Festive Series 2017

Welcome back beauties! Super glad to be writing to you all again.
And if I have any new readers then Hey! I’m Sophie and I have got you all covered with Christmas this year.
Gifts? yep. Baking? yep. Anything beauty related? double YEP.

So in my opinion you should go grab that box of choccies thats in your cupboard
(you know the ones your mum has reserved for crimbo) plus your preferred tipple (mines prosecco if you’ve got any spare, cheers ) then put your comfiest pj’s on and relax into my little bubble of festive coziness.

It’s been a long time since my last Festive Series so I have definitely ramped it up this year. You can all expect the most sexy, decadent baking recipes every week in December plus a mini daily blog comparing High-end vs High Street Beauty Advent Calendars.

And when I say I’ve ramped it up; I don’t mean Benefit, Clarins or Zoella. I’m talking full scale Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty or Nice Magic Box. all £150 of it.

I know I’m mad, but I’m so obsessed with that brand I just couldn’t stop myself.

However good old M&S is still the staple High Street Advent, At a very reasonable £35!(Even though it’s worth £100 more than the CT box, I’ll explain all soon darlings)

So watch this space my lovelies, December is within touching distance! So come back on Friday the 1st for the start of all the festive fun!

See you soon, and don’t forget the prosecco next time 😉

All my love, Sophs xo

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Spring Forward!

Isn’t Spring just the sexiest season? 

Yeah yeah most people would say that it’s Summer, for all the hot girls in bikinis or winter for all the sophisticated, glam party looks you see pretty much daily. 

Well you’re all WRONG. it’s defo Spring. 

Why Spring you ask? Well my little loves, Spring is the first time in this fabulous New Year that you’ll be able to start getting your kit off for one! 

No no, not that far. But you’re already dusting off the ankle grazers and possibly even your shorts and throwing that puffer jacket to the back of your wardrobe with gusto! And I don’t know about you but I’m already swapping my over the knee boots for my chunky heeled sandals. 

And what beats actually being able to walk through town wearing something that’s got so much more personality, and not covering you up like a big old duvet?! 

Because that makes me feel super sexy. Not to mention the Spring brights that most makeup brands are currently sporting! 
That’s right, the layered foundation, contouring and dark coloured lips can now be freshened up to be so much more wearable! Swap out your foundation for a tinted moisturiser or BB cream, your burgundy lip for a raspberry/peach one and just ditch the contouring for a light bronzer. 

Or just get out in the sun. Saves a few extra minutes on your makeup routine (don’t forget your SPF though, because who wants sun damage? No one.)

One brand that I’m loving at the moment is L’Oréal. Their new lip lacquers and Lip Paints just make the perfect addition to your Lipstick colour wardrobe. Available in a whole array of nudes, pinks and bold brights, they have the potential to be the statement products of your look. Both Paints and lacquers have an amazing high colour pay off which is what everyone wants in a lippy.

The lip lacquers are more of a hardcore lip gloss that doesn’t give a sticky or gloopy feel, and the Lip Paints are a velvet matte cream consistency. Once applied, the lacquer should last a good few hours (longer than a regular gloss) and once dried, the paint will leave a satin matte finish that isn’t drying or heavy. So really perfect for that Spring/summer vibe. 

At Superdrug they retail at £6.99 and are also included in a 3for2 offer. You literally can’t go wrong.


Also, can I just ask how strong is your highlight game? Have you purchased your iconic illumination drops yet? No? I don’t blame you, I can think of better ways to spend £30.

However I have a cheap dupe that ACTUALLY works! Head to M&S and snap up their Autograph Liquid Highlight tubes in either gold or pink for that gorgeous glow for only….. £9.50. What an absolute STEAL.


Paired with the Rosie for Autograph complexion enhancer tinted moisturiser, you will have the perfect highlighted summer look for under £25. And those products will last all summer long! 

My little tips – pair your fab glowy skin with a gorgeous nude lip for day (I recommend Camisole Blush Lipstick by Rosie Huntington-Whitely) then vamp it up for the evening with a pair of faux mink effect lashes by Eylure and a statement red lip (Eva’s red by L’Oréal) 


But but buuuuut… how can we ever be ready for spring without cake? I’m never ready for anything without cake. So now the January blues are over and everyone has calmed down on the gym front, it’s time to fall back in love with baked goods again people! 

I’ve recently been working on recipes for the most ultimate spring/summery bakes you’ll ever put in your face. I’ve tried out classic cookies, Viennese kisses, melting blondies and many more (recipes to follow :D) 


Because I don’t think my friends or family are happier than when I provide them with fabulous, delectable, home baked goods. I don’t think the fact they’re free plays a part at all. Definitely not. (Crying) 
So guys this was more of just a quick re-intro back into the blogging game. I can’t wait to throw myself back into it! Look out for the odd vid or vlog here and there too ;)!

If there are any products you want me to try out, drop me a message on Instagram @bakingbeautyblogger

Lots of love darlings xo

THE Best Battenburg Recipe

Did you miss me? 😉
Of course you did, I mean how else are you supposed to get your weekly fix of gorge cake and bake recipes combined with lots of fab beauty tips?!

Because we have to face it, reading about products I recommend is just giving you a tiny little excuse to make you feel better about spending the vast majority of the months salary on makeup and skincare. 

Am I right or am I RIGHT? 

Anyway beauties I hope you had the most wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy new year to go with it! How does a nice little gem of a cake recipe sound to start us off for the year?

Okay okay, so you’ve probably read the title and wondered when I was zapped back to the 70’s to actually fancy baking something so retro.

Well as it turns out Battenburg is pretty fab. A tad Passe I’ll admit, but if baked to perfection (which isnt hard since its so bloody easy) you can turn it into a very impressive little bake that all your nans… *cough* I mean friends, will be clambering over each other to get a piece of.

Plus the boyf would eat battenburg for every meal of the day if it were a possibility, so there’s plenty of demand for it at my end. 

So without further ado, let me show you how to make this badass teatime treat.
Ingredients – For The Yellow sponge:

  • 175g baking spread/ softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will do, but paste preferably)
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, depending how almondy you’re feeling)

For The Pink Sponge:

  • Copy the ingredients and method for the yellow sponge but replace the almond extract, if you used it, with some pink food paste/colouring. I used 1/4 tsp but add more if you want a richer colour

For The Build:

  • 1kg Marzipan; you can buy ready rolled or just 2 of the blocks will do just fine
  • 220g Apricot Jam

Method:

  1. Get yourself prepped by heating your oven to 160C fan (180C/GM4), as well as greasing and lining your 10×8 inch oblong tin using butter and baking parchment.
  2. Put all of the ingredients for the almond sponge into a mixing bowl and combine for 2 minutes using an electric whisk or using a stand mixer.
  3. Pour the mix into your pre lined tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 27-30 minutes, until it’s springs back when you touch it. After a few minutes remove from the tin and flop it out onto a cooling rack and cover with a tea towel to stop it from drying out.
  4. Line your tin again and make the pink sponge using the same method, but adding the food colouring this time. Once combined, pour into the tin again and bake for the same amount of time. Don’t forget to cover with a tea towel once it’s baked and cooling. 
  5.  Once both sponges are cooled, cut both evenly in half lengthways, then each half in half again. You should have 8 long strips. 
  6. Grab your apricot jam and boil it in a small saucepan, then lay a pink and yellow strip side by side and paint with jam, using a pastry brush and stick them together. Now paint jam across the lengthof those two strips and place two more alternate strips on top – making sure the colours are reversed to create the signature checkerboard effect.
  7. Trim each end to make sure they’re even and put to one side.
  8. Roll out your marzipan to around 2mm thickness on a floured surface. Trim away any excess, and paint the upside with jam. Now carefully wrap your cake in the marzipan, trim away any jagged edges and put on your fanciest serving plate!
  9. Now dust with icing sugar to make it look fancy, and serve to all the people you want to wow.

There, told you it was damn easy!

Give it a go and post your pics on Instagram and tag me @soph__austin – can’t wait to to see all your retro bakes!

I love you all my beauts,

S xoxo

Summer Series 2016!

Good day to all of you beautiful people! Summer is finally knocking on our doors which has to be the perfect excuse to up your bronzed beauty game, not to mention getting your baking groove on! So get yourself dolled up, crack open a few bottles and invite all your loved ones round for a good old knees up in the sunshine.

The irony here is that as I’m writing this, the weather in sunny Southend on Sea is significantly un-summery, (after todays’ downpour I’m hoping that the lower region of my trousers dries off before I start work. Wishful thinking, I know, since the amount of water they’ve soaked up is enough to make them fall down every time I stand up.)

But there’s still hope! Last weekend saw some utterly glorious sunshine and I’m sure there is lots more to come (well hopefully; but then again this is England)

So, when you throw this epic garden party this summer, there are 2 things I would like you to do:

  1. Invite me, of course. I’m a hoot.
  2. Keep checked in weekly with The Baking Beauty Blog.

I say this because my new Summer Series for 2016 will be your own epic guide to summer. For all my go to seasonal recipes, naturally beautiful summer beauty tips trick and everything you will need to achieve them, plus lots of other holiday posts and fantastic summery delights.

Since the British summer usually leaves a lot to be desired, I think we need a bit of inspiration to make the most out of any scrap of sunshine we are happened to be blessed with.
So check back weekly; Firstly you’ll get a peep into my beauty archive for my go to holiday beauty favourites, then the first wondrous recipe will be the magic that is Lemon Amaretti. Which according to my family, friends and colleagues are absolutely gorgeous; not to mention ridiculously easy to make!

Watch this space beauties,
All my love,

S x

A Two way Pancake Affair…

Buongiorno you wonderful people! I hope you are all fine and dandy and well recovered from the holidays. Personally I could’ve done with another week of rest and relaxation. And wine. And Cadbury selection boxes (other selection boxes are available).

I’m sure now February has arrived in all its’ glory, most of you must already be fretting over what to get your other half for Valentine’s Day. But come on people lets not get too hasty, There is a far more important occasion just around the corner. Well, probably only important to those of you who don’t have someone to get all gushy with on the 14th… And I’m sure from the title, you know that this fabulous occasion I speak of is none other than good old Pancake Day. 

Disclaimer: if you don’t like pancakes and/or have diabetes you should probably cook these recipes for someone else. Copious amounts of sugar were involved in the making of these Pancakes. Sorry, not sorry.

I decided to do a bit of a twist on regular old lemon sugar crepes that most people knock up in this particularly epic day. By all means you can use the basic batter recipes to create whatever flavours you want, but the fillings I’ve put together here are such absolute winners you’ll be eating pancakes for days. Or weeks in my case because I’ve been making them since Christmas. 

Firstly I’m going to share a beautiful sweet American pancake recipe. These little pillows of fluffiness are so delicate you can pair them with any classic toppings like Nutella and banana, maple syrup or simply just a handful of berries and they will taste absolutely divine. 

  
Ingredients

  • 120g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt, crushed
  • 140ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Method

  1. Start by sifting the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and separating the eggs; putting the yolks in with the flour and the whites in another bowl with the salt.
  2. Mix the yolks and flour with a whisk until it is lump free. Whisk up your egg whites until they reach stiff peaks, then fold the whites into the batter very gently, taking care to keep all the air in the mix. Now that is your basic batter done, dusted and ready to go.
  3. At this point feel free to sweeten it with a tablespoon of icing sugar or add any other bits and pieces you want actually in the pancakes. I went for lemon zest and a handful of grated white chocolate. But that’s just personal preference. 
  4. Now heat a large non stick frying pan on a medium heat for a minute or two, then rub a bit of butter over the base to give the pancakes extra flavour and a golden colour. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan, it should be thicker than crepe batter and just be slightly bigger than a jam jar lid. Cook for a few minutes on each side, flipping in between (be brave and go for the toss, it’s much more fun than using a spatula and being a bore)
  5. Once you’ve stacked up your desired amount of pancakes (I got 11 out of my mix) you can use whatever filling you like.  I decided to drizzle mine with a little maple syrup, chop up some more white chocolate and pecan nuts and sprinkle those on top and inbetween each pancake on the stack. And heavens was it GOOD. 

Righteo, now over to the savoury pancakes. I had these for dinner tonight. I feel like I’ve eaten like a princess. I need to cook myself more meals like this. Plus thanks to None other than Jamie Oliver I have learned a ridiculously easy way to poach eggs. So here’s my twist on a classic eggs florentine using beautiful savoury crepes. Trust me when I say you will want some of this in your life.

  
Eggs Florentine: Ingredients

For the crepes

  • 140ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 60g flour
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 2 handfuls of washed spinach
  • 2 large dollops of Ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce (totally optional, I left it out of mine)

Method

  1. You need to start by getting prepped. With a recipe like this you need to get everything sorted before you start cooking. Your spinach needs to be wilted so either do it on the hob or steam it, there should be instructions on the packet but about 3 minutes in a steamer should do it. But firstly just put it in the pot all ready to switch on.
  2. Next grab two mugs, and cling film each one. Use a small amount of oil to grease them slightly then crack each egg into the mugs.gather up the corners of the cling film and tie in a knot so the egg can’t escape. Fill a saucepan with water and start heating it up so it’s ALMOST boiling.   
  3. Grab a flat frying pan and get that on the hob ready but don’t turn any heat on it just yet.
  4. Make the batter by sifting the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl, follow by the egg and milk. Now whisk it up until it’s completely smooth, resembling the consistency of double cream.
  5. Okay now you can start heating up your frying pan on a medium heat and wilting your spinach. And don’t forget you now put your eggs in the ALMOST boiling water you prepared a moment ago. And time about 4 minutes for those.
  6. Grease your frying pan with butter and pour a small amount of batter in, just enough to cover the base of the pan. Now cook for a couple of minutes on either side, tossing in between (again, don’t use a spatula because that’s boring). I’ve done 2 pancakes per person.
  7. If you’ve followed my lead everything should be ready at the same time so plate it up, folding the wilted spinach and ricotta in between each one. Then gently cut the cling film off of your beautifully poached eggs and out those on top. Add a bit more salt and pepper on top and just stand back and marvel at your skilled pancakery. But not for too long, get it while it’s hot.

And if you fancy a crepe (no jokes please), but you want it sweet, just take the pepper out and add a spoonful of icing sugar and top with any sweet topping you fancy.

I hope you gauge yourself into next week on these beautiful recipes. I had lots of fun making them, and I hope you and your family do too! 

Lots of love, S x

Lemon, White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake Cupcakes!

Yes. You read the title correctly. And whether you are slobbing out at home on a day off like me, sneakily reading this at work whilst avoiding your boss or ignoring the friend you’re meeting for a drink in order to check out this fabulously titled recipe; you must be thanking me. And you are most welcome. 

And since its January and the LAST thing anyone wants to do in January is cook more expensive food. I’ve made this recipe using super cheap ingredients, but still kept the quality in there. Nothing is better than this, except maybe a glass of fizz but that’s a whole other story. Let me tell you a bit about my cheesecakey creations!

Making desserts into cupcake form is something I saw a lot of in 2015 and I thought I would write my own almost hassle free version of a beautiful Cheesecake made with Sicilian Lemons, and a beautiful crunchy all butter biscuit base. Except mine is given a little extra silky goodness in the form of quality white chocolate, in contrast to the addition of the zingy ginger snaps in the base which just makes these cups even more awesome. And let the druelling commence! 

I also thought it would be hassle free in the terms of them being individual cheesecake cupcakes, rather than having to slice a huge one up. These littl’uns are great for packed lunches, stops the kids getting messy with them and stops your other half/housemate/mother from eating a whopping big slice. 

There isn’t much more I can say other than they went down an absolute treat with my colleagues at work. Not that they usually complain at free baked goods. But this must be a good sign that these are worth giving a go! Make sure once you’ve made them you take a picture and upload it to Twitter or Instagram and tag me @soph__austin  

Ingredients

  

For the base

  • 2tbsp butter, melted
  • 2tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 15 ginger snaps
  • 5 digestive biscuits
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the cheesecake

  • 400g cream cheese
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g melted white chocolate (best quality you can afford)
  • Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin or cupcake cases. I also put a few grains of uncooked rice in the tin BEFORE I put the paper cases in to absorb a bit of the grease from the biscuit base as the cheesecakes cook.
  2. Take all your aggression out on smashing up those biscuits. Because believe me, the ginger nuts need a hell of a bashing. Put all 20 biscuits into a polythene bag, preferably a ziplock one, and bash them, whack them, roll them out til your hearts content. Well, until you have an evenly fine-ish crumb. Feel free to leave a few odd chunks for a bit of texture but it will need to be fine enough to hold itself together. Now put the sugar into the bag and give it a shake up to make sure it’s all mixed. 
  3. Melt down your butter and add into a bowl with the biscuit crumbs and mix until it looks a bit like wet sand. Put 1 tablespoon of the crumbs into each paper case and press down using a spoon to get it nicely packed down. Now bake them off in the oven for about 8 minutes in the centre of the oven. Then leave the tin on top of a wire rack to allow the bottom of the tin to cool slightly while you make the cheesecake mix.  
  4. Turn your oven down to 160c/gas mark 3 and melt your white chocolate over a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Do this first so it can have time to cool slightly.
  5. In one bowl use a whisk to whip your cream just so it starts to thicken. Do NOT over whip.
  6. In another bowl using an electric hand whisk, whip up your cream cheese until it is smooth and no longer lumpy. Add caster sugar, vanilla and salt and mix again.
  7. Crack in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one, then fold in your whipped cream and white chocolate until it’s one smooth mix.
  8. Now evenly spoon your mix into the muffin cases and bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to puff up slightly and still have a gentle wobble in the middle.
  9. Once they’re done, turn your oven off but leave them in there with the door open slightly for about 10 minutes but be sure to keep an eye on them.
  10. Take them out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Now you can decorate them once they’re cool with whatever you like, I chose a dollop of lemon curd and some fresh berries but you could use cream and some lemon zest, continue on the ginger theme and mix some ginger and spices of choice into whipped cream and pipe that on top… Whatever takes your fancy.
  12. Then scoff them. Before any of your work colleagues get a chance. I made the mistake of taking my batch in and I didn’t even get a look in. 

  I hope you lovely bakers give these little delights a go, as I said before please contact me on Twitter or Instagram with a picture of your creations! 

Lots of January love, 

Sophs. X

Biscuit butter AKA The Better Butter

Oh January is here, the snow is finally on its way this week and everyone is still wallowing in the shadows of Christmas past. Well my credit card certainly is, goodness me it’s so battered and bruised after December spending that when I went to use it to pay for a mere cappuccino, it actually let out a cry of despair. 

But fear not fellow internettees, just because it’s January, doesn’t mean we have to keep up this charade, I’m about to give you a gift. Not a Christmas gift but a gift in the wonderful form of a recipe that will blow those winter blues right out of your life.

I’m sure most of you are fed up of cooking for now, so what could be better than a no bake sweet treat? Perhaps maybe 4 or 5  no bake sweet treats, but anyway you get where I’m going with this. I’m going to make the most epic cookie butter known to man, and it uses up all that leftover shortbread your mum got given for Christmas. In my batch that I knocked up last night I used half shortbread and half lotus biscoff biscuits to create a rich, indulgent butter, with a few crunchy biscoff chunks thrown in for good measure. And this is the key  ingredient you can use to create fabulous  buttercream and cheesecakes, not to mention to garnish hundreds of other desserts. 

  
Oh and FYI, this biscuit butter recipe doesn’t have to be shortbread or biscoff, use whatever biscuits you fancy, although if they are sandwich biscuits, scrape out the creamy middle first.

The ingredient list below is just a guideline; add sweetness depending on your palate. If the consistency is too thin add more biscuit, too thick add a drop more evaporated milk. But my measurements made enough to fill one Kilner jar. 

Ingredients

  • 125g shortbread 
  • 125g biscoff
  • 100ml evaporated milk
  • 75g butter, melted
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method

  1. To make any biscuit butter you really need a food processor. So get that out and once it’s set up, throw in your biscuits and pulse them until they are a fine crumb.
  2. Then pour in the melted butter and evaporated milk and whazz it up for about a minute. If it’s too thin just add more crumbled biscuits, and if it’s too thick just add a small drop more of evaporated milk.
  3. Okay now taste it, if you don’t have a very sweet tooth this might be just the ticket. However in my case, I needed just a little touch of something else. So I added the sugar, salt and vanilla. My measurements are listed above however just adjust them to suit you.
  4. Now mix it all up again then spoon into a sterilised jar or container.
  5. Now to consume this wonderful butter you can spread it on a toasted hot cross bun, garnish your ice cream or desserts with it, or mix it up with cream cheese and whipped cream to make a smashing cheesecake. 

Remember with a recipe like this that doesn’t need baking you can afford to wing it. Adjust the measurements to suit you and what you have available. The possibilities are endless! And fabulous. Don’t forget to post your pictures on Instagram and tag me @soph__austin