C vegetable oil
1 1/4C almond or soy milk
6 oreo cookies, broken into chunks

For the frosting
10Tbsp vegan butter spread
6C powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
6 oreo cookies, blitzed into fine crumbs in a food processor
2-4Tbsp almond or soy milk

For the icing
1C powdered sugar
2-4Tbsp water
A few drops of pink food coloring

Sprinkles to finish

Make the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 175/350 and line a muffin pan with large cupcake cases.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the oil and milk and whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour into the cupcake cases, filling them 2/3 of the way to the top and then top each cupcake with a few broken oreo bits. 
Bake for 12-15mins, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting. 

Make the frosting
In a stand mixer cream together the butter spread and vanilla. Add half of the powdered sugar and a tablespoon of milk and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and the cookie crumbs and whisk, adding more milk as needed until the frosting is thick but easy to pipe. Spoon into a piping bag and seal at the top.

Make the icing
In a small jug mix together the powdered sugar, food coloring and water (a tablespoon at a time) until the icing is thick but still easy to pour.

Assemble
Pipe a generous, towering swirl of frosting onto each cupcake, pour over a little bit of the pink icing and top with some sprinkles! Ta-da!

Cupcakes last a week when stored in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chocolate & Mint Tea


I'm pretty obsessed with tea. I have a trolley packed full with boxes of tea and yet I can never resist grabbing any new teas I see in the shops! I've been wanting to try teapigs Chocolate & Mint tea for a while, and they kindly sent me some to sip.


I only had to open the box to know this tea would be amazing. The incredible aroma of minty-chocolatey goodness is overwhelming and the tea tastes as good as it smells! I'm a sucker for mint flavored anything, but the addition of little chunks of dark chocolate make this tea to die for!

It's lovely hot, but is especially delicious served over ice, really refreshing on a hot summer day.


What's your favorite tea?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Cookie Dough Macarons


 I know I say this a lot, but these are the best macarons I've made yet! I decided to whip up some Cookie Dough Macarons for my latest Crafternoon and oh boy, they turned out so good! Vanilla Macarons sprinkled with pieces of Cookie Crisp Cereal, sandwiched together with a rich Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting. Heaven in a macaron!

The Cookie Dough Frosting really is the star of the show here - I can't wait to use it to fill and frost cupcakes soon!


Cookie Dough Macarons
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 20

For the macarons
3/4C aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
1/2C sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4C ground almonds
1/2C powdered sugar
1/3C cookie crisp cereal, broken into small pieces

For the frosting
2Tbsp vegan butter spread
1/4C soft light brown sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
4C powdered sugar
2tsp almond or soy milk
1/3C mini dark chocolate chips

First make the macaron shells
Pour the aquafaba into a small saucepan and allow to simmer over a medium heat until it has reduced to 1/3C, this usually takes around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the reduced chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add half the sugar and whisk until well combined, then add the remaining sugar and vanilla and whisk at high speed until the meringue is glossy and thick - it should be the consistency of marshmallow fluff. Set aside while you prepare your dry ingredients.

Pulse the ground almonds a few times in a food processor until very finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and process for a few seconds, until the two are well combined.
Sieve the almond-sugar mixture and discard any large pieces. Pour half the dry mixture into the meringue and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, pressing the dry ingredients down into the meringue until everything is incorporated well. Add the remaining dry mixture and fold into the batter. 

Now it's time for a crucial step - the macaronnage. Firmly press the batter against the side of the bowl and then scoop it up and turn over (see this video.) Repeat this process a further 19 times. After macaronnage the batter should be thick and glossy but should fall slowly off the spatula like a ribbon and then settle/spread slightly in the bowl. Spoon the batter into a large piping bag and seal at the top.

Line two large baking trays with grease proof paper and carefully pipe 20 circles onto each, in one smooth motion holding the piping bag directly above the center of each macaron. Drop the baking sheets twice onto a hard surface (this helps to get rid of air bubbles and develops the 'pied') 

Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2 hours. Once ready to bake, place the first baking tray into a COLD oven, and then immediately set the oven to just under 100 degrees Celcius. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes (some ovens you may have to bake for longer but don't bake for more than 30 minutes) you can check that the macarons are sufficiently baked by gently lifting up a corner of the grease proof paper and lightly peeling it from a macaron shell. If it comes off easily and the macaron doesn't stick then you can turn your oven off!
Turn off your oven and leave the macarons inside with the door shut for 15 minutes, then open the door and leave them to cool inside the oven for a further 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on the baking tray at room temperature.
Once the oven is COMPLETELY COLD you can repeat the baking process with your second tray of macaron shells. Once the shells are cooled, gently peel them from the baking paper and place them on a tray or rack, ready to fill.

Make the frosting
Cream together the butter spread, vanilla, brown sugar and half the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and as much milk as needed until the frosting is thick but soft enough to pipe. Fold in the chocolate chips and spoon the frosting into a piping bag.

Assemble
Pipe a generous blob of frosting onto each base macaron shell and then sandwich together with the top shells.

Place the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight before eating (this allows the flavors to develop and gives the desired chew) 
Macarons keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for months.


PS: I'm super excited to announce that on Saturday I will be releasing a step-by-step vegan macaron video! I can't wait for you guys to see it!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sponsor Spotlight: The Littlest Herbivore


I'm so excited to share a bit today about one of this month's lovely sponsors - The Littlest Herbivore! The Littlest Herbivore is a super cute etsy shop selling handmade clothes for compassionate little herbivores! Each item is made to order and all items are vegan friendly - yay!


I love the cute, compassionate designs on the baby clothes and am compiling a wishlist of bits and bobs I want to order for my boys!


Ashley, the talent behind these gorgeous designs was kind enough to answer some questions about her shop, and some fun ones too!

How did you start your business?
I started my business unknowingly really. We planned a home birth for the birth of our first & only child and I wanted him to have a special first outfit like parents get for their babies born in hospitals. So I hand painted the first of many "born at home" onesies. As he grew we decided I should stay at home, I launched my etsy shop and added shirts with a message of compassion for all living things. It's been a pleasant surprise to see all the support I've received and I especially love seeing pictures of kids all around the world wearing shirts and onesies I made with my own hands.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get inspiration from other vegan families who are raising the future of veganism. I also love vintage illustrations of animals and have been trying to incorporate that into my recent work.

What's your favorite film?
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. I'm a sap for artsy romance!

What's your favorite food?
All vegan sweets! I love baking and am definitely a cookie loving girl.

What three things would you take to a desert island?
(Aside from boring survival stuff) it would be a sketch book and pencil, the collective work of H.G. Wells and a hammok.


The Littlest Herbivore is offering 10% off for Floral Frosting readers until 1st June!
Simply use the code 'FLORALFROSTING' 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Coffee Cake


Growing up, my Mum used to bake some delicious cakes for our family to enjoy. One of my favorites was a coffee sponge cake, sandwiched together with vanilla buttercream and topped with a deliciously strong coffee icing. I haven't had it since going vegan and have had trouble trying to make coffee sponge in the past, but a few days ago I finally managed to recreate this delicious cake.

If you want thicker sponge layers simply double the recipe and bake the sponges for 10-15 minutes longer.


Coffee Cake
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Serves 8

For the sponges
1 1/2C self-raising flour (or plain flour + 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder)
1tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1C sugar
2tsp heaped instant espresso powder
1/3C vegetable oil
1C almond or soy milk
1/3C water

For the buttercream
2Tbsp vegan margarine or buttery spread
3-4C powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2tsp almond or soy milk

For the icing
1/2tsp instant espresso powder
1-1 1/2C powdered sugar
2-4Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 175/350 and line two 10cm round cake tins with grease proof paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients, whisking well until very few lumps remain in the batter. Pour into the cake tins and smooth the tops. Bang on the surface a couple of times to pop any air bubbles.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are spongy and a knife inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
Turn the cakes out of the tins and onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely while you make the buttercream and icing.

Make the buttercream by creaming together the margarine, vanilla and powdered sugar, adding milk as needed until a thick but spreadable frosting forms. Set aside.

To make the icing simply mix together the powdered sugar, coffee and water until you get a nice thick but pourable icing.

Assemble!
Place one of the sponges top side up on a plate or serving dish and spread the vanilla buttercream evenly over the surface of the sponge. Carefully place the second sponge on top and then pour on the coffee icing. Leave to set slightly before serving.

Keeps well in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A Trip to Rochester // Baby on Board



A few weeks ago I visited Rochester for the day with two of my best besties Olivia & Nicola. We had a fab day pottering about charity shops, drinking tea and having girly chats! Is there anything better!? Notonthehighstreet recently sent me some of their new 'Baby on Board' collection - they've collaborated with Transport For London to celebrate being the official sponsors of the Baby on Board badge and have created some beautiful products for pregnant ladies! How funny is the cute greetings card they sent me!?

One of the products they gifted me was this brilliant shopper bag. I decided that my trip to Rochester was the perfect time to try it out. I filled it with all my day-trip essentials, including my rather chunky camera and a big bottle of water and we set off for a day of girly fun.



I'd never been to Rochester before, and I was overwhelmed by how cute it is! There was even bunting all down the highstreet! (They must have known I was coming!)

I've never seen so many cute vintage, charity and odds and ends shops in one place before! It was heaven for someone like me!



I can never resist a sewing shop! I love looking at pretty colorful fabrics and buttons and imagining the craft projects I could use them for.



Every shop we went in was filled with beautiful bits and bobs - it was amazing! My favorite shop of the day was definitely Hendersons, a little quirky shop selling gifts, cards, jewelry and vintage odds and ends. I picked up some lovely vintage Tupperware bowls for 50p each - score!



We popped into the sweetest little tea room called Fleur de Thé for a cuppa and a wee rest (you have to take a lot of breaks when you're this pregnant!) I completely fell in love with every piece of china and cutlery in this place, and you can actually buy the teacups, teapots and even the beautiful spoons in store! I had a pot of green-peach tea and it was really yummy!



We had a wonderful time and even though I was carrying around quite a lot of rather heavy things in my shopper bag I have to say it didn't feel heavy at all! The straps are nice and wide so they distribute the weight evenly on your shoulder, so it's a really comfortable bag to use. It's also nice and big so you can fill it with all your bits and bobs and there's still room for any bits of shopping you pick up while you're out and about! 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Snickers Macarons


I know what you're thinking...another vegan macaron recipe...but I just can't stop! And they're just too delicious not to share! These Snickers macarons are the perfect combination of chocolate, peanut and salted caramel, they taste very like Snickers bars (if my memory serves me correctly! I haven't had one for almost three years!)


Snickers Macarons
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 20

For the macarons
3/4C water from a can of chickpeas
1/2C granulated sugar
1 1/4C ground almonds
1/2C powdered sugar
1 1/2Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4C chopped peanuts

For the peanut butter cream
2Tbsp smooth peanut butter
3C powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2Tbsp almond or soy milk

For the salted caramel
1/2C light brown sugar
2Tbsp vegan butter spread
1/4C soy, almond or coconut milk
1/4tsp salt

First make the macaron shells
Pour the chickpea water into a small saucepan and allow to simmer over a medium heat until it has reduced to 1/3C, this usually takes around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the reduced chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add half the sugar and whisk until well combined, then add the remaining sugar and whisk at high speed until the meringue is glossy and thick - it should be the consistency of marshmallow fluff. Set aside while you prepare your dry ingredients.

Pulse the ground almonds a few times in a food processor until very finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and process for a few seconds, until well combined.
Sieve the almond-sugar mixture and discard any large pieces. Pour half the dry mixture into the meringue and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, pressing the dry ingredients down into the meringue until everything is incorporated well. Add the remaining dry mixture and fold into the batter. 

Now it's time for a crucial step - the macaronnage. Firmly press the batter against the side of the bowl and then scoop it up and turn over (see this video.) Repeat this process a further 19 times. After macaronnage the batter should be thick and glossy but should fall slowly off the spatula like a ribbon and then settle/spread slightly in the bowl. Spoon the batter into a large piping bag and seal at the top.

Line two large baking trays with grease proof paper and carefully pipe 20 circles onto each, in one smooth motion holding the piping bag directly above the center of each macaron. Drop the baking sheets twice onto a hard surface (this helps to get rid of air bubbles and develops the 'pied') Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over half of the macaron shells.

Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2 hours. Once ready to bake, place the first baking tray into a COLD oven, and then immediately set the oven to just under 100 degrees Celcius. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes (some ovens you may have to bake for longer but don't bake for more than 30 minutes) you can check that the macarons are sufficiently baked by gently lifting up a corner of the grease proof paper and lightly peeling it from a macaron shell. If it comes off easily and the macaron doesn't stick then you can turn your oven off!
Turn off your oven and leave the macarons inside with the door shut for 15 minutes, then open the door and leave them to cool inside the oven for a further 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on the baking tray at room temperature.
Once the oven is COMPLETELY COLD you can repeat the baking process with your second tray of macaron shells. Once the shells are cooled, gently peel them from the baking paper and place them on a tray or rack, ready to fill.

Make the cream
Cream together the peanut butter and one cup of the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and a teaspoon of milk and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix well, adding more milk as needed until you have a thick and creamy frosting. Spoon into a piping bag and seal at the top.

Make the salted caramel
Put the brown sugar, butter and milk in a small pot and place over a medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes (it should only be bubbling a little bit, don't let it boil) stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Pour into a small jug, bowl or jar and leave to cool. As it is cooling give it a stir every 10 minutes or so as it thickens so that a skin doesn't form on the top. Once it's completely cooled spoon the caramel into a piping bag and seal it at the top.

Assemble
Pipe a circle of peanut butter cream around the edge of each base macaron shell, then fill the hole in the middle with a blob of the salted caramel before carefully sandwiching together with the top macaron shell. Repeat until all the macarons are filled.

Place the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight before eating (this allows the flavors to develop and gives the desired chew) 
Macarons keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for months.