Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wedding cascade!

Here is my latest creation, for a wedding fair yesterday. I'm a little bit in love with the top cake. I think it's the blue and the butterflies combined! I'm a sucker for pretty things.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Coffee and Walnut Fudge Cupcakes

Om nom nom, can't stop thinking about those coffee cakes. Deeeelicious. Want a recipe?

Coffee and Walnut Fudge Cupcakes
4oz marg/butter
4oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour, sifted
2 eggs
, beaten pinch salt 1tsp coffee dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water
50g walnut pieces
4oz butter 2tbsp milk Icing sugar to taste

Makes 8 cupcakes

For the cakes

Cream butter and sugar
Beat in eggs and flour in thirds alternatively until smooth
Beat in 3/4 coffee syrup and half the walnut pieces
Bake for 14 minutes at 170'C
Leave in the baking tray for 5 minutes to cool slightly and then remove to a wire rack.

For the fudge

Melt butter on a low heat with the milk and remainder of the coffee syrup (or a bit more to taste)
At this point I measure the icing sugar by eye, but you're looking for it to be thick and smooth, but not solid (as it is still warm and should solidify as it cools)
Pipe on fudge while still lukewarm (should be warm enough to be pipeable but cool enough to hold its shape as you pipe) and top with a walnut half.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Cupcake Stands

Cupcake stands are love. I got one from my sister for my birthday and bought a pretty gold one this week. I got it from a bric-a-brac stall for Cancer Research and they were only asking £2.5o for it. Okay, so one of the little feet is missing, but it can be held up quite easily by blue tack. Obviously I paid a bit more than that, but still, nowhere near how much it would go for in the shops. I felt a bit guilty actually.

So to cover my guilt I made some lovely butterfly cakes. And then gratuitously displayed them in my new stand of joy.

Other yummy things made this week include coffee and walnut fudge cupcakes. Nom nom nom :D

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bugs :)

Well I did promise a cupcakes post. And here it is.

So my goddaughter had a 'nature' project at her school a while ago, so I found myself making 36 vanilla cupcakes (when did the class sizes get so big?!) with bugs on. Now, while I thought this would be 'orrible, it turned out to be really quite cute. I loved the hedgehogs in particular. I don't have any pictures of the snakes that my goddaughter contributed, but I assure you, they were great :)

And check out the bumblebee!

Have a good week :)


Friday, 11 September 2009

Cakes yo!

Gosh, I'm rubbish aren't I? If it makes you feel any better, I've been devoting my time to my business website . And it's all finished now and I loves it lots :-)

Right, cupcakes or cake? Cake? Oh go on then.

This is a 50th birthday cake for someone who loved toucans. Butter cream transfers all the way methinks.

And I loved doing this one. The client had a big sparkly candle that they wanted to put in the centre - which is why there's a bit of a bald patch in the middle of it :) But this is my very first modelled figure. The expression is a bit terrifying, but only if you can imagine her humming the funeral tune.

I don't know why my head works that way. But yes, butterflies. I loves me some butterflies, so when I was asked for a butterfly cake I was thrilled. There's another bigger butterfly that goes on a wire. I do love butterflies on wires.

I promise faithfully to have a cupcake post soon. Promise :-)

Have a good week y'all!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Here she comes to cake the daaaay


No more shall I hide behind crazy work loads! Here I am, back and excitable as ever. I don't actually have very many photos on this laptop (my laptop needs to have a new power box, so until that arrives I am borrowing my mum's with her kind permission) but here is a cake that I made last week for a 50th birthday.

The cake itself was lemon, with lemon butter cream, coloured fondant and hand made roses.

As this was to be delivered at 8.30am I didn't take any photos myself - this is a photo that the client kindly sent me.

As is this one, with the candles lit. The fondant looks a bit dusty in this one, maybe I should invest in shinier fondant (i.e. marshmallow I would imagine).

Righto, now I'm off to wash my hair. Not because it is dirty, but because I dyed it last night and got so absorbed in my book that the recommended 25 minutes developing time turned into 40. And now I have black hair instead of the beautiful mahogany brown that I was after. *Le sigh* sometimes I think it would be easier just to go back to having blue hair. Unfortuantely nobody takes you seriously with peacock hair and at the moment I need to be a serious businesswoman. Darn social expectations.

Until next time!


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Temporary Absence

I'd just like to a) apologise for the massive gap in posting on here and b) reassure everyone that I am still alive and well and will be posting very soon. I've had a mix of computer problems and being away travelling the country.

I have a chocolate cupcake pic post, the result of my bake swap (wow they were good cupcakes) and a few randoms thatI'm sure you're biting to see. Anyway, long story short - don't leave me! I'll be interesting soon I promise!


Saturday, 27 June 2009

Jam and Custard Cupcakes

Well, it's been three days now. You should've had time to absorb the magnificence of those banoffee cupcakes (please let me know if you try them, I delight in sharing yummy things). Which means that it's probably okay to do another post. Not that there's anything particularly special about these cupcakes. They were another experiment that semi worked and were yummy enough, but I'm not sure I'd do these again unless I needed to use up ingredients.

Jam and Custard Cupcakes

Your regular batch of vanilla cupcake batter
Your favourite jam, heated and strained to get rid of pips and to turn it into that wonderful pouring consistancy
The custard topping from the Rhubarb and Custard cupcakes of yore.

Put batter into cupcake cases, drizzle liberally with the strained jam and bake. When cool, spread another layer of jam on top before topping with the custard. In the words of Alexander the Meerkat, simples!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Banoffee Cupcakes

I'm going to share with you one of the loves of my life. For too long, I feel, have I kept this to myself. I have been selfish and arrogant. So today, I'm going to share with you the wonderful banoffee cupcakes. I even coloured the lettering in a sad attempt to impress on you all how wonderful these are.

I got the idea for these while wondering which of my favourite desserts would make good cupcakes. I've since learned that banoffee cupcakes and lemon meringue cupcakes are already popular and that pastry does not work well as a cupcake base, regardless of whether you blind bake it first or not. Although I will get back to you when I've perfected my bakewell tart cupcake.

However, I have thrown together my own recipe for these, pieced together from various other recipes that I've found along the way.

You can put a biscuit base on these - as I did for the first four or five batches - but I've found that this is a bit messy, a bit unnecessary and that people tend to complain about getting crumbs down their clothes. So I now leave out the biscuit base. It's up to you guys and your personal preference.

Banoffee Cupcakes

For the banana cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
3tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarb of soda
pinch of salt
punch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter or marg, melted
2 eggs, whisked till frothy
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

For the toffee:
Use this stuff. It will change your toffee eating life. You'll never go back. Unless you, like me, have a rubbish co-op near you that doesn't stock it. In which case, you'll need
1/3 cup brown sugar
50g butter
1 395g tin of sweetened condensed milk

For the toppings:
Whipped cream
A flake. Or some other crushed chocolate. You could use chocolate shavings if you wanted to be extra fancy :)

Make the toffee by putting all the ingredients in a pan and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until thick. This should take about 10 minutes. Don't let it boil and don't let it stand for any amount of time without stirring or it will stick to the pan and you won't be able to clean it. Ask me how I know this. Go on. Set the toffee aside to cool (don't taste it unless you've cooled it down beforehand. You don't want to skin your tongue or anything) and make the cupcake batter.

Sift all dry ingredients together and add the wet ones in the following order: butter, milk, vanilla, egg, banana. Mix well after each addition. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake for about 15 minutes on about 180'C. A medium heat anyway.

When cakes are done, leave to cool and then cut a cone out of the top of each. Fill this cone shape with toffee. About 10 minutes before you want to serve them, whip the cream until stiff and pipe on top (or if you can't find your beloved 1M piping nozzle like me, just spoon the cream on, spreading it out gently to look pretty). Sprinkle with crushed flake.

And watch as your friends propose, fall at your feet and declare their undying devotion.

You think I'm joking.

I'm not.

I'd make them for the bake swap I'm joining, but I don't think fresh cream travels well *le sigh*

Which reminds me, this is wicked cool. Basically, you sign up and get assigned a partner. You then send your partner a care package containing some homemade baked goods, a recipe card and a little gift. They return the favour. I'm honestly not sure which I'm looking forward to the most - making cakes or cookies and sending them to a stranger or receiving a random package in the mail with yummy treats in. It's only in effect in the UK, but if you live here, get involved! Or set up an American/French/Australian/insert-country-here bake swap. I'm crazy excited about it. And I just can't hide it. :-D

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day.

I love my Dad. I love him a lot. So I couldn't exactly let Father's Day go by uncake-ified.

It's a simple lemon drizzle cake with piped cream on top - very simple but very yummy. I hope he liked it anyway :-) I didn't want to make anything too sweet as he wasn't a huge fan of the fondant topping on his birthday cake. Butter cream would've been overpowering and probably quite sickly as well and a complete cover of cream would have been too cloying. So I present one of the least fussy cakes that I've made in about a year. But hopefully it got the message across. If it didn't, let me recap. Daddy, I love you enough to make you a cake. In fact, I love you a whole lot more than that but cake is how I show it. P.S. Sorry for feeding you so many calories. I'm sure you don't mind though.

He's awesome, I'm a lucky gal. Happy Father's Day Dad. xx

Friday, 19 June 2009

Birthday Cupcake Order

I had an order for 25 cupcakes yesterday, with instructions to make 'girly' cupcakes with guest's names on (on similar scrolls to the Supernatural cupcakes). So I made these cuties.

GAH! I've really got to find a way of getting non-blurry close ups. Maybe next time. Anyway. I'm a big fan of butterflies and as I was given free reign within the girly category it was pretty much inevitable that I was going to make fondant butterflies as toppers. I also made little pink and purple flowers to go on top, but I figured the cupcake would be a little busy with all the decorations going on. So I stuck to the butterflies instead :)

I don't think you can see very clearly on these, but the butterflies were embossed with little flower designs using these embossers. I adore these. Love them, love them. I first found them on CakeJournal, where she used them on these cupcakes and ordered them almost straight away. My only irritation is that I don't use them very often as I don't often use fondant on cupcakes. The fondant discs are nice and all, but they bring down the taste quite dramatically unless you lather the underneath with jam! I like the effect on the butterflies though :-)

One more photo for luck I think. The cakes are in one of my tins as she specifically asked for no packaging. I'm still waiting for her to return it actually. Ho hum.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Cupcakes for a birthday

For my birthday, my mum's friend smuggled me into the spa that she works in and paid for lunch and paid for a treatment, plus I got to use all the fabulous spa rooms, pool and loungers. It was her birthday this week and because I'm poor and have no connections to any amazing places that she could go to, I thought that the best way to say a joint thank you and happy birthday would be to make her cupcakes. I'm quite good at it after all :-)

There are an extra two crammed into the box to stop them moving around - I couldn't exactly charge her for packaging when she was getting them for free and I was a bit too skint to buy a couple of the proper cupcake boxes. :-( Anyway, so the presentation wasn't as it could've been, but in all fairness, she got an extra 2 cupcakes, so I'm sure she wasn't complaining!

There's vanilla with vanilla butter cream, mocha (coffee cupcakes with mocha icing) chocolate and rhubarb and custard.

The rhubarb and custard were made with almost 50% more rhubarb than they were made with last week and the result was a bit weird. They were hardly a cake at all in the end, but when you bit into the slightly chewy crust you got a viscous rhubarb ... almost paste. It was heavenly. Next time I'd take the rhubarb content down a bit, but only because I'm on a quest to find a cake recipe, not a cakepie. But seriously guys; yum.

My mother, who normally limits her evaluation of my food to 'very nice' or constructive criticism rang me as I was at the supermarket to tell me that they were 'criminally good' and that they were the nicest things that she's ever eaten, ever. I'd say that she's exaggerating, but she doesn't do that with my food. So I was pleased! Of course, that's dependant of tastebuds. I'd also sorted the custard topping so that it was pipable (basically by whisking the cream till stiff and then folding in enough custard to taste but not enough to ruin the consistency) and she almost fell in love with that. She had about 5 ("but only two with the topping on!") and then wondered why she felt very sick *rolls eyes affectionately*

Monday, 15 June 2009

Cake Order - 70th birthday cake

So here is the 70th birthday cake that I made and delivered for Saturday. It was a rainbow cake, covered in ganache, topped with a rainbow cupcake and fondant roses. None of this was my idea, but I think it's awesome. A very elegant and dignified cake on the outside that reveals a mad and fun side when you cut into it.

I'm also quite pleased with the colours. The photo (once again *eyeroll*) doesn't do it justice, but each colour was really vibrant, with minimum amount of food colouring, which was good.

Top is blue, middle is violet and bottom is yellow.

Then I layered them and cut of the edges to make them all the same size and to give an even side. This photo is missing the red layer, as I believe it was still in the oven or on the cooling rack.
I do like making thin layer cakes as they do cool very quickly, which makes them easier to work with quickly. Even though it takes forever to cook all the layers in the first place.

Crumb coat of ganache. This turned out to be vital as this picked up every single crumb on the outside and the finish would've been awful if I'd only done the one layer.

Final layer of ganache - this had a lovely finish to it; bright but not shiny and greasy looking. It was also a nice thickness too. My main worry was that it would be too runny, but it was almost too viscous.

250g good quality chocolate, preferably 60-70% cocoa, depending on the depth of flavour you want
100ml cream
tbsp butter

Bring cream to boil, remove from heat and stir in chocolate, returning to a low heat to melt any lumps. Beat in butter and spread over cake.

This is the cake with the cupcake and roses on. My first attempt at roses - think they went pretty well! I painted them with both peach and white lustre so that they were shiny and the white ones were slightly tinted to blend in with the peach.

Annnnd the finished cake (finally) with '70' on sprung wires. It looks like '10' but that's just the camera angle I assure you :-D

All in all, a pretty nice cake. I was quite proud of it. Especially the roses *strokes them lovingly*

Dad's birthday cake

Hey there folks!

I've got a fancy smancy cake for you and a few cupcakes as well as this, but as I'm feeling a) lazy and b) intriguing I'm going to eek them out over a few days. So this is my Dad's birthday cake. It was a coffee cake with coffee butter cream and was delicious (although my Dad ate the fondant rope and then complained that the cake was too sweet. Well, yes, it would be if you ate the decorative bit made of 90% sugar. The cake itself was fairly unsweetened actually :-)

Coffee Cake

8oz butter
8oz sugar
4 eggs, beaten
8oz flour
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water

Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, add egg and flour in batches, a little bit at a time. Adding the flour in stops the mixture curdling and losing air. A tip my Grandma taught me. :-) Add the coffee at the very end - all of it if you want a strong coffee taste, less if you want the flavour to be quite subtle. I found that this cake wasn't overpowering but did taste distinctively of coffee.

Bake for about 20 minutes (or until golden and bounces back when you touch it) at about 180'C.

What's weird is that I really like coffee cake but hate coffee. One of my all time favourites is coffee and walnut fudge cake.... mmmm... okay, I'll be making that some time this week!

And you can have a few pictures of the decorative process as I took them and there's nobody else interested in them :-D

Here's the cake in two leveled halves (I say leveled, I actually didn't level them at all as they turned out beautifully flat. Go me)

Note to self: next time, use less butter cream on the outside. Delicious it may be, but it causes your fondant icing to bulge out unattractively at the bottom, like an obese Aunt.

Just like that, y'see? And I've just noticed my freaky stubby hands in the corner of the photo. I believe I was moving the board around at the time. Also, note a trend - amateur cakes that I'm not selling get presented on crappy chopping boards (or microwave plates if I don't have a chopping board big enough). I'm sure this is perfectly acceptable. And thankfully my friends and family don't seem to notice/care.

And here is the finished cake. I got a tad carried away with my new edible pen and so the tails of the balloons are a bit... long and wiggly. All in all a simple celebration cake.

Happy Birthday Daddy - I love you!

Maag xx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A tired mind gives you photos

A bit of a strange post I guess. I've got a few Oreo cupcakes, a few toffee cupcakes, a brand new cupcake stand and a couple of peach roses to show you :-)

Pic spam? Oh go on then.

So here is a fairly vague shot of cupcakes. We like cupcakes, we know this. The speckly ones are Oreo (I've not made them before, but they were lovely. Not quite Oreo enough for me, I think I'd put them with Oreo butter cream to finish it, but I ran out of cookies and the poor cakes were saddled with vanilla butter cream instead. With a hint of almond. Because I shake things up like that *winks*)

And here is my cupcake stand that my awesome sister (the same one that made the glorious cake) gave me for my birthday. I'm still working out how to best love this. I think I'll adorn it with some wedding-style cupcakes next week (gotta build me a portfolio yo) and see if that does it justice. We shall see. The photo definately doesn't do it justice. You've got to see it in person. It's glorious. :-)

What next? Ah yes, the combination of the finished cupcakes and the cupcake stand of joy. I was really quite happy with how these turned out, particularly as this is my first foray into the world of chocolate pretties.

I took these into my old work to say hi and I've got to show you the way they looked in the box because I had a very childish squee over how professional they looked. I need to work on my photography though. Apologies for that :)

I've also got a cake order for Friday, an elegant ganache and rose cake that just happens to also be a rainbow cake (I think the idea is that you think that the cake is a very mature and pretty 70th birthday cake and then when you cut into it you see all the pretty colours. I've just got to get my layering right lol). And part of the decoration involves fondant flowers. So I figured I'd make some roses to go on top.

That was an awful photo. My sincere apologies. Try this one.

I've got to say, I'm really quite proud of my very first rose attempt. :D

Right, I'm off to bed. You may have gathered from the overall tone of this post that I'm quite tired... but you would be too if you'd spent nearly 24 hours out of the last 48 in a hot kitchen. I know, I know, you'd think a hot kitchen would be my ideal place - and it is normally - but the fun gets taken out of it somewhat when you're cooking what someone else has decided goes on the menu and when you're cooking to a time limit. Saying that though, I do like my job at Jacqueline's and it's definately perfect for me - they're so flexible about when I work. I've been there nearly 5 years now, first as a Saturday girl, then as a holiday girl (term time I worked in Accessorize, yay!) from Uni.

Bah. My jobs are not interesting, but there's a bit of Maag-trivia for you. Hold it close and cherish it.

ARGH! Right, I'm going to bed now, my tired addled brain is crying. Night all!

Maag xx

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Maag's 21st Birthday Cake

In the next week or so there should be three new cakes, plus (hopefully) a wedding cupcake display, but for now I want to show you my own birthday cake.

My baby sister (who is not as much as a baby as I say she is, but is still not as old as she thinks she is) made me my birthday cake. My birthday was Friday the 5th and apparently she spent weeks online choosing different designs and combining them to make the perfect Laura-cake!

Before I show you it I should probably mention that red and white polka dots are my favourite pattern in the whole wide world. My blog is red and white; most of my cooking impliments are red and white - some with polka dots; I have shoes that I adore with red and white polka dots... you get the picture. And so she made me this:

She's never done any cake decorating at all, this is her very first attempt. Which is a hell site better than my first attempt, let me tell you! Mum helped her a very little bit with the white cover fondant, but I'm told that she did everything else. :-)

I love it. I love it a lot.

Although I wasn't thrilled when I brought it back for my housemates to try and they declared it a better carrot cake than mine. Especially as she's never made carrot cake before either! I'm telling myself that it's because mum was helping her make it and hers is better than mine anyway (mine is delicious, but always a little more dense than hers). Please, for the sake of my ego, could nobody correct me on this? Kthx :-)

Carrot cake is my favourite cake as well. I don't know if it's the cream cheese icing (I could eat that with a spoon) or the cake or the combination, but I love it.

So thank you very much Holly, I love you very much! xx

Sunday, 31 May 2009

X Men Cake

So it was my 21st birthday party yesterday. My birthday isn't actually until Friday, but it was a joint party so we had it between our birthdays. I baked for three days to make enough yummy things to eat (unsurprisingly, there are a few leftovers, but nowhere near as many as I was expecting!) I made everything bite sized, so that it was easy to snack on and I now have at least three recipes that I will share with you in the near future because WOW were they good.

I actually made (in the end)

1) Vanilla cupcakes with butter cream
2) Chocolate cupcakes with marbled vanilla and toffee butter cream
3) Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon dust
4) Banoffee cupcakes with toffee and cream toppings (I will share this recipe at some point. It's one of my absolute favourites and people practically maul me when I produce them)
5) Malibu and coconut chocolate cookies (I adapted another recipe, but will share this because I actually have to restrain myself from eating the lot)
6) Lemon cloud cookies that I wasn't overly impressed with, they weren't lemony enough for me and the texture was almost floury.
7) Black and White cookies that were delicious, but really cake-y, rather than the biscuit I was expecting. I followed the original recipe's suggestion to sub almond extract for the lemon juice in the topping and they ended up tasting a whole lot like bakewell tart. Which, according to my friend Rachel, made them even better. I think she ate about 8, lol.

I'm a bit miffed (oh what an English word) that there aren't many photos of my mini cake bites anywhere, I was too busy arranging the party to worry about actually taking photos. If I find any I'll put them up, because not only did it look super professional, it also looked incredibly cute. I actually didn't want anyone to eat them at first because it looked so good. I'll make them again though, worry not. If only because I love my new silicone petit four baking tray so much that I simply have to use it again!

The birthday cake itself went from an excellent and exciting creation to a slightly crappy version of what I wanted because my oven broke just before I could bake it. Which I didn't realise until I'd cooked (and ruined) the first carrot cake. It doesn't help that the entire food spread was wheat free (the person that I was sharing the party with is a Coeliac) and so the cakes are quite difficult to cook anyway. And by the time I'd utilized my friend's oven, I didn't have the time to spend on the prep of the cake as I wanted.

So instead of having a two layered bottom tier, we only had one, which made the cake look very squat. And the carrot cake wasn't leveled out or tidied up round the edges, which gave the top tier a very bobbly, uneven finish, which was a tad annoying, but I literally had half an hour in the end to ice and decorate it.

So my great apologies for the amateur look of this cake (and I had such grandeous plans as well!) but it really was the best I could do with the time constraints and the broken oven.

Also, the only picture I have of it has me in (as the Scarlet Witch, did I mention that the party was X Men themed? I should point out that I have put on someone else's mask - I do know that the Scarlet Witch doesn't wear one :-P)

My red gloves and cape seem to have disappeared as well. And I'm kneeling down, my kitchen counters aren't head height.

That's the X Men logo on top, with a 'V' and an 'L' for the birthday girl's initials and, of course, the standard '21' to signify how old we are. The blue and yellow fondant balls around the edge are in the X Men colours.

Once again though, despite the not great quality look of the final cake meant nothing to it's final taste. Somehow the oven breaking down half way through cooking one of the tiers and the ferrying of cake tiers half way across Reading and the last minute That-Tier-Is-Ruined-I'll-Have-To-Make-Another-One-Oh-Cr*p-I've-Got-Two-Hours, didn't affect the yumminess of it all.

Of course I now have a half a 12" chocolate cake and half a 10" carrot cake to make my way through. Oh noes.

<3 Maag

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Supernatural Cakes and Cupcakes Order

*collapses in a heap*

Okay, that was hectic. So I finished and delivered my first proper cake order last night. The Supernatural one (the practice cupcakes are on my blog somewhere) and it was all very last minute. My timing was not great, but it all got done and looked good in the end (although I couldn't help feeling that it looked unfinished) and I know that it tasted great (cook's perks - tasting frosting and cake trimmings).

Yes this is me attaching fondant balls to the outside. I had a few disasters with this cake, including the devil's trap falling apart twice. And I seriously could not have done it without my Mum (she did the fondant Sam and Dean) and my little team of helpers - my friends that I brought for an idyllic two day holiday trip to Bath and ended up using and abusing, as they put the scrolls out on the cupcakes, boxed them all and then made a box to put the leftover cake in. It took 3 students, all of whom have just finished a degree, 45 minutes to make a 3" by 3" box :-D All I could hear from the other room was "we're ENGLISH students! We can't do this! We need a mathematician!" But it was an awesome box when it was done :)

So yeah, here is the finished cake (chocolate chip with chocolate buttercream if you were wondering).

And a side view of Dean (Sam being the possessed one on the top of the cake)

And the 37 cupcakes made to go with this order:

One third vanilla with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles, one third chocolate with chocolate buttercream and one third (gluten free) marble cake with marbled icing.

They moved around in the box a bit, although the icing had crusted enough for that not to matter. I'm going to look into a more fool-proof method of transporting cupcakes I think.

And that was my SPN order :-)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

The May challenge for the Livejournal community bakebakebake is 'custard'. You have to incorporate this into some form of baking. So, as I adore cupcakes, I made Rhubarb and Custard cupcakes. I had a quick look on the internet, but there aren't any recipes for this (although there are a couple for Rhubarb and Custard muffins, which I didn't like the look of) so I was able to make it up happily, without fear of plagiarism.

So this is my own recipe, thrown together from a number of pre-existing recipes no doubt. The confectioner's custard isn't my own recipe though, that can be credited to the Rick Stein Cookbook that I got for my 18th birthday. But even that I changed a little bit.

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

For the cake:
40z butter
40z caster sugar
40z plain flour

1tsp baking powder
1/4 bicarb of soda

2 eggs, beaten

For the Rhubarb:
2tsp sugar
enough rhubarb to make about 5oz when stewed
2 tsp water

For the custard:
2 Egg yolks,
2oz caster sugar
3/4 oz (20g) cornflour
3/4 oz (20g) plain flour
10fl oz (300ml) milk
1tsp vanilla extract
150ml double/whipping cream.

First, peel, chop and stew the rhubarb (by combining water, rhubarb and the 2tsp sugar and cooking over a low heat until almost mushy. I didn't stew down completely, leaving quite a few small lumps in. I would probably stew it even less next time to have even more lumps as these gave quite a nice texture to the cake. It's a personal preference thing). I forgot to weigh the rhubarb before I cooked it, which means that I can't tell you how much is it takes to make 5 1/2 oz stewed, sorry. I wouldn't worry too much though, as the amount of rhubarb in these cupcakes is determined by how much I had. So guess.

Set this aside and let it cool. Then make the confectioners custard. You'll need to put the egg yolks, sugar, two flours and 2 tbsps of the milk into a bowl and mix together until smooth. I used a whisk, just to make sure there were no lumps at all. Put the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep watching it, because when it starts to boil it will triple in size and boil over if you're not careful. Pour the boiling milk into the egg mixture slowly, whisking constantly as you do until you have a smooth mixture. Pour this back into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring (or whisking) constantly until you have a nice thick custard. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover the custard with a layer of cling film (cling wrap/ plastic wrap for Americans) pressed gently onto the surface of the custard to stop a skin forming.

Transfer this to the fridge and allow to cool completely. Preheat oven to 180'C. Now for the actual cake. Cream together the butter and the sugar and gradually add beaten eggs (adding a tablespoon of flour if the mixture starts to separate). Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt and fold into the butter, sugar and eggs. Once combined, add in the stewed rhubarb and mix in well.

Half fill muffin cases with mixture. As this was a first time cake recipe, I experimented a bit with different combinations. The first six I filled 2/3 full with the rhubarb mixture, the middle three I filled 2/3 with rhubarb mixture and put a dollop on custard on top, and the last three I half filled with rhubarb, put a dollop of custard in and then covered the custard with more rhubarb. Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch and take out and leave to cool. These photos are a bit rushed and not as clear as I'd like, primarily because I had to rush to collect my mum from work and I wanted to take them as taste testers (nothing brings people out of the woodwork faster than cakes. I turned up to see two people and within 3 minutes of bringing these out there was an entire crowd!)

The cakes without custard baked into them had the confectioners custard as topping. To make it into a topping, I whipped 150 ml of cream (I used double as they didn't have whipping, but either will do) and folded it in to make a lighter topping. Next time I think I will do double the cream as the end result was not stiff enough to pipe or even hold its shape. It was amazingly yummy though.

I also didn't have my muffin pan with me (I was baking at my parent's house) so the cupcakes came out all sorts of funny shapes. And because the cake was weighed down with the rhubarb, it didn't rise. Which, normally would irritate me, but the texture of the cake was so beautiful that I couldn't complain.

I'm definitely making this again (I'll have to, I have an order for a rhubarb and custard cake for a birthday - apparently my mum liked them so much that she was recommending them to her friends at church and I got an order out of it!) as I'd like to sort out a pipable custard topping and maybe have a few more chunks of rhubarb in the cake itself. I also want to experiment with the sugar levels, although I have to admit, the sugar that I used made the cakes tart enough to taste properly, but sweet enough not to be unpleasant, so I was pretty happy with that :-)

All in all, a bloomin' good success I'd say!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Verity's Birthday Cake

So as a general rule I think I'll only post the good cakes on here, but as this was the MOST delicious cake ... ever... I think I'll make an exception for this. First let me note what was not good about this cake.

1) I made it the day before. Normally this is fine, but I used a hell of a lot of food dye to make the colours as bright as I did (I could've used less, but hindsight is a wonderful thing) and when I actually delivered the cake they'd started to run into the other icing. Cue an unhappy Maag.

2) It was my second time using butter cream transfers and I did it slightly wrong in my zeal to do it correctly. I have, however, figured out what I did wrong and will not be doing it again. So my next one will be a lot better.

3) The cake board I used was actually a microwave plate (I'm a poor student and it wasn't a professional cake so I didn't bother with the formalities) and was too small. So quite a lot of the icing fell off the sides. It was a butter cream massacre. We took it to Nandos and the entire table got covered in it. Like I said, it was an amateur cake so I didn't bother with a cake board, but I really, really should've!

4) The Hogwarts crest was actually off centre because I was expecting to put another scroll underneath, but due to bad measurements it didn't fit. It looks okay with candles, but I was cringing when I did it.

Yeah. So as I'm a complete perfectionist, I deem this cake a big failure. Thankfully Verity was thrilled, so it wasn't a big deal in the end. And it tasted incredible (I'm really getting the hang of this gluten free thing) so it was completely fine.

Want a gluten free chocolate cake recipe? I tell you what, I won't bother because it is essentially the same as my chocolate chip cupcake recipe, but I replaced regular flour with gluten free flour and 2tsp Xantham gum (good stuff, cooking with GF flour is a lot harder without it) and doubled (maybe tripled?) the quantity to make a bigger cake. The butter cream was just regular butter cream with cocoa tipped in until I liked the taste.

That's how I cook people. By taste, look and instinct. :-)

So you probably want to see it?

Fine. But it isn't good.

Okay, well it looks okay in this one, but this was when it was first made and the lines hadn't blurred. And the coloured bits on the side were little 21's that looked RIDICULOUS, so I ruined it a bit more by replacing them with white chocolate shavings...

... and chocolate frogs. Less inventive next time Maag! Less inventive! This is the top the day I delivered it. Should've stuck with the first side design as well, I know. Well, chalk it up to experience. It's just annoying, as this could've been a really good cake!

Yeah, it bled too. I mentioned that didn't I? Well the candles helped sort out the off centre thing at least. Oh, and the crest thing? Hand drawn baby. All by me :)

Aaaand the inside. That giant blob of butter cream is... a giant blob of butter cream. Covering a couple of chocolate frogs.

There you go then. I have a Supernatural cake and an Xmen cake to make in the next few days as well :-)

Much love,

Maag x