Monday, 31 January 2011
Hi everyone, I hope you have all had a great start to the week.
I'm back with another adorable new cupcake character, he is based on but not an exact copy of the adorable Loopy the beaver from the movie Pororo the Little Penguin.
What a cutie! I love that he is pink and his little buck teeth.
x x x◦
Friday, 28 January 2011
What can I say about this recipe? Nigella's Doughnut French Toast is a very naughty, very scrumptious little treat. It's the this type of gloriously comforting and lavishly sweet snack, that Nigella is known for and it really tastes like a warm sugary doughnut.
This recipe is really simple and great served with a big mug of hot chocolate, or you could warm a little strawberry jam and drizzle over your tower of french toast.
Doughnut French Toast - Nigella Express
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
60ml full-fat milk
4 slices from a small white loaf or
2 slices from a large white loaf, each large slice cut in half
25g butter, plus a drop of flavourless oil for frying
50g caster sugar
1.Beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla in a wide, shallow bowl.
2.Soak the bread halves in the eggy mixture for 5 minutes a side.
3.Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, and fry the egg-soaked bread until golden and scorched in parts on both sides.
4.Put the sugar on a plate and then dip the cooked bread in it until coated like a sugared doughnut.
Mmm Strawberry Jam.
So first things first, what exactly is a compost cookie?
That ooze could be fudge caramel or butterscotch, even more gloriously it could be a combination of all three.
I decided that if David Lebovitz couldn't master Momofuku's compost cookie recipe, I didn't stand a chance, so I decided to make compost cookies my way. I used one of my favourite cookie recipes, the Magnolia Bakery Peanut Butter Cookie recipe and for my compost....
I baked the first couple of batches of cookies with a cup of the following goodies:
Mars Planets, Fudge Bars, Green & Blacks Butterscotch chocolate bar and Caramel Nibbles crushed and chopped if necessary.
Then I got more adventurous and chucked in some crisps/potato chips and a few salty peanuts for good measure. As you can tell I wasn't totally convinced by the crisps in cookies idea, as I left them out for a couple of batches just in case but let me tell you the cookies with added crisps are amazing! Oh my God, slap me silly, sweet and salty deliciousness sent straight from heaven, I cannot believe how much I love these cookies.
Don't get me wrong the ones with just the sweet stuff are stupidly delicious but colour me amazed what they lack is potato chips, and peanuts of course.
Here are the compost cookies with added potato chips...
...and here they are without potato chips/crisps...
To make your own Compost Cookies:
Make your favourite cookie recipe as per normal, omitting any chocolate chips etc. If you don't have a favourite cookie recipe use this one because it is one of the best cookie recipes in the world. Instead of adding a cup of peanut butter chips at the end add a cup to a cup and a half of compost, chop or crush anything larger than a chocolate chip and bake as normal.
I may never make another cookie recipe again, I'm just going to make these with variations on the compost mix. What would you put in yours?
Thursday, 27 January 2011
Madeira cake is a very tradition British cake with a close-textured sponge, it is simple but simply perfect and never fails to please. I have always had a soft spot for a simple Madeira as I love the edge bits, that signature crust you only seem to find on a this cake, it is simply the best bit.
I like to make mine in a loaf but you can just as easily make a round cake, just be sure to cut nice thick slabs for munching with tea while snuggled up on the sofa.
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
175g unsalted butter, room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g chocolate chips
a 20cm round deep cake tin or a loaf tin,
greased and lined.
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder on to a sheet of greaseproof paper and set aside until needed.
Put the soft butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat well for a minute. When the butter looks lighter and creamier, add the sugar and beat well for 5 minutes, until the mixture looks very light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of the flour and the vanilla extract with the last egg.
Take a tablespoon of the flour and mix with the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
Add the rest of your flour mixture to your batter, folding it in gently until thoroughly combined. Fold in the floured chocolate chips.
Transfer the mixture to your prepared tin and spread it out evenly, gently bang the tin down on the work surface to dislodge any air pockets and bake in the preheated oven for between 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a cooling rack. When completely cold, remove the cake from the tin and peel off the lining paper. Store in an airtight container.
Mmm...Madeira cake edge bits....yum.
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
I've had a terrible day, in fact I've had a terrible week, nothing major has happened but a hundred little things have conspired to grind me down. Defiantly I've powered on, determined to find a silver lining to the big black cloud that has taken position overhead but I'm finding it hard to get my mojo back.
That being said, even on the darkest of days there are glorious cupcakes to be made and this always brings a smile to my face. This beautiful wee Unicorn is a brand new Buttercream Bakery design and he really did brighten an otherwise rather gloomy day. I love the little wings and the two-tone pink, My Little Pony style mane.
The little pony was actually made at the request of a very sweet young man but I love it so much I'm going to add it to a Princess Party Package I'm working on and make it a regular Buttercream Bakery character.
In other news, I'm working really hard on some new recipes for the Buttercream Bakery book and have had some great success with a rather tricky chocolate chip cookie cupcake, which I have just managed to make taste exactly like a choc chip cookie and I really do mean exactly, it is a bit magical. It still needs some tweaking to improve the rise slightly etc. but I'm pretty excited about it.
I was planning to do fondant elephants for my next tutorial but I'm tempted to do this little pony instead. The elephant is super simple but pony is a little more complicated, maybe I should do a vote!
x x x
Monday, 24 January 2011
A massive thank you to Paris Pastry for passing this stylish award on to me, I am ever so grateful.
The stylish blogger award requires me to tell you 7 things about myself and of course pass it on to some other fabulous blogs I love to read, so here it goes.
7 Things About Me
1. I have a degree in Theatre & Visual Art.
2. I have a small obsession with Shaolin Kung Fu.
3. I have two sisters Spirit & Skye and a little brother Rupert.
4. When I was little I'd watch Breakfast at Tiffany's over and over, I know it word for word and have called everyone darling since I was about 10.
5. I could eat corn on the cobs every day for the rest of my life, I just love them.
6. I lived in South Africa until I was 6.
7. Christmas makes me ecstatically happy and I start getting excited around August.
Passing the award on:
Seriously Stylish Blogs
x x x◦
Posted by Astral de la Mare at Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, 23 January 2011
I finally managed to find time to film my fondant teddy bear tutorial and I'm both very nervous and excited to post it.
The tutorial shows you how to make a fondant teddy bear topper for your cakes and cupcakes, at home, using no specialist tools. This tutorial was filmed in the Goddamn Media studio's kitchen and I'd like to say a huge thank you to them for their help.
I hope you find my tutorial helpful, I was very nervous! I would love your feedback and if you do make a bear please send me a picture.
Friday, 21 January 2011
These cute baby shower cupcakes are utterly adorable, I can't decide which is sweeter the sneakers or the little baby bottles.
I make baby sneakers much smaller than this but I love the detail on these.
I don't get the chance to make that many baby shower cupcakes, I get a few but I think baby showers are more of an American thing really, so I was really glad to get the chance to make these.
I have some grown up shoe cupcakes to post too but they may have to wait till another day because I really should clean the house...
Have a lovely weekend everyone.
x x x◦
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Cupcakes make brilliant wedding favours, especially mini ones and these simple sweetheart cupcakes are a lovely choice.
The cupcakes are Devil's Food Cake and they are iced with a delicate swirl of Vanilla Bean Buttercream in pink and white.
Sweet, simple and romantic.
That is all for now but I have decided from now on Friday will be cupcake day and I will post all the weeks cupcakes at once. Not only will it make my life a little easier but it will also ensure there is more to my blog than cupcakes. So I will be back tomorrow for the 1st Cupcake Friday, I have some adorable cuppies to post this week. x
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
This cake is gorgeous, the recipe is from Baked Explorations: American Desserts Reinvented which is one of the most exciting baking books I have bought in a long time. This bundt cake was one of the simpler recipes in the book but it has absolutely floored me, I cannot fault this cake it is quite simple perfect. The flavour is like no other cake I have tried and although my frosting was a little thinner than pictured in the book when I tasted it I almost fell over, it was unbelievable so decided not to tweak it at all.
The book suggested you may like to top the cake with caramel shards but I didn't want the crunch so I left mine plain, I have provided the recipe for the caramel shard topping anyway so do as you wish.
All I can say is make this cake and get the book too, some of the recipes are pretty epic and I can't wait to make the Monkey Bubble Bread, Buttermilk Doughnuts, Chocolate Coffee Cake and the Caramel Popcorn, all of which look totally scrumptious.
I have added this recipe to Sweets for Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies as requested by the lovely Lisa so head over and check out all the gorgeous recipes on her fantastic blog.
Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake Recipe
For the Burnt Sugar Liquid
½ cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Approximately 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Bundt Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Make the Burnt Sugar Liquid
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, slowly melt the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to stir it continuously to ensure even melting. When the sugar turns a dark caramel color, remove the pan from the heat and slowly stream in the cream while continuing to stir (don’t worry if mixture starts to clump). Return the pan to medium heat and stir until completely combined; cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring. Transfer the burnt caramel mixture to at least a 2-cup heatproof liquid measuring cup (like Pyrex) and add enough coconut milk to make 1 1/4 cups liquid. Add the lemon juice. Whisk to combine, divide the mixture in half, and set both portions aside.
Make the Bundt Cake
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it thoroughly, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 more seconds. Retrieve one of the reserved portions of burnt sugar liquid. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the burnt sugar, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a small sharp knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.
Make the Caramel Rum Frosting
Put the butter, rum, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining portion of burnt sugar liquid in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the Bundt in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving.
Caramel Shard Topping
This caramel shard decoration is entirely optional—but it looks spectacular. Ingredient – 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Place the sugar in a small saucepan. Add enough water—it takes approximately 1 teaspoon—to make it the texture of wet sand. Cook on high heat until the sugar turns amber. Pour the caramel onto a half-sheet pan lined with a Silpat (or other silicone nonstick) baking mat. Let cool. Break the cooled caramel into small shards and use them to decorate the frosted cake.
Makes one 10 inch Bundt Cake.
In other news I have been really busy at the bakery so will get to posting cupcakes very soon and I'm finally filming my teddy topper tutorial tomorrow. Also my Mum and I have decided to throw my little sister a pink party for her birthday in February, mainly because we love her dearly but also so I have an excuse to make Martha Stewart's pink layer cake. I can't wait!◦
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
These Meatball Parmigiana Sliders are absolutely scrumptious! I really love this recipe, the Marinara Sauce is spot on and the meatballs are divine, I can't recommend this recipe enough and I will certainly make these again.
I couldn't find any mini brioche rolls but luckily found some adorable mini bread rolls at my local Waitrose so used those instead.
Meatball Parmigiana Sliders
Makes 2 dozen
For the Meatballs
2 slices sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
½ cup whole milk
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces veal
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1Garlic clove, minced
1 large egg
Salt and Pepper
Marinara Sauce (Recipe below)
For the sandwiches
2 dozen Brioche or dinner Rolls
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan
Makes 6 cups
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cans (28 ounces each) peeled whole tomatoes,
pureed in a food processor.
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over a medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp of salt and some pepper. Simmer, covered, until thick, 25 minutes. Stir in herbs.
For the sliders:
Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes. Gently add in the rest of the meatball ingredients: beef, pork, veal, Parmesan, garlic, egg, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll mixture into twenty-four 1 ounce balls (about the size of a golf ball). Heat sauce in a large heavy pot over a medium heat. Drop meatballs into the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 - 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange the rolls, cut side up on a baking sheet. Place 1 meatball, a spoonful of sauce, 1 tbs mozzarella and 1 tsp Parmesan on bottom halves of each roll. Bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Sandwich with basil.
Friday, 14 January 2011
I love the roses especially the gold ones and I'm really fond this style of cake, I think it looks like it was made in an old fashioned American bakery. The cake is a two layer chocolate cake with white chocolate caramel vanilla bean buttercream.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
When you tone down the deep passion of red with the purity of white, the result is pink.
Today I feel tickled pink.....
I want to make this....
Whilst wearing this....
Apparently pink makes us crave sugar and consequently pastries taste better when they come out of pink boxes or are served on pink plates.
No wonder I love pink.◦
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
This recipe is just something I was experimenting with but the results were so unbelievably scrumptious I had to post it. I left half of the cupcakes plain, as I personally adore them uniced and served warm.
Inside a Toffee Apple Cupcake.
The rest of the cupcakes I iced with a simple caramel buttercream and either topped with mini fondant apples or toffee drizzle.
These cupcakes taste like squidgy apple crumble and the toffee centre is pure heaven, I am not usually a fan of fruit in cupcakes, I hate that mushy texture you so often get but these were perfect, the apple flavour is spot on and when combined with the cinnamon these cupcakes taste more like a comforting dessert than a humble cupcake.
I love it when cupcake experimentation goes well! This is my favourite cupcake recipe of the year so far, I may adapt it just so that the recipe makes 12 cupcakes rather than 8 but other then that I think the recipe is pretty perfect. Eat one of these warm from the oven and you will have to leave the kitchen to stop yourself having another one.
Toffee Apple Cupcakes
2 oz unsalted butter, softened
125g / 4 1/2 oz soft light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 lb cake or pastry flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves
200g apple sauce, from a jar
1 heaped tablespoon creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a muffin tray with 8 paper muffin cases.
Cream the butter and sugar together for about 3 minutes until smooth. Add the egg beating until well combined. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Add the apple sauce and creme fraiche and mix until totally combined.
Spoon half the mixture into the paper cases, Place a toffee in the centre of each and then spoon the remaining mixture on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp caramel syrup
2 tbsp milk
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, half the icing sugar, milk, and caramel syrup. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency; you may not need to add all the sugar.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Melt the toffees and oil together in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Cool before drizzling over cupcakes.◦
Monday, 10 January 2011
I came across this home made pop tart recipe on Babble the other day and have been thinking about making pop tarts ever since. How had I never thought of making pop tarts at home before? The original recipe made mini pop tarts on sticks but I decided to split the batch and make mini pop tarts (not on sticks) and adorable pie pops (obviously on sticks).
I didn't like the look of the icing in the original recipe so used a fool proof royal icing recipe I love, I halved the recipe below and had almost the perfect amount of icing.
As I used store bought sweet pastry these were so easy to make and the took about 45 minutes from start to finish. You can of course use homemade sweet pastry but I really can't fault the store bought stuff as long as it's good quality.
The pop tarts are totally scrumptious and I can't wait to make them in chocolate, the pie pops are a bit dry as there is so little filling added but to be honest I expected this. Also I ignored the measurements completely and just cut the pastry to the size I wanted, mine baked in 12 minutes.
I piped a border of icing onto each pop tart before flooding with thinner icing, you could also just dip each pop tart into icing. I used egg wash to stick both the pie pops and pop tarts together but didn't egg wash as the recipe didn't say to. I don't think the pop tarts necessarily need an egg wash but the pie pops do, so I'll definitely do this next time.
Mini Cherry Pop Tarts
For The Mini Pop Tarts:
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and diced
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. sweet pastry
In a small saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch and almond extract. Heat on stove over medium heat until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. Unroll pie crusts and using a pizza cutter to slice them into 1 1/2″x 2″ rectangles.
Spoon a small amount (about 1 1/2 tsp.) of cooled cherry filling into the center of the pie square, taking care not to get it near the edges. Gently lay a second rectangle over the top of the cherry filling. Press the edges of the rectangles together with a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake pop tart pops in an oven preheated to 400F for 8-10 minutes, or just until the edges begin to brown.
Royal Icing Recipe
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 lbs. confectioner's sugar
Combine egg whites and lemon juice in a bowl. Add small amounts of confectioner's sugar at a time until icing is completely smooth and forms a peak.
Make icing thinner for piping lines by adding additional egg white. Make it thicker for floral decorations by adding more confectioner's sugar.
Cover icing with plastic wrap when using. It will quickly dry out. Use only a small portion at a time.
For the pie pops I just cut small circles of pastry using a round cookie cutter, pressed a lollipop stick onto the inner side of one of the circles and added a tiny amount of filling to the centre. I brushed the edges with a little egg and topped with another circle. Using a fork press down the edges of the pastry, brush with a little beaten egg and bake until golden brown.
Super cute sweet pastry treats! I love them both.