Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cupcakes In The News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8315245.stm

Sunday, 4 October 2009

National Cupcake Week

Can you believe we have national cupcake week! Hmm I missed it though! It was the 14th-19th of September. I will have to have a Fairy Queen Cupcake week instead. I have been neglecting my cupcake making of lately. I have made a few none cake things such as a cherry pie and a apple and blackberry tarte tatin. I need more time to bake!!!

FQ x

Monday, 31 August 2009

Cookie or Cupcake?



Okay this is really a cookie in a cupcake case. It is a very simple recipe with a little bit easy piping and very yummy results. Few ingredients and quick too. Here is the recipe:

Swiss Shortcake

2 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
2 tsp milk

It is this easy! pre-heat oven to 160 c gas 3 and prepare 12 cupcake cases into a tin. Cream butter and sugar together add vanilla and mix in flour. Add milk and give a final good mix, I finished with the electric mixer. Using a large star piping nossel pipe in a circular shape into cupcake cases and bake for 30-35 minutes (till pale golden and firm). Allow to cool and dust with icing, adding a blob of jam to the centre of each. Very traditional recipe, very easy and most important very nice! I will definitely make these again.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Chocolate Success




Well much to my surprise the chocolate cake was a success! Guess I am going to get used to the different oven after all. Well I did not make cupcakes but made a chocolate sandwich cake with the chocolate cupcake recipe. I decorated it with butter icing but instead of just cocoa powder in it I put melted chocolate. This worked well to decorate with and though it was not picture perfect it was a better finish than others I have done in past. I was very predictable and decorated with white and milk chocolate buttons as well as chocolate shavings which I used a potato peeler to create.

Anyway it turned out pretty well, photos to follow. The oven is getting a second chance lol. :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The New Oven Arrrgh

I have a chocolate cake in the oven, my first attempt to bake in the new house. I do not like this oven I have already decided. I fear this cake will be an utter disaster from what I can see so far. It is a birthday cake too :( I will update anyway.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Back online

Can you believe I have been a whole week and a half with no net! No time to bake, but have a wonderful big kitchen and a bigger cupboard space dedicated to baking. :)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Cupcake Kitchen

I am finally going to have a big kitchen to bake in yay! We are moving in the next few days to a bigger place to. I am currently surrounded by boxes. No Internet or baking to probably later in the week though arrrgh! I am sure it will be worth all the stress and hard work though. :)

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes With a Taste Of Summer




I wanted to try something different but I was told I had to make chocolate hehe. Well I wanted to do something that was different so added a wee bit of almond essence to the sponge and some summer fruits to some as was thinking 'summer tea'. Using chocolate butter icing, I did not use the piping bag this time, but guess it would of given them a more polished look. I also tried quark with the fruit - Quark for those who do not know is a curd cheese made from scalded whey, it is white soft and un-aged; it is kind of similar to fromage frais, naturally vegetarian and very low in fat. Quark is a must try! I really like as a low fat quick cheese cake substitute - a low fat digestive with a little strawberry jam topped with Quark or a chocolate Snack a Jack (rice cake) with Quark YUM! Oh if you are going to google Quark remember to put cheese or you get loads of Star Trek stuff haha. Anyway I am being distracted, here is the recipe:

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes

(makes approx 12)

4 oz 110g of margarine
4 oz 110g of caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp of baking powder
2 oz 60g of self raising flour
2 oz 60g of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of almond essence






Chocolate Butter Icing

8 oz 225g icing sugar
3 1/2 oz of butter/margarine
2 heaped tsp good quality cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

Either cream sugar and margarine and mix in eggs or use electric whisk to combine three ingredient's. Add almond essence and mix in. Add flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix well by hand or using whisk. Divide mix between 12 standard cupcake cases (smaller than muffin cases) and bake at 160 c/325 f/gas 3 for 20 minutes or till firm and spongy!

To decorate:

Chocolate butter cream is made by creaming the icing, cocoa and margarine together and adding the vanilla to flavour.









Chocolate Sandwiches: cut a disc from top of cupcake fill with butter cream or Quark and replace lid, dust with icing.






Chocolate sprinkles: add a generous dollop of chocolate butter cream and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.







Summer Tea: add a dollop of chocolate cream or Quark to cupcake and add summer fruits of your choice. A little tip if you wand to add a whole strawberry like I did slice a little from side of strawberry to leave a flat surface to rest on the cake, stops it rolling.

Okay now I need to eat one :)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

What No Cupcakes?

I need to make cupcakes. I have seen cupcakes everywhere I have been. I have had two weeks holiday and no time to bake, but I have purchased an electric mixer which I am itching to try so watch this space. :)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes



Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes....delicious! Inspired by looking at home baked cake/loafs in the farm shop I decided to have a go at a coffee flavour cupcake. Coffee and walnuts are a perfect combination in my opinion. I did ponder with the idea of a coffee chocolate combo but I will save that for another time. I also went for coffee glace icing, but think coffee butter icing would have been very good too - rich and creamy. Admittedly I was thinking of calories too (butter icing being higher in fat), I think the glace icing worked so well though.






The Recipe:

Coffee & Walnut Cupcakes

4 oz of low fat margarine
4 oz of light brown sugar
4 oz self raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
2 medium free range eggs
3 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in a tbsp of boiling water
1 1/2 oz of walnut pieces







Icing

3 oz of glace icing sugar
3 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in hot water
10 walnut halves

Cream sugar and margarine together and whisk in eggs. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Dissolve coffee in hot water and mix in with other ingredients. Dust walnut pieces with flour and gently fold into other ingredients. Divide mixture between 10 cupcake cases and bake at 170c/325f/gas 3 for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before decorating. Dissolve instant coffee in boiling water (three tsp in a small quantity of hot water) and add slowly to icing until it is smooth and ribbon like. The icing of course ends up a beautiful coffee colour. Spread each cupcake with icing and place a walnut half in the centre.




Now all you need is a nice milky coffee to wash them down. Simple but delicious.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Say It With An Almond Cupcake






I am looking at different flavoured cupcakes while using the basic recipe. I have tried almond flavour this time, reminiscent of marzipan and battenburg cakes. I simply added Almond to the cake mixture and icing. I also have used a different type of icing which is the sort used for fondants and gives a shiny finish. Concentrating more on flavour I decided to just keep the decoration fun colored and simple with piped messages. Would work well for a kids party I guess. Taste good anyway, guess depends on if you like almond of course.

Almond Cupcake Recipe:

4 0z 110g Margarine
4 oz 110g Caster Sugar
4 oz 110g Self raising flour
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of almond extract





Glace Icing flavoured with a few drops of almond extract
colours
icing pens






Mix margarine and sugar together, add eggs and almond extract and mix well. Add sifted flour and baking powder and give one final good mix. Divide between 12 cupcase which have been placed in a cupcake tin. Bake at 160 c gas 3 till golden and spongy to touch. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

Decorate as desired. I chose to flavour glace icing (Icing sugar mixed with water and a few drops of almond extract) which I added bright red, green and blue to. Piped message on a few for fun. Was tempted to do some rude or cheeky ones but decided to keep it clean and nice :)

Think I will experiment with some more natural flavours.

The Non Cupcake Bake!



I made cookies today and thought I would share them with you though yes are not cupcakes! I made Smartie Cookies, you could use M&M or similar of course. They were a quick bake and turned out really well. I must say you need to move really quick putting the Smarties on top so I suggest making in two batches of six.

Recipe:

Smartie Cookies

100g 3 1/2 0z of low fat spread or other margarine
50g 1 1/3 of golden/light brown caster sugar
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
1 tsp of Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
2 tubes of Smartie or M&Ms approx 60

Heat oven to gas 6 200c and grease tray in preparation. Mix margarine, sugar and add golden syrup and vanilla. Mix well. Add sifted flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix together to form a cookie dough which is not too sticky to handle. Divide into 12 bits, roll into balls in palm of hand and press onto baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Now for the bit when Check Spellingyou have to move quick! Remove from oven and while still on tray very quickly press 5 Smarties into each cookie. Leave to cool for a while on tray before transferring to a cooling rack. Taste good and are low calorie, 134 calories per cookie and only two weight watchers points.

Being sad I noticed one tube of Smarties had 3 more smarties in than the other!!! How wrong is that!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

White Choc Chip Cupcakes


I simply love white chocolate, think it is not to every body's taste though. These cupcakes were not a disaster but not exactly as I imagined! I used the vanilla cupcake recipe with 3 oz of white chocolate chunks (type for cooking) and used large muffin size cups. The chunks seemed to have settled and were gooey, not entirely sure why but then again I have never really baked much with chocolate chips or chunks. I know when you use fruit I always dust with flour to stop sinking and though maybe I should of dusted chunks with icing sugar or flour?

Anyway I was going to go for butter icing with remainder of chunks in for decoration but thought might be a wee bit sickly so in the end just dusted them with icing sugar. Like I said tasted yummy but not so perfect. Gives me a little challenge now I guess!









Friday, 5 June 2009

Cake Stands and Plates



I bought some stands to display my cupcakes on. My intention was to look out for pretty and unusual antique plates but I have not had the opportunity to rummage in the market and second hand and antique shops of London. I checked out a few places online and the photos show the ones I have purchased so far from sellers on Amazon. The retro looking glass ones are from a seller called Blendboutique. I love the coloured glass and the candy colours which will look great to serve iced cupcakes on with afternoon tea of course lol! The cute fun one for an individual cupcake I had to have simply because it is fun :)

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Chocolate Honeycomb and More



I do not think I have posted any chocolate cupcakes on here yet? So how about these, Giant chocolate honeycomb cakes , chocolate butter mountain cupcakes and chocolate sandwich cupcakes! All of which are cup-less for design I guess and using a muffin size silicone tray. Turned of pretty well and I always put this down to good quality cocoa when making chocolate cakes. I used Bournville which is a rich dark cocoa, though I tend to favour Green & Blacks, do not know if either are available worldwide? Oh and the piping bag got an airing again but not for anything too exciting as you will see. This recipe makes 12 standard size cupcake or 6 Giant cupcakes (muffin size)
4oz caster sugar

2oz self raising flour

teaspoon of baking powder
2 oz of good quality cocoa powder

4 oz of margarine/softened butter

2 large free range eggs

1 tbsp milk
to decorate:
7oz of icing sugar
1 heaped dessert spoon of good quality cocoa

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

3 1/2 oz of margarine or softened unsalted
chocolate honeycomb (ie 'Crunchie' - UK 'Violet'- Australia, maybe people can suggest equivalents for USA and other countries?)

Sift flour, cocoa & baking powder and place in a bowl with sugar. Add eggs and margarine and mix well, this is when I would of done away with tradition for an electric mixer hehe. The mixture becomes easier when milk is added and should be a consistency that it will plop off the spoon! Add to muffin tin or cups - it is up to you if you prefer to use the cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or till spongy to touch. Oven temperature 160c/325 f/gas3. Allow to cool before decorating.

Honeycomb is roughly sliced, place butter icing in piping bag and pipe a swirl in which to place honeycomb. For sandwich cakes slice through cake and fill with butter icing before replacing top and finishing with a sprinkling of sifted icing. Butter mountains are simply a generous swirl of butter icing piped on top. The sponge is delicious and light and like I mentioned the flavour is down to good cocoa. Chocolate chips would of been good, bars you have chipped self are best I think. Hmm white chocolate chunks would be good.



Chocolate Sandwichs, Chocolate Honeycomb cupcakes and Chocolate Butter Mountains

Chocolate Honeycomb Cupcake (above)




Chocolate Butter Mountain Cupcake

Monday, 25 May 2009

Inspirational Cupcake Link

I went shopping in London yesterday and we happened upon this cake shop, my partner had told me about it before. The shop decor itself shouts cupcake and the cupcakes are fun and amazing colours. Check out the site, it is guaranteed to make your mouth water and and inspire you to get baking. :)

http://www.candycakes.eu/

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Potato and Raisin Cupcakes!


Yes you read right it does say Potato and Raisin Cupcakes. It sounded like such a weird combination that I had to try it and they surprised me in being really really good! I would say they reminded me of a scone but are light and fluffy like a cake. You do not get an over powering potato at all which is strange, but maybe this is because it is a recipe without margarine or butter? I really do not know, but the results were good and I recommend you give them ago. I think are best served warm and are nice with a wee bit butter of margarine. If you are wanting to be healthy these are good for you with no margarine or butter and are only 2 weighwatchers points which basically means are low in calories and saturated fat.

Now for the recipe & unusual method:






Potato and Raisin Cupcakes

175g/6oz of floury potatoes (boiled and smoothly mashed)
125g/4 1/2 oz self raising flour
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1tsp of baking powder
175g/6oz of raisins
4 medium free range eggs (separated)

Prepare 12 muffin size cup cases in a muffin tin. Preheat oven to 200c/400f. place mashed potato in a bowl and add sifted flour, egg yolks, brown sugar, raisins, baking powder and mix well. In a separate bowl which is dry and grease free whisk the egg whites into peaks. Fold in egg whites to the other mixture, using a metal spoon. Make sure you are gentle folding, yes it does look weird but I promise you this works! Divide the mixture between cup cases and place in oven for ten minutes, after which reduce the temperature to 160c/325f for a further ten until risen and golden brown.

As I mentioned best served warm. Do not be afraid! Try them, sound weird but are lovely.

Hmmm

I am waiting patiently to see if a weird combo and method of cupcake will work. The possible disaster is in the oven and I am scared to look ha ha.

Friday, 22 May 2009

How Many Weightwatchers Points In My Cupcakes

Here is a little fact for those of you who want to eat cupcakes and follow weightwatchers. I have pointed a plain vanilla cupcake and it is 2.5 points. An iced vanilla cupcake using glace icing (icing sugar and lemon juice or flavouring) is 3 points. 3 points hey that is not a lot is it! I have the tools and I am pretty sure this is accurate and is less than what I found on a google search. This means we can eat cupcakes guilt free ha ha :)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Inside The Cupcake Cupboard


I think if you are addicted to baking, cake decorating or in my case cupcakes you are always on the look out for new ingredients and things to embellish your designs with. I have slowly built up a collection of cupcake bits and bobs and the good thing is most items are not costly. It is good to have an assortment of items ready at hand if you suddenly feel like making a batch of cupcakes and sometimes just looking in the cupboard inspires me! I guess I am a wee bit sad like that :)

I have different size and design cupcake cases, different colourings, flavourings, candy, sprinkles and decorations along side my basic ingredients. When you wonder round the supermarket you spot things and not only in the baking isle eg. fruit to decorate flavour and colour. I found cupcake decorated cases on a stall which had mainly decorative bits and bobs for gifts and the home, a place I did not expect to find them. Of course the good old Internet has so many places to look! I have found amazon has a pretty good selection of baking/decorating items, doesn't Amazon have everything! Great cupcake books on Amazon too, though I did pick a few up in bargain book type places. Magazines of course are great and I have started to tear and collect from them. A great place to be inspired though I have never tried to recreate any of the impressive designs is here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sweetcuppincakesbakery/pool/show/with/3373662866/

Have you noticed all the fancy cupcakes appearing in the high street shops? The Cupcake is definitely a big trend in a little package isn't it. Anyway a little cupcake babble goes a long way so I will stop now before you nod off.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Orange & Lemon Flowers



Following a theme at the moment I think, influenced by the spring sunshine! I always look at what ingredients I already have at home when I have different ideas spinning around in my head and I decided on using lemons and clementines in the sponge. I wanted to play about with icing and ideas and after the previous project I was thinking spring and flowers.

First the recipe:


Orange & Lemon Blooms

4 oz/110g of butter/margarine
4oz/110g of caster sugar
4oz/110g of self raising flour
1 level tsp of baking powder
2 large free range eggs
1 dsp of lemon juice
1 dsp of orange/Clementine juice
the zest of 2 unwaxed lemons




To Decorate:

ready roll icing
sprinkles
food colours
icing pens or icing to pipe

Using the basic principals of the cupcake recipes I creamed the margarine and sugar together and beat in both eggs. Add the orange and lemon juice and zest and mix well. finally mix in the sifted flour and baking powder. Give one final good mix! Divide into 12 (aprox) standard size cupcake cases which have been placed in a cupcake tin. Place in a preheated oven temperature of 170c 325 f gas3 and bake for 20 minutes or till golden with a spring back sponge feel to touch. Allow to cool on a cooling tray before decorating.




Decorating is a time to play and experiment and this is exactly what I did and in doing so each cake was different. It would be easier when you have an idea to keep all similar or the same but I do like the idea of each being individual. The roses were pretty easy though you can by them already made, there don't have the homemade look mine do ha ha. Basically I coloured ready roll icing by adding a few drops of coloring and working it in. You then roll the icing into a sausage shape and cut into petal size bits, taking a piece press it flat between cling film or plastic. The first petal is rolled and each petal after is rolled round till you have some thing that resembles a rose! I found you need to chop off excess icing at back of rose before sticking to cake with icing from icing pen. Leaves and petals (pink flower) were cut using a smooth cookie cutter. I used the cookie cutter smooth and wave edge to make bases for cupcake designs and used pens for gluing all icing parts. The yellow flower with the sprinkle middle was made by cutting out a cookie shape then cutting out the centre with the top of a colouring bottle, I then stuck the shape to the cake and filled the middle with icing pen. I then sprinkled the middle, pressing sprinkle in and sweeping out access. Anyway just a few of my ideas :)




Saturday, 16 May 2009

Butterfly & Bugs





I decided to do something a bit fun today and at same time try out the silicone butterfly cake mould I bought a while back. You will see from the photos that it certainly is fun and not a sugarcraft work of art! I do like the mini cupcakes which I think have turned out pretty cute and have inspired a few design ideas. The butterfly was simply a blank canvas to doodle on rather than a carefully executed design and I do not know why but I much prefer the scale of a cupcake and the endless ideas that it brings. I made a few purchases this week which I will talk about/bore you with in my next post but as you can see I have been using icing pens. I know they are not the things of pros but as someone who is not an expert at icing and does not have the most steady of hands I love them. Icing pens are great on gingerbread too. I am all for the silicone moulds, I liked how this left a pattern and could of been left uniced or iced in a simple (erm less messy) way. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe, see early posts and coloured glace icing flavoured with orange and lemon. The butterfly could be decorated with sweets/candy alone and think would make a great kids cake on a bigger scale especially surrounded by the tiny cupcakes with flowers and ladybirds/ladybugs. I have not tried either yet but my other half stole tiny cupcake (should of been six!) and said it was good :)
just so you can see how teeny tiny these are!
Silicone butterfly case and mini cupcakesTeeny tiny bugs and flowers













Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Cupcake Cat

No not a cupcake in the shape of a cat or a cupcake made of cat. My cat is crazy about cupcakes, seriously loves them! If that is not weird enough she is not crazy about the normal cat favourites like meat etc. So fond is she of the yummy cupcakes I make we think she may of ate part of a paper cup as we could not find it! So we can add this to meringue and yogurt raisins as her favourite foods but not human meat or fish treats. She is definitely meant to be my cat :)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Giant Cupcakes Not Muffins





The Fairy Queen does not make muffins, oh no I make giant fairy cakes because a muffin is a flat bread roll you have for breakfast.

I made giant cranberry cupcakes today which I am in a slight huff about. I bought a silicone muffin tin yesterday, Antony Worrel Thompson if that is how you spell it. I hate celebrity endorsed merchandise as a rule but this was the best one for the job. I was thinking on a lemon iced giant cupcake but the Elf put in a request for cranberry one and I agreed it sounded more interesting and healthy too. Well I think turned out okay, but the Elf who I am now renaming the Dark Elf complained :( I Asked the Dark elf if he would like a cup of tea and to try the cranberry cakes which had now cooled. I presented him with both and returned to the kitchen only for the Elf to come running in almost tripping over his pointy green shoes and declared 'Babe its not cooked in the middle!' to which I said are you sure cos mine is fine? He then poked his finger about in the middle, 'okay I get your point!'. Returning them to the oven I slowly sunk into a huff, granted not a good one because well I can not huff as such as involves total silence. He may not eat any now but that's fine as I will eat them all because are nice and cranberries are very juicy.

Anyway here is the recipe.....


Giant Cranberry Cupcakes

2 medium eggs
5 1/2 ounces of margarine
3 1/2 ounces caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
3 1/2 ounces of self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 ounces of dried cranberries

Beat margarine and sugar together and gradually beat in egg. mix in milk. Add cranberries to sifted flour and baking powder (this stops fruit sinking to bottom of sponge). Mix in flour, fruit etc, mix well. Divide into 6 'muffin' size cases already in a 'muffin' tin. Cook for 20 minutes in oven on 180c/350f. To test if really cooked give to the Dark Elf who will poke his finger in it ;)