If you've ever met me, or if you know me, you'll see I'm on the plumper side of life. I've tried diet after diet and I've tried to cut out the 'bad' things, but I must have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, to date, the longest a 'diet' has lasted for me has been three days, then I went to a desert parlour and caved in. I think I could of ate the whole display stand, glass included, my weakness is cakes, brownies and did I mention cakes?

Cupcakes on a cupcake stand

I'm not a professional baker, far from it, I'm someone who doesn't really enjoy cooking, but someone who loves baking - mainly because I get to taste the delicious creations at the end. I'm fortunate that my mum has always been a keen baker, she's been a cook at many schools and I loved being her little taste tester on weekends when I was younger when she would come up with new recipes!

I loved watching mum bake, even now when I look back I'm sure she had some magic power hidden up her sleeve, no measuring spoons, jugs or scales, mum weighed nothing out and got everything just perfect. Two of my favourite bakes from my mum has to be her gypsy tart and gooey triple chocolate brownies.

I've tried making the brownies, I've tried making the gypsy tart, I've not tried once and given up, I've tried maybe a few hundred times (maybe a slight exaggeration) and they never go right, just like the apple crumble and Tiramisu I've tried making more then once! There is however one thing I can get right, and that's cake including cupcakes - the simple, but delicious and moist sponge type! 

I'm just a mum, like my mum, who likes baking. I bake with Spud and I bake alone, I love following recipes found online, passed down from my mum and sticking anything and everything together that suits my fancy to create one of my 'masterpieces'. Apart from friends and family who've tasted my cakes, asked me to make cakes for them and who's witnessed my many Facebook cake statuses, I've never shown any of my creations to my blog readers - until now.

To celebrate National Cupcake Week (15-21 September 2014) Betta Living have a fantastic competition running for bloggers to be in with the chance of winning an impressive £750 worth of vouchers and a equally impressive runner up prize of £250 vouchers! To get involved in the #bettabakeoff, please visit the Betta Living website where you will find the full terms and conditions!

In short, competition entrant's have to write a post containing photo's of their cupcakes along with the recipe. Please be kind when reading on further, I've never shown my baking skills off to anyone outside my friend and family circle, it's already taken me three days to write and re-write this post and still now I'm really nervous about the feedback!

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My Oreo Cupcake Creation

Every November, me, my sister Paula and my brother Paul go on a adults day out to Swindon to purchase Christmas presents. Last year browsing the local market, I come across a cake stall, and me being me naturally bypassed all the other stool sellers and headed straight to the lady with the elf hat selling cake! I purchased a Oreo cake for myself, and a gingerbread man one for Spud.

To be honest, although the sponge was moist, I'm not sure what the baker used for the colouring but the taste of the sponge wasn't quite nice. Wanting to make something similar using Oreo (it's my favourite biscuit), but without the same sponge, I got practising until I finally come up with something I'm not afraid to let friends and family taste!

Recipe: Using only good quality ingredients! 

For the sponge:
8oz butter
8oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs
8oz self raising flour
2.5ml vanilla essence

For the butter cream:
6oz butter
12oz icing sugar
2.5ml vanilla essence
A dash of milk.

Special ingredient:
Oreo biscuits - mini or regular size - quantity depends on how many cakes you want to bake, and you'll also need some for the butter cream topping. 

Method for the sponge.

Preheat over to 180 degrees. Using cupcake cakes, add two Oreo's into each case.

Beat the butter, then add the caster sugar, beat them two together then add the vanilla essence.

Add one egg at a time beating in between each one, sift the flour into the mixture and continue to beat the mix together.

Add a equal amount of cake mix into each cupcake case fully covering the Oreo's.

Bake for around 14-18 minutes until golden brown. You may want to press down on the sponge to see if it bounces back - if it does, it's cooked! You can also use a clean knife, insert it into the middle of the cake and if it comes out dry, the cakes are cooked.

Method for the butter cream.

Beat the butter, then gradually add sifted icing sugar, continue to beat and add the vanilla essence. Beat the mix until its starting to look pale, then add the dash of milk.

Using a sealed sandwhich bag, or something similar, place a regular sized Oreo biscuit, or two mini Oreo biscuits into the back and seal making sure there is no air. Bash the sandwich bag with a rolling pin until the Oreo/Oreo's are all crushed.

Add the crushed Oreo's into the mixture and leave in the fridge until firm. Once the mixture is firm, beat it once more and either add it to your icing bag and swirl onto the cupcakes, or do what I do when I've got no one to impress, or I'm just being lazy and use a spoon to add a equal amount onto each cooled cupcake.

Then finally...

Enjoy your cupcake! If anyone does follow my recipe, I would love to see some pictures of your designs!

Ohh and don't forget to at least lick the spoon from any left over butter cream :)

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I still have lots of practising to do with my icing, I need to have a whole day of watching cake decorating tutorials on YouTube, but for now, when you stick the cakes on a fancy cake stand (courtesy of a review) add some wrapping paper in the background, they do look quite presentable I think. They taste amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I made them, but after changing the ingredients a few times and having a mess around, I believe these are just perfect.

Considering only two years ago for the Queens Jubilee I cooked this batch up below, I do think I've got MUCH better with my icing skills! I've not paid for courses, I'm not a professional, I don't bake every day, or even every week, I do try things a few times before I admit defeat and I do self teach myself thanks to the thousands of tutorials around on the net for free.

Apologies - this photo was taken on my old BlackBerry phone, and as you can see the picture quality isn't that great!
The Oreo idea kind of come around the same way as I made the batch above, friends and family have asked me so many times how I do it, and I tell them, but they don't always get it right, it reminds me of my mum and me! I don't have magic powers and neither does my mum, it's just practise and with that practise does make perfect!

Everyone's amazed at how I get a little bit of vanilla sponge at the bottom, then a big chunk of chocolate sponge in the middle, and again more vanilla at the top!
The secret? Fill your cupcake case as usual preferably with vanilla/white sponge but leave room for around a quarter (1/4) of a different coloured sponge. Using two teaspoons, use one to cup the different coloured/flavoured sponge, in my case chocolate, and using the other spoon, drop the sponge into the middle of the case.

Using a knife, push the newly added bit of sponge mix as far down as you can and watch the original sponge cover on top. Bake as usual, let them cool and decorate. Make sure your cake eating guest bite slowly, so they can 'see' the magic inside!

I hope you've liked my cupcake creation for the #bettabakeoff competition with Betta Living. Do check out the website if you would like to enter yourself! I wish every single entrant, myself included the very best of luck!

Until next time,
Jada x

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