I have been away for a couple of weeks on a little cupcake pilgrimage to my favourite place in the world, New York. I had the most wonderful time away but as always it is great to be back at Buttercream Bakery, sugar dusted and ready to go.
Unfortunately I had to go away before I had the chance to tell you all some exciting news!
I was asked to create an exclusive miniature sugarcraft tutorial for Cake Masters Magazine and I am delighted to say that it is featured in the April issue.
The special miniature sugarcraft issue of the magazine features loads of unbelievably beautiful work from so many incredible artists and I am so happy to be included among them.
You can pick up your copy of Cake Masters Magazine at your local WHSmiths or from the App Store.
It's Better for You Baking time again and you are going to absolutely love this glorious guilt free recipe.
My Better for You Peanut Butter Cups are so much healthier than store bought Peanut Butter Cups which I must admit I have always loved. I could probably eat a million Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but I don't because the ingredients are pretty terrible and the guilt kicks in after the 3rd or 4th....maybe 5th.
The ingredients in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are:
Mmm yummy, PGPR, Emulsifier and TBHQ, sounds delicious!
So what is a girl to do?
Make her own, of course.
Homemade is always best and that is really the ethos behind my Better for You Baking series, you can still enjoy all the things you love, you just have to tweak things a little.
The key to these little peanut butter cups is great chocolate, I recommend using dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, I have used chocolate containing 85% cocoa solids. Choose a really good organic peanut butter too, ideally one that contains nothing but peanuts. I have also used cashew nut butter but you can replace this with more peanut butter or use another nut butter of your choice.
Wait till you taste these! Eating a healthier diet doesn't have to be difficult and it can definitely still be peanut butter filled and chocolate covered.
Mini Peanut Butter Cups
150g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids)
1 tsp coconut oil
75g organic peanut butter
50g cashew nut butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla paste 20 x mini cupcake cases 1) Line up 20 mini cupcake cases on a flat move-able surface such as a cookie sheet or baking tray and set aside.
2) Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water), add the coconut oil and stir continuously until the chocolate has just melted. Remove the chocolate from the heat and continue to stir until slightly cooled and thickened. Divide the melted chocolate into two equal portions. 3) Transfer one half of the chocolate to a piping bag or squeezy bottle or using a small spoon, pipe or spoon chocolate into the bottom of each cupcake case. Fill each mini cupcake case with just enough chocolate to cover the base in a thick layer. Take a small paintbrush or use the back of a small spoon to brush the chocolate a little way up the sides of each mini cupcake case. Set your chocolate filled cupcake cases aside. 4) In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, cashew nut butter, coconut oil and vanilla paste. Take your chocolate filled cupcake cases, the chocolate should be partially set by this point, transfer the nut butter mixture to a piping bag, squeezy bottle or simply use a small spoon to evenly pipe or spoon the nut butter mixture on top of the chocolate layer you created in step 3. 5) Take the remaining half of melted chocolate you reserved in step 1 and transfer to a piping bag, squeezy bottle or use a small spoon to pipe or spoon a layer of chocolate over the peanut butter. Place the peanut butter cups in the refrigerator until set. Enjoy!
It feels like it has been a while since I have shared a recipe.
My blog, as always reflects my life and both have gone sugarcraft crazy lately.
I baked these glorious little cakes on my first day off in three weeks, I was so excited to get my home bake on!
It has been raining here for so long, I was struggling to remember a time when it wasn't wet, grey and muddy but finally this week the sun peeked through the clouds. It was as if everything immediately rejoiced, including me and all of a sudden none of my wintry bakes seemed very fitting.
Springtime at our little cottage is magical, Daffodils are popping up all around us, the birds are chirping in the trees, the Bantams are waddling about, the chickens are lounging in the sun beneath the beautiful blue sky and the bunnies are binky-ing their little butts off.
So in honour of springtime I'm bringing the bright, fruity flavours back.
These beautiful sticky little loaf cakes are absolutely bursting with blueberries, the syrup gives them a sticky, sweet, orange scented outer, the sponge is light, fluffy and generously studded with blueberries, that burst into beautiful bright purple swirls. The sweetness of the sponge and the sharp fruity blueberries are complemented with hints of vanilla, honey and zesty orange.
These gorgeous little loaves are delicious freshly baked and (as my boyfriend insists), even better the following day.
Sticky Blueberry Mini Loaf Cakes
Makes 6 mini loaf cakes
For the Blueberry Loaf Cakes:
120g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
85g unsalted butter, room temperature
85g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
zest of one orange
175g fresh blueberries
For the Sticky Syrup:
50ml freshly squeezed orange juice
50g golden caster sugar
1 tsp honey
1 x 6 cavity mini loaf pan or 6 x disposable mini loaf cases
Preheat the oven to 170C
Start by preparing your mini loaf pan or mini loaf cases. If you are using a mini loaf pan, grease 6 cavities and set aside. If you are using disposable mini loaf cases simply line them up on a baking tray or cookie sheet and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture with each addition to prevent curdling.
Add the vanilla paste and orange zest and beat to combine.
Using a rubber spatula fold the remaining flour into the mixture.
Add the blueberries and gently fold them through the batter.
Divide the mixture between the 6 cavities of your mini loaf pan or 6 mini loaf cases and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of each loaf comes out clean. The cakes should be well risen and golden brown.
While your cakes are baking, prepare the syrup. Combine the orange juice, golden caster sugar and honey in a small saucepan a place over a low heat, swirling the pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Remove the little cakes from the oven and pour syrup evenly over the top of each little loaf. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from their cavities or cases.
I designed this little miniature patisserie cupcake topper taking inspiration from my favourite patisserie, Ladurée.
The most complicated part of this tutorial is adding the decoration to the little pink three tier cake. It is not that it is particularly difficult, just a little fiddly. I recommend taking it slow and having a tea break half way through.
Before you start, here are a few notes:
You can affix all of your pieces using vodka or edible glue.
The alcohol in the vodka evaporates so you do not need to worry about tasting it. If using vodka, I recommend using a very small paintbrush, dip it in vodka and pat of any excess liquid on a paper towel before brushing your decoration along the area you wish to affix. Less is more, use vodka or edible glue sparingly, you will not need much.
I have given measurements and weights where possible. I use a small set of spice scales to weigh out my sugarpaste. These measurements are only a guide however and you can definitely make these decorations without weighing the sugarpaste. Just keep comparing pieces to ensure continuity of size.
When you are not using your sugarpaste be sure to seal it in airtight containers otherwise it will dry out and become unusable.
You will more than likely have a little sugarpaste left over at the end of this tutorial, save it for later use.
Work on a clean surface, a silicone mat is ideal but you can lay out a sheet of greaseproof paper if you do not have one.
Use a little cornflour to dust the surface of greaseproof paper when rolling out sugarpaste to avoid sticking. Again less is more, dust sparingly. You can clean any cornflour marks off of the sugarpaste using a vodka dipped paintbrush, make sure the sugarpaste is dry before you do this.
Wash your hands regularly and keep all of your tools clean to avoid transferring colours or small dust particles etc.
Allow the topper to dry completely before moving or using to top a cupcake.
Read the tutorial all the way through before you begin.
To make this miniature patisserie cupcake topper you will need:
25g light green sugarpaste
25g light pink sugarpaste
10g brown sugarpaste
10g white sugarpaste
1g red sugarpaste
small rolling pin
small artists scalpel
vodka or edible glue
round cutter measuring 5cm in diameter or homemade template
rectangular cutter measuring 4cm x 2cm or homemade template
Roll out with a small rolling pin 25g of light green sugarpaste and using a round cutter or template, cut out a circle measuring around 5cm in diameter.
Set the circle aside to dry and store any left over sugarpaste for later use.
Take 7g of light pink sugarpaste, roll into a ball and flatten into a plump disk. Repeat with a 3.5g piece of light pink sugarpaste, followed by a 1.5g piece of light pink sugarpaste.
You will now have three plump pink disks.
Stack the disks on top of each other, biggest at the bottom and smallest at the top.
Fix each one into place on the top centre of the disk below, using a small dab of vodka or edible glue.
You should now have something that looks like a little pink three tier cake.
You now need to decorate your cake.
Start by creating the 'frosting' along the base of each cake layer. Roll out three long thin threads of white sugarpaste, each one should be long enough to wrap around the base of each tier.
Wrap the longest thread of sugarpaste around the base of the largest cake tier and affix in place with a small paintbrush dipped in vodka or edible glue. Use a small scalpel to trim off any excess if necessary.
Repeat with the two remaining lengths of white sugarpaste and the remaining tiers of your little cake.
Using the blunt side of a scalpel, mark the white sugarpaste, at regular intervals as shown below.
Continue until all of the white threads are marked all of the way around.
Now you need to create the swag effect.
Take another piece of white sugarpaste and roll out another three long thin threads, one approximately 12cm in length, one approximately 9cm in length and one approximately 7cm in length.
Shape each thread into a wave shape as shown, curving the sugarpaste downward creating little semi circles and bringing back up into raised points.
You will need to create 6 semi circles for the base tier of your cake with the longest thread of sugarpaste, 5 for the middle tier with the 9cm thread of sugarpaste and 4 for the top tier with your shortest 7cm thread of sugarpaste.
Affix the entire length of each thread around the corresponding layer as shown, taking care to maintain the shape.
Once you have completed the swag for each tier you will need to make the little tear drop shapes that sit in between the semicircles or loops of swag you have just created.
Simply take 1g of white sugarpaste and divide into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a teardrop and use a small paintbrush and a dab of edible glue or vodka to affix one teardrop at the point each semi circle of swag meets the next (the peaks or high points of your wave).
You will need 6 teardrops for the base tier, 5 teardrops for the middle tier and 4 teardrops for the top tier.
Inspect the little layer cake from all angles, insuring that all the detail is nice and even. If you do need to adjust anything do so with a small paintbrush.
Set the little cake aside to dry.
Now you need to make the little rectangular layer cake slices.
Take 10g of brown sugarpaste and roll out to around the thickness of a 2p coin. Either using a rectangular cutter or homemade template, cut out two rectangles measuring approximately 4cm by 2cm. Store any remaining sugarpaste for later use.
Repeat with 10g of pink sugarpaste.
Stack the 4 rectangles you have just cut on top of each other, alternating colours, as shown, so that you have one four layer rectangle.
With your scalpel, cut the rectangle into 7 equal pieces, as shown.
Trim the short, uncut ends of each of the 7 pieces with a small artists scalpel and then gently reshape with your fingers, insuring all pieces are the same size and all edges are neat and even.
Take your layered cake slices and turn every other one upside down so that the colour of the top layers alternate brown, pink, brown, pink and so on. Check the sizing of your little rectangle layer cakes against the circular base made in step 1 and the pink three tier cake you made in step 2. If they are too large simply trim the ends again.
To create the 'whipped cream' on top of the little rectangular layer cake slices, take 0.5g of
white sugarpaste and divide into 7 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then into a small teardrop shape.
Press a toothpick diagonally two or three times into each small teardrop to create ridges.
Very gently twist the top of each teardrop to curve the tip.
Affix each one to the end of one of your layered cake slices, with a very small dab of vodka or edible glue.
Last but by no means least you need to create the tiny rose petals.
Take a very small amount of red sugarpaste, (you will need less than 1g), roll into a thin thread and cut into 18 tiny pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball and flatten as much as you possibly can. Use a small paintbrush to gently curl up the edges, to create petals.
Repeat with 1g of light pink sugarpaste.
Now you just need to attach all the little pieces to your circular base.
Use a small paintbrush dipped in vodka or edible glue to attach all of the pieces to the light green circular base.
Affix the petals in a scattered pattern to the green base, (I find it easiest to pick these up with a paintbrush).
Affix any remaining petals in a small pile on top of the little pink layer cake.
Leave the topper to dry fully before moving or placing on top of a cupcake.
This tutorial will show you in step by step photographs and instructions, how to create adorable fluffy fondant teddy bears to decorate your cakes and cupcakes.
Your finished bear or bears will measure approximately 6cm tall and 4cm at their widest point.
Make sure you knead your sugarpaste before use and keep any sugarpaste you are not working with wrapped and sealed in an airtight container otherwise it will dry out and become difficult to work with.
To make your bear you will need:
Approximately 30g of light brown sugarpaste per bear.
Approximately 1g of black sugarpaste per bear.
Edible glue or vodka.
For a little teddy bear like this edible glue is not really necessary, at Buttercream Bakery we use edible glue for very delicate pieces but mostly we use vodka. The vodka acts as an adhesive and the alcohol will evaporate completely, you will not be able to taste the vodka at all on the finished topper. Vodka can also be used to clean any marks or blemishes off your finished toppers or decorations. Edible glue can leave messy marks on sugar paste and taste unpleasant.
A small clean paintbrush for applying edible glue or vodka.
A couple of toothpicks.
Artists scalpel or a small blade.
1 x Point and Auger Tool.
This is not entirely essential but will make your life easier and your little bear neater. In most cases you can use a toothpick in place of a point and auger tool.
Digital spice scales.
Again scales are not totally necessary, I do not usually use them to measure out pieces of sugarpaste when making toppers and decorations but I have for this tutorial simply to give you all an indication of what size the pieces should be. For example the bears head is approximately two thirds of the size of the bears body. Some of the pieces, such as the eyes are so small I cannot provide weights.
1. Take 14g of light brown sugarpaste and roll into a plump pear shape, as shown, to create the body of your bear.
2. Take 8g of sugarpaste and split into two equal 4g portions. Roll each portion into a thick sausage shape. Place your index finger onto the centre of each sausage and roll once again, to create an indent in the centre of the sausage so that you end up with a peanut shape. Flatten one end of each peanut shape upwards to create the bears paws and then squeeze the opposite end between your index finger and thumb in the opposite direction to create the flattened upper leg that joins to the bears body.
3. Attach the legs to the bottom sides of the bears body as shown, using a small paintbrush dipped in edible glue or vodka.
4. To texture your bear, take a toothpick and use it to pull away at the sugarpaste to create fur. The more different directions you pull the sugarpaste out in, the fluffy your bear will be.Continue until the bears entire body, front and back and legs are textured.
5. Take 5g of light brown sugarpaste and split into two 2.5g portions. Roll each piece into a ball and then a sausage shape. Re-roll one end of each sausage into a slightly thinner point, so that your sausage shapes taper at one end. Attach the arms to the bears body as shown, using a small paintbrush dipped in edible glue or vodka.
6. Texture your bears arms as you did the body and legs, using a toothpick to pull away at the sugarpaste to create fur. Remember the more different directions you pull the sugarpaste out in the fluffy your bear will be. You need to texture the bear at each stage rather than waiting until the bear is complete because the sugarpaste will dry as you work and become increasingly difficult to texture. Once the arms are completely textured you should have a little headless teddy, that looks like the last picture above.
7. To create the bears head, take 10g of sugarpaste and shape into a pear shape as you did with the body, only this time make the pear shape shorter, (around two-thirds of the height of the body) and plumper. Use a small artists scalpel to create the bears muzzle, push the blade into the sugarpaste creating a vertical line down the bottom half of the bears head, as shown.
8. To make the bears ears take approx. 0.5g of fondant and split in half. Roll each piece into a small ball and flatten slightly into small discs. Push the length of the blunt point of a point and auger tool into each of the discs around halfway down, as shown. Taper the open end of each ear and affix to the top sides of your bears head, as shown.
9. Using the same blunt point of a point and auger tool, push the blunt point into the sugarpaste to create two eye holes. How big the eye holes are, how high or low they sit on the bears face or how close together or far apart they are will all affect your bears character, so have a play around. I like to place mine half way down the bears face and just wide enough apart that they will sit just above and either side of the bears nose. Affix the head to the bears body, using a small paintbrush dipped in edible glue or vodka.
10. Once again take your toothpick and gently pull away at the sugarpaste, texturing the bears whole head and ears.
11. Take the smallest piece of black sugarpaste you can, split it into two even smaller pieces and roll each piece into a small ball. Take another 0.1-0.2g of black sugarpaste and roll into a small egg shape for the bears nose.
12. Use a small paint brush dipped in vodka and dabbed on a paper towel, to brush the inside of each eye socket. Insert one of your tiny black balls into each of the eye holes you have created. If they are still two big, simply take one of the balls and split it in half once again.
13. Affix the bears nose to the top of the line you made on the bears face with your scalpel, using edible glue or a little dab of vodka. Position the nose so that it sits just underneath and right in between the bear’s eyes.
Your fondant teddy bear is now finished!
I recommend allowing your bear to dry for a minimum of two hours before placing him on top of a cake or cupcake.
To make a fondant teddy bear with an open mouth, you simply need to make a few changes during step 7. The bears head is created in exactly the same way, only the vertical line of the muzzle is changed and a little mouth added. To create your open mouthed bear please replace step 7 with the following:
14. To create the bear’s head, take 10g of sugarpaste and shape into a pear shape as you did with the body, only this time make the pear shape shorter, (around two-thirds of the height of the body) and plumper. Use a small artists scalpel to create the bears muzzle, push the blade into the fondant creating a vertical line from the centre of the bears face to just half way down the bottom half of the bears face. The line should not reach the base of the head. Take the blunt point of a point and auger tool and push it directly into the sugarpaste just below the line you have made, pull the sugarpaste down and out slightly with the blunt point to create the bears mouth.
You can now continue with steps 8-13 above.
Now that you can make a basic teddy bear, you can start to experiment. I have already talked a little bit about how the size and positioning of the bear’s eyes will affect the bear’s character but there are many more small alterations you can make that will completely change your little bear’s personality. The size and shape of the nose or ears for example or the positioning of the head and arms. Try affixing one of both of the bear’s paws to his face with a little vodka or edible glue, hold the arms in place for a minute of so until the glue sets, try tilting the bear’s head to one side, upwards or downwards. Experiment with different colours making your little bears in various shades of brown, grey, pink and blue.
We hope you have enjoyed our little teddy bear tutorial! We would absolutely love to hear from you and see your creations, so please do get in touch. You can comment directly on this post, find us on Facebook or use #buttercreambakery on your fondant teddy bear photographs on Twitter and Instagram.
I love fruity ice cream and I thought the combination of coconut, vanilla, strawberry and raspberry sounded heavenly.
The ice cream was a breeze to make but you will need an ice cream maker.
My Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream had a beautifully creamy texture and consistency, the melting point was spot on and it scored really highly in these categories. It was also beautifully sweet and the vanilla, coconut and fruit flavours were lovely and bold.
I would say however that the coconut milk has a faint, slightly earthy taste to it and this may take a little getting used to for some, particularly for the dairy lovers among you.
This ice cream is completely dairy free and perfect for Vegans and/or anyone trying to cut down on their dairy intake. The sweetness comes from the agave syrup and maple syrup, both of which are better for you than refined white sugar and each little lolly or indeed scoop is packed full of fruit.
I think chocolate coconut milk ice cream would be great or even chocolate nut butter ice cream! I will definitely be making coconut milk ice cream again.
Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream
100g organic raspberries
100g organic strawberries
2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
2 x 400ml cans organic coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp natural coconut extract
pinch of salt
60ml agave syrup
60ml maple syrup
Roughly chop the raspberries and strawberries, combine the fruit and add the maple or agave syrup. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the ice cream maker's instructions to freeze your ice cream.
All ice cream makers are a little different but I pour the mixture into the bowl of my ice cream maker and churn for approximately 25 minutes or until the ice cream is almost finished. Add the raspberry and strawberry mixture, syrup, juice and all and churn for another couple of minutes just until combined.
The ice cream should now be soft serve consistency. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container or ice lolly molds and freeze for a minimum of two hours.
I'm really quite excited to show you all my latest creations and the newest addition to the Buttercream Bakery menu....
Our cupcake cakes are around twice the size of a standard cupcake and feature one XL cupcake iced with delicious buttercream frosting and decorated with fondant icing.
Each Cupcake Cake measures approximately 6 inches tall and 4 inches at the widest point.
Our Cupcake Cakes will be available in a whole host of designs, colours and styles and can be topped and decorated with all of your favourite Buttercream Bakery characters.
The pink Cupcake Cake is called Sugar and Sprinkles, it features a vanilla cupcake topped with baby pink 'buttercream' and decorated with pastel sprinkles. The pretty pink base is decorated with a trio of mini macarons and tiny sandwich cookie with heart shaped cut out.
Our Chocolate Lovers Cupcake Cake features a chocolate cupcake decorated with vanilla buttercream, drizzled with chocolate and adorned with little milk and white chocolate heart shaped sprinkles. The base is coloured to match the shade the fondant used to create the buttercream and is decorated with a pile of little fondant chocolates.
I will be back very soon with our latest Better for you Bake, until then Happy Cupcake Caking!