Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Pieday Friday – The Hairy Bikers’ coffee cake for Red Nose Day

Today’s recipe post comes directly from The Hairy Bikers, who have shared this recipe in aid of Comic Relief. The fundraising spectacular takes place on 24th March this year so you’ve got plenty of time to perfect your sponge cake before the big event! Without further ado I’m handing over to Si and Dave  to share their recipe – enjoy!
A deliciously moist, old-fashioned coffee and walnut cake is one of our very favourite treats and we like to make it with Camp chicory and coffee essence. If you can’t track this down in your local stores, use very strong black coffee instead. Make sure the walnuts you use are nice and fresh.

SERVES 12 – 65g walnut halves, 225g softened butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing, 225g caster sugar, 4 medium eggs, 225g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence

Icing – 150g softened butter, cubed, 300g icing sugar, sifted, 4 tsp Camp chicory and coffee essence,12 walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.

  1. Butter two 20cm loose-based sandwich tins and line the bases with discs of baking parchment. Put the walnut halves in a food processor and blitz them into fairly fine crumbs, but don’t worry if there are a few larger pieces remaining. Tip the walnuts into a bowl.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and coffee essence in a food processor and blend on the pulse setting until well combined and creamy. You may need to remove the lid once or twice and push the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Take care not to process for too long or you will end up with a heavy sponge.
  3. Add the blitzed walnuts to the batter and mix until just combined. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the nuts, tip all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, then beat like hell!
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased and lined tins and smooth the surface. Bake on the same shelf in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the sponge is well risen and just beginning to shrink back from the sides of the tin.
  5. Remove the tins from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cakes and turning them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.

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Thrifty Wedding Inspiration – Homemade cake buffet

Wedding food can take up a hefty chunk of any wedding budget, so it’s important to consider plenty of different options when you decide how to cater for your guests. After lots of research (on Pinterest, naturally) I began to think that dessert + after-dinner truffles + wedding cake + tuckshop + ice cream cart might be a little bit overkill for the average wedding. Sure, these are all really lovely parts of the wedding reception and if you’re known for your undying love of ice-cream then go for it! But if you’re on a budget, it’s not a problem to play around with the wedding breakfast format a little and same some money at the same time.L&A-LowRes-539After checking out these images of fabulous dessert buffet tables I learned that IS possible to cut back on some of the food at your wedding without disappointing anyone. To be honest, a slice of cake at the end of the night won’t really be missed, and serving up your wedding cake instead of a dessert is a perfectly acceptable money-saving option too. Why not ask guests to compete in a ‘bake off’ and bring a cake that they have baked at home. This would fit in perfectly with a village fete themed wedding and allows guests to be a part of the event. All you’d need is some serving plates and a big rosette for the ‘winner’ of the bake off. And I’m sure all the guests would all enjoy tucking into the huge variety of cakes that end up on the bake off table.L&A-LowRes-538 L&A-LowRes-540Laura from no-nonsense wedding blog Devine Bride says; “We tried to be creative with our wedding to make it more unique to us, but also to try to save some pennies along the way. My sister is a bit of a foodie and ended up having two wedding cakes at her wedding, however everyone had such a good time that that they forgot all about the cakes and we were still eating them for 3 weeks afterwards! We decided to reabsorb our wedding cake budget, removed our dessert course from our menu, and asked all of our local friends to bake us a cake instead of bringing us a present. We ended up with a massive Pudding Garden dessert buffet! It was a massive hit with our guests and it meant so much to us that our friends had contributed to our day.”L&A-LowRes-254 L&A-LowRes-543I think that these buffet tables all look so inviting, and the variety of cakes that guests could bring to your wedding is unlimited. I would personally love to be asked to bake a dessert, and would hand over my cupcakes with pride! I also think that guests would be more happy to tuck in when there’s a cake buffet on offer, as nothing is too precious to slice up (unlike a traditional wedding cake). Of course, if you want to ‘cut the cake’ you could always stack up a number of Victoria sponge cakes to create one large tiered cake, or could ‘cut the ribbon’ instead to declare the dessert buffet open!L&A-LowRes-285 L&A-LowRes-541 L&A-LowRes-271Let me know if you’ve decided to do something a little different for your own wedding by leaving me a comment below and I’d love to see your own wedding ideas or cake photos so please tag me on Instagram @Cassiefairy. And be sure to stop by Laura’s blog Devine Bride for plenty more wedding inspiration, advice and fantastic ‘real life’ wedding photos.

 


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Pieday Friday – Cherry & Strawberry Sponge Cake

This week’s Pieday Friday recipe was created quite by accident last weekend. I had an afternoon to myself and was feeling a little ‘meh’. Not down-in-the-dumps but definitely unmotivated. So what better way is there to cheer myself up than by baking a cake, eh? I dragged myself off the sofa and started to gather my ingredients together ready to bake. Having determined that I did already have everything I needed to bake a cake (for once!) I set to work finding my baking equipment. fruit cake cherry strawberry sponge bake baking recipe-6 fruit cake cherry strawberry sponge bake baking recipe-10This was the first stumbling block; my cake tins were nowhere to be seen. I’ve probably not baked a cake for a good few months, and I must have tidied the pans away into my caravan to stop them from cluttering up my kitchen. But could I find them now that I wanted to use them? Nope. Instead I had to use one larger tin than usual and hope for the best. I figured that I could cut it in half and sandwich it back together rather than baking two 7 inch cakes like I usually do. You might already be able to tell from the photos that this plan didn’t really work as my larger tin produced a much flatter cake!fruit cake cherry strawberry sponge bake baking recipeI had lots of strawberries in the fridge thanks to a rather fruitful patch growing in the garden, which had all ripened at once in the hot sun. I’d also picked up a couple of punnets of cherries in the supermarket, now that they are in season and are on sale at bargain prices. When I say ‘a couple’ I mean four in a week. So after days and days of munching on fresh cherries, I was starting to think about other ways of eating them up that didn’t involve breakfast cereal. So I decided to use up all my lovely ripe strawberries and cherries in this cake.fruit cake cherry strawberry sponge bake baking recipe-2 fruit cake cherry strawberry sponge bake baking recipe-3

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Ideas for a James Bond themed party

Organising a party that has an underlying theme to it can be a pretty difficult thing to do at the best of times, but if you are aiming to provide food that fits this theme then the task gets even tougher. The enduring popularity of the James Bond franchise, and the recent release of its latest smash hit – Spectre – have led to more people organising Bond themed parties. This lets people dress as 007 himself, or Bond girls, and enjoy casino themed foods – but how do you go about preparing these?james bond themed party decor ideas

Decorating ideas from ‘Catch My Party’ blog

Jam-filled playing card biscuits

It is not hard to see how these would be the perfect edible addition to a James Bond casino themed party and the great thing about them is that they are perfect for guests of all ages. Create the dough by sifting sugar into your bowl and beating together with lemon zest and butter until it is fluffy in consistency. At this point beat in egg yolk, salt and flour, before rolling the dough out and cutting it into roughly 7-inch rectangles. These should be frozen for half an hour minimum before being cut down to rectangles of around 2 inches each and baked for ten minutes. Once they have cooled, you cut the card symbols into them using cookie cutters and add the red or black jam to create the finished cards.playing card biscuits for james bond themed party

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Early Pieday Friday – Baked chocolate cheesecake for Easter

It’s the 1st of March and I’m ready for Easter. Bring it on. There’s none of that lets-wait-until-April business this year. Easter falls on the last weekend of the month (I should know, my bestie is getting married that weekend!) so as soon as Valentine’s Day passed I was already preparing for the next big holiday. And so were all the supermarkets; tempting me in with slabs of chocolate and bags full of mini eggs. What’s a girl to do? Bake, that’s what! easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe primula 1easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe primula 2Today I’m sharing an early Pieday Friday recipe post with the intention of making you as excited as I am about the impending 4-day holiday. Is it the chocolate that I love? Is it seeing family and friends when everyone has a bit more time to spend to together? Perhaps it’s the pretty daffodils bursting into bloom that lift my spirits so. Whatever it is, I think that having a teacher for a husband means that I DO tend to arrange my life around the holidays, and our next break starts on Good Friday. Woo!easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-7 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-12So without further waffle, here’s today’s recipe post. It’s a baked vanilla cheesecake with smooth chocolate ganache topping and crumbly biscuit base. Piled high with mini choccie eggs. It’s a practice-run for Easter lunch and I’m completely thrilled with how it turned out. Creamy and cheesy and chocolately. And, because I used fat-free quark and light Primula cheese, it was a littler healthier than a classic cheesecake. What more would anyone want?

Ingredients: 12 digestive biscuits crushed, 50g-75g melted butter, 75g Primula cheese, 250g fat-free quark, 1tsp vanilla extract, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 100g chocolate, 50g double cream.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-3Start by bashing up the digestive biscuits into crumbs and mixing with the melted butter. I used 50g to start with but it didn’t seem moist enough (texture should be like damp sand) so I added some more. This may have been too much, but it tasted good, so I’m happy. Press the biscuit base into a loose-bottom cake tin with the back of a spoon until you have a flat base. Chill for about 15 minutes. The base I mean, not you.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-4 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-5Whisk 2 eggs, the tub of quark, vanilla, sugar and Primula together – you could use 100g of this if you like your cheesecake really cheesy. I chose to use Primula Light but the original tube would work just as well. I just fancied a healthier cheesecake base to counteract all of the chocolate, cream, butter and sugar. Ahem. There are lots of sweet recipes online that use Primula as an ingredient so check them out and bake something a bit different today.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-6 easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe ganachePour the cheese mixture onto the base and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until risen, set and golden. Allow to cool and take out of the tin. Position it on a pretty cake stand or plate so that you’re ready to decorate it with lots of mini eggs and the chocolate ganache.easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-7 easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipeTo make the chocolate topping use 100g chocolate of any kind you like. I chose milk chocolate. Break it into a dish and melt. This could be over a pan of water, or pop it in the microwave on a really low setting like I did and check it lots. Once the chocolate has melted, pour in the double cream and quickly mix until combined into a fudgy sauce. Add more cream if it’s a bit solid – you want it to run down the edges a little as you spread it over the cheesecake. Pile high with mini eggs and MINI mini eggs (yes these do exist, I found them at B&M) and shavings of chocolate. easter eggs baked chocolate cheesecake recipe-10 easter baked chocolate cheese cake recipe-2The texture of the cheesecake is much firmer and more dense than that old classic out-of-the-packet set cheesecake everyone remembers from childhood (mmm, I love that stuff – do they still make it? Leave me a comment below if you know). So it’s easier to slice and serve. It could be a refined plate-and-fork pud, but I wanted to smother it in cream so I went for the bowl-and-spoon option.

Let me know if you bake this cheesecake for yourself by leaving me a comment below and tweet me your photos of finished bakes to @Cassiefairy.


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Pieday Friday – My top 3 healthy cookbooks for 2016

I can’t be the only one that feels the urge to make a little bit of an improvement to my diet at this time of year, can I? Even though I start out with good intentions in January, I always tend to leave making any changes until a little later on, and now that March is in sight, I think it’s time to get out my healthy-eating books and start cooking. Today I wanted to share a review and some recipes from three of my favourite new cookbooks – and they all happen to have a particularly healthy focus.recipe cook book review healthy eating cakes baking meals_I think it’s the shift towards nicer weather and the longer hours of sunlight that make me feel like eating fresh, good-for-you meals rather than the plates of stodginess I’ve been scoffing all winter. That’s why Hungry Healthy Happy called out to me this week and I decided to flick through the pages of inspiration for healthy main meals, snacks and treats. cook book recipe review hungry healthy happy dannii martin cook book recipe review hungry healthy happy dannii martin chicken tikka masalaWritten by blogger Dannii Martin, a normal girl who simply wanted to change her diet for the better, it’s a really approachable tome of recipes. There’s nothing too difficult to make, no ‘never-heard-of-that’ ingredients, and no specialist equipment need. It’s just a girl like me, in her kitchen, making delicious recipes a little lighter while still keeping all the flavour. So you can probably see why I was attracted to this book, especially as the tag line reads “How to nourish your body without giving up the food you love”. That’s my kind of cooking!HHH_Moussaka-3
The recipe that I’ve chosen to share with you today is Dannii’s moussaka bake. I’ve never made moussaka before reading about it in Hungry Healthy Happy, but now that I am a firm fan of this recipe. It seems so creamy and cheesy, yet it barely has any fat in it – that delicious-looking topping is all yoghurt and eggs with just a sprinkling of feta. I also really love how each recipe has it’s nutritional content broken-down beside it, so that I can see at a glance the protein, fat and fibre content, as well as calories and carbs – making it ideal to use alongside any healthy eating-plan you might be following. The is genuinely one of the most useful healthy recipe books I’ve come across in a long time and I can see myself baking from it all year round. Click here to access a PDF of the Moussaka recipe from Hungry Healthy Happy
grow your own cake recipe cook book review holly farrell grow your own cake recipe cook book review holly farrell bakingThe next cook book I’d love to tell you about is Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell. It’s illustrated with stunning photos by Jason Ingram and every single bake looks delicious. As you’d expect from a recipe book with the tag line ‘recipes from plot to plate’ the book is based around all the things you can bake with just one fruit (or vegetable!) that you’ve grown in the garden. While the cakes might not be the low-fat, low-sugar version you’ll find in the other two cookbooks, growing your own fruit and veg is certainly a more healthy way to eat all year round. You’ll be using ingredients when you’re in season and at their most tasty. Plus, you can be sure that they’ve not been in contact with any nasty chemicals if you’re growing them yourself.

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Pieday Friday – What cake comes from which tin?

If like me you’re unsure of exactly what baking tins you need in your kitchen in order to recreate all the lovely recipes you’ve been pinning on Pinterest, today is your lucky day. I’m going to try to demystify the more unusual-shaped baking tins and show you exactly what a cake would look like if it were baked in that tin. Also, I’m sharing a bit of history about bundt cakes, cinnamon buns, mini heritage bundtlette cakes and kugelhopf along with some delicious recipe links throughout the post. Hope you enjoy, thrifty bakers!pieday friday recipe blog what cake comes from what tinpieday friday what cake comes from which tin cinnamon swirl bunsI found my cookware tins from the selection at House of Fraser and I wanted to check out what kind of cakes I could expect to create if I were to invest in some high quality baking supplies. I started with something I’ve had my eye on for a while; a bundt cake tin. So what type of cake is a bundt cake? I’ve actually just found out that any type of cake that has been baked in a bundt tin is classed as a bundt cake. I was sure it was a traditional spiced cake, but no, it’s all about the tin it’s baked in, not the recipe used. Bundt cakes tend to be crisp on the outside due to being cooked in a decorative tin, and is usually decorated with just a sprinkling of icing sugar or a drizzle of glaze. Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? I don’t know why, but I tend to associate bundt cake with autumn so here’s a recipe from Two Peas and their Pod for a pumpkin bundt cake.what cake comes from what tin bundt celebration ring moldWhen I spotted a cake tin that I’d never seen before I dug a little deeper and found out Continue reading “Pieday Friday – What cake comes from which tin?” »


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Cherry chocolate cake recipe + my blog’s 4th birthday!

Today is Cassiefairy.com’s 4th birthday! I can’t believe I’ve had four whole years of happy blogging already and this little blog kick-started a whole new career as a writer for me so I couldn’t let the birthday pass unmarked. So I divided to push back my usual Pieday Friday cookery post by a day and I whipped up a cheeky cherry chocolate cake to celebrate.easy chocolate cherry cake baking recipe-7My blog anniversaries have passed me by in previous years and I’ve only ever celebrated my 1000th blog post with a cake before so I thought that this would be the perfect excuse to indulge in a cake just for me! I also wanted to try out a new recipe that I’ve been thinking about for a while. The starting point is a standard sponge recipe that I’ve added chocolate, cherry juice and amaretto syrup to in order to create a gooey cake that’s just a little lighter than a dense rich chocolate cake. It’s just as naughty and flavoursome though!  Continue reading “Cherry chocolate cake recipe + my blog’s 4th birthday!” »


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Pieday Friday ~ The ultimate Christmas cake with a caribbean twist!

Today I wanted to share with you the Christmas cake that I’ve made this year. It’s a simple recipe that uses a few ‘different’ ingredients to give a traditional fruit cake a Caribbean twist. I got the recipe from the Bake with Stork website, so please check out the recipe for “Caribbean Style Christmas Cake” and try it out for yourself! Here’s how I got on with my festive baking:Caribbean Christmas Cake recipe-12 Continue reading “Pieday Friday ~ The ultimate Christmas cake with a caribbean twist!” »

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