Friday, 28 August 2009

Floral Fantasy Cupcakes

This week, I made a batch of white chocolate and raspberry mud cupcakes for a dinner was a good excuse for me to also practice making fondant flowers, in preparation for the next iron cupcake challenge on 1 September. The cupcakes were a hit, so I thought I'd share the recipe so you can make them as well.

Here's what you will need:

125g butter, softened and chopped
100g white chocolate
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
3/4cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
Punnet of raspberries

Buttercream Icing
250g unsalted butter - softened
500g sifted icing sugar
75g white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 160°C (I used the fan forced setting also). Combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl and set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Next, gently whisk in the egg. Sift in the combined flours over the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Pour mixture into cupcake cases in a muffin tray. I filled the cases up about 1/3 of the way, then added a few raspberries, before adding more mixture.

Bake for about 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make up a batch of buttercream. Start by melting the white chocolate in a small bowl over simmering water, then leaving it to one side to cool. Next whip the butter with an electric beater until it is pale in colour (normally takes about 2-5 minutes depending on your setting), then sift in the icing sugar in batches, mixing well after each addition. Once all the icing sugar has been added, stir in the white chocolate. You can then colour your buttercream with food colouring or leave it plain. I tinted half of the mixture a light pink colour. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, or spread it on with a knife - whatever takes your fancy. I did a combination of both, then topped my cupcakes with fondant flowers I made while the cupcakes were baking. Here's what they look like:
There are more photos of these cupcakes in my photo gallery, if you are looking for decorating ideas.

Remember to store your cupcakes in an airtight container to keep them fresh for 3 days....Enjoy!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Decorating Cookies with Royal Icing

Last night I made a quick batch of cookies to take on my camping trip this weekend. I generally prefer to decorate cookies with fondant, however royal icing is much easier to use when you don't have a lot of time.

Here's my royal icing recipe:
1 1/2 cups (240g) pure icing sugar
1 egg white (from large egg)
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

Lightly beat the eggwhite and lemon juice in a bowl with an electric mixer, then gradually add sifted icing sugar, mixing well with each addition. When soft peaks start to form in the icing it is ready to use. Note: Royal icing begins to set as soon as it is exposed to air so keep the icing covered with plastic wrap while you are not using it.

Once you have made the icing, you can divide the mixture into different bowls and colour it with edible food colours. I like to use light colours, so I only add a tiny bit of colouring at a time with a toothpick, until I have the colour I desire.

Next, fill a piping bag with some icing, then pipe a line around the edge of the cookie. I have used piping tip #3 for these cookies.

Take a batch of coloured icing, and water it down slightly so it has a runny consistency. Fill the cookie with the icing, being careful not to let the icing overflow around the edges. Sometimes air bubbles appear in the icing, so have a pin or toothpick on hand to pop them.

While the icing is still wet, you may choose to pipe on different coloured icing. Patterns can be created by swirling the colours together with a toothpick.

Leave the cookies to dry for at least 4 hours, then store in an airtight container.


Monday, 3 August 2009

Pull Apart Cakes

Thanks for all of your nice comments on my iron cupcake entries. I didn't win this month but I was really thrilled to be competing against such fabulous entries. You can check them out on the iron cupcake website. Next month's theme is cupcakes of the world, so if you have any suggestions for cupcake recipes I should try out let me know.

Recently, I made my first pull apart cake for a 7-year old's football birthday party. For those of you who haven't come across these types of cake before, they are made up of a whole lot of cupcakes iced together, to form a single cake. Instead of cutting the cake into slices, everyone can just pull off a cupcake. It's a really practical technique if you need to make a large cake and don't have the right sized baking pan.....or when you are asked to make a football field. I had a lot of fun making this cake and I was so surprised at how easy it was. Here's what I did so you can have a go at making one too.

To make a rectangular field, I put 49 cupcakes on a cake board, then covered the surface, including the little gaps between the cupcakes, with green buttercream. I only spread a thin layer across the top, then piped green grass with a Wilton tip 233. I love the texture this tip creates. It is also great for making fur.

Finally, I piped white field lines with royal icing, then added plastic football players and goals to complete the scene.

Hope you have fun making pull apart cakes.

Happy Baking!

Iron Cupcake London

Tomorrow is the third round of Iron Cupcake London and it'll be the first time I'm entering in this competition. For anyone who might be interested in also competing check out

Each month entrants have to bake a cupcake that meets the theme or uses the key ingredient chosen for the month. This round, the theme is 'dessert-inspired' cupcakes. I decided to make 2 entries - banana spilt sundae cupcakes and croche-en-bouche cupcakes.

The banana split cupcakes are banana and choc-chip cake, topped with buttercream, lolly bananas, mini marshmallows and dark organic chocolate.

The croche en bouche cupcakes are made of an almond cupcake base filled with vanilla bean custard, and topped with mini profiteroles I made with piped choux pastry. The profiteroles are held together with drizzled toffee.

I hope they taste ok. I'll let you know how I go in the competition.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Oh La La

Here are some of my latest cookies, which I made for a French-themed birthday party. I decorated the Eiffel tower cookies with piped milk chocolate, and the poodles were done with two different shades of pink royal icing, plus black fondant for the berets.