Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Spring Time Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake has always been one of my favourite cakes and this beautiful Springtime version is just gorgeous.  

My love for carrot cake has a lot to do with the cake, light but robust and sweetly cinnamon scented, it really is heavenly but my love for carrot cake also has a lot to do with the frosting. Cream Cheese Frosting is without a doubt my favourite frosting, I love the silky smoothness of it, that slight tang behind the sweetness, it really is perfect.

I have decorated this carrot cake with pretty flowers from my garden and cake crumbs. I bake the cake in four layers and level off the top of each layer, reserving the cut offs to crumble and sprinkle all over the cake.  

I make this cake a lot, below you can see another version, with crumbs but without flowers. 

I do not think this cake needs to be too heavily frosted, the frosting is creamy and sweet and a little goes a long way but if you prefer a thicker coating or more frosting between layers you can absolutely scale up the quantities in the frosting.

Grate your carrots before you begin and tip them onto a plate covered with kitchen roll, I like to take a few extra pieces of kitchen roll and pat the grated carrots to absorb some of the excess moister before proceeding with the recipe.

Carrot Cake

325g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
295g caster sugar
150g light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste
225ml unrefined cold press organic sunflower oil
425g grated carrot

4 x 20cm springform cake tins

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Butter and flour your 4 cake tins and set aside,(I like to add a little cinnamon to the flour before dusting).

In a medium bowl sift together the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt, set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl beat together the eggs and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste and beat until evenly distributed.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just to combine.

Stir in the oil and grated carrot, ensuring the carrot is evenly distributed and no traces of oil remain.

Divide the mixture between the 4 cake tins and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10-20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

150g butter, room temperature
375g icing sugar
275g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla paste

Beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until soft and smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat for a further 2-3 minutes scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.

Add the cream cheese and vanilla paste and beat just until creamy, smooth and fully incorporated. Do not over beat.

To Assemble:

Level your cake layers if you wish, taking just a little off the top to flatten the surface. (Reserve the off cuts for decorating the cake). Frost between each layer and then cover the top and sides of the cake. 

Crumble the off cuts into fine crumbs and sprinkle over the cake.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel I should probably start this post by promising that this will be my last coconut themed bake for at least a little while. I think I've posted three coconut based recipes in as many weeks.

I just couldn't help myself! These cookies are so yummy!

They are like the chocolate chip cookie version of a Bounty chocolate bar and I am well and truly hooked. I make mine with big fat chocolate chunks that melt into glorious pools of molten chocolate when baked.

You can use Milk, White or Dark Chocolate, or indeed a combination of chocolate like I have here. 

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 10 Large Cookies

180g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
100g coconut oil
60g light brown sugar
75g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla paste
30g shredded coconut
75g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
50g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Preheat the oven to 180C (170C Fan).

Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate soda and baking powder, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together the coconut oil and both sugars.

Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla paste and continue to beat for 1 minute.

Gradually add the flour mixture, beating at the lowest speed until the dough just comes together.

Fold in the coconut and the milk and white chocolate chunks.

Divide the cookie dough into equal rounds and place on the prepared cookie trays.

Place the cookie trays in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the cookie dough rounds feel firm to the touch.

Place the cookie trays in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.  

Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.


Friday, 10 April 2015

White Chocolate, Coconut and Pistachio Muffins

These muffins are like a little breakfast day dream.

They combine so many glorious ingredients, white chocolate, pistachios, coconut, a glorious sprinkling of demerara sugar. 

I wasn't actually planning to post this recipe, I just whipped up a batch for my sister but as soon as I tasted them I knew I had to share the deliciousness with you all.

I used homemade sweetened grated coconut to top my muffins, you can find my recipe here: Brown Sugar Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

Follow the instructions for making my toasted coconut but bake the coconut for the initial 40 minutes only (at 100C) and then remove from the oven and allow to cool before using. You do not want to toast the coconut yet as it will toast in the oven as the muffins are baking.

You can uses sweetened, unsweetend, grated, desiccated or shaved coconut to top these muffins so feel free to use what you have handy.

White Chocolate, Coconut and Pistachio Muffins

Makes 10 large muffins

For the Muffins:

250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 
3/4 tsp salt
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
165g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
125ml milk
85g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

For the Topping:

20g pistachios, finely chopped
25g grated, shaved or desiccated coconut
20g demerara sugar 

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases and set aside.

Begin by making your topping: combine the chopped pistachios, grated coconut and demerara sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla paste and beat until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk and beat on a low speed just to combine. Do not over mix. Gently fold in the white chocolate chunks, ensuring they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Divide the batter between the 12 holes of your prepared muffin tray, sprinkle the top of each muffin with the pistachio and coconut topping, turn the oven down to 170 C  and bake for around 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Macarons

Salted Caramel Macarons are almost certainly one of mankind's greatest achievements. I mean really, have you ever tasted anything more jaw droopingly delicious? 

The very first macaron I ever ate was a Salted Caramel Macaron and I was lucky enough to be eating it in Paris. My infatuation was instant and I made my first ever batch of macarons the very day I landed back in the UK. 

These delicious little macarons combine not one but two of the most delicious things known to man, salted caramel and chocolate.

My Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Macarons are sandwiched together with silky smooth Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Ganache and an extra drizzle of Salted Caramel for good measure.

You will probably have a little salted caramel left over, I highly recommend adding a teaspoon or two to your coffee or drizzling the caramel over ice cream or hot chocolate.

Salted Caramel

150ml double cream
150ml golden syrup
75ml sour cream
sea salt to taste

Combine the double cream and golden syrup in a large heavy based saucepan. Place over a medium heat and allow to bubble for around 10 minutes until thick. Do not stir.

Remove the pan from the heat and without stirring, pour the caramel into a clean bowl and allow to cool before adding the salt to taste.

Caramel Macarons

160g icing sugar
160g ground almonds 
5g cocoa powder

4 medium egg whites, separated into two equal batches

160g caster sugar
50ml water

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sieve together the icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the first batch of egg whites (unbeaten) to the almond mixture but do not mix. Set aside.

Tip the second batch of egg whites into the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.  

Place the 50ml water and the caster sugar into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C on a sugar thermometer, at which time start beating the egg whites in the stand mixer on a high speed. Once the syrup has reached 118C remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the still spinning whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. 

Tip the meringue onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter - it should fall in a thick ribbon from the spatula. The ribbon should fade back into the batter within about 30 seconds - if it does not, fold a few more times.

Heat the oven to 170C/160C Fan/ gas 3-4. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle. Pipe rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, knock the air out of the macarons by giving the bottom of the tray a whack on the kitchen counter and leave to rest for 30 minutes, or until the macarons have developed a skin. 

Bake the macarons for around 14 minutes or until they no longer wobble when pushed gently with a finger. Once out of the oven immediately slide the parchment onto a work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the shells off the paper.

Pair up your macaron shells ready to fill.

Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Ganache

50g unsalted butter
175ml salted caramel
150ml double cream
120g milk chocolate finely chopped

Place the butter, caramel and double cream in a small saucepan and heat just until it begins to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream mixture over the milk chocolate.  Stir the ganache until all the chocolate is melted. Set the ganache aside to cool before beating until you reach a piping consistency.

To Assemble:

Pair up your macaron shells, pipe or spoon Salted Caramel Ganache onto the flat side of one macaron in each pair, drizzle with a little extra Salted Caramel and top with the remaining macaron shell. Repeat until all of your macaron shells are sandwiched together.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Brown Sugar Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

This delicious ice cream blew my little mind. 

I absolutely love this flavour!
The ice cream itself is not actually overtly coconut flavoured. The toasted coconut, coconut milk and brown sugar culminate in a beautifully smooth nutty depth of flavour, giving this ice cream a more complex flavour profile. You can tell it's special the second you taste it.

I made my Toasted Coconut from freshly grated coconut and it was absolutely amazing! I will never buy sweetened, unsweetened, shredded or desiccated coconut from a store ever again.

To make my freshly grated coconut I pierced the 'eyes' of my coconut and drained the liquid, I called in my boyfriend and his trusty hammer to crack it open. He struck halfway down the coconut with the hammer and to our surprise it split perfectly in half.  I used a blunt knife to ease the white flesh away from the shell and grated it using a fine cheese grater.

I then mixed the grated coconut with a little icing sugar and popped it in the oven. I dried it at a low temperature first and then turned the oven up to toast until golden brown.

It is entirely up to you how you use your toasted coconut, you can reserve it all for sprinkling on top of the ice cream before serving or you can add half of the toasted coconut to the ice cream during the last minute of churning.

I personally like the ice cream smooth and silky with the toasted coconut sprinkled liberally on top.

Toasted Coconut

100g freshly grated coconut
20g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 100C.

Combine the grated coconut and icing sugar in a small mixing bowl, stirring to combine.  Spread the coconut out onto a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the coconut feels completely dry to the touch.

To toast the coconut turn the oven up to 170C.

Bake the coconut stirring occasionally until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage.

Brown Sugar Toasted Coconut 
Ice Cream

2 large eggs
165g light brown sugar
550ml double cream
200ml coconut milk

toasted coconut

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 1-2 minutes, add the sugar and continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes.

Pour in the cream and coconut milk and whisk to blend.

Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and churn as per the manufacturers instructions.

You can add half of your toasted coconut to the ice cream during the last minute or so of churning if you wish, reserving the rest for sprinkling or reserve the whole lot for sprinkling and garnishing.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cupcake Inspiration

Hi Everyone,

I thought it would be fun to create a little cupcake inspiration post for you all.

I have put together a few inspiration boards focusing on Chocolate Cupcakes, Vanilla Cupcakes, Mini Cupcakes, Teddy Bear Cupcakes, Miniature Sugarcraft Cupcakes and Fancy and Frilled Cupcakes.

I'm going to talk about some of my favourite simple cupcake designs, decorating techniques and toppers. Hopefully if you are searching for a little cupcake inspiration you will find something suitably scrumptious here.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes are pretty instantly scrumptious looking if you ask me and the more chocolate you pile on top of your chocolate cupcakes the more scrumptious they will look. 

So with that in mind, I like to frost my cupcakes with silky smooth chocolate buttercream, drizzle them with melted chocolate, sprinkle with more chocolate and finally top with a chocolatey confection. 

You can find my Chocolate Cupcake, Chocolate Buttercream and Chocolate Drizzle Recipes here:

Chocolate Cupcakes

Some of my favourite chocolate cupcake toppers and toppings,(as seen above), include:

 Oreos, crushed for sprinkling and halved for topping, sliced chocolate bars, such as Snickers or Mars, chocolate shavings, salted caramel and Hershey's Kisses.

Vanilla Cupcakes

The Vanilla Cupcake is the quintessential cupcake. 

As you can see above, I love the contrast of chocolate against vanilla. Chocolate moulds are a brilliantly simple method of making cupcake decorations. You can see my chocolate teaspoon topped cupcake in the top left hand corner of the image above. My teaspoon chocolate mould is one of my favourites. You can find the awesome mould here: Siliconemoulds.com - Chocolate Teaspoon Mould

I also love turning Vanilla Cupcakes into 99 Ice Cream style cupcakes with Flake chocolate Bars. Simply push around a quarter of a Flake into the Buttercream and scatter with shards of flakey chocolate.

Vanilla cupcakes look gorgeous decorated in pretty pastel colours, topped with pretty sugarpaste flowers or topped with colourful sprinkles. I also love to sprinkle my Vanilla Cupcakes with white chocolate shavings and lemon zest for a little burst of flavour.

You can find my Vanilla Cupcake Recipe, Vanilla Buttercream Recipe and Homemade Sprinkles Recipe here:

Vanilla Cupcakes

Mini Cupcakes

I am not going to go into too much detail about miniature cupcakes here because I have a whole Miniature Cupcake Inspiration post to refer you to:

Miniature Cupcake Inspiration 

My miniature cupcake inspiration post features all my top tips and tricks for making and decorating miniature cupcakes. I have tried to include information on everything from filling your miniature cupcake cases to piping your buttercream.

Teddy Bear Cupcakes and Cupcake Toppers

Now we're getting fancy! 

We love our teddy bears at Buttercream Bakery. We make an unbelievable number of teddy bear cake and cupcake toppers and I love each and every adorable one. 

Even if you have never made a cake topper in your life, with a little practise you will master the basic teddy bear techniques in no time and once you have those down, you can adapt the design to fit almost any theme. 

I have not one but two Teddy Bear Cupcake Topper Tutorials for you. You can find my basic Teddy Bear Tutorial here:

Teddy Bear Cupcake Topper Tutorial

And if you want to really go for it, you can find my Pumpkin Teddy Bear Cupcake Topper Tutorial here: 

You can also make seriously cute chocolate teddy bears out of Modelling Chocolate, perfect for topping chocolate cupcakes. You can find my Modelling Chocolate Recipe here:

Miniature Sugarcraft Cupcakes

While miniature cupcake toppers may look scarily complicated, once you have practised a few miniature techniques and managed to get into the miniature mind set you will be amazed at what you can come up with.

Why not have a little go, you can find my Miniature Patisserie Cupcake Topper Tutorial here:

Miniature Patisserie Cupcake Topper Tutorial

Fancy and Frilled Cupcakes

Last but by no means least, lets talk about fancy cupcakes.

 Frosted, fancy and frilled these adorable cupcakes owe all their gorgeousness to pretty piping techniques.

Piping techniques can take a little time to master but once you do you will be able to whip up a batch of flawlessly decorated cupcakes in record time.

All the cupcakes above use one of two piping tips.  The two mini cupcakes in the top right hand corner are decorated with a 
French Star Tip, (also know as a fine toothed open star tip). To create the frilled effect, first try holding the piping bag/tip above and directly in the centre of the mini cupcake and pipe without moving the tip from that spot. Simply apply pressure to the piping bag and allow the frosting to fill before releasing the pressure and moving the tip away. Now with a new cupcake do exactly the same only instead of holding the piping bag still on the spot move it in the tiniest of circles as you squeeze. This will create really frilly frills.

All of the remaining cupcakes in the image above were decorated with my favourite piping tip, the Atteco 855
I am such a sucker for buttercream fills and ruffles and you can do so much with the 855. Have a play around and see what you can come up with. I will maybe try and put together a little tutorial for you all, so you can see the different ways I use the tip.

That's it for my little cupcake inspiration post, I hope you are feeling suitably inspired!

 Don't forget to use #theextraordinaryartofcake when posting your extraordinary creations on Instagram and Twitter, I absolutely love to see all your makes and bakes.

Happy Cupcaking!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Homemade Sprinkles

I have a confession to make....I'm a big old cupcake snob.

I have pretty strong views about basically all things cupcake and I kid you not when I say, I could rant about vanilla cupcakes for hours, maybe even days!

I have tried so many hard topped, dry, flat, flavourless vanilla cupcakes. I honestly can't think of anything quite as disappointing as a rubbish cupcake and so as mad as it may sound, of all the Buttercream Bakery cupcake recipes, I spent the most time perfecting my vanilla cupcake recipe.   

   For me, this really is the ultimate vanilla cupcake recipe. They are beautifully soft, light and fluffy, moist, sweet, buttery and generously vanilla bean studded.  They rise into a beautiful dome and pair beautifully with every buttercream and frosting in existence.

Here I have topped my Vanilla Cupcakes with silky smooth Vanilla Bean Buttercream and seriously cute homemade jumbo sprinkles.

Making your own sprinkles may seem a little over the top but trust me, when you taste them you will be immediately converted. These are the yummiest sprinkles ever!

If you decided to make flavoured sprinkles like I have, I highly recommend using a pipette to add your extracts and flavourings. There is nothing worse than extract over kill.

Here is a little list of the food colouring pastes and flavours I used:

Baby Blue - 1-2 Drops Natural Blueberry Flavouring
Light Green - 1-2 Drops Natural Apple Flavouring 
Yellow - 1-2 drops Natural Mango and Natural Tropical Flavouring
Baby Pink - 1-2 Drops Natural Raspberry Flavouring
Aqua - 1-2 Drops Natural Coconut Flavouring

My fruity sprinkles tasted absolutely amazing with my vanilla cupcakes.

Notes on the Recipe:

Use room temperature ingredients to make your cupcakes!! If you use cold butter, milk or eggs to make these cupcakes they will NOT come out perfectly. You absolutely must use room temperature ingredients.

Every time I post a picture of a vanilla cupcake online I get asked for my buttercream recipe. Most people think that the recipe is the key to perfect buttercream but when it comes to American Buttercream this isn't really the case. American Buttercream is really simple and most recipes really do not differ that much. The secret to perfect buttercream is in the method. Think Michael Jackson and beat it, beat it...beat it!! Follow my method exactly and you will have the silkiest, smoothest buttercream around.

Vanilla Cupcakes

175g plain flour
25g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
190g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste
125ml milk

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

250g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
60ml milk

To Make the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180C (170C FAN OVEN).

Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 12 muffin sized cupcake cases and set aside.

Sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the golden caster sugar and continue to beat for 3-5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Do not forget to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically as you beat.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.  Once the eggs are completely combined, beat the mixture for a further 30 seconds.

Add the vanilla paste and beat until evenly distributed. 

Add one-quarter of the flour mixture and beat at a low speed just until combined, now add one-third of the milk and beat just until combined.  Continue alternating between the flour and milk beating just until combined after each addition and no longer. Do not forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically between additions.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcake cases in your prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

To Make the Buttercream:

In a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter for 2-3 minutes until very soft, smooth and creamy. Add two-thirds of the icing sugar, the milk and the vanilla paste and beat for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a further minute.  Add the remaining icing sugar and beat the buttercream on a medium speed for a minimum of 5 minutes.  

Use a large rubber spatula or scraper to push and spread the buttercream against the sides of your bowl to remove some of the larger air bubbles.

To Assemble:

Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag, fitted with a piping tip of your choice. I have used a 1.5cm plain round piping tip. Pipe swirls of frosting onto the cupcakes, practising a few in the buttercream bowl first if you do not feel confident and scatter with sprinkles if you wish.

Homemade Sprinkles 

450g icing sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt

assorted food colouring pastes
assorted extracts and natural flavours

To Make the Sprinkles:

Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.  Add the egg whites and salt and whisk at a low speed to a paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk once again ensuring all of the ingredients are fully combined.

If you are making lots of different coloured sprinkles; divide the mixture between a number of small bowls and add food colouring paste sparingly until desired colour is achieved. Add tiny drops of extract or flavouring to each bowl if desired.

Transfer the various coloured pastes into their own piping bags fitted with small round piping tips (#1 or #2) and pipe out long thin lines onto the prepared baking trays. Make sure your piped lines do not touch each other.

Repeat until all of your coloured pastes have been used up.  Allow the sprinkles to set for a minimum of 3-4 hours or ideally overnight before using a sharp knife to cut into pieces. You can make longer jumbo sprinkles like I have or chop your sprinkles into smaller pieces.

Store the sprinkles in an airtight container or jar.

Other Decorating Ideas:

Pretty Pink Vanilla Cupcakes

Here I have iced my cupcakes with pink buttercream using an Ateco 855 Closed Star Piping Tip and topped with pretty pink Very Berry Vanilla Bean Macarons

Check my recipe index for alternative macaron recipes.

99 Ice Cream Style Cupcakes

This is a brilliantly simple way to decorate your vanilla cupcakes.  Frost your cupcakes using a plain round piping tip, break up a Flake chocolate bar and push around a quarter of the bar into the frosting, sprinkle with any remaining shards of chocolate.

Happy Cupcaking!