Tuesday, 16 September 2014

National Cupcake Week: Custard Cream Cupcakes & Asda Best of Baking Goodies

This week (15-21 September) is National Cupcake Week and I was lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous Best of Baking hamper of goodies from Asda. They have a great selection of baking goodies instore from essentials to a wide range of fun toppings to decorate. 

I've been wanting to make some Custard Cream Cupcakes, based on the idea of Oreo Cupcakes (like these HERE), but with custard cream decorations. I thought the Asda Foil Cupcake Cases in silver and gold would be the perfect cases to use. I also received Asda Chosen by you Rainbow Hundreds & Thousands, Mixed Chocolate Curls and Glitter Writing Icing, all great value baking staples, a bottle of Asti Spumante and a sensational Asda Piñata Surprise Cake (more about that soon!).

Anyway, onto the cupcakes! To give these an extra custard cream flavour, I used custard powder in the baking mix and this Custard Cream Spread in the buttercream (you could also use vanilla extract in the buttercream instead). They're really easy to make and taste deliciously creamy!



For the Cupcakes:

250g Plain Flour
50g Custard Powder
200g Caster Sugar
225g Butter or Margarine
4 Eggs
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbs milk

For the Buttercream:

225g Icing Sugar
100g Unsalted Butter
50g Custard Cream Spread*
1-2 tbs Milk

To Decoration: 
6 Custard Cream biscuits cut in half.

 *If you don't have this spread just use 150g of the unsalted butter and add 1tsp of Vanilla Extract instead.

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • To make the cupcakes start by whisking the butter and sugar together until it has a creamier consistency.
  • Next add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined.
  • Carefully fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and milk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
  • To make the buttercream mix together the butter, milk and custard cream spread (or extra butter and vanilla extract) until smooth and slightly fluffy. 
  • Sift in the icing sugar and mix slowly until the icing has the desired consistency for spreading
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled decorate them with the buttercream by piping it on or simply spreading on a thick layer.
  • Decorate with the custard cream biscuits that have been cut in half or whole ones if you like!

This was a very successful bake with everyone enjoying the vanilla and custard flavouring. The buttercream was quite sweet but it still worked well with the simple flavours of the sponge. My kids also enjoyed added some extra Rainbow Hundreds & Thousands to to the tops of their Custard Cream Cupcakes!

Asda have some great offers across their baking department (Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting tubs are only £1.50 this week) and some delicious baking suggestions too. Take a look at their National Cupcake Week page HERE

I received an Asda Best of Baking Hamper. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

New Bounty Cookies (Tesco)

I was super excited when I first saw a photo of these Bounty cookies on Facebook - via Laura from A Daisy Chain Dream blog. I think my reaction was of the OMG!!! variety. Thankfully they seem to be easy to find and my local Tesco always has them in stock in the bakery aisle, along with the other new Mars branded cookies; Galaxy and Milky Way

There are four large cookies in each pack, with a hefty 215 calories each. They have a lovely golden appearance with a generous amount of milk chocolate pieces and flecks of dessicated coconut.

The cookies themselves have a good consistency, with a firm outer but soft and chewy centre. The dessicated coconut adds a further softness and chewiness to the texture, giving these a very moreish quality. Fellow coconut fans will be happy to know that there is plenty of coconut flavour within each biscuit. There's no mistaking the coconutty taste in every bite here. The milk chocolate chips have a lovely flavour too, and add plenty of extra sweetness to the mix. The combination of the plentiful dessicated coconut and the rich milk chocolate really does successfully recreate the flavours of a Bounty bar but in a cookie format. 

If you're a Bounty fan then you really need to try these!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Bounty Cookies

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 215 calories each.
Vegetarians: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.30p for 4 pack.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

New Nutella & Go! (UK)

A big thank you to Rachel on Facebook who let me know via the Grocery Gems page that Nutella & Go had hit the UK. I've been on the lookout for it ever since and I finally spotted it in my local Tesco yesterday. Nutella & Go has been available in Germany. France and the US for some time already, so it's good news for us Nutella fans in the UK that it's now been released here.

At first glance the Nutella & Go may not seem too exciting; after all it's just a portion of Nutella with some breadsticks on the side. I think I was already assuming it would be just like KP Choc Dips, which have been around for ages with the same chocolate dip and breadsticks format. However, whilst Choc Dips are quite nice (especially for younger tastebuds), the Nutella & Go are far tastier. 

The breadsticks themselves have a golden appearance and crunchy texture, and have a slight hint of salt in them. This really helps to bring out the gorgeous hazelnut and chocolate flavour of the Nutella dip. Let's face it we're all here for the Nutella and not for the breadsticks! Thankfully, the portion of Nutella is very generous and there's no danger of running out of the dipping side! The whole thing together creates a different taste experience in it's own right - it's really not the same as eating Nutella on toast or on a waffle (insert your preferred method here...!). There's something about the crunchy nature of the sticks and the super smooth texture and sweetness of the Nutella that works together perfectly. 

Overall this is a lovely new way to enjoy Nutella and I can see why it's been so popular in other countries. The fact that it can be eaten whilst "out and about" is probably lost on me as I'm only likely to eat something like this at home. But I suppose if you need a Nutella fix whilst on the go then this is the perfect way to get it! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ferrero Nutella & Go!

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 248 calories.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £0.84p.

Friday, 12 September 2014

New Milky Way Magic Stars Cookies (and Bounty, Galaxy and Jaffa Cookies at Tesco too!)

Tesco have expanded their range of instore baked cookies to include some popular chocolate brands; Bounty, Galaxy, and Milky Way Magic Stars. I bought the latter as a little treat for my kids - I still have an M&S cheesecake to finish!

There are ten Milky Way Magic Stars cookies in each pack. They're described as "mini" but are still a decent size for a biscuit, although they are much smaller than the usual supermarket instore bakery cookies. It's an ideal size for kids or for portion control. The cookies themselves have a very soft and chewy texture without any crunch or snap. So soft and chewy that I could bend the cookie into an arch shape without it breaking! It's almost as if they have had nougat or marshmallow mixed into the cookie dough. I would have preferred a bit more crunch to go with the chewiness. The flavour profile here is quite basic but my kids really enjoyed them nonetheless. There wasn't really anything about the flavour that reminded me of Milky Way in particular - they're just extremely sweet (and chewy!) sugary cookies with milk chocolate star shaped pieces. 

Being a coconut fan, I was of course tempted to buy the Bounty cookies aswell, but as these cookies are all freshly baked they don't have a very long shelf life - I'll have to save them for another day.

A quick photo of the Galaxy Cookies and (non branded) Jaffa Cookies. Let me know in the comments below if you've tried any of these!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Milky Way Magic Stars Cookies

RATING: 7 out of 10 (kids' verdict!).
Buy them again?: Next it's Bounty time!
Nutrition: 53 calories per cookie.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.00p.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Marks and Spencer Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Have you seen the new advert for M&S food? It's the first advert in ages that's made me stop and rewind. I like the way M&S unveil their new food range as if it's a seasonal fashion collection! A few days ago I needed to buy a dessert to take to a family dinner so I thought I'd take a peek at M&S to see if they had any new desserts. Anyway, I ended up buying two cheesecakes! This Sunken Salted Caramel Cheesecake and a Chocolate & Vanilla Cheesecake that was also labelled as new.

The M&S Sunken Salted Caramel Cheesecake has a traditional digestive biscuit and vanilla cheesecake base. The interesting bit is the topping which is described as a "sunken" salted caramel centre topped with chocolate covered malt balls. 

All the elements are delicious, as you would expect from M&S. The actual cheesecake is creamy and delicious with a lovely crunch from the biscuits base and dreamy chocolate malt balls on top. The salted caramel is also very tasty with a good balance between the sweet buttery caramel and the salty edge. Even my husband, who is not keen on salted caramel, could enjoy the flavour here. My main problem with the M&S Sunken Salted Caramel Cheesecake overall, is that there simply wasn't enough of the salted caramel sauce. I only include the (terrible!) photo above just to show the "sunken" centre - it's not very deep at all and I was just expecting it to have more sauce underneath. Most bites of this cheesecake are just fairly plain vanilla cheesecake apart from a small section at the end of each slice. There's nothing wrong with any of the flavours and it's certainly a very tasty cheesecake, I'm just not sure it lives up to it's own description.

M&S Autumn 2014 food advert: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ4pctQMdg4

Grocery Gems Verdict: M&S Salted Caramel Cheesecake

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: There's a Chocolate & Vanilla Cheesecake to try next!
Nutrition: 328 calories (per 1/6 dessert).
Purchased: M&S.
Price: £4.00p.

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