I am convinced that I am not alone in my life long quest for the answer to what is surely one of life's most perplexing questions.
The blondie vs brownie debate has been raging for as long as I can remember and I'm sure many of you have often pondered the very same question.
Life is hard but the answer to that blondie vs brownie question is reassuringly simple.
The answer is both, I'll take a blondie and a brownie please and if you could conveniently stack those on top of each other, that would be just fab.
All hail the mighty Blondie and Brownie Layer Bar.
The brownie layer is chocolatey, gooey and fudgey, just as a brownie should be. The blondie layer is a little cookie-like, action packed delight. It is literally packed full of white, milk and dark chocolate chunks, honey roasted nuts and I even added some peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips I picked up on my recent travels. The blondie layer is notoriously versatile so feel free to use any combination of chocolate, chocolate chips and nuts you fancy.
Blondie and Brownie Layer Bars
For the Brownie Layer:
95g unsalted butter, room temperature
95g dark chocolate
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
125g golden caster sugar
60g plain flour
For the Blondie Layer:
100g unsalted butter, melted
160g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla paste
120g plain flour
pinch of salt
125g mixture of white, dark and milk chocolate, chopped
(you can also chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter chips)
75g mixed honey roasted nuts
1 x 8" square brownie pan
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease and line the brownie pan and set aside.
Start by weighing out all of the ingredients for both the brownie layer and the blondie layer.
Set all of the ingredients aside in two separate areas, one area for your blondie ingredients and one for your brownie ingredients.
Melt together the chocolate and butter for the brownie layer and set aside to cool.
While you are waiting for the chocolate mixture to cool, make your blondie layer: Beat together the melted butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes, beat in the egg and vanilla and continue to beat for a further minute. Fold in the salt and flour, folding until completely combined. Add the chocolate and nuts and fold through until evenly distributed.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared brownie pan, spread out in an even layer and set aside.
Now make your brownie layer: In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until light, pale and fluffy. Take the cooled, melted chocolate mixture and gradually whisk in the egg mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated. Fold in the flour and salt.
Pour the brownie mixture into the brownie tin, directly over the top of the blondie layer. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, a cake tester inserted into the centre should have a few chocolatey crumbs attached and the top of the brownie layer will be dull and crackled.
It's cupcake time again and I have lots of cuteness to share.
Today I have all sorts of cupcakes and little creations to show you and I thought I would start with one of my favourites, one of our spectacular little Candyland Cupcakes.
Our Candyland Cupcakes have been around for a while now but they are still one of my favourite designs. All that candy! It's like a sugar dusted dream come true on top of a cupcake.
I just had to include some of our little Gorilla Cake Toppers in this post because I have made and shipped so many in the last few months. I love making these little guys, their little faces, hands and feet are so expressive.
We make a lot of Cinderella carriages at Buttercream Bakery and you may have seen our larger cake topper carriages but in true Buttercream Bakery style, anything we make big, we also make small, really, really, small.
I absolutely love making these little cupcake sized carriages and they look unbelievably pretty atop their cupcakes.
Talking of pretty, meet Birthday Bunny....
How utterly adorable is this little Birthday Bunny cake topper? I love her little stripy Easter egg belly and sparkly number 1.
Glitter, bunnies, bows and pastels, I just love it.
Another pretty pastel cutie next....
With pink frosting, white sprinkles, pale pink and soft white frills, a tiny cupcake topper and tiny teddy, this really is the sweetest cupcake of all time.
Teddy got his wings!
How sweet is this little guy? As if our little teddy bears weren't cute enough, now they flutter too!
Angel Ted sits atop a scrumptious white chocolate cupcake.
I have another miniature next and it's a brand new design. Our Miniature Cake Table Cupcake features a whole array of tiny confectionery but for me it's the bunting that steals the show.
The little table was so fun to make, I can't say I've ever made a table before.
From a new design to an old favourite, our Blushing Bear cake toppers have always been on my favourites list. Their sweet little faces make them a popular choice for baby showers and I was delighted to have them featured in a lovely post on Giftizzi.com
At Buttercream Bakery we love making cowboy cake toppers and although I normally make our Cowboy Cake Topper Sets in classic colours, I love this set featuring a red cowboy hat and blue and brown cowboy boots.
I made this stylish set as part of a custom order for a client. I absolutely loved the adorable blue and brown boots and have been meaning to make a pair in pink ever since.
Last but by no means least I wanted to give you a closer look at our Miniature Tea Party Cupcakes.
I designed these super sweet cupcakes for an exclusive tutorial featured in the April issue of Cake Masters Magazine. I believe you can still order the issue from the App Store, so if you would like to learn how to make these cupcakes, head over and get yourself a copy.
That's it for today, I hope I satisfied your cupcake craving!
Enjoy the rest of the week, have a brilliant weekend and of course Happy Cupcaking!
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.