Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ginger and Toffee, Lemon and Lime

So just an update on a couple of different cupcakes I've made recently.
Firstly I made Ginger and Toffee cupcakes which involved using a few spices within the sponge for the ginger part and then making some toffee/caramel to go into butter icing. I used a recipe from the UK TV food website, however I adapted a couple of the parts of the recipe as I read some reviews who had tried making them, who said they wanted to add more spices to the sponge to add more flavour.

150g unsalted butter
150g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
150g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 tbsp full-fat milk
1 tsp baking soda (I would add this as they didn't rise very much!!)

For the butter icing:
200g butter
50g soft brown sugar
3 tbsp full fat milk
200g icing sugar

- Preheat the oven 160C (fan)/180C
- Cream together butter and sugar and light and fluffy
- Sift flour together with spices
- Gradually mix the eggs and creamed butter and sugar alternating with the flour to stop the mix from curdling
- Stir through the milk
- Divide the mixture into baking cases
- Put in oven for 20-25 minutes

For the frosting:
- Melt 50g of butter in a pan with the brown sugar and cook over a low heat
- Add 2tbsp milk until it forms a thick glossy toffee sauce
- Leave to cool

-In a large mixing bowl beat butter until smooth, then add icing sugar
- Add the toffee sauce and stir through until fully mixed.

Once cupcakes are out of the oven and cool, pipe the icing on to the cupcakes. Add some ground cinnamon on top as decoration.

(The icing went a bit wonky!)

If I was to improve anything on this recipe I would add baking soda to make them rise more as they hardly rose at all. For the brown sugar I used light brown sugar, next time I would use dark brown sugar to give it a richer taste. I would also make more toffee sauce to add to the icing, as the the taste wan't strong enough!

My boyfriend absolutely loved these cupcakes (even if they were slightly flawed!). He thought these were my best yet, so I would definitely recommend this recipe.

A few days later I made some Lemon and Lime cupcakes. I just thought this would be a nice flavour combination. I just used a Primrose Bakery lemon cupcake recipe for the sponge. I then just substituted lemon for lime in the lemon butter icing recipe.

These flavours did work however the lime slightly overpowered the lemon sponge. still yummy though!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

I had a bunch of banana's hanging around for just a bit longer than I would have liked this week and thought what can I do with these that isn't just a banana bread?! I thought why not just put them into some cupcakes, along with some chocolate to satisfy my chocolate cravings!

I used just a basic vanilla bake recipe but added 4 mashed banana's and about two handfuls of chocolate chips!

For the icing it was just a standard chocolate buttercream.

I had bought some silver glitter flakes that I wanted to try out which you will probably JUST be able to see in the photo's below. However I can't say that I was too impressed with them. I always think that cakes look so lovely with glitter on them but I havn't managed to find the right type of glitter yet! I looked at the spray on shimmer glitter but wasn't sure it would look right or how easy it is to apply? If anyone has some good recommendations they would be more than welcome!

I'm really loving Instagram at the moment so some of my pictures have been taken on my Iphone 4 and then edited in Instagram. I've just purchased a new camera so I can hopefully take more professional photo's of my cupcakes!

First Order

So it got to Tuesday, the BIG day for my very first order (so to speak) fro my Mother-In-Law's birthday. As I said in my previous post, I was baking 12 Flake Bake and 12 Oreo cupcakes. I started early enough so that at least if anything went wrong I would have enough time to start again, so I started at about 2.30pm! Surprisingly everything was going smoothly, both sets of cakes had risen perfectly and so I was just waiting for them to cool enough so I could do the icing.

 I had made this icing a few times so thought there couldn't be too much that could go wrong. Well....from the offset it wasn't particularly going to plan. I had slightly over-whipped the cream so it was a bit more of a lumpier consistency. I managed to ice a couple of the cupcakes with it, but the piping bag was becoming really wet and slippery where it was seeping through. Then there was a lot of air bubbles which meant I couldn't pipe it consistently onto the cupcake. It ended up being a disaster!!

Thankfully I had bought just enough ingredients to completely start again. NO over-whipping this time!!

It had got to 6.30pm and after a kitchen filled with plumes of icing powder and spatters of icing everywhere I finally managed to ice all of the cupcakes and safely get them into their boxes.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

99 Flake Bake

Sorry I havn't posted in a couple of weeks, I've not had the best of weeks due to a stomach bug however I am feeling fighting fit again & have already been doing some more baking! Since I made my Oreo cupcakes my boyfriends Mum asked if I could make some for her birthday. She has also asked if I could do some sort of Flake cupcakes too (12 of each). I thought no problem! However, it has now loomed to two days before I have to bake them and nerves have got the better of me. She works in my old secondary school and is going to take them in for her birthday. Hence, I have had a baking session today just to do a bit of a practice!

For the 99 Flake Bake I am using the same recipe for the Oreo icing (just without the Oreos) and using a vanilla cupcake base.

In this photo I have used a chocolate base, just because I wanted to do some strawberry icing on the vanilla bases this week!

On the actual day I hope to have them looking a bit more uniform.

I then made some vanilla cupcakes and decided to make some vanilla and strawberry butter icing. The actual cupcakes came out slightly browner than usual which was a bit annoying!! Think I just needed to turn the oven down! :/

 I wanted to attempt piping roses with two tinted icing. I think the two tints worked well, however I think I should have used a large nozzle to get more definition for the rose. Plus the icing was slightly runnier than I would have usually liked it. I just added a bit of strawberry jam to flavour the pink part of the icing which worked nicely :)

Hopefully my next attempt will be better as I always think the rose piping looks amazing! If anyone has any tips out there to make it easier be my guest!!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Oreo Heaven

Ok, so this week I attempted Oreo cupcakes. I looked at a couple of recipes on the internet and came across a fabulous blog by Bakergirl. There was a recipe for Oreo cupcakes that just looked so yummy, so I gave it a go. (Hope Bakergirl doesn't mind me using it!).

I decided to use double cream Oreo's for the base just to give that extra creamy-ness.

 I took the top half off of each Oreo and put one into each cupcake case so this would become the base of each cupcake.

I then put the other half of the Oreo's into my blender which would be crushed enough to go into the icing later on.

Next came the mixing of the cake mixture.
First of all I put 85g of plain chocolate, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and 3/4 cup of hot strong brewed coffee together and whisked in a bowl. I then put this into the fridge to cool down for 20-30 minutes.

Whilst this was cooling I mixed together 3/4 cup plain flour, 3/4 cup caster sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

Next I whisked together 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. I then added this to the flour mixture and the cooled cocoa mixture.

It was a very runny consistency which made me a little nervous as I've never had a runny texture before. However I found out later on that this was normal with this mixture. Next time I think I would use a jug to pour it into the cases as it became a bit messy!

This then went into the oven at 180C for 22 minutes (to be exact!).

Next was making the icing. This was really simple. I used 1 3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons of double cream (I couldn't find whipping cream). 3 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the Oreo's I had previously blended. It had to be blended very finely to make it smooth enough to be piped out later on. I whisked all of this together until it formed stiff peaks. The Oreo's were folded in.

I had to let the cupcakes really cool down as I was worried that the cream in the icing would start to melt if they were even slightly warm.

These are the resulting cupcakes which I feel pretty proud of!

This shows the Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake. I was a bit worried it was going to rise into the middle as I had read this happened to a few people. So I was pleased they had stay put! Only thing was a couple of them did stick to the bottom of the cupcake wrappers which was a bit annoying but not the end of the world.

So overall was pleased at my first attempt of these. They are a definite hit in our household so I doubt it will be long before the next lot are made!!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Buttercream attempts

Okay, so I have had a couple of days to really practice some recipes. First of all I tried Vanilla and Chocolate Marble cupcakes. Half of them with vanilla buttercream icing and the other half with chocolate buttercream icing. Obviously vanilla was straight forward; the chocolate buttercream consisted of simmering double cream, adding it to plain chocolate to melt and then adding the usual buttercream ingredients. Was almost like a ganache I suppose?! Biggest mistake I made was not letting the unsalted butter become room temperature (as it had been in fridge!) so it just would not blend with the icing sugar. I ended up having to sieve the lumps through to try and make it smoother!!

Eventually I got to piping it onto the cupcakes. Getting to grips with the piping bag was a feat within itself! I have a couple of pictures of my best attempts. (You can see in the chocolate icing a few lumps of butter!)

The actual flavour of the cake and icing was really nice. Cake was moist and flavoursome.

My next attempt was my own combination of flavours. I am obsessed with chocolate lime sweets, so decided to make a chocolate sponge with lime buttercream icing. I used a chocolate cupcake recipe from my Primrose Bakery book and then adapted a lemon buttercream icing to a lime version. This time turned out a lot better. Only downfall was my cakes sunk in the middle slightly, so may have to adjust my timings slightly next time. Piping the buttercream was a lot easier too. I added three tablespoons of lime juice and then some green colouring just to give it a more lime "feel" even though they look yellow in the pictures!

When I next ice some cupcakes I'm not going to ice them as flat, I always think they look a bit better with a bit of height!

People's verdicts were very positive, everyone said that the lime icing wasn't too overpowering which I was a tad worried about.

Will hopefully have another week of happy baking!

Monday, 13 February 2012

My first ever blog

Hi everyone. As you can see from the title this is my first ever blog, I've never done anything like this before so bare with my first few posts! I've only recently got into baking and I can't believe that I hadn't found it before. I have become totally addicted to it. Besotted with it. In love with it. I feel like this is going to be a passion for life, lets just hope it doesn't affect my waistline too much!! As an avid "dieter" this is a bit of a funny hobby to have, but I just simply cannot resist baking and then eating cake!

I have done some simple baking to begin with. I attempted a lemon drizzle cake and some shortbread which turned out very well considering they were my first attempts. I will be doing the odd bit of baking of biscuits and larger cakes maybe even bread but at the moment my concentration is on cupcakes. There's so many designs and flavour combinations, it's almost endless! To begin with I will follow some easier recipes and hopefully progress from there. I would just like to share my passion and hopefully learn a great deal from everyone else out there who is blogging too!

Will show you my first batch very shortly :]