BAKING TIPS & TRICKS

B A K I N G

Baking is one of my favourite hobbies and since I started I have accumulated a lot of tips and tricks. Some people have their own ways of doing things and some of my ways I want to share with you all. Some of these tips have upped my baking game and I wouldn’t be able to bake without doing these things.


 

DIY your own piping bag

Sometimes when I bake cupcakes or cakes, I will come to the part where i need to ice and decorate and i will realise that i don’t have any piping bags. This is where you can get creative in a time of need. I have previously used freezer bags and they work a treat. You won’t need to use a nozzle, you will just pip straight from the bag. The smaller you snip the hole on the end of the bag, the more precision that you will have over the piping. Piping bags are alot thicker and i would prefer to use this over bags, but in a time of need freezer bags are amazing.

 

A wire rack IS needed

When baking anything, a wire rack is such an essential and sometimes i think needing one can be really over looked. As soon as something comes out of the oven, most of the time (unless stated) it will need to go straight onto a wire rack so it can cool down. The longer you keep it in the tin, the longer it will be till you can decorate whatever it is. I like to keep the wire rack near the open back door as normally there is a breeze and this will help to cool down whatever you have baked. I am so impatient so i found a way to speed up this process and it is so helpful.

 

Poke holes in whatever you have baked

After you place whatever you have baked on a wire rack, you are going to want to poke holes in it where ever you can. This is going to let the steam out which means it will cool down quicker. Use a toothpick or something or a chopstick, or even a fork and just poke it a couple of times all over. Also, say if you have made cupcakes the icing will fall into the holes and this will be DELISH.

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Use a sieve for powered ingredients

Using a sieve for every ingredient that you are putting into your mixing bowl is such an essential. Most powered ingredients have clumps and if you don’t sieve it you will get little pockets of that ingredient inside. For example, caster sugar should be sieved because there will probably be clumps of sugar stuck together and you dont want this other wise there will be a sugar clump in your cake.

 

Use a spoon to help with sieving

I learnt this new trick and it is so small but helps so much. So, you have a lot of flour and pour it into the sieve and you have to keep shaking the sieve to get the flour into the bowl. Take a spoon and literally stir what ever is in the sieve and this will sieve it quicker. I find it so much easier to use a spoon to mix it in the sieve then to shake the sieve, I always use this trick.

 

Measuring spoons make your life easier

Buying measuring spoons made baking alot easier for me because they are more accurate than using normal kitchen teaspoons and tablespoons. Tablespoons aren’t all the same size and neither are teaspoons. Also, i love that the on measuring spoons it will say on each spoon what it is in ml, what cup size it is and what that equates to in spoon so (teaspoon). You don’t have to google what 3 cups equates to in teaspoons. EASY AND STRESS FREE.

 

Don’t just rely on the toothpick trick

I love the tooth pick trick, placing a toothpick in the middle of what is in the oven can sometimes tell you if it is done or not. However, you need to take into consideration the colour of what it is you are baking. If you are baking cookies, you are most likely going to be checking to see if they are a golden colour.  If it is still white and doesn’t look like it has risen at all then it probably isn’t done. You have to make sure that the cake or whatever it is, is springy when you touch it. If it is still very wet, it is not done. Also, if you are baking cupcakes and you add chocolate chips into the mixture, as soon as you put a toothpick inside it will definitely come out wet because the chocolate chips will have melted. Therefore, you can’t always rely on this.

 

Use room temp butter

This is going to make sure your life so much more easier. If it says to have the butter at room temp and you think “ah, its alright I will just take it out straight out of the fridge” then you are doing it wrong. It is going to be soooo hard to mix the butter in with all of the other ingredients. It will literally be a hard block of butter and having the butter at room temp means you can mix everything together perfectly.

 

Rotate when in the oven

If you have to put something in the oven for 40 minutes. When it hits the 20 minute mark, rotate whatever is in the oven around. This is going to ensure that everything has an equal amount of time being in that place in the oven. Sometimes, ovens can be hotter at certain points in the oven (like mine) the left side of my oven is more hotter than the right side. I have to make sure that I am rotating it when it is in the oven. This ensures that everything will be baked evenly.

 

Let it cool completely

Most people have heard of this one because it is very important. If you are baking cupcakes and you take them out of the oven, and start icing automatically then it won’t work as the icing will met. You need to make sure that the cakes are 100% cooled down, otherwise it will make the icing watery and it will just drip off your cakes. This is something you don’t want, as they won’t look pretty and will look like a wet mess. That is why if you leave them on the cooling rack, with holes in them it should cool them down and then you can decorate.

LAST ONE..

Keep your oven door closed

When you have put whatever you are baking into the oven, keep it closed until half way through when you need to rotate it or when you need to check on it/take it out. The more you take it out, it is going to mess up the baking time and it will stop the baking process. For example, putting cupcakes in the oven and opening the door will stop them from rising.


 

If you bake, I would love to know if you have any tips and tricks of your own. Or even just rules that you live by.

Sophia xo

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Chocolate & fudge butterfly cupcakes

B A K I N G

The other day I was looking through my Instagram and noticed that I haven’t actually baked in such a long time, when I say such a long time I MEAN APRIL! APRIL! Therefore, I needed to whack the scales out and get some baking done. After I baked these delicious cupcakes, it reminded me of how much I actually love baking and I need to make more time for it.

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– LET’S GET STARTED –

Ingredients that you will need for chocolate sponge (12)

4 tbsp (boiling ) water

40g cocoa powder

3 eggs

180g (unsalted)

165g Unrefined golden sugar

115g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

A packet of fudge pieces

Ingredients that you will need for decoration

Royal icing

Butterfly wafers

Icing sugar

Pink icing gel

Biscuit Cutter

Equipment that you will need

Scales

Mixing Bowl

spatula

cupcake cakes & cupcake tins

Spoon

Piping bag

Cooling wrack

Method:

Step one: line a cake tin with the cases. Preheat the oven to 200oc / 400oF / Gas mark 6

Step two: sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and then pour in the boiling water and mix together with a spoon to create a thick spreadable paste. After you get to this stage, add in the remaining ingredients and mix together with the spatula. Add in the fudge pieces, this part is entirely up to you.

Step three: put a tiny bit of the mixture inside the cupcake case, then add a couple of fudge pieces, then place some more mixture on top of the fudge pieces. This is so you will have the fudge pieces inside the middle of the cupcakes. Keep doing this for every cupcake. Then put them in the oven for 15-17 minutes.  They need to be well risen and springy when you touch them.

Step three: while the cupcakes are in the oven you can start on the icing. Roll out the royal icing and using a biscuit cutter ( of any shape that you want the icing to be on top ) Then cut out the icing depending on how many cupcakes there are.

Step four: sift some icing sugar in a small bowl and add in water as you go, you need it to be the perfect consistency that you can drip it onto the cake. You don’t want it to be too thick or too watery. Then add in the pink gel and mix together.

Step five: bring out the cupcakes and place them on a wire rack and wait for them to cool down. On one side of the royal icing that has been cut out, put a tiny bit of icing sugar on it and sit it down on the top of the cupcake. This is going to stop the royal icing from falling off of the cupcakes and will give it something to stick to. Keep doing this to all of them. Then using the pink icing create strokes across the top of the cupcake and the icing and then place a butterfly wafer on top. You are finished 🙂

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What is your favourite thing to bake? I would love to know 🙂

Sophia xo

 

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Festive treats | Blogmas day 21

Hey guys and welcome to blogmas day 21

So the other day I spent the whole day making these festive treats!! I had so much fun coming up with ideas as to what to bake, i loved it. If you LOVE chocolate then you are going to LOVEEEEE THIS POST!!!

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– LETS GET STARTED –

Christmas tree brownies

Ingredients that you will need for the brownies

400g caster sugar

225g butter, melted

80g cocoa powder

4 eggs

225g plain flower

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Ingredients that you will need for the icing 

Green icing / green food colouring and icing

Little red sprinkles

Equipment that you will need 

Scales

mixing bowl

spatula

Square baking tin, depending on how you want your brownie to look (thickness)

baking paper

Method:

Step one: Preheat the oven to 180oc.

Step two: weigh out all of the ingredients, then add all of the dry ingredients together and then add the eggs (beaten) and the butter (melted)

Step three: mix together all of the ingredients until  the mixture becomes tacky and firm, then pour into a baking tin that is lined with grease proof paper.

Step four: put it in the oven for 20/25 minutes, check on it around 22 minutes in and see how it is doing.

Step five: when finished take it out of the oven and leave it to cool down in the tin for a couple of minutes. Either cut up into triangle pieces while in the tin and place them on a wire rack or take the whole brownie out and cut it up on the wire rack into triangle pieces.

Step six: once cooled down, get the icing and a piping bag or you can just drizzle it on with a spoon. Start from the bottom and drizzle it as a zig zag to the top (you will see what I mean on the final picture) decorate however you want, I have added red sprinkles on the corner of each zig zag. They are ready to be served.

 

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Christmas cupcakes

Ingredients that you will need for the Christmas cupcakes

150g caster sugar

100g butter

2 medium eggs

115g self-raising flour

75g cocoa powder

Chocolate flakes

 

Ingredients that you will need for the icing 

Chocolate icing

Christmasy decorations

Equipment that you will need 

Scales

mixing bowl

spatula

Cupcake cakes

Cupcake tin

Method:

Step one: preheat the oven to 180oc and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

Step two: put the butter and eggs into a bowl and start mixing together. Then add in the dry ingredients and beat together until well combined. I added in some chocolate flakes so there will be chocolate inside the cupcakes too.

Step three: when all mixed together put the mixture into cupcake cases and then put in the oven for 10-15, be sure to check on them half way through.

Step four: when baked, take them out of the oven and out of the cupcake tin and put them on a wire rack. Pierce holes in them to help with the cooling down process.

 

Step five: once cooled down you can now ice them. Decorate how you want to. I decorated mine with some cute Christmasy decorations.

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Christmas pudding cookies

Ingredients that you will need for the Christmas pudding cookies

200g softened butter

300g caster sugar

2 eggs

300g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

80g cocoa powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

Ingredients that you will need for decorations

150g White chocolate (melted)

Some sort of holly/berry decorations

Equipment that you will need 

Scales

mixing bowl

spatula

baking tray

grease proof paper

A bowl

Sift

 

Method:

step one: preheat the oven to 180oc and then line a baking tin with grease proof paper.  Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy then add in the vanilla extract and the eggs.

Step two: in a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add this to the first bowl slowly, bit by bit while mixing everything together. Fold everything together until well combined.

Step three: the mixture should start to get firm and when this happens you need to roll the mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet. Then push down on the balls to make a flat circle. Then put in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, while keeping an eye on it.

Step four: once in the oven, melt the white chocolate. Then when the cookies are done take them out of the oven and place on a wire rack.

Step five: wait till the cookies are fully cooled down and then on half of the cookie spread on the white chocolate and finish it with a holly and berry in the middle of the cookie.

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What is your favourite festive things to bake?? which one would you love the most?

Sophia xo

Are you all caught up with my other posts?-

Some December moments | Blogmas day 19

Safety Checklist for Winter | Blogmas day 18

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Gingerbread men | Blogmas day 11

Hello everyone and welcome to Blogmas day 11.

Today I am showing you guys how I made gingerbread men!! I have been so excited to share this with you guys because they are so cute and turned out amazingly well. First though, can we please appreciate this picture of the cute little Christmas tree. I LOVE IT!

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– Lets get started – 

Ingredients that you will need to make the Gingerbread men

370g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

6 teaspoons of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder

1 pinch of salt

1 large egg, beaten

200g caster sugar

250g unsalted butter, diced.

4 tablespoons golden syrup

Equipment that you will need

A mixing bowl

A spatula

Scales

Sieve

A spoon

Wire rack

Oven tray

Rolling pin

Gingerbread cutters

Baking paper

You can decorate the gingerbread men how ever you like

Method to make the Gingerbread men:

step one- Measure out all of the ingredients and then sift the flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Then add the salt, sugar and butter and mix it in, then once mixed together a little use your fingers until the butter is combined and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs

step two- Then in another bowl, mix together the golden syrup and the egg until well beaten. Add this to the to the mixture and mix well until combined. Using your hands bring all of the mixture together and knead to form a smooth dough shape. Put flour down before you start to knead to stop the mixture from sticking to the surface.

step three- Shape the dough into a ball and cover it in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. When you have around 5 minutes left of it being in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180oc and line a baking tray with a baking paper.

step four- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the dough into smaller parts. Put the rest back in the fridge and leave a part on the surface for you to roll out. Put flour down once again and get your rolling pin and start to roll the dough out. You want to roll it out so the dough is about 2mm, you don’t want it too thick because the gingerbread men will puff out and be too big, but you don’t want them too small because they will burn. Once you have rolled the dough out, use your cookie cutters and cut out shapes in the dough.

step five- After you have got the dough out and repeated the whole process until there is no dough left. Place the dough onto the tray and place in the oven for 10-14 minutes.

step six- Once the cookies turn a golden brown colour they are ready to come out and then place them straight on a wire rack (be careful because they will be so hot!)

step seven- When they are COMPLETELY cooled down you can decorate them as you like. They are ready for you to decorate and serve.

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I do make alot of mess!!!

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I hope you liked this post! I loved making these and I felt so festive when making them. Have you made gingerbread men yet??

Sophia xo

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Would you rather…Christmas Tag | Blogmas day 10

Mini Lush Christmas Haul | Blogmas day 9

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Bake in a Box, two ways

– BAKING –

I have a long over due baking post for you guys! You know when you just get so busy and everything happens at once, well yes that is me currently. Any way,

Thank you so much to Dr. Oetker for sending me* your Bake in a Box cakes and also some extra goodies. If you don’t know what Bake in a box is then it is essentially cakes that you bake in a box. Very good if you either don’t have enough time for baking or you don’t really think you are very good at it, but you love doing it. It is such a genius idea as it isn’t messy at all, when I bake the whole kitchen gets turned upside down (I am not even joking either), there is literally no washing up at the end of this bake. The cakes taste absolutely amazing and they are perfect for little get togethers or work dues and you could even lie and say you made it from scratch haha 😉

In this post I will show you how I made the Lemon and Poppy Seed cake and the Banana and Chocolate chip cake

Lemon and Poppy Seed 

– LETS GET STARTED –

All you will need:

7 tablespoons of milk

Any decorations for your cake

Method: 

Step one: Preheat oven to 190oc / 170oc fan/ gas mark 5

Step two: Pour the sachet contents into the box and then add the 7 tablespoons of milk

Step three: Stir with a fork, you need to try to get rid of all of the lumps.

Step four: Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then take it out and score a 1cm line lengthways in the cake ( through the centre, using a knife ) then return to the oven for 20-15 minutes.

Step five: Remove the cake from the oven and place straight on a cooling rack. Using a knife go around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the sides of the box. Then peel the sides of the box down and remove the cake from the box. Preferably do this when it is cold, however I prefer to do it when it is hot and then leave it to cool on the cooling rack.

Step six: ONCE COOL, you can decorate however you like. Enjoy.

 

 

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I decorated my cake with some of their Easy Ice Pink icing, THAT TASTED AMAZING CAN I JUST SAY! then I added some of their Mini Wafer Flowers  and sprinkled some of their Bold and Bright sprinkles, just the yellow ones over the top. I loved how the icing was the perfect consistency and it harden up pretty quick. This is such a pretty cake!

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This is one of my favourite cakes that I have ever made/decorated. I really like how quick and easy it was and I didn’t even stress about making sure it was going to bake correctly.


 

Banana and Chocolate Chip 

– LETS GET STARTED –

All you will need:

7 tablespoons of milk

Any decorations for your cake

Method: 

Step one: Preheat oven to 190oc / 170oc fan/ gas mark 5

Step two: Pour the sachet contents into the box and then add the 7 tablespoons of milk

Step three: Stir with a fork, you need to try to get rid of all of the lumps.

Step four: Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then take it out and score a 1cm line lengthways in the cake ( through the centre, using a knife ) then return to the oven for 20-15 minutes.

Step five: Remove the cake from the oven and place straight on a cooling rack. Using a knife go around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the sides of the box. Then peel the sides of the box down, then remove the cake from the box. Preferably do this when it is cold, however I prefer to do it when it is hot and then leave it to cool on the cooling rack.

Step six: ONCE COOL, you can decorate however you like. Enjoy.

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I decorated my cake by melting some of Dr. Otekers Dark chocolate chunks and spreading this over the top of my cake. Then I added some of their Chocolate Hearts on top. Lastly, sprinkling some of their Brights and Bold sprinkles, just the yellow sprinkles across the top. The chocolate on top didn’t make the cake sickly at all because the cake was banana and chocolate, IT JUST ADDED MORE CHOCOLATE, WHO DOESN’T LOVE CHOCOLATE?! It only lasted about 2 minutes though as everyone ate it haha..

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Thank you once again to Dr. Oteker for seeing me soooo many goodies! 

These are amazing for everyone and for every occasion. 

What cake did you prefer? are these something that interest you?

 

Sophia xo 

Are you all caught up with my other posts?-

Iconic Jewellery Event-

Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette- 

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Baby Shower Cupcakes

– BAKING –

I wasn’t actually going to put this post up as I didn’t get any pictures of me actually making the cupcakes, I only have the final result. YES MY SISTER IS GOING TO BE A MUM. SHE HAD AN AMAZING BABY SHOWER AND I MADE HER SOME CUPCAKES. If you have this sort of event coming up and you want to make cupcakes, then I have the perfect recipe for you. I made white chocolate and rose cupcakes as the theme of the baby shower was pink and white and I thought these went nicely together. The sponge has white chocolate chips inside and the icing is rose flavoured.

 

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– LETS GET STARTED –

Ingredients that you will need for the cupcake mix ( makes 15, double the ingredients to make 30 )

125g Butter

125g Caster Sugar

125g Self Raising Flour

100g White chocolate chips

1tsp Baking Powder

2 eggs, beaten

1tsp Vanilla Essence

Ingredients that you will need for the icing 

1tsp Rose Extract

360g icing sugar

80g insulted butter (room temperature)

155g cream cheese

Any decorations that you want to use. 

Equipment that you will need

A mixing bowl

A spatula

Scales

A sieve

A spoon

Cupcake tins

Piping bags and nozzles.

Cupcake cases

Method for cupcakes-

Step one- Preheat the oven to 175oc. Add the butter and sugar together and mix until it becomes a pale yellow/white colour.

Step two- Sift in the flour and baking powder. Then add the eggs and Vanilla essence. Fold together and mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Step three- Add the white chocolate chips and mix. Then place the mixture into the cupcake cases ( try to add the same amount of mixture between all of the cupcake cases )

Step four- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. When you poke a skewer inside it should come out clean, try a couple of times as this could be the white chocolate chips melted inside.

Step five- Once baked place on a wire rack and leave to cool until completely cooled down.

Method for icing- 

Step one- Mix together the icing sugar, the butter and the rose essence until well mixed together.

Step two- Add all of the cream cheese in one go and beat together until it is well combined. Continue to beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Step three- Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes only when the cupcakes are completely cooled down. If they are still hot the icing will melt.

Decorations that I used

Pink baby feet

Ducks and Prams on Skewers

Pink food dust

Pink and white balls

White chocolate icing

The cupcake cases were really cute and ideal for my sisters baby shower.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this post. I had so much fun making them and I think they looked amazing. What do you think of them?

 

Sophia xo

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3INA, the bestsellers-

EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo that you need-

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The best school pudding- Chocolate Concrete

– BAKING –

Chocolate Concrete (AKA, THE BEST SCHOOL PUDDING EVER)

When I was a kid I loved this school pudding, I can remember it so well. This was one of my favourite puddings that I ever had at school. I can’t quite remember if I had this in primary school or secondary, but something is telling me primary school. If you remember this pudding, then I hope scrolling through this recipe will bring back some memories for you. If you never had this in school then I am sorry but you missed out as it was literally my childhood in school. If you don’t know what this is, it is a type of soft biscuit that just falls apart when you eat it. It can sometimes be served with custard and it tastes amazing.

If you had this at your school then let me know in the comments below as I would love to know!

 

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– LETS GET STARTED –

Ingredients that you will need- 

200g self raising flour

200g granulated sugar, you will also need a bit towards the end to sprinkle on top

50g cocoa powder (DO NOT USE ANY THING ELSE OTHER THAN PURE COCOA POWDER, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT)

100g butter

Equipment that you will need

A mixing bowl

A spatula

Scales

A sieve

A spoon and a fork

Baking paper

A square baking tin

Method –

Step one- Preheat your oven to 180oc and line a square baking tin with baking parchment. You want the parchment to hang over the sides of the tin as it will be easier to pull the concrete out of the tin once baked.

Step two- Melt the butter and you can either do this in the microwave or on the hob. Then sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and then add the sugar. Mix all of these dry ingredients together until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir it in. Keep mixing all of the ingredients together and once it starts to take shape it should be really crumbly (THIS IS HOW YOU WANT IT TO BE) if it isn’t like this yet, keep mixing until it starts to crumble, it shouldn’t take long.

Step three- Once it has started to crumble, you can spoon out the mixture into the baking tin and using a spatula make the mixture level and press down on the mixture until it is flat and compact. With a fork, poke holes over the top of the cake. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, check it around 20 minutes. You don’t want to burn it.

Step four- Once it is ready, take it out of the oven and pull the baking parchment so the concrete comes out of the tin. Cut the concrete into big squares and sprinkle some sugar over the top.  You can eat it straight away or leave it until it has cooled down. You can serve it with whatever you like, a lot of people put custard on top of it. Enjoy 🙂

 

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If you live in the UK did you ever have this pudding for school? what are some of the memories that it brings back for you?

Sophia xo

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