Tuesday, 31 March 2009

New Inspiration.....

I bought two new books today:) A cupcake book and a a muffin type baking book, it does not take much to cheer me up. Now I can not decide what my next make will be! I am thinking something mini and chocolate and something vaguely healthy which would be good for breakfast. I am looking forward to the weekend and more so with some ideas in mind.

Love FQOC x

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Lemon Heaven

Yesterday I made some very very nice and very lemony cupcakes. I will definitely make these again. I made a half batch in a bid not to get too fat :) a half batch measurement should of made six but I got eight somehow whoops never mind. I used lemon coloured paper cups to complete the lemon overdose look of these and I decorated them with tiny lemon jelly segments. Delicious!

Here's the recipe......

Lemon Heaven Cupcakes

(Batch of six - eight)

55g of self raising flour
55g of caster sugar
55g of margarine
1/2 tsp of baking power
2 medium eggs
grated zest of one large lemon
1/2 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice

to decorate....

lemon curd
ricotta cheese
fresh squeezed lemon juice
icing sugar to sweeten.

Cream sugar and margarine together, gradually add beaten eggs, lemon juice and rind. Mix in flour and baking powder. Mix well! Divide into paper cups till around half full and place in preheated oven of 170c/325f/gas 3. Bake for approx twenty minutes or till golden and spongy to touch. Allow to cool on a rack.

While cakes cool you can prepare ricotta and put in fridge. I decided to use ricotta because we had some in the fridge from making savoury cupcakes, I have seen similar using lemon butter cream or creme fraiche but this worked really well. First I sieved icing onto the buns the carefully cut a disc from the top of each cake, in the hole I placed a generous tsp of lemon curd (you make need to mix curd prior if it is the sort that is set). Now I decided this after making first two - if you are going to eat immediately you can add ricotta mix and jelly lemon segments and replace cake disc as a lid or as butterfly wings or add segments and cake dis and add ricotta dollop to top when you serve. The ricotta is simply mixed till smooth and sweetened with icing sugar and lemon juice to taste. A big dollop of ricotta on a prepared cake is like a really indulgent cream cake experience, but fresher and lemony! Make sure you refrigerate ricotta. Enjoy!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Piping, Purchases, Disasters & Inspiration....

I have a incredibly horrible job with one benefit, I get to shop for an hour at lunch:) When I have a project I am a women on a mission. This week I have been a very good girl and have not bought a single cupcake thing erm... other than a few ingredients yesterday and one tub of topping/sprinkle things. The week before though I certainly went to town! I found Asda has a great selection of sprinkles so I had to stock up on them. I got some silicone spatulas also from Asda - these are great! You will not leave any mixture on the side of the bowl when you use one, I am totally converted to silicone kitchen tools now. I did purchase some mini silicone cupcake cases from a pound shop after nearly been ripped off on ebay by the very same ones! I have not tried them yet so can not recommend. The piping bag hunt ended up with a purchase from Debenhams, I did not want to spend a lot because I will never be Queen of sugar craft but this was actually the only one I could find! I guess you need to be in the know.

The piping bag. Well I was not aiming for anything clever but other than the very first one which you can see at the top of my page the rest were awful! I can not decide if it was a slightly different recipe or a kitchen too warm but the consistency of the butter icing simply went pear shaped, I will definitely give it another go though.

This weekend I am thinking Lemon, lemon curd maybe poppy seeds. I want to try out my mini silicone cup cases too.

Nothings Sweet About Me......

Last weekend I decided to so something different and attempt savoury cupcakes. I have had courgette loaf/cake before which tasted really good so I guess this is just a similar idea in paper cup cases yeah. I have got to say these were a total success by my standards ha ha and I will definitely make them again. My partner ate four off the trot so I guess he liked them and by the way are definitely best warm. We thought would be a good breakfast thing with eggs or bacon if you are a meat eater. The other thing about these cup cakes is that the mixture looks a bit weird and when warm they stick to paper cups a bit but guessing if this was an issue you could use silicone cups maybe (I am yet to try mine).

Here is the recipe.....

Courgette, Feta & Ricotta Cupcakes

200g of plain flour
3 tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
4 baby courgettes
2 spring onions
225g ricotta
150g feta
2 large eggs
110g butter/marg
60 mls milk

First prep 12 cupcake cases and preheat oven to 200c/400f/gas 6. I got all my wet ingredients ready in one bowl first: grated the courgette, crumbled the feta, chopped the spring onion, added ricotta, added melted marg and beaten eggs. I sieved flour into another bowl with baking powder and sugar. I added dry ingredients to wet and mixed well until I had a kind of stiff mixture. I then spooned into the paper cases.

These take around 20 minutes in the oven but as with sweet ones you can tell are ready by golden colour and spongy when pressed.
Yummy. Don't let cool too much before you get stuck in but yes are good cool too.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Good Enough To Eat

Having bought some sprinkles and colours I attempted my first cupcake batch last weekend. All were eaten so must not of been that bad eh. Looked pretty too, especially considering I could not find the cupcake tin and some came out a little distorted!

When I have made butter icing in the past I have not been so impressed but I thought this looked pretty good it has a glazed/shiny look. I have never put milk in before so not sure if this is why. I decorated each one differently so it was a good way to practice and experiment. No piping yet, one step at a time!

Cupcake recipe

  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 level tsp of baking powder
  • 175g of margarine (Stork is the best)
  • 175g of caster sugar
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 2 tbsp of milk
To Decorate

  • 150g of margarine (Stork) or butter
  • 300g of icing sugar
  • 2tbsp of milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • colouring (optional)
  • your choice of decorations/sprinkles
All the recipes I have looked at recently say throw all ingredients in and mix, but I must say I am still doing it the way my Mum and home economics teacher told me..........
Cream the sugar and margarine together first then gradually add in the beaten eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and baking powder together and mix well. Simple as eh! Having prepared a cupcake/muffin tin with twelve paper cases divide the mixture out using a teaspoon and place in oven at 180 c /gas 4 and bake for twenty minutes or till golden and spongy to touch. Cool on a rack while you prepare butter icing. Cream together sieved icing and butter/margarine with vanilla and milk. Mix till smooth and add colours if desired. Finish with sprinkles. Show off a bit to anyone who will listen then eat with a nice cup of tea.

Not too bad for a first attempt I think! Yum

Okay here is the full selection including the more deformed ones :)

Small and Sweet

I currently have a real obsession with making cupcakes, yes a bit odd. I think I tend to get an idea in my head and it slowly grows into an obsession of sorts, to the point where I went to sleep thinking about cupcakes and woke up thinking about them! No I was not hungry. I more enjoy the experience of making than eating, but yes both are good. We often made fairy cakes as kids and I have made cupcakes for my nephews on a few occasions but this is different....... I am browsing pictures of cupcakes, buying books on cupcakes, buying goodies for cupcakes and doodling pictures of cupcakes. I obviously have that addictive collector type gene which I am told I get from my Dad ha ha.

I have a yearning to be a bit creative but it is almost impossible to do any of the crafts I like in the tiny apartment I currently inhabit and all my materials are in storage but I have a kitchen so bake is something I can do. I am not great, but my nephew says I make the best chocolate cakes, given that my sister thinks jacket potato and beans is a gourmet meal I am not sure I should take this as a compliment ;) I like the small scale of cupcakes and the variety. I like the decoration its creative without going to far into the whole sugar craft thing. I think when you start off pretty rubbish at something it makes for a big project to reach perfection and if I never reach that I can guarantee I will at least get fat!