Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

With Halloween done and dusted my attention has turned towards Bonfire Night and of course the cakes that I want to make to celebrate. For this little project, I could have gone down the decoration route with firework inspired icing, but what I really wanted was to make some really tasty seasonal cakes. Toffee apples are synonymous with the 5th November and I just happen to love the flavour combination so my theme was set.
The cake I made is a dark brown sugar victoria sponge with grated bramley apple stirred through. I added some cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter also. The frosting is a buttercream with toffee sauce beaten through it, I reduced the amount of icing sugar to avoid sugar overload (well kind of). The bramleys work so well, you need that sharpness to offset the sweetness of the icing. To finish the cakes I made some little sugarpaste apples, I think a wafer thin apple crisp would look lovely too!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Floral Birthday Cupcakes

I love making sugar roses and it's a good job! They are by far the most requested decoration, daisies coming a close second. I can see why, they're my personal favourite too and I love the fact that they're ageless, these cakes are for a four year old's birthday party. The barbie pink and lilac colour scheme is so girly and of course I couldn't resist a little (lol) glitter, well four year old girls love glitter.
The frangipani flowers are a new edition, I think they work quite well with the roses and daisies. My next cake will also include roses, but with a new decorating style for me to try out. I'm really excited and hope I get some good photos to add to my blog.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pretty Pastel Christening Cakes

It was my nieces Christening yesterday, I not only had the honour of being her Godmother but also of making the Christening cakes. For me it's a huge honour to be able to make the cakes for such an important day in my nieces life. My sister in law wanted a stand full of pretty pastel cupcakes but as a surprise I made a double victoria sponge topped with vanilla frosting to go along side. I decorated the cake to match the cupcakes but made the flowers that little bit larger. The cake was finished with a name plaque featuring a pearl encrusted cross.
The Christening was a gorgeous day filled with family fun and great sunny weather. We spent the afternoon watching the children play as we sat by the lakeside setting.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Orange & Cinnamon Cooked Frosting

Autumn has really set in. The weather has grown colder, the evenings darker and the trees are turning to gorgeous russet and amber colours.
I love autumn, the weather and food really suit me. Meals get heartier and more comforting and are enjoyed all cosied up in the warm.
As I'm feeling autumnal I decided to bake something to reflect my mood. Pumpkins are a big favourite of mine and every year I try new ways of cooking with them. To me, they scream autumn at full volume, how could they not with  Jack o' lanterns being such a huge part of the halloween celebrations.
For this recipe I also tried a cooked frosting for the first time. I'm so pleased with the result, the mildly spiced cupcakes, moist but light go beautifully with the ultra light and whippy frosting (a must for anyone who doesn't like oversweet frosting).
I created this cake recipe by adapting various other recipes.
From this mixture I made 12 cupcakes and a small slab cake which I left uniced to have warm with cream or icecream.
Happy autumn blogland! xxx


4 eggs

1 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup dark brown soft sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
12oz pumpkin puree
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
good grating fresh nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 160oc.
Put the eggs, sugars, oil and pumpkin puree into a food processor and blitz until all mixed and well combined.
Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.
Pour the pumpkin mixture from the processor bowl into a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Whisk the mixture in gently until smooth and combined (don't over mix).
Spoon the mixture into your cake cases and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The cakes should be golden, spring back to the touch and a cake tester should come out clean.
Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Cooked frosting Ingredients
5 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup caster sugar

grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon


In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It took me around 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. You can place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools if you are in a hurry. Stir in vanilla. This mixture must be completely cooled in order for the frosting to work.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture, orange zest and cinnamon (if using) and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Make sure you scrape down the sides every so often so that it all gets incorporated and whipped. If it's not looking like whipped cream, keep on whipping. This frosting is great for piping. Best served the same day.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Friday, 24 September 2010

Chocolate Orange Cake

When my lovely friend Brenda from Tea and Wheaten Bread suggested this recipe to her forum buddies I knew it had to be good. The original cake is a slab cake but I decided to make it in a round tin this time. The cake is so very orangey and has a rich quite grown up taste. For me, this cake would be fantastic warm with cream as a pudding, but to be honest it's going to taste great any way it's served.
We're a family of chocolate orange lovers. To make it more fun for the kids, I have in mind to make this recipe with bright orange frosting (using another new recipe that I just discovered) and decorated with chocolate orange segments. Would look great for Halloween too!

Brenda's Chocolate Orange Cake


250g Butter or Margarine
250g Dark brown sugar
200g S.R Flour or plain flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder (sifted)
50 g cocoa powder
3 Eggs (beaten)
2 large tablespoons marmalade
Rind of two oranges and juice of one

2-3 tablespoons orange juice
2oz icing sugar

A few squares of chocolate melted with a little oil or butter (optional)


Pre Heat your oven to 180.C/160.C Fan/400.F/Gas 6

Grease and line a shallow baking tray 24 cms x 33 cms/ 13 inches x 9 1/2 inches.

Leave an over hang lengthwise of your lining paper so the cake can be removed from the tin easily.

Melt butter and marmalade in microwave on 50% power or in a large saucepan on the hob.

Stir in sugar, then the flour and cocoa powder, add the eggs, orange zest and juice from the oranges (reserving about three tablespoons of juice for drizzle icing.) stirring well. A whisk is good.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for approx 20 - 30 minutes until the cake is springy to touch.

Leave in the tin until cold before removing

Sieve the icing sugar and mix with the juice giving a fairly runny icing.

Drizzle over the cake

Melt the chocolate and oil if using and drizzle over.

Cut into squares/fingers

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Baking with Mum

My little girl is as baking crazy as I am. We bake cakes together every week, I try to introduce a little variety but week in week out her favourite recipe is vanilla cupcakes. For a girl who used to turn her nose up at frosting she certainly makes up for that now! We don't get much variation in the colour scheme either but I suppose I should embrace her love of all things pink and pretty before she grows out of this lovely phase.
When baking with the kids, I try to let them do all aspects of the cooking. This normally means ditching the stand mixer or processor and going back to a large bowl and wooden spoon. They (my little boy joins in too) sit up on the work top along side a bowl that is nearly as big as them and armed with their favourite wooden spoons they get stuck in.
For these cakes we made a victoria sponge mix covered in a cream cheese frosting. The piping of the icing is the trickiest bit for a four year old so we both do it together. The decoration is left completely up to the kids. My daughter is surprisingly neat and very artistic. I think she's going to make a fantastic baker, my son on the other hand is definitely going to be more of a taster!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A busy month of baking

It's been far too long since I last blogged. The reason is that I've been busy baking and selling cakes. After lots and lots of requests I finally decided to make cakes for friends and friends of friends. I still want to keep it small, fearing that I'll lose my love of baking if it becomes a chore. What's emerging from these orders is an unexpected ability to create sugarpaste models and decorations. Who knew! I started by buying ready coloured sugarpaste but have since moved on to colouring my own. I'm going to venture into making my own marshmallow fondant in the coming weeks, keep an eye out for a post showing the outcome- fingers and toes crossed!
Here are a few pictures of my creations. As ever there's work to be done and skills to be learned, but this is me now.