Friday, 30 September 2011

Top Tips & Tricks For Making Mini Cupcakes

I make a lot of mini cupcakes and recently I seem to be making more than ever before.  Today rather than doing a normal cupcake post with a lot of images and a few little comments along the way, I thought I would share a few of my top tips for making mini cupcakes and add a few pictures of the mini cuppies I have been making to give you a little inspiration.

Making mini cupcakes is of course basically exactly the same as making regular sized cupcakes but there are a few tips and tricks that will make your life so much easier.

Almost all cupcake recipes can be made into mini cupcakes. Mini cupcake pans hold around a third of the amount of batter as regular cupcake pans, so if you have a recipe that yields 12 full sized cupcakes, you will get around 36 mini cupcakes from that batter. 

It helps to know the batter you are working with really well, our chocolate cupcakes for instance rise a lot higher than our vanilla cupcakes when baked, so I only fill the cases until half full with chocolate batter and two-thirds full with vanilla batter. Normally you will want to fill the mini cupcake cases until 2/3 full as with regular cupcakes but be careful, it is very easy to overfill mini cupcake cases.

I recommend starting with the original recipe and making a large batch of mini cupcakes, rather than cutting down the recipe.  Some recipes do not scale down well.

Mini cupcake pans can be a pain to fill, it can take a long time, especially if you are making hundreds of mini cupcakes at a time and as we know cake batter does not like to wait.  At the bakery we always pipe our cake batter into mini cupcake cases/trays.

  I use a large disposable piping bag fitted with a 2cm round piping tip for this. It is much quicker and far easier to make all the cupcakes uniform in size by piping the batter into the cases, rather than scooping and spooning.

Mini cupcakes will bake in around half the time of regular sized cupcakes. 
  Around 10-16 minutes for mini cupcakes and 20-25 for regular sized cupcakes.  It is really easy to over bake mini cupcakes so keep a close eye on them and check to see if they are ready after 10 minutes.

If you choose to add anything to the cupcake batter, chocolate chips, nuts or fruit for example, be sure to crush or chop them into very small pieces, it is very easy to overwhelm a mini cupcake.

It is also very easy to make a mini cupcake look too top heavy, small toppings work best, sprinkles, crushed nuts, biscuits, coconut and small chocolates or sweets work much better than large fondant toppers.

So there you have it, my top tips for mini cupcakes, I hope you find them useful.

Happy Cupcaking!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Buttercream Bakery Loves Pop

There are few things as wonderful for a cake decorator as seeing your work in print.

Needless to say I love that We Love Pop decided to publish one of my adorable mini Katy Perry cupcakes.

The magazine priced them as large cupcakes but these little beauties are really mini cupcakes and are a very affordable £1 each. 

I originally designed these cupcakes for the fabulous Cakey Perry event at the request of Miss Cakehead.  You can keep up to date with all Miss Cakehead's fabulous cakey events on her blog cakeheadlovesevil.

I love the EAT IT! bit and the fact that Miss Perry herself is on the same page! I also think the little write up is great and it is brilliant that National Cupcake week is having the desired effect.

Buttercream Bakery does indeed love pop.

You can find out all about the awesome Cakey Perry event in my previous posts:

Scrumptious Vanilla, Strawberry & Coconut Cake Recipe

It is definitely about time I posted a yummy cake recipe, I can only apologise for the delay, I have been so busy and distracted recently that my blogging has taken a bit of a hit.  I am hoping to get back on track this week and I thought I'd start with this scrumptious Vanilla, Strawberry & Coconut Cake recipe.

This is one of my favourite vanilla sponge recipes, it truly is perfect.  The cake is topped with lashings of vanilla bean buttercream and drizzled with strawberry jam before being generously sprinkled with a handful of desiccated coconut.  Despite not being the biggest coconut fan, I adore this cake and it is definitely being added to the rotation.

Vanilla, Strawberry & Coconut Cake

225g unsalted butter, softened

250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
210g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp (30ml) milk
1 tsp vanilla essence or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste

 Vanilla Bean Buttercream

150g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 vanilla pod

To Decorate

2 tbsp strawberry jam
desiccated coconut

23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and lined.

To make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, remembering to scrape down the sides regularly.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold in the flour mixture, milk and vanilla essence until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and the centre of the cake springs back when gently pressed. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Buttercream

Place the butter in to a large mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute.  Add half of the icing sugar and the milk and beat until combined.  Add the remaining icing sugar and the seeds from the vanilla pod and beat for a minimum of 5 minutes.

To make the Jam Drizzle

Place the strawberry jam into a small saucepan and add 1 tbsp of water. Place over a medium heat until runny, a minute or two should be fine. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

To Assemble:

Once the cake is completely cool, top with buttercream and create yummy peaks using the back of a spoon or a palette knife.  Drizzle with the cooled strawberry jam and sprinkle with a handful of desiccated coconut.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Naughty Little Monster In Paris

I have been so busy and preoccupied recently that I completely forgot to tell you all I was going to Paris!
It was only a short trip but as always, it was absolutely wonderful.

I wasn't alone on my travels, I was with hubby and his lovely mum and sister, it was Mr. P's sister's birthday and Paris was a special treat.  Little did I know however that someone else had decided to tag along....

The Stow Away

It had been a rather rushed journey to St. Pancras. Both Mr. P. and I had had to go into work early that morning to ensure all was well before we left.  We were both running a little late and very nearly missed our train.  Needless to say it was quite a relief when we finally arrived aboard the Eurostar and took our seats.

All was well and I started day dreaming about the delights that awaited me upon my arrival in Paris, this of course, as one can imagine made me more than a little peckish and I began to rummage in my bag for a snack.

As I delved deeper and deeper into my bag, cursing my own disorganisation... I felt something move!

I of course panicked, I threw my bag at Mr. P. and leaped across the carriage in a rather over dramatic fashion. Yes people were watching and no they were not impressed.  Once Mr. P. had managed to assess the situation he calmly reached into the bag and after a moment or two, pulled out a slightly nervous looking little monster.

The poor little thing seemed so scared, I felt terrible but Mr. P. and I managed to calm him down and once suitably reassured he was soon sitting, happily enjoying the journey with us.

Once we arrived in Paris the little monster could no longer contain his excitement, especially when he saw the view from our balcony.

He doesn't speak but rather makes noises, he is surprisingly easy to understand though, these little monsters seem to be a very expressive breed. He is a rather amicable little fellow, if a little excitable. 

 Up until this point I had thankfully managed to maintain control of the little monster but that was all about to change. 

Whilst usually calm, when it comes to food, this little monster is a devilish, cheeky little maniac! Lest we forget the Buttercream Bakery Sprinkle Stealing Debacle.

Rather unsurprisingly he relished the food in Paris, he loves bread...

Often diving straight into the bread basket, oblivious to the disapproving reaction of his fellow diners.

He adores chocolate...

In fact he seems particularly keen to devour anything sweet, I even had to stop him diving head first into the sugar bowl at one point!

The little monster could not believe how delightful coffee was in Paris, he had no idea coffee came with cream and cake!

He almost fell over when he saw my café viennois.

For the next few days I took the little monster everywhere, we certainly bonded somewhat and he would sit happily by the side of my plate, sharing joyous Parisian lunches.

I was of course happy to share and it was wonderful to see his little face light up when ever he saw it was indeed time for lunch again.

A Little Monster Lunches At Ladurée

One of the highlights of both our trip was lunch at heavenly Ladurée. We decided to eat in the stunning bar, last time Mr. P. and I visited it was not yet open and it is an unbelievably beautiful place.

While I admired the decor the little monster perused the menu.

I of course had to order a caramel infused coffee, it was as always amazing but the little monster only had eyes for one thing...

I could see the desperate desire in his eyes, a look on his face that said, can I, can I, oh please can I?

The answer of course was after lunch and despite being slightly disappointed he soon perked up when lunch arrived.

I ordered Crab Blinis, it tasted as phenomenal as it looked, the little guy couldn't believe his eyes.

After our glorious main it was time for dessert.

Which in true Parisian style consisted of chocolate and macarons.

We opted of Raspberry and Salted Caramel, the little monster was delighted by the macarons.

 The little monster was particularly fond of the raspberry macaron.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

We continued to eat our way across Paris, enjoying glorious meringues with our coffee...

....and delicious buttery croissants for breakfast.

We were very lucky with the weather and enjoyed a glorious day at the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries.

To be honest it was a little too hot for him and when we both spotted a bird swoop over head I knew it was time to let him hide out in the shade of my purse.

As always it was terribly sad to leave Paris but Mr. P. provided Pierre Hermé macarons for the journey home and this soothed us both somewhat.

Caramel, pistachio and coffee, yum yum.

As soon as we arrived back I had to hurry to the bakery to fulfil a macaron order of my own and besides I wanted to get the little monster back to his family.  I'm sure he missed them despite all the wonderful distractions and I was a little concerned that they may have been worried about him.

Now that we are firm friends I am hoping he may introduce me to his family and perhaps stop stealing my sprinkles.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

White Modelling Chocolate Recipe

Modelling Chocolate is such a joy to work with and I'm loving this recipe, modelling chocolate is so versatile and great for not only modelling but also moulding, covering and cut outs. It is fantastically strong and brilliant for making figurines, it also blends seamlessly into itself making it much easier to achieve a beautifully smooth finish.

I thought I would share with you the recipe I have been using, I have adapted it to suit British baking (so no corn syrup here).  I have as you have probably guessed from puppy above, decided to share a few toppers I have made out of white modelling chocolate too.

Hungry Happenings is an amazing modelling chocolate resource, the trouble shooting section in particular I love.  This tells you how to save dry, crumbly or oily modelling chocolate, I can't recommend reading this enough and no matter what modelling chocolate problem may come your way, this will sort you out.

 This modelling chocolate has a brilliant texture and tastes wonderful. You can replace the golden syrup with light corn syrup if you are in the U.S. Honey will also work but will flavour the chocolate.

White Modelling Chocolate

Recipe adapted from B. Keith Ryder

1 lb. good quality white chocolate couverture, chopped
7 tbsp golden syrup

Gently melt the chocolate in a plastic bowl in the microwave, heating for only a few seconds at a time to avoid burning. Stir to melt remaining lumps.

Warm the golden syrup so that it's approximately the same temperature as the chocolate. Pour the golden syrup into the chocolate and with a rubber spatula, stir quickly until the mixture is well-combined. It will thicken considerably as it cools.

Pour the mixture into a freezer bag and seal airtight. Let set 1 day at room temperature or a couple of hours in the refrigerator before using.

When you're ready to use the modeling chocolate, break off a workable amount and knead it in your hands. As the chocolate warms, it will be come malleable and soft. If you cannot knead the chocolate, heat it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

These chocolate skulls are made using an incredibly detailed mold, I wouldn't be able to make them out of sugar paste of gum paste, modelling chocolate is brilliant for this sort of thing.

Colouring Modelling Chocolate

I personally would always use colouring pastes or gels to colour my modelling chocolate, you can mix these in to the chocolate as you would fondant.

Do not use liquid colour, it will ruin the modelling chocolate.  Colouring modelling chocolate can get messy, the chocolate does not absorb the colour as quickly as sugar paste or fondant, you may want to wear gloves.

This is definitely a recipe worth making, it is so simple and modelling chocolate is pretty expensive.  I will definitely be making all of Buttercream Bakery's modelling chocolate in house form now on.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Buttercream Bakery: My Week In Cupcakes

I am as we speak enjoying a very rare and very wonderful weekend off.  I do have a little work to be getting on with but for the moment I am fully embracing in my lazy Sunday.

There has, as usual been all sorts going on at the bakery, these Morris Minor XL Cupcakes where made for a Morris Minor enthusiasts birthday.  The birthday boy owns a burgundy Morris Minor named Miriam.

If you follow me on twitter you will know that I had a little crisis of confidence where these little cars were concerned.  I really needed another pair of eyes and I can't thank my lovely twitter friends enough for all their much needed feedback and lovely comments.  Stupidly after all that worrying and doubting I quite like the cars now and my client loved them.

Miriam the Morris Minor

All the cars are made out of a single piece of gum paste, I shape them using my fingers and a damp paintbrush to create the grooves and contours. 

I have been happily drowning in a sea of delicious chocolate all week.

The cupcakes are of course chocolate, with milk and dark chocolate striped buttercream, chocolate curls and white chocolate buttons.


Loads of sprinkles have been flying around as per usual.

Yummy lemon drizzle cupcakes with lemon buttercream.

I also made these adorable mini Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes for wedding favours, each one was to be placed in a gorgeous little hand crafted box.

I used chocolate curls and giant white chocolate buttons to decorate.

I hope all the guests loved their little cupcake.

x x x