Mike's Baking on Channel 4

Check me out on Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard!

Muffin Mondays

Check out all the yummy Muffin Monday recipes.

Take the challenge: Live Below The Line

I am taking the challenge and going to Live Below The Line from May 7th - 11th. Join me!


Check out the yummy cake recipes!


Check out all the yummy cupcakes!

Quick Easy Brownies!

Now that Christmas is over... try out this simple brownie recipe. I love brownies! This easy recipe is very quick to whip up and produces a great brownie, fudgy in the middle with a nice flaky crust on top. A lot of brownie recipes want you to melt chocolate for the mixture but this recipe cuts that step out and they come out just as good! This is also a great base brownie recipe to play around with and add in anything you can think of. Last time I added in mini marshmallows and they all rose to the top, roasted and melted into the brownie mixture, it was like a s'mores brownie. I have a special brownie mix-in that I am working on and will share with you in the new year.  Share in the comment section any ideas you might have for mix-ins. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares. 


I love graze.com!

I got a deal through Groupon.com to try out Graze.com. With the Graze.com code above you too can get a box for free.I have mine delivered to my work and it is great to get these yummy healthy snacks in the post. Check out their website to see all the different snacks. At the moment this offer is only available in the UK. Disclaimer: Graze.com did not ask me to share this code with you, I just like their boxes that much that I wanted to share my free box code with you. Try it out as this code is only available for a limited time.

Peppermint Creams

We decided to make Lorraine Pascale's Peppermint Creams the other day. I've never heard of these before seeing them on Lorraine's show and Shane has been wanting to make them ever since he saw them. This simple recipe is great treat to make around this time of year.

Courtesy of Lorraine Pascale
300g Icing Sugar
125g Condensed Milk
1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
100g Dark Chocolate

1. MIX together the icing sugar, condensed milk, and peppermint extract until everything has combined and you can make a ball out of the ingredients.
2. DUST your work surface with some icing sugar, and roll out until it is about 3-5mm thick. Use a pastry cutter to create discs of peppermint creams and place on a tray lined with baking paper.

3. MELT the chocolate and dip the discs halfway into the chocolate and place back on the tray to set or drizzle chocolate all over them. 


Cake Truffles

Within the last week I made 2 batches of Espresso Cupcakes, one to try out on my work colleagues and then another batch for this past Thursday in London. I had a few left over but not enough to take into work and too many for me to eat the rest, so I thought I would try something out. CAKE TRUFFLES! I would say these are similar to a cake pop without a stick. It is really versatile as well, as you could make this to accompany any cupcake recipe you make. The only trouble I had with these is trying to rush it and some of the cake truffles lost their shape when being dipped into the chocolate coating, I know to be patient next time I make these. They turned out great though and nice to be able to use left over cupcakes. What kind of Cake Truffles will you be making?

Makes about 20 Cake Truffles
  • 5 frosted cupcakes
  • 150g chocolate of your choice
  1. PLACE the cupcakes into a mixing bowl, using 2 forks mash up and completely mix the cupcake into frosting.
  2. SCOOP out small balls of cake and roll between your palms until they are round and place on a tray lined with baking paper. 
  3. REFRIGERATE the balls for about 30 minutes, so they keep their shape when dipping into the chocolate.
  4. PREPARE the chocolate, to do this you need to break it into small chunks and then put it into a heatproof bowl within a gently simmering pan of water. The chocolate should not be stirred until it has completely melted.
  5. DIP the balls into the melted chocolate one at a time and then place back onto the lined tray. If desired, add decorations to the top of the balls before the chocolate sets.
  6. REFRIGERATE the truffles to set the coating completely, about 20 minutes. These cake truffles are best served at room temperature, and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Espresso Cupcakes

This past Thursday, I was invited to attend a casting call in London for the show "Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard". I wasn't sure what I was going to make and had lots of ideas flying through my head. I decided to go with espresso cupcakes and used my tea cup baking cups! I did a test run earlier in the week and took a batch into work, everyone really enjoyed them. I knew this would be a good one to take to the casting call and with the amount of caffeine in these cupcakes it would definitely give them a pick me up. I feel like the interview went really well and now just have to wait to hear back from them with a decision. Fingers crossed!

Inspired by Hummingbird Bakery
For the cake:
240ml milk
20g instant espresso powder
80g unsalted butter, softened
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting:
20ml milk
16g instant espresso powder
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, softened
Chocolate covered coffee beans to decorate

  1. Preheat the over to 190C/375F and fill a cupcake tin with cupcake cases. 
  2. Lightly warm the milk in the microwave for about a minute and dissolve the espresso powder in it, mix well and place aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt on a low speed until it is like a breadcrumb texture.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract into the espresso mixture, whisk by hand until combined. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, then increase speed until everything is mixed together and you have a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture in to the cases, filling each case about two-thirds of the case. The mixture should make about 12 to 16 cupcakes. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Leave in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting the cakes.
  6. Now to make the frosting, warm the milk in the microwave for about 10 seconds and dissolve the espresso powder in it. Set aside to cool completely before adding in frosting mixture.
  7. Beat together the butter and icing sugar, on a low speed until they are fully combined. Slowly start to add the espresso mixture, then once mixed in, increase the speed until the frosting is light and fluffly.
  8. Decorate your cupcakes!

Food Bloggers Unplugged

I got tagged by Alison from hungrysquirrelcakes, so now it's my turn to tell you all a little about myself!

What or who inspired you to start your blog?
 I was inspired by all the other great food bloggers out there. I love checking out food blogs and thought to myself "I can do that" and share my baking with the world. So I started Mike's Baking, earlier this year, to document my journey in the baking world and share great recipes. I also like to experiment with recipes and wanted somewhere that I could refer back to when making the recipe again. I had no idea that so many people would find my blog and that it would connect me to the great foodie community.

Who is your foodie inspiration? 
I have always loved watching cooking shows, even as a kid. I would say my first foodie inspiration was Rachel Ray, I used to watch her on the FoodNetwork before she was super popular. I loved her ideas and her simple recipes, I was addicted to watching her shows. Then Nigella came on the scene and I fell in love with her ideas as well. I also love Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Giada De Laurentiis, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee, Curtis Stone, and many more.

Your greasiest most batter splattered cook book is?
At the moment, it is my Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days book!

The best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it and what was it?
Ok I have to admit to having a gelato addiction... When I was 16, I went on a trip with my uncle to Italy for 3 weeks in the summer. Nearly everyday I was trying out all the yummy flavors, my favourite being apple. I don't really like ice cream but I love gelato, read the difference between the two here. Since then I have been back to Italy two times and of course had lots of gelato. Last year when we went to Greece, what happened to be just outside our hotel, a gelato shop and I went everyday, twice a day! Now I just need to find somewhere in England that does good gelato.

Another Food Blogger’s table you would like to eat at?
I would love to eat at another Mike's table from Verses From My Kitchen, I love his photography and food ideas.

What one kitchen gadget would you like Santa to bring you? (money no object) 
I want a completely new kitchen!! I already designed it on Ikea... okay so that isn't a gadget. I really want a stand mixer and I think Santa will be bringing it. ;-P

Who taught you how to cook? 
The FoodNetwork! hah!

I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish? 
Oh that is a hard question... I don't really have a signature dish as I love trying out new recipes all the time.

What is your guilty food pleasure?
I love all different kinds of flavored nuts... the last ones I had was Fennel Seed and Honey Peanuts. They were AMAZING! 

Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I don't really like frosting! SHOCK! When I was a kid, I would always scrape the frosting off cakes. Even now I don't like a lot of frosting on cakes. Of course I like my own though... it's pretty good stuff! :-P

And now I have to tag five other Food Bloggers to answer these questions:
  1. I Want To Bake Free
  2. Preheat the Oven
  3. BakerStreet
  4. Recipes From A Normal Mum
  5. Mis Pensamientos

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Red Onions

I love brussel sprouts, I hate over boiled soggy brussel sprouts! I've never cooked brussel sprouts before cooking this recipe. I didn't want to boil them so searched the net for some inspiration and put this simple recipe together.  This should make about 6 servings to accompany a nice meal. After I made it though, we both ate all of it in one go, it was that good!

500g Brussel Sprouts
250g Streaky Bacon
1 Red Onion
Splash of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C. Wash and dry brussel sprouts, trim bottoms and cut them in half.
2. Place the brussel sprouts face down in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a pan on a medium-low heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels and then roughly chop.
4. Turn the heat down a little and fry the onion in the same pan until light brown and caramelized.
5. Place the sprouts in a mixing bowl with the bacon and onions. Mix to combine and then serve.

Muffin Monday: Baklava Muffins

Baklava... in a muffin?!? Yes, that's right, we went there! And what a great way to transform this decadent dessert into a great muffin. While making this muffin, memories from our trip to Greece last year came flowing back. I was the only one on our trip that actually liked the baklava. I guess I am a bit more adventurous in trying new foods and I loved the mixture of spice, nuts, pastry, and sticky syrup. I never would have thought to try a muffin version but it really works! Try this recipe out, you will not be disappointed with this moist muffin.

  Happy Muffin Monday! 

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup + 7 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup honey

1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C and prepare a 12 hole baking pan with liners.
2. Filling: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
3. Muffins: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. 
4. In a small measuring jar, lightly whisk together the egg, buttermilk and butter. 
5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture. Stir gently. Its okay if its bumpy. 
6. Fill the muffin cups one third, add the filling and then top with the muffin mixture again till the cup is two thirds full. 
7. Using any remaining filling as a topping. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. 
8. Take out from the oven and transfer to a wire rack, still in the muffin liners. Drizzle with honey and serve warm.

Holiday Cauliflower

I grew up having this recipe served during the holidays at family gatherings. It is my favorite way to have cauliflower! It might be the healthiest but it's the holiday season, so why not give it a try! 

Remove leaves and boil one head of cauliflower for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water. Place into an oven casserole bowl.

Chop some bacon and fry up until it is pretty crispy and place on kitchen paper to remove grease. Chop one large red onion and fry in the same pan that bacon was in for a couple minutes.

In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons dijon mustard with 5 tablespoons mayonnaise and add in the cooked red onions. Spread the mixture over the cooked cauliflower head.

Grate a block of cheddar to make a handful of shredded cheese and cover the cauliflower. Pop it in a preheated 180C oven for 5 minutes. Once cheese has melted, take out of the oven and cover with the crispy bacon. 


Want to be on "Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard"?

I'm filling out my application for this now! Never know what might come from it. They are filming 20 episodes, so are looking for lots of people. If chosen, filming will be for one day in London. If interested in applying for yourself, send them an email, bakingmad@infinite-media.tv, and they will get back to you. :)

Cookie BlogHop: Cinnamon Palmiers

It's a new month and that means a new BlogHop to bake with my fellow bloggers around the world! This month's BlogHop is focused on cookies. I LOVE COOKIES!! I decided to try something different and make Cinnamon Palmiers. I love cinnamon and couldn't wait to make these. This easy recipe can be made with homemade puff pastry or shop-bought. I used shop-bought puff pastry as I did not have enough time to make my own. There were quite a few recipes out there and I used them as guidance for my recipe. These sweet cookies are flaky and buttery, with a sweet caramelized bottom. I loved them! I was really happy with how they turned out and will be making them again for the holiday season!

Please join in on the #cookielove fun by linking up any cookie recipe from the month of December 2011. Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #cookielove event! The twitter hashtag is #cookielove :). 

1 sheet of Puff Pastry Dough
3 tbs Butter, melted
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar

  1. COMBINE the butter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. MIX the sugar and rest of the cinnamon, then sprinkle onto a clean counter top.
  3. PLACE the puff pastry dough onto the sugared counter top. Roll the pastry to about 10" x 12", with some pressure so the sugar sticks to the puff pastry dough.
  4. SPREAD the cinnamon brown sugar glaze onto the surface of the puff pastry dough.
  5. FOLD one of the 10" sides to the middle and repeat with the other side, so they meet in the middle. Fold both sides again so they meet in the middle, then fold one half over the other like a book. 
  6. PLACE the log on a baking sheet and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. PREHEAT oven to 400F/200C.
  8. SLICE the log in the 1/4" slices and place an inch apart onto non-stick baking paper.
  9. BAKE for 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack keeping them on the non-stick paper until completely cooled.
Co-hosted by:

Guest Post: Themed Gourmet Dinner Parties - Start from Scratch with a Great Grocery List

One of the most overwhelming aspects of throwing a dinner party for a group of foodies is staying on track. With so many amazing recipes and ingredients to choose from, walking into the grocery store empty handed can mean walking out with most of the store in-tow. Pick a theme, design the menu around that theme and head to the store with a well-crafted grocery list to get everything off to a smooth start.

Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican dishes are both utterly fulfilling yet easy, using single ingredients in multiple dishes and sides.

Imagine the layout of your grocery store when composing the grocery list and try to write the list of ingredients to follow the flow of the store so you’re not scuttling back and forth tracking down forgotten items.

If you can prepare salsas, dips, dressings, desserts and appetizers earlier in the day or even the day before you will be free to welcome your guests, get their drinks started and facilitate introductions between guests.

Pick a main course that can cook till all of the guests arrive, and not suffer from staying on low heat for an hour or two while your party works its way through the appetizers and salad course. Things that need to be watched while on the stove should be avoided, like individually pan seared proteins or dairy based sauces that can scorch if left unattended. Timelines at dinner parties need to be flexible.

Ethnic themed parties are easiest served buffet style that way people can load up what they want and you don’t have to worry about taking the time to plate dishes. And in some cases like Mexican and Mediterranean some of the dips used for appetizers are also used with the main course. Giving people the freedom to load their own plates can result in some fantastic customizations!

Once everyone has finished with dinner, it is time to linger over dessert and coffee. A lot of desserts can be made completely in advance, like cheesecakes, mousses and tarts. Crème Brûlée and fried ice cream take only a few minutes to dress if the prep work is done in advance, or a bread pudding can be put in the oven at the start of dinner to be ready to go when it’s time for dessert. Sticking with the theme is less important here; it’s more about time and attention.

No matter which theme you choose, sticking to some kind of genre to keep the grocery list organized and manageable is your best bet. Trying to take on too many flavors at once can overwhelm and create space and time obstacles during prep and service. Plus, if you go with a theme you can get creative with fun cocktails and decorations!

-Sean K.

I can't believe it is December already!! Where has the year gone? It certainly has flown by and way too quickly. We tend to have more parties around this time of year, so I was happy to have a guest post giving us all some tips for throwing a successful themed dinner party. So now I'm asking you, do you have any great tips or recipes to share? Add it in the comment section.

Happy party organizing!