Sunday, 23 July 2017

Choc-Chip Cupcakes

It seems everyone wants cupcakes these days! So, on a marathon baby-sitting expedition, the kids wanted to make these, for Mam and Dad.

My usual mix makes about 15, if you cut it by 25%, the mix will make a perfect 12, unless you add chocolate chips. To this mix I added cocoa powder, to make the sponges chocolatey. There's the recipe changes on the page.

Now, I never weigh the chocolate chips, but I poured into the mix about 50g or half of the bag I had.

The kids made these themselves, I weighed out the ingredients, supervised and coached as they mixed the batter. It was a joint effort.

I cooked them for about 20 minutes.

The buttercream (1.5 x the mix) was another story, I mean, I make a heck of a mess when I'm using icing sugar, so the help was with the scooping and sifting. I did the mixing, and still made a mess. My black work surfaces always turn a delicate shade of grey when I make this.

They turned out very well, I made 16 in total, four for the kids and adults in the house and the remaining dozen will be going home with the kids. I know Mam and Dad will like them, they smelled delicious, but again, none for me.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Captain Blueberry's Pirate Cupcakes

Once more I find myself saying ... "It's not everyday that my Grandson asks me for something ..." yet here I am again :)

I found myself at the school for a meeting on his progress, he has ADHD and ASD, so every progress update is important. Anyway, he was telling 'Sir' how "my Grandma makes the bestest cakes" and, in the same breath asked "Will you make me some cakes for the weekend Grandma?" I still can't say no to him, even though he's nine now.

It ended up not only being cupcakes, but blueberry cupcakes and pirate cupcakes too! So here they are.

I used my standard cake mix and added an additional 200g of fresh blueberries. I've never been a fan of cooked fruits, I prefer them raw, but I had to try. Once mixed in gently, I realised that I should have adjusted the mix to make allowances for the increase in volume that these blueberries were to add. I ended up making 24 medium sized cupcakes and I only needed 12.

The cooked for a few minutes more than usual but turned out ok.

For the buttercream, I wanted to, somehow add blueberries to that too. So, with my usual buttercream mix, double quantity for 24, I split it in half.  Half was to be plain whilst the other half was to be blueberry flavoured with the fruits.

I blitzed about 100g of blueberries to a pulp, then sieved out the bits. Now, I like a few blueberries but didn't realised that they'd be a redish colour when blitzed! This was annoying. I mixed it in the designated half of the buttercream and adjusted with some additional icing sugar to compensate for the wetness that I knew they were going to add.

Disaster! How was I going to explain to my Grandson that mushed blueberries turned the buttercream pink! I cheated! I added a small amount of violet food colour gels and it turned out perfect. A purpley blue - that'll do for me!

Once piped onto the cupcakes I added a fresh blueberry to top it off and, of course, a pirate flag. Believe it or not, I purchased pirate cupcake cases, but failed to realise that the blueberries would stain out the pirate face on the bottom. However, the flag is there, so I'm happy. 

That was the quickest, impromptu bake I've had for a long time. I just hope they taste yummy

Friday, 7 July 2017

50th Birthday Loo Roll Cake

This cake, for my brother-in-law's 50th birthday, had to be a little on the 'quirky' side to reflect his dry, yet, uniquely him kind of sense of humour.

As you may be aware, if you follow my posts, I've had some refrigerator issues since May, which were resolved, finally, this week. Just in time for this cake.

So I'm taking yet another moment to show the "nother new" fridge off  - working!

Having said all that, once these sponges were carved and on the board, they didn't fit on there anyway! Heartbreak! 

Enter, stage left, my trusty industrial sized cooling fan, which worked a treat and turned my whole kitchen into a refrigerator!

Cake #1 - The bottom

Cake one, or the bottom portion of the whole cake, consisted of mixes of my tried and tested recipe maxed up to a total of 24 eggs. I don't think it's as big as the one I made him last year though.

Covered in a mixture on 1.25kg of chocolate fondant plus 1kg of plain white and an additional 250g of white modelling paste. I used the modelling paste because I find the chocolate fondant very sticky and sometimes hard to work with. Due to the fact that we had another rare hot day (sunshine on top of cake through the net curtain for the photo shoot), it was always going to be difficult. But I did ok.

Cake #2 - The 'loo roll'

For this, I used 1.5 times the mix of 'old faithful' spread over three 6" tins. It was covered using about 750g of white fondant mixed with 250g of modelling paste and placed on its own cake card. Yes, of course I had left overs, but this will be used another time.

I used an extruder (available on Amazon as well as other outlets) and made long 'strings' to imitate the 'sheets' on the top of the roll and a little grey circle to imitate the cardboard tube void in a proper roll of loo paper.

Bringing them together ...

Once the fondant on both portions of the cake had hardened, I added the 'roll' to the top corner of the base, then rolled out a long sheet the same height as the cake, affixed one side to the 'roll' and draped the rest of the length over the cake. I also used a quilting tool to make the perforations on the 'roll'.

I had a few ideas for the wording on this cake, but chose the following - due to young children being at the garden party.

"Another year wiped away. Time for a new roll."

Hopefully, this vanilla sponge will go down well for all those who have some.

Gluten Free Cupcakes

This was to be a first for me! I'd never made anything gluten free / GF before.

I used the same recipe as I always have but changed the flour for GF flour / substitute.

I noticed that the batter mix was slightly more 'grainy' than a batter that used conventional flour, but this did not lessen the quality of the overall flavour.

I think, maybe, I suffered a little 'overkill' when making these. I double washed all my tools and utensils, made 100% sure that these cupcakes did not come into contact with any item or food product that contained gluten.  

Cupcakes - before decoration

As I jar up all my ingredients, I purchased a new tub of baking powder that was certified GF as well as making sure all my colourings and flavours were also certified GF.

Icing sugar is also GF so the buttercream topping was simply my usual mixture. 

I adjusted the mix and only used 75% of the ingredients. With good sized cupcake cases and my faithful old ice cream scoop, the recipe is perfect for 12 wonderful cupcakes.

A Little Welsh Birthday Cake

My Uncle Eric's birthday! What to do this year? How on earth was I going to top the amazing chess inspired cake from last year?  I guess I couldn't!  

I wanted to make a smaller cake, but equally interesting. Enter here a small but perfectly formed 6" chocolate sponge cake with a plain buttercream for a crumb coat and a little Welsh flair on the decoration!

I also wanted to add some dark chocolate chips in this, because I just wanted to spoil him a little more as I know he loves dark chocolate, just like me.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Sugar Skulls Birthday Cake

What on earth sort of cake do you make a girl who's not 'pink and fluffy' and doesn't like a big fuss? Well, here it is! It wasn't my first idea, but the resources I needed for my original idea are not due to arrive until after the cake has been made, but I love the simplicity of this dark, yet colourful one!

Sponge prior to all caramelised layers being removed

The sponge is coloured in a random dark grey and cherry red, which I hope cuts well, but it tastes divine, a simple vanilla flavoured sponge, covered in luscious vanilla flavoured, cherry red, buttercream

As you may have noticed over my last few blog entries, I've been having some serious issues with a new refrigerator. It seems as though I purchased a new one with a faulty thermostat, which is being fixed later today (22nd June).  With this in mind, I've had to rely on a friend and neighbour for a loan of some space in their refrigerator.

I'm not sure if the black fondant used had a problem or the fact that the 'ambient' temperature in my kitchen - 28.5°C - affected it so dramatically! It slipped and was so sticky that it became almost impossible to work with.  

I'd already pre-made the sugar skulls and painted them by hand using food colour gels.

The lace I purchased, because I'd been advised that our local weather could cause some issues, so buying pre-made edible lace was the way to go for this cake.

The red glitter roses were made on the day of decoration and added to the cake immediately, as and when required.

Into the super soft problematic black fondant, I embossed some simple flowers, but not before dipping the 'stamps' into edible glitter first.

Silver lustre dust was used to add some sparkly magic to the finished cake and my work here was done!

All that's left for me to say is
Happy Birthday Evie

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

Otherwise known as Chocolate Orange cupcakes.  I wasn't sure how these would go down with the guests, so I didn't make many - big mistake!

I used the chocolate mix from my recipe book and did not add any orange extract to this portion of the cupcake.

For the buttercream, however, I used the chocolate recipe and added some orange extract.

Before I added the buttercream, I scooped out about a tea spoon's worth of sponge from the centre of the cupcake.  To this 'hole' in added orange jelly aka jello (suitable for vegetarians). Then, rather carefully, I started adding the buttercream until the hole was covered then carried on until I finished the cupcake.

What ever else could I top this off with other than gold lustre dust! Perfection on a plate!

Lemon Cupcakes

How to kick up a storm in my house, make lemon cupcakes!

By now, you've guessed that the good old amazing recipe for this mix is pretty much always used! You can also search the internet and use the recipe for lemon drizzle cake as a base if you prefer. To my mix, I did not add lemon extract, instead I purchased something called Ready Zest,and boy did it pay off!

It's nothing more than the zest of one whole lemon and smells scrumptious to the point where your mouth waters madly, well, mine did anyway.

To the buttercream I added lemon extract instead of the vanilla and some yellow food colour gel.

To top these off and not to distract the taster from the yummy lemon-ness, I sprinkled the top with some yellow sugar decorations.

Mint-Choc-Chip Cupcakes

You'll find I use my old faithful cake mix for the base of pretty much everything, and these were no exception! To this mix, I added some American Peppermint Extract to taste plus a handful of dark chocolate chips, about 250g

For the topping, once again, I used my basic buttercream but exchanged the vanilla extract for the same American Peppermint Extract and a mint coloured green gel.

To top them off, I added some grated chocolate and two mint Matchmaker Minis

Turkish Delight Cupcakes

These went down a total storm last year, so I made a few more than usual, and I ran out in no time - again!

Using the faithful sponge mix, I added a handful of milk chocolate chips to the batter, I'd say it was about 250g, then added about 7.5ml of rose water. I don't mess about with flavourings, I use good quality extracts.

I also used a quality food colour gel to get the right colour pink. Now I can't tell you how much to use per batter mix, but starting with about 5g is a good place then add more if you need to.  Colours are all by eye and it depends on how pale  you can beat your batter 

Once more, good old faithful buttercream mix was used, but exchange the vanilla for the rose water for flavour and add some pink gel food colour until you reach the colour you prefer.

I made a tiny red bow from fondant to top this one off.

I would eat Turkish Delight all day long if I could, just the smell of it makes my mouth water.

Carrot Cupcakes

Yes, that's quite right, carrot cupcakes. I also wanted to make beetroot ones, but simply ran out of time!  

I used the same recipe as the 24 Carrot Gold cake I made back in March and will shortly be adding this recipe also to my recipe book here.

I made cute little half carrots from fondant and added them to the top as a decoration 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I don't make red velvet sponge often, in fact, the last time I made it was Cupcake Day in 2016.  As far as I can tell, there's no getting away from it, you need the buttermilk (available at all good supermarkets).  There are plenty of recipes about the internet, you need to find the best one for you.  

However, I did not use the expected topping mix for these, I used a standard vanilla buttercream topping, beat it into submission and it turned a lighter shade of pale (",)

Banana Cupcakes

I wanted such a variety of cupcakes this year and it started with banana ones. I did want to decorate these like Minions, but standing for hours on end decorating the countless cupcakes meant that my feet were killing me!

So, alas, and straight topped cupcake with a "B" on the top was all I could manage. Which worked great for the kids that visited, the little ones whose name began with a "B" wanted them because "it has my name on it."

I'll be putting my recipe for the banana bread mix in used in my recipe book soon

Alzheimer's Society Cupcake Day

This year's prize, for the guess the weight of the cake competition, was not a giant cupcake, like last years.  This year, I made a standard cake and decorated it in forget-me-nots and added my own handmade copy of their logo.

The sponge was my classic sponge mix, with my own classic buttercream filling, then covered in white fondant and decorated in absolutely loads of little blue flowers - forget-me-nots.

I raised way beyond my target, most of which was on the day and offline. To view the total, click here.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who participated and donated.
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