Friday, 29 October 2010
This was my favourite batch of the week, I was really pleased with both toppers, the birdcages took ages but were totally worth it. They are Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes, which consists of vanilla cake and strawberry & vanilla frosting.
I love the quilted Chanel purses and wish I had one in real life, I think the pink heart shaped sprinkles finish it off perfectly. When my back stops hurting I'm going to make some more of these birdcage toppers because I really do think they're lovely, the entire piece is Fondant and modelled rather than piped.
The Banana Split Cupcake is made up of a delicious chocolate cupcake, frosted with your choice of vanilla or banana buttercream, topped with two bumper bananas, a drizzle of melted chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.
For this order I made both large and mini cupcakes, I love the mini ones! This was the first time I had made a mini version and they worked brilliantly. I have always thought these cupcakes just scream 'eat me!' or maybe it's more 'stuff me in your face!'
Monday, 25 October 2010
The lovely Sweetums at My Little Sweet House was kind enough to pass on the One Lovely Blog Award to me! I really chuffed and am more than happy to pass the award on to 15 of my favourite blogs, I thought I'd better do it sharpish as this week is jam packed, it feels slightly like the calm before the storm today.
Check all of these lovely blogs out, including My Little Sweet House because they are all totally fantastic.
So hard to choose just 15 as I adore all 5000 of the blogs I follow but you all totally deserve it. x
Bento is something totally new to me, how I have never discovered this amazing art or lunch box creation I'll never know. If you have never seen a Bento lunch box than check out these amazing Bento creations.
These little rice balls were really easy to make and you can find instructions, tips and the recipe at Just Hungry.com. I made plain sushi rice balls this time but love the idea of filling them with teriyaki-style chicken or pork.
Friday, 22 October 2010
A chocolate lovers dream...
I love these Mini Moo Cow Cupcakes too...
The black, white and brown cow sprinkles are a favourite of mine, they're just too cute.
I have been wanting to try this flavour combination for a while now and since the whole reason I joined Mac Tweets was to try out new and exciting Macaron ideas, it seemed perfect. I also didn't have an immediate design idea this month so decided to go all out on the flavour.
This months theme is Pinkarons for Pinktober, in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
I used the same recipe as usual, although I just got a new Macaron book so will try something new very soon. For the Lychee custard I was just experimenting so I don't have a proper recipe yet, I made a basic vanilla custard and added Lychee syrup and a few tablespoons of icing sugar, I also piped a lychee custard across the Macarons to decorate. The custard is delicious and I will definitely make it again and give you the official recipe. I love how these smell like Turkish delight as they're cooking, they're not my best Macarons but the flavour combo is a winner and I'll definitely work on the recipe.
Recipe From - Hisako Ogita: I Love Macarons
For the Macarons:
2/3 cup (3 ounces / 85grams) ground almonds / almond flour
11/2 cups (5.25 ounces / 150 grams) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons / 65 grams granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp pink food colouring
Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking tray. Draw 1-inch (2.5cm) circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2-inch (1.5cm) apart. This will be your guide for squeezing out the Macaron batter.
In a food processor, grind together the almonds, powdered vanilla sugar, cocoa powder and powdered sugar together to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites whilst beating.
Add the rose water and continue beating, when the meringue is stiff, firm, and has a glossy texture, it is done.
Add half the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture. Stir with a spatula while scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.
Add the rest of the almond flour and mix lightly in a circular motion.
Macaronnage: When you run out of flour, press and and spread the batter against the bowl's sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process 15 times.
Macaronner: When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with a spatula, the mixture is done.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1cm round tip. Squeeze the batter into the centre of your drawn out circles, make small circles as the batter will spread out.
Rap the baking tray firmly against the counter. This helps the Macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little 'foot', to form.
Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the Macarons.
If the batter circles do not stick to your fingers when you touch them, the drying process is complete. On a dry sunny day, the drying process takes approximately 30 minutes.
Use two trays one inside the other to prevent the Macarons puffing up to much and cracking.
Place the baking trays in the centre of the oven. Preheat to 375 F (190C)
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly crisp and crackled on top.
When the Macarons are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When the Macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
Can't wait till next months Mac Tweet, there are loads of great recipes in my new Macaron book that I can't wait to try x
x x x
Thursday, 21 October 2010
I love the stark black and orange of these cupcakes, all the toppers are hand-cut using laminated templates. This is so easy to do yourself, all you need is laminating sheets, the creepy claw and mice are both Martha Stewart templates so you can download these from her website. The cats are from some other place all together and I couldn't tell you where as I've had the template saved for sometime now.
I think these cupcakes are cute/scary as apposed to yesterdays Vampire Bite gross/scary offering. I'm not a huge fan of bright icing as I don't think it looks particularly appetising but the chocolate orange combo really works well.
x x x◦
I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved these little tarts, I ate 4 of the 6 so that's some indication. Baby Love didn't like them at all though, he thought the pastry was too much, this comes from Jamie's 'Swiss roll style' technique of rolling, cutting and squishing the pastry which makes it puff out in layers. I wouldn't say it was light but heavy makes it sound bad, when in actual fact I thought it was blooming delicious!
These are warm, gooey, vanilla custard filled, caramel drizzled, bites of heaven and they were so easy to make.
Quick Portuguese Custard Tarts - Jamie's 30 Minute Meals
(makes 6 tarts)
• plain flour, for dusting
• 1 x 375g pack of pre-rolled puff pastry
• ground cinnamon
• 125g crème fraîche
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
• 5 tablespoons golden caster sugar
• 1 orange
Pre heat oven to 200C.
Pre heat oven to 200C.
Dust a clean surface with flour. Unroll the sheet of pastry, then cut it in half so you end up with two 20 x 20cm squares of pastry (put one in the fridge for another day). Sprinkle over a few good pinches of ground cinnamon, then roll the pastry into a Swiss roll shape and cut into 6 rounds. Put these into 6 of the holes in a muffin tin, and use your thumbs to stretch and mould the pastry into the holes (just like in the picture) so the bottom is flat and the pastry comes up to the top. Put on the top shelf of the oven and cook for around 8 to 10 minutes (set the timer), or until lightly golden.
Spoon the crème fraîche into a small bowl. Add the egg, vanilla paste or extract, 1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar and the zest of 1 orange. Mix well.
Take the muffin tin out of the oven, and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides and make room for the filling. Spoon the crème fraîche mixture into the tart cases, and return to the top shelf of the oven. Set the timer for 8 minutes.
Put a small saucepan on a high heat. Squeeze in the juice from the zested orange and add 4 tablespoons of golden caster sugar. Stir and keep a good eye on it, but remember caramel can burn badly so don’t touch or taste.
Pour some caramel over each tart (they’ll still be wobbly, but that’s good). Put aside to set.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
I love these vampire bite cupcakes, I made them this morning for a Twilight/Halloween themed birthday party later tonight. The design is so simple but very striking and effective.
I'm counting this as the first Halloween batch, I have another set on order for tomorrow but they're more traditional Halloween designs.
I love Halloween, any holiday that involves cupcakes is fine by me.
x x x
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Have any of you ever ordered cake decorations from Etsy?
Let me know what you think, is Etsy better than Ebay? I've always thought the quality of work was much higher on Etsy but Ebay maybe has a bigger audience. x
Monday, 18 October 2010
This fantastic recipe is from Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape, I loved the series and despite the fact that I don't own a single Gordon Ramsay cookbook, I knew I really wanted this one.
I tend to find Gordon's food a little bit overdone and poncy, I have no interest in serving up meals that look like they're straight out of a restaurant, I just want brilliant, delicious food. I also find his cooking style very masculine, less domestic and increasingly regimented. This book however was different, it is full of curry for a start, the meals look hearty comforting and totally scrumptious and I nabbed it for £6 in the WHSmiths sale!
This recipe is fantastic, the butter chicken was brilliant and we will definitely have it again. That being said I felt that the two step 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hour marinating process would give the dish more depth than it did, don't get me wrong the chicken had a lovely flavour, I just expected a tiny little bit more.
This makes a lovely change from my usual Korma or Rogan Josh though and made a fantastic Friday night supper.
Gordon Ramsay's Butter Chicken Recipe
Gordon Ramsay’s Indian butter chicken Gordon Ramsay This dish can be traced back to Mogul times, but is most closely associated with Delhi’s Moti Mahal restaurant. Many chefs have tried to emulate the rich sauce, and flavours vary slightly between restaurants.
800g boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3-4cm pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely crushed
2cm ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp hot chilli powder
1½ tsp lemon juice
75ml natural yoghurt
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil, for brushing
1½ tbsp ghee or melted unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely crushed
2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 cardamom pod, seeds lightly crushed
2 cloves 1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp hot chilli powder, or to taste
275ml tomato purée
1 tbsp lemon juice
40g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
1 tbsp chopped coriander, to garnish
Place the chicken in a bowl with the garlic, ginger, salt, chilli powder and lemon juice. Mix, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Mix together the yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric and cumin and add to the chicken, making sure that each piece is well coated with the mixture. Cover again and chill for 3-4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the marinated chicken pieces on a grill rack set on a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes. Brush the chicken pieces with a little oil and turn them over. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until just cooked through.
For the sauce, heat the ghee or butter in a pan and add the garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute or so, then add the cardamom, cloves, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir well and fry for 1-2 minutes, until they give off a lovely aroma. Stir in the tomato purée and lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir well to coat. Finally add the butter and cream and stir continuously until the butter has melted and the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a warm bowl and serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander.
Friday, 15 October 2010
Hey everyone, you might recognise this little kitty from some animal cupcakes I made a while back, although he was chocolate and this little cutie is Halloween black. This is a pretty simple cat to make and he is a little bit quirky, so great for Halloween. So if you fancy a little witches cat on your cupcakes this Halloween, here is what you need to do.
x x x◦
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Honey cake is a tough one, I'd go as far to say I have never had a good one, until now of course.
Every honey cake I've tried has been a disappointment, dry, heavy, not even a glimmer of honey, stodgy and just generally bad. That is why I am so over the moon with this recipe, it is one of my own and has been a long time in the making.
The honey flavour is very distinct in the cake, which is light, soft, moist and airy. I have frosted them with a vanilla lemon buttercream, topped them with honeycomb and drizzled with a little extra honey.
I would love for you to try this recipe and let me know what you think, I'm really pleased with it, the combination of mixed spice, lemon and honey give these the most incredible flavour.
Feel free to use your own icing recipe and leave off the honeycomb.
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
120g brown sugar
170g runny honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
220g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
75g honeycomb, plus extra for decorating
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake papers.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mixed spice and sieve together into a medium bowl.
Cream together the softened butter, sugar and honey using an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well for about a minute after each addition.
Combine the milk, buttermilk, vanilla and lemon extracts in a small bowl.
Add one third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well, add a third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat twice more until all the flour and milk mixture have been used up.
Using a small knife chop the honeycomb into small pieces, fold this into the cake batter evenly, ensuring there are no pieces larger than about 1 cm.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cases, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Insert a cake tester into the centre of each cake, it should come out clean.
Remove from the oven cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Vanilla Lemon Buttercream
115g unsalted butter, very soft
450g powdered sugar
60ml fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place butter in large mixing bowl. Add half of the sugar and then juice and extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. Beat for another 3 minutes (they key to perfect frosting). Use and store at room temperature.
When cupcakes are cool ice as desired and top with a shard of honeycomb and drizzle with runny honey.
Yummy Yummy Yummy.
OK so lets talk Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, as far as recipes go I love it, I would be hard pushed to find a recipe in the book that I didn't want to cook. Everything looks delicious, the recipes are simple and don't require any complicated or unavailable ingredients, however I don't think I like the whole 30 minute meal system.
I made this pasta last night and it was brilliant, Baby Love adored it, even saying it was better than a Bolognese. I tried to get a mark out of 10 but he finds this too difficult and instead I just ask whether he would like the dish again, the answer was a big yes.
It is called quite simply Pregnant Jools's Pasta and once you eat it you can see why Jools loves the dish, it is flavourful, comforting, filling and unbelievably delicious.
I took the skins off my sausages but Jamie doesn't specify, I just knew I would prefer it without. I used pork and venison sausages, which were incredible, I also used a really good quality balsamic vinegar and fresh pasta.
Pregnant Jools's Pasta - Jamie's 30 Minute Meals
4 spring onions
1 stick celery
1-2 fresh red chillies
1 x 6 pack good quality sausages (approx. 400g)
1 heaped teaspoonful fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a few sprigs of Greek basil, or regular basil
Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Trim the spring onions, carrot and celery. Roughly chop all the vegetables, then blitz in the food processor with the chillies (stalks removed). Add the sausages, 1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon Oregano. Keep pulsing until well mixed, then spoon mixture into the hot frying pan with a lug of olive oil, breaking it up and stirring as you go.
Fill and boil the kettle. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the sausage mixture and stir in 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and the tinned tomatoes. (I'd make sure your sausage mixture was nicely cooked and golden brown before adding the tomatoes). Add a little of the starchy water from the pasta to loosen it if needed.
Drain the pasta, reserving about a wineglass worth of water. Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir, adding enough of the cooking water to bring it to a silky consistency. Taste, correct the seasoning, then tip into a large serving bowl and take straight to the table.
I honestly can't recommend this dish enough, not only was it delicious but quick and easy too.
x x x
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
We don't really tend to bake with pumpkin in the U.K. I'm not really sure why because as I have just discovered, pumpkin is delicious. I have decided to cook a huge thanksgiving meal this year, including all the trimmings, consequently I'm trying to get Baby Love into the idea of Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Potato Pie.
He is not convinced but he hasn't tried one of these bad boys yet.
I found this recipe on Baking Bites, I love this blog and have used many a recipe with nothing but brilliant results. This is not really a cupcake recipe but it allowed me to stay within my comfort zone, the cupcake is much more like a pie filling in a cakey crust, not a crisp one. The finished result is a custardy, gooey, melt in your mouth morsel. These Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes are seriously scrumptious, the flavour is perfect but the texture is a little off for me.
The cupcakes will fall quite rapidly once out of the oven due to the gooey centre.
I baked mine in cupcake papers but think I'd use silicone cups if I was serving them, so they could be turned out, they'd be more difficult to eat but I think would aesthetically look better.
Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes - Baking Bites
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or evaporated milk)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
I'm not entirely sure why I have never made iced sugar cookies but it was definitely high time I gave them a try, especially since I have some amazing cookie cutters.
This cupcake cookie is pretty darn gigantic..
I tried to keep the designs really simple since it was my first try but even so I made lots of mistakes, my cupcake cookie ended up more then a little flawed, thankfully I think I improved just a little by the time I got to the corsets. I have plenty of cookie cutters to get through though so should be a dab hand before too long. Some of the bloggers I follow post the most amazing cookies I've ever seen, like little works of art, that's what I'm aiming for.
Next up I decided to try out my cookie stamp, find a link to get the stamp here: