Rio Brazil 2016 Olympic Cupcakes

brazil rio olympic Cupcakes

It doesn’t seem like 4 years ago that we were gearing up to London 2012; now it’s Rio’s turn to host the Olympic Games. Back in 2012 a local school asked me to run an Olympic themed cupcake workshop for their summer holiday club. This week I was back to repeat the workshop with a nod to Brazil.

I decided it was mad not to share with you the cupcakes I developed for the kids to make. The kids ranged from age 4-11 so it had to be accessible for all of them and doable in a 50 minute time frame.

I pre-made all the cupcakes and buttercream. I portioned up the buttercream into manageable 250g portions. This is enough for 4-6 cupcakes. It’s easy to forget that kids have smaller hands than adults and skills like piping can be tricky if the piping bag is filled too much.

Rio 2016 Brazil Olympics cupcakes

As this workshop approached I was very thankful the heatwave we had mid-July didn’t make an appearance as kids + buttercream + heat = isn’t a great mix. I’ve been there once before and it wasn’t pretty.

The 23 kids did a fantastic job and the feedback was good. When I asked them which was their favourite cake to make I was surprised to hear it was the Olympic flame cake. A simple yet effective piping technique.
I used a Wilton 1M piping tip for all the piped cupcakes.

Olympic flame cupcake

Brazil Rio Olympic flame cupcake

Hold your piping bag at 90 degrees to the cake. As you gently squeeze the piping bag, pull it up and away from the cake. Continue this until the cake is covered. Top with a few sprinkles.

Olympic rings cupcake

Brazil Rio Olympic Rings Cupcakes

The version I did with the children is a simplified (and not so neat) version of what you can see on the blog. They simply rolled small pieces of sugarpaste into a sausage then bent into a circle. On this blog version I cut rings out of the sugarpaste using tiny circular cutters and cut a small portion out of each ring so I could get them to overlap. Quite a bit of faff!

Brazilian flag cupcake

Brazil Rio Olympic flag cupcake

I happen to have the perfect cutters for this from a random set I picked up in Asda years ago. The shapes can also be easily cut out by hand.

Roll out some green sugarpaste and cut out a rectangle. Roll out some yellow sugarpaste and cut out a diamond (or a rhombus if you are being particular). Using water stick the diamond on the middle of the green rectangle. Take a small piece of blue sugarpaste and roll this out. Roll a tiny amount of white into a thin sausage and press this into the blue dough, roll over with a rolling pin to smooth it over. Using a circular cutter or upturned piping nozzle, cut a circle out of the blue dough making sure the white stripe is in the middle. Stick to the yellow diamond with water.

If you want the flags to remain flat allow to dry for a few hours before placing on cake.

Gold medal cupcake

Rio Brazil Olympic medal cupcake

We made this cupcake last as it was a good opportunity to use up leftover sugarpaste. Cut a small circle out of yellow sugarpaste and stick a sugarpaste 1 in the centre. Put all the other colours together in a ball a briefly mix do you have marbled sugarpaste. Don’t overdo the mixing or you’ll end up with sludgy grey icing. Roll this dough out and cut two thin ribbons out of it. Place these over the piped cupcake before sticking on the medal with a small amount of buttercream.

Let the games begin…

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The blogging drought is over… I promise.


blog drought over

The Butcher Baker Baby blogging drought may be over. Believe it or not the blog is getting close to 10 years old and the Baby of the blog has turned two. How did that happen?!

The last year has been a busy one. There has been lots of sitting tight and waiting for the storm to pass; be it physically, financially, mentally or professionally. With lots of blog post drafts waiting as well as closing a 10 year-long job chapter (bye, bye education) to start a new food-filled role I decided it was about time to get the blog back up and running.

If you follow us on Instagram (@butcherbakerbaby), you will have noticed LB often joins me in the kitchen whisking, stirring and squooshing (her word, not mine) In a way this is the path the blog will follow – Our travels, life and proving that kids really can (and should) cook.

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Cherry and Coconut Hot Cross Buns

cherry and cocout hot cross buns

While tradition states Hot Cross Buns should be eaten on Good Friday, many shops now sell these fruit studded buns all year round. I try to resist temptation and only buy/make them during the Easter period. Hot Cross Buns use one of my favourite types of dough – enriched dough. It’s silky texture is a pleasure to work with, even if it’s stickiness can sometimes be challenging.

LB hot cross bun peek

Over the last few years rather than the traditional spicy fruit combination I’ve seen various other flavours appear on the shelves; earl grey, chocolate chip and, my personal favourite, cherry bakewell.

Waitrose would like to know – What would be your new flavour suggestion for a hot cross bun? #WaitroseHotCrossBun

My new flavour suggestion would be cherry and coconut, it’s my new favourite flavour combination for baking. It first started as wholemeal scones for LB that soon evolved to be a flavour I shoehorned in to other baking; now is the turn for  hot cross buns. One big advantage of anything involving desiccated coconut is that Hubs hates the stuff. Ah pity, more for me (& LB).

glace cherries

It’s taken a while but I’m trying to get my confidence back with bread making, with some tried and trusted recipes plus good old intuition I’m getting there. These hot cross buns I’m really pleased with.The light and fluffy dough works well with the subtle coconut taste and very few people can deny a gloriously glossy glace cherry. I also subbed a small amount of the white flour with some wholemeal. There is something about the nuttiness of brown flour that works really well with coconut. This recipe would also work well with dried cherries [which were distinctly lacking from all local supermarkets when I needed to make this recipe].

So, what flavour hot cross bun would you like to see?


Cherry & Coconut Hot Cross Buns
Makes 8 large buns

I usually use a food mixer for dough like this as it is a sticky, enriched dough that can be tricky to knead by hand.

for the dough:

  • 125ml coconut milk, at room temperature
  • 125ml warm water,
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 200g plain white flour
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 7g (1 sachet)  fast action yeast
  • 10g fine salt
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 150g glace cherries, halved

for the crosses:

  • 50g white chocolate
  • 15g desiccated coconut

for the glaze:

  • 2 tbsp apricot jam (you could also use shredless marmalade)
  • 2 tbsp water

1) In a jug whisk together the coconut milk, water, egg and vanilla extract.  In your mixer bowl add the flours, yeast, salt, sugar and desiccated coconut and give a quick mix to combine the ingredients.

hot cross bun ingredients2) Pour in the liquids and begin to knead. Once the dough has started to combine, blob the softened butter into the mixing bowl and continue to knead for 8-10 minutes until you have soft, elastic dough. Once the dough is nearly ready add the halved glace cherries and knead for 30-60 seconds more to distribute the cherries in the dough. Shape into a round and leave to rise covered until doubled in size. In our house this usually takes 1-2 hours or I sometimes give it a helping hand by putting bowl in slow cooker and switching it on to warm setting.

3) Once the dough has doubled in size knock back the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Yes the dough is sticky, it’s meant to be. Don’t give in to temptation and add a handful of flour to make it easier to work with. If you really must, add a touch of oil to your hands to stop it sticking. Shape into buns and leave on a floured board, covered with a clean tea towel, to prove for 30 min.

rising hot cross bun dough

4) Preheat oven to 200°c. Transfer the buns onto a floured baking tray. Bake for 15-20 min unti the buns are risen and golden. Keep a close eye on them, due to the sugar content of the dough they can brown quite quickly.

5) While the buns are still hot, mix together the two glaze ingredients and brush over the buns. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

decorating hot cross buns

6) Once the buns have cooled gently melt the white chocolate and pour into a small piping bag. Allow the chocolate to cool for a bit before piping the crosses on to the buns. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle coconut over the chocolate. Allow to set before eating.

7) Best eaten fresh or they can be frozen (minus the crosses)

Note: Waitrose asked me to write this blog post and have compensated me with wine [essential parent fodder] plus some vouchers which we spent on a new toaster and a few other things as our other one died last week.  Like usual, words and opinions are my own.


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London 2016 – The Foodie Tourist Edition

London skyline

At Christmas it has been a bit of a tradition for Hubs & I to exchange foodie experiences as gifts. Previous ones include River Cottage, Seasoned and Northcote. Christmas 2015 I was rather shocked to open my gift from Hubs to find a reservation for Le Gavroche. Michel Roux Jr’s restaurant been on my hit list for a few years,but never ever did I expect it to happen soon.  At this point I should probably say big thanks to Hub’s boss who gave him a nice bonus at the end of 2015.

With just over 24 hours in the city of London at our disposal and LB being spoilt rotten at the grandparents it was our mission to fit in as many food haunts covering a wide spectrum of food styles and cuisines. We stayed with my brother who lives in E1 which made an ideal base and who was our tour guide.

Cereal Killer Cafe, Brick Lane

Cereal Killer Cafe Brick Lane

An early start meant we were ready for brunch once we arrived at Euston. I’d heard about Cereal Killer Cafe and was intrigued. As a child I lived near an American Air Force base so recognised many of the international brands on the shelves.  The selection of cereal was immense so rather picking one cereal the three of us picked a cereal cocktail. Trust Hubs to go for the sweetest concoction going – Unicorn Poop (Ricicles/Party Rings/Fluff/marshmallows/hundreds and thousands/ semi skimmed milk). Yes it is a bit of a novelty  and nostalgic place to eat but it really did hit the hunger spot and with the right choices you could get a good value, balanced breakfast here.

Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

Hollow legged Hubs, who was clearly suffering a sugar high at this point, decided a trip to Brick Lane wasn’t complete without a legendary hot salt beef bagel with hot mustard. This Jewish bakery is open 24-hours a day and their bagels are worth a trip. One to eat warm and a bag worth to stash in the freezer. Supermarket bagels cannot compare.

Laduree, Cornhill

laduree macarons

Before now I could take or leave macarons. Yes they were nice, I’d finally mastered making them, but they all tasted a bit samey. Derby is hardly the hotbed of refined patisserie. However when we came across the Laduree shop down Cornhill I knew I had to enter the gilded shop. The selection of macarons and desserts was stunning. If we hadn’t been eating at Le Gavroche that evening I would have treated us to a few of their desserts. Instead, I settled for a mixed box of macarons that could be eaten over a few days. I now get macarons. These Laudree ones are not overly sweet and have strong, defined flavours. Difficult to pick my favourite but so far it’d have to be coffee or green apple.

Paul A Young, The Royal Exchange

It’s a well known fact I have a soft spot for Paul A Young chocolates and brownies. Little brother knows better than  not to bring their wares as a gift when he comes to stay. Their Royal Exchange shop is a quaint little outlet that could easily be missed. Inside the tiny shop is wall to wall chocolate and generous samples. As well as a selection of their divine brownies I picked up a rather tasty Billionaire Slice and a few of their Valentine special London chocolates with gin, tonic and lime. Now I know where this shop is it’ll be difficult to keep me away next time I’m in town.

Le Gavroche, Upper Brook Street

Le Gavroche frog table

The main reason for coming to London was to dine at Roux’s famous Le Gavroche. Our early sitting of 6:30 meant our Uber contending with road works and rush hour traffic and then us having to ditch our cab on Constitutional Hill and walk rather briskly in heels (me, not Hubs) the last mile to make sure we didn’t lose our reservation. Just like our visit to Le Manoir it’s the service that sets these kind of restaurants apart. It’s second to none.  Our table, on the side in an alcove, gave nosy me a perfect spot for people watching. The restaurant appeared to be filled with a few couples like us celebrating a special occasion or enjoying a well-earned treat alongside some tables doing some business entertaining and deal making.

Le Gavroche Menu Exceptionnel

We went for the tasting menu – Menu Exceptionnel. It started with Le Gavroche’s signature dish – Cheese Souffle. The cloud like souffle floated on a sea of double cream. It was a rich, yet light dish. This was followed by my favourite dish of the night – carpaccio of venison.

I’m not a big drinker so passed on the matching wine but Hubs took on the challenge. It was refreshing to see somewhere that had a good choice of non-alcoholic alternatives for the non-drinkers out there. The sommelier explained how all the wines matched the dishes and the wine that was served with the stone bass really did transform with the food.

Le Gavroche table setting


The cheese trolley there is something to behold and it’s not surprising to know it’s famous for it. I think there were at least 30 cheeses to choose from all from France or Britain, many gooey and certainly ripe. I stayed relatively safe with my choice of cheddar and goat’s cheeses. One of Hub’s picks was Boulette d’Avesnes. A paprika cone of herby and pungent cheese not too dissimilar to a pongy pair of socks. Really not my style.

Le Gavroche petit fours

The meal finished with not only a pistachio and chocolate cake but some petit fours then nougat and truffles. Fair to say by the end of the meal I was beginning to flag.

I knew that if Michel Roux Jr was in house he would personally greet all the diners. I still didn’t expect him to appear. We were one of the first tables he greeted and in my slightly starstruck state all I could muster was “fabulous food”. Other tables managed to get photos with him. Me? not as brave.

It certainly is a formal place to eat and I’m glad I dressed up for the occasion. If your pennies can’t stretch to an evening meal they do a very good value business lunch.

Foxcroft & Ginger, Whitechapel

Foxcroft & Gingers Brunch

After an evening of rich food I needed to replenish my body with something nourishing at my brother’s favourite place for brunch. The Gingers Granola (Spiced Poached Fruit, Yoghurt, Vanilla & Rosemary Honey, Seeds) certainly did the trick. How Hubs managed to demolish French Toast with Ham, Mature Cheddar & Honey Mustard I don’t know. Brother opted for his favourite Eggs Benedict and smoked salmon.

Herman ze German, Charlotte Street

Herman ze GermanI first discovered this German themed eatery when they opened up a few years ago. My blog seemed to be getting lots of hits with the term Herman German due to a blog about friendship cake a few years ago. As someone who’s lived in Berlin and ate many a currywurst there I knew I had to give Herman ze German a go. Perfectly seasoned fries, curry sauce with a kick = gold-standard  hangover food.

Rinkoff Bakery, Jubilee Street

Rinkoffs Bakery Crodough

All good trips need a train picnic for the journey home. An unassuming, almost dated looking bakery off Mile End Road serve what we now know as quite legendary Crodoughs (they also have recently started selling rainbow bagels). I’ve eaten various cronuts at different places but these were up a step. The topping was injected through the flaky pastry layers and I wish we’d bought more than the raspberry and salted caramel ones. Krispy Kreme step aside.

So as soon as our tourist foodie adventure had begun we were back in the land of being mum & dad with an excitable toddler who hadn’t caused too much chaos.

We’re planning to return to the Big Smoke soon with LB in tow. Any recommendations for must see places for under 2s? Bonus points if it involves interactive arts/music. She does love a good boogie.


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Festive Afternoon Tea at Panoramic 34

Panoramic 34 afternoon tea cakes

I finally finished maternity leave in September to return to work part-time. To say life has been chaotic is an understatement. Due to time and financial pressures that come hand in hand when you have a young family it can be tough to find quality grown-up time that isn’t interspaced with partly eaten rice cakes and the dulcet tones of Mr Tumble.

panoramic 34 liver building view

It’s a well-known fact I have a soft spot for Afternoon Tea. For both mine & Hub’s birthday my sister decided to treat us to afternoon tea at a venue of our choice with babysitting thrown in to boot. One wet and windy November weekend we headed to my homeland of Liverpool, LB safely wreaking havoc at the grandparents, for a spot of fine afternoon tea with views for miles and a celeb on the neighbouring table.

stawberry mojito mocktail and rose nyetimber

Before long we were taking the quick ride up in the lift to the 34th floor for the fanciest afternoon tea since Le Manoir. We were greeted with views over Liverpool that didn’t disappoint. There is something cosy about sitting 34 floors up with rain lashing against the window full in the knowledge that everything was ok because you had a glass of sparking rose Nyetimber in hand.

As my sister paid for our meal in gift vouchers we had a bit to spare so a strawberry mojito mocktail it was. As Hubs was driving I also had his glass of sparking rose. I’ve barely touched alcohol over the last 2 years so I decided two glasses of bubbly plus a cocktail would probably push me over the edge.

panoramic 34 Christmas luxury vintage afternoon tea

Panoramic 34’s festive afternoon tea launched a few days before we visited and it was popular choice among other tables there.

For sandwiches we had egg, turkey & cranberry, salmon, pork pâté. Fusspot me doesn’t eat smoked salmon but tha was no problem for them, they simply swapped the salmon starter for a blue cheese and poached pear salad and the salmon sandwich for cheese and caramelised onion chutney.

panoramic 34

I’m always pleased to see when the sweet course on an afternoon tea as a good choice of different treats. Although 3/4 of the sweets featured chocolate they were so delicious this didn’t matter. The chocolate tart was just pipped to the post by the cheesecake as the favourite sweet of the day.

As for the celeb on the next table? Now that would be telling, but she did comment to us as to how fabulous our lunch looked.

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Signature Spice Festive English Muffins


signature spice english muffins

Waitrose have a #makeschristmas campaign this year. What makes Christmas for us is baking but it has been on the back burner for the last few years. 2013 – thanks to morning sickness I wasn’t interested in food unless it was raspberries, passionfruit or babybel cheese. 2014 – juggling a 5 month year old who just wanted to sleep, feed and play isn’t conducive towards baking, especially when it comes to accurate timing required with bread. So now this 2015 I decided it was time to get back on the bread baking wagon.

We have a tradition in this house called Treat Breakfast most Sundays and the same happens on Christmas morning. I’m not a smoked salmon kind of person so we’re more likely to go for something sweet. For the festive season as well as the #makechristmas campaign, Waitrose have released a signature spice that appears in a wide range of products. It is a mixed spice that contains: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, star anise, black pepper, tangerine oil and cloves. I thought this would go well with one of my favourite breads to make a great festive breakfast – English Muffins.

slow cooker bread proving hack

A cold, damp December morning isn’t conducive towards making successful bread. I did a little experiment discovered slow cookers on the warm setting with the lid off work well as makeshift proving drawer when the kitchen is chilly and you’re too tight to switch the heating on.

spiced fruit english muffin dough

Whilst making these LB helped briefly with the kneading process. I say helped, once she realised the raw dough was tasty she kept trying to eat it.

Signature Spice Festive English Muffins

Makes 9

note: they can be cooked and frozen in advance if making dough on christmas morning is not your thing.

  • 100g dried mixed fruit
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 3 tsp Signature Mixed Spice
  • 1 tbsp soft dark sugar
  • 5g dried yeast
  • 8g fine salt
  • 325ml warm water
  • Semolina


  1. Soak the dried mixed fruit in the orange juice, ideally overnight.
  2. Place all of the dried ingredients (apart from the fruit) in a bowl and mix so all the ingredients are well. combined.
  3. Add the warm water and mix until you have a dough. Turn out and knead for 10 minutes or until you have a smooth dough. Flatten out the dough and sprinkle over the soaked fruit. Fold the dough over in thirds (like an envelope) to contain the fruit then lightly knead. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until it has roughly doubled in size.
  4. Knock the dough back. Split the dough in to 9 equal pieces and shape each of these into a ball. Press the ball until you have a round approximately 1.5 cm thick. Dust each side with semolina and leave to rise on floured towel until doubled in size.
  5. Heat heavy-bottomed frying pan on a medium heat. Slowly cook the muffins over a 10 minute period regularly flipping to make sure they are cooked evenly on both sides . If you’re lucky enough to have an Aga cook direct on the griddle plate for 15 min. Eat warm or toasted with lashing of butter.

Waitrose provided the spice for this recipe along with a festive hamper and Waitrose vouchers. Like usual words and opinions are my own.


spiced fruit english muffins 2

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Little Baker Picks – December ’15


lb picks dec 15

Big changes have happened since last time I wrote one of these types of posts. LB is now running and climbing everywhere, eating us out of house and home (unless it’s broccoli) and loves anything that is edible and or outdoors.

Pop-in Coverall Bibs

Since weaning we’ve been using the brilliant bargain Aldi bibs but as LB is getting older they’re getting snug and she’s mastered pulling them off mid-meal. Close Pop-In bibs had been recommended to me and after only a few weeks of wearing and washing I’m already converted. I got them from the wonderful Babi Pur website. I challenge you to just buy the bibs from the site. They sell so many wonderful things for kids.

Little Helper Fun Pod

I first came across Fun Pods on My Daddy Cooks website. They allow a child to stand at worktop or table height safely. I usually pop LB in it when I’m prepping dinner. I’ll often give her some of the raw ingredients I’m cooking with along with some safe cookery equipment to play with. Yes they could stand on a chair like most us did when we were kids, but as LB seems to have no fear of heights something a tad bit safer was needed.  We bought ours on eBay and they have good resale value.

Lb baking pic

Penelope’s Pantry Sweet Potato Biscuits

I’m always looking for simple recipes to make with LB. She loves stirring mixes with a little chatter of “tur tur” or “row row” with a rolling pin. This recipe ticked the boxes with the additional bonus of it being egg free given LB has a current penchant of eating anything remotely food. In fact she pulled one of her first tantrums making these biscuits because I wouldn’t let her eat any more raw biscuit dough. That has to be a sign of a good recipe. We cheated a bit with the sweet potato biscuit recipe and used the mashing attachment on my stick blender plus swapped the coconut oil for a dairy-free spread left over from a recipe test.

Mini Club Puddle Suit 

Every little one who loves the outdoors needs a puddle suit. I’m a big fan of Boot’s Mini Club clothes. They are good value, wash and wear well, have funky prints and believe there are more colours than pastel pink for girls to wear. My favourite item has to be their pack-away puddle suits. Perfect for outdoor messy play and puddle jumping. You’ll often find them for half price at £8. Even at full price I think they’re a good deal. As the cold weather hits, she’s wearing it with the equally great Jojo Maman Bebe fleece trousers.



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