Thursday, 24 February 2011

chocolate toffee sundae cupcakes

My oh MY did these go down a storm. 
A toffee filled cupcake filled with rolo pieces topped with vanilla butter cream and drizzled with chocolate ganache...I see you dribbling.  

I used the same sponge as I did for my microphone cupcakes and that same dreamy toffee sauce.

Chocolate ganache is dangerously easy to make.  I say dangerously because it's also verrry easy to eat.  I find the process if making it very satisfying.  You can do so much with it as well. You can use it straight away while it's runny as a sauce, use it as a filling for tarts, leave it to cool and use it as a filling or spread it on top of a cake.  I recently had some leftover ganache in the fridge, which i rolled into balls and then rolled in nuts, sprinkles and cocoa to make delicious truffles. EASY.

To make (dark) chocolate ganache you need
200g good quality dark choc (although something like Bournville will still work, it will be a bit sweeter and a bit less rich)
284ml carton of double cream
1tbs runny honey
1 or 2 tbp caster sugar (depending on how sweet your chocolate is)

♥ Break up the chocolate into a bowl.
♥ Heat the double cream, sugar (because the dark chocolate is quite bitter) and honey (this makes it extra shiny) in a heavy based saucepan until it is nearly boiling.  Keep stirring it so it doesn't burn round the edges.
♥ Then pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and leave it for a minute.
♥ Starting from the middle gently stir outwards until it all blends together.
♥ Keep doing this until it is all combined.

I left my ganache to cool until it was thick enough to drizzle.  Once it's cool enough you can put it in the fridge.  If it sets more than you want it to, you can put in the microwave.

Be careful not to let any water get into it as this can discolour it and give you air bubbles.

You can make ganache with milk chocolate as well, but personally I don't think it's as nice...

I made my little cherries out of sugarpaste which i varnished with a bit of confectioners glaze.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Microphone cupcakes

It was my dad's birthday this week (everyone in my life seems to be having birthdays at the moment).  As he is a singer, I decided to go for some microphone cupcakes.

I treated myself to a teeny microphone mould and used black sugarpaste to make the little things.  When they were dry, I dusted the top with some pearl lustre dust and varnished the bottom half.  These were mega fiddly but looked very cool in the end.

I then used some of that writing icing from the supermarket to lengthen the little wires and swirl them around.

These cupcakes were made with this incredible stuff.

My oh MY is it tasty.  I added a few tablespoons to my usual vanilla cake recipe along with some rolo pieces.  I then cut out the middles of my cupcakes once they were done and piped a generous dollop into the middle of each one.

On top i swirled some vanilla buttercream and sprinkles before adding the microphones.
OH and I printed out little 'happy birthday's and stuck them to cocktails sticks! 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Sugar Orchids

So I thought it was about time I learnt how to make some orchids.  I'm going to be making a wedding cake for some friends of mine and although the wedding's not til next year, the bride to be has already decided on orchids, so I'm going to get in as much orchid practise as I can.

This was my first go.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Camera cupcakes

It was my chap Tom's birthday the other day.  He is the photographer responsible for all of the beautiful photos on my blog. (The not so good ones are by me...)  And so, as his camera is his second love, I decided to surprise him with some camera cakes.  I say surprise.  I tried my best to pretend that
"Oh, I just haven't had time to make you any cakes....I always make you cakes...I thought you'd be sick of cakes..."
As if.
But still, I managed to sneakily bake and decorate them when I had the place to myself and deliver them to the restaurant we went to on the sly. Which I'm proud of.  

The actual cakes themselves were my new favourites, white chocolate and strawberry, crammed with chocolate chunks, strawberry jam and topped with white chocolate icing. Ya-hum.  They were originally a bit of an experiment, as I had some strawberry sauce and strawberry jam from a couple of farm shops, for which I am an absolute sucker...

I adapted some of my favourite recipes and came up with this:

For the white chocolate chip cupcakes (makes about 12)
110g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self raising flour
125g plain flour (plus a couple of tablespoons)
120 ml semi skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6tbs strawberry syrup

120g white chocolate
For the filling
12 tsp seedless strawberry jam

For the white chocolate buttercream (from the 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery')
200g white chocolate
120g vanilla buttercream (which is 8tbsp)
6 tbsp double cream

*Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4
*Cream together the butter and sugar for a good while, until really white and creamy.  
*Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a good few minutes after each.
*Sift and combine the two flours (not the extra 2 tablespoons).  
*Then add a third to the mixture and beat just until it's combined.
*Add the vanilla extract to the milk and then add a third of that to the mixture and beat until combined..
*Alternate between the milk and flour, using a third at a time until it's all in.
*Add the strawberry sauce.  Try and get any chunky bits of strawberry in there.
*Chop the white chocolate into small chunks and then rub flour all over them.
*Add the floury chocolate to the mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until they are spread evenly through the batter.
*Spoon into cupcake cases until they're half full.
*Bake in the oven for around 20 mins or until a sharp knife goes in and comes out of one of them clean (except for some gooey chocolate)
*Allow them to coole completely.
*Cut the middle out of each cake using a sharp knife (point it down straight and make cuts straight down, moving the knife round in a small square so that you end up pulling out a little pointy piece of cake (which you can eat!)
*Using either a teaspoon and a lot of patience or a piping bag, fill each hole with the strawberry jam.
*To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and let it cool.  
*Then, combine all the ingredients and whisk.  Keep adding icing sugar until it reaches the consistency you want.

The first time I made these, I cut out little strawberry stars using a small cutter and some fresh strawberries.  After a day the strawberry juice started to ooze out onto the icing, which was yum.

As you can see, I also made some other choccie cupcakes (because I panicked that there wouldn't be enough...)  These were chocolate fudge, with little fudge pieces and a gooey chocolate centre...

I made the cameras out of black sugarpaste. I tend to use ready coloured paste when using really deep colours.  I based it on one of these...Although I had to leave out....most things because they were teeny.  I coated them with some confectioners glaze so they looked more plasticy and if you look reeeally close, you'll see a tiny bit of edible paint at the top where it's supposed to say 'Canon'. Oh yes!
I noticed that when these were dished out, quite a few people didn't actually eat the cameras.  Possibly because they thought they were too pretty.  Probably because they didn't want to see me cry....

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Orange cupcakes

I am a big fan of these.  I mean, obviously I would say that.  But seriously Mmm.  And check out the leopard print cases which I got at Morrisons.
These were also for my Grandma's birthday do.  An orange sponge, filled with home-made orange Jam and topped with orange cream cheese icing and a very cute teeny orange.

I used the Primrose Bakery orange cupcake recipe which produced a lovely moist sponge.  I then cut out the middle and filled them with some beautiful jam.  Unfortunately I can't claim to have home-made it myself...because I didn't. However, I was lucky enough to get a bread-maker for my birthday, in which i can make jam! So I intend to do so very soon.

vanilla and Strawberry 85th birthday cupcakes

Last month, I was sat round the dinner table with my family and we were talking about birthdays. My Grandma mumbled (loudly) "Well i suppose we won't do anything for my birthday." So, of course, we did.

Last weekend we all gathered around a huge dining table at the Hendon Hall Hotel and had a traditional English tea party.  It was rather poshe. There were scones, smoked salmon sandwiches, the lot.
It was my job to provide cupcakes (would you believe) for the event.  I'm going to do separate blogs about the different ones I made.  Just to keep things neat. 
These ones were quite simple.  A vanilla cupcake filled with some delicious strawberry jam that I bought at a farm shop, with a swirl of buttercream on tome and a sugarpaste strawberry.

It's nice and easy to make sugarpaste strawberries.
You will need:
Red sugarpaste (I like to use pre-coloured red to save time and to get a really deep colour)
Green sugarpaste
cocktail sticks
lustre dust (optional)

Make a ball and then a cone out of your red sugarpaste.  Soften the point of the cone until in resembles a strawberry.
Make tiny thin sausages of green sugarpaste and lay them on top of eachother in a star shape, like this *

Then squash them together with your thumb so you have a star shape and then stick it on the top of your red cone with a dab of water.

Next make a little indentation in the middle of your green star and another little sausage for the stem.  Gently press them stem into the hole.

By now you should have something that resembles a strawberry.

Use your cocktail stick, or something similar to make little pricks in the red part, for the seeds.

I like to cover mine with a layer of pearl dust.  Just for prettiness.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Nearly Valentine's Day

Just a quicky to remind you all (not that you'd forget) that this big red mooshy day is drawing nearer.  Whether you want to surprise someone with some sugary delights or whether you want to console yourself with some, you can't really go wrong.
Get in touch at