The Pink Lovely, my 7yr old daughter, woke me at 6.30am this morning sure in the knowledge that we could bake before school. Her beaming face and pleading eyes melted my hard old heart and we found the kitchen in darkness and started making cupcakes and treats which astonished the dogs and the neighbours!The reason for this display of enthusiasm was that a school friend has his birthday tomorrow and his Mum has been called away to Alaska to a very sick relative. The class and their teachers decided that we should all do something to help make the day a bit more special. The Pink Lovely said she really missed her Dad every birthday and knows just how he feels. Very touching and I think she is a sweetie. So we whack it into the oven: never fails to work: this is my prize recipe for any cake at any time with any flavour and it makes 12 x cupcakes, or a loaf, square or round cake.
Weight either 2 (small cake or cupcakes) or 3 large eggs and set aside. Remember the weight (difficult at 06.30am!) and weight the same in granulated golden sugar, butter or dairy-free margarine, self-raising (Doves farm gluten free is perfect too) flour. In food processor or in big bowl with wooden spoon, beat the sugar and fat together until soft and pale. Add 1 egg at a time, with a spoonful of the flour and stir in. Add the remaining flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder and fold in. Flavour with a dash of vanilla, grated citrus zest, chocolate powder etc etc and fold in. Scrape the mixture into prepared tin or cup cake cases in a tin and bake until firm and golden on top. I usually bake at 180C and they don't take long- about 25 minutes for a cake and 15 for cupcakes but times vary. Leave to cool before removing from the tin to decorate.
Now back to my pheasant, onion, bacon, thyme, white wine, celery, creamy white sauce pie that I am making for dinner tonight. I am going to top it with ready-made frozen puff pastry (not allergy-free). I shall roll out the pastry to twice as big as I need and then grate mature cheddar cheese all over it. Fold the pastry in half and top my pheasant pie filling, crimp it down, score it with a nice pattern and air vent and the shove it in the oven for 35 minutes. When it is puffy and golden it is ready to eat - that is the theory anyway but I have never tried this out before! I will let you know... you can also make this pie with chopped cooked chicken or rabbit.