Saturday, 28 July 2012

Pina Colada cupcakes

You may have heard last week, that I won these amazing I-zings from the lovely people at the Cake Decorating Company in a Facebook competition.

If you have not come across these before, they are a type of fondant icing, the type you dip and pour rather than the type you roll and they come in zingy fruit flavours and colours, tasting a bit like opal fruits (starburst) sweets. They come in four flavours - summer fruit, pineapple, lime and orange

Pina Colada Cupccakes 2

Here in England the weather up until this week has featured grey skies and seemingly endless rain for week, after week, after week. This week, the sun has finally shone and we have had blue skies and balmy days putting me in mind of holidays, beaches and beach bars and of frozen cocktails in those beach bars.  These thoughts melded with the pineapple i-zing producing these totally tropical pina colada cupcakes. The pineapple flavour in the i-zing is beautifully strong and I have ramped up the coconut flavour in the cupcakes to match. These little cupcakes are proper little flavour bombs a coconut cupcake topped with coconut frosting and then dipped into the pineapple i-zing

Coconut Cupcakes Recipe

(I have adapted this from a 1971 pamphlet for TREX)
If you don't want to use the trex, use 5oz margarine instead and leave out the milk

5oz /125g self raising flour
3oz / 100g caster / superfine sugar
4oz / 75g trex (vegetable fat)
2oz / 50g desiccated coconut
2 large eggs
3 tbsp milk or water
1 tsp baking powder

One of the best things about this recipe is you can make it using the all in one method, meaning you just put everything in a bowl and mix it together - preferably with an electric mixer. Easy. For best results try and get two eggs that, in their shells, together weigh about 5 oz / 125g.

Spoon the mixture into paper cases and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 F / 180 C

I also made some mini cupcakes that will cook in about 15 minutes at the same temperature

Coconut Frosting Recipe

3 oz / 80g butter, softened
3 oz / 80g coconut cream
10 oz / 250g icing sugar
A good splash of  milk or cream

Beat together the softened butter and coconut cream until well combined.

Add about a third of the icing sugar and mix until all combined, then add the other two thirds, one third at a time.

If the mixture looks a bit dry add a splash of milk and cream and then beat for a couple of minutes. (The icing may still look a little grainy because of the coconut cream.)


Load up your piping bag with a plain round nozzle (I used a Wilton 2B) and fill it with frosting.

Pipe the swirls on the cupcakes.
Start close to, but, not quite touching the edge and pipe a circle. Pipe another circle inside and on top and bring it up into a peak in the middle.

Time for the i-zing
You need to heat it a little to get it to a dipping consistency. See here for instructions.
Take a frosted cake, hold it upside down and dip it in to the i-zing. If you want to add sprinkles, sprinkle them on straight after dipping.
I was worried that the frosting would come off in the i-zing when I dipped them, it didn't! Don't leave it in there too long though and make sure it is not so hot that it melts your frosting.

That's all for today
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Friday, 20 July 2012

Bye Bye Brownies

I made these brownies for my lovely friend who is off to start a new job, so I won't be seeing so much of this lovely lady. I won't embarrass her by telling you her name. These are to say good luck in your new job and I'm going to miss you, though I'm sure I will see you real soon ...

I made these using my favourite traditional brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Even if you are not normally a great baker, all you have to do is weigh out the ingredients, melt the butter and chocolate and then stir in the other ingredients. So easy even a child can make these, in fact my three year old son did make them.

We were home earlier that usual he had been for a taster session at his new school. I can't believe that my three year old is starting big school in about six weeks. To be fair he is four in a couple of days, but he still seems very little for big school. Still, at least when he starts school we will get to spend a bit more time together, as I will leave work a little earlier to meet him from school.

If you fancy having a go at these, here's how.

You will need a batch of brownies baked in a sheet pan and cut out using a heart cutter.

Chocolate Sugar paste
Lilac coloured sugar paste (I used a ready coloured one from Regalice)
A small rolling pin
A hear shaped cutter (this one is from Wilton's from the heart set)
Sugarflair lustre in Dusky Lilac
A small clean paint brush or two

In addition, for the different types of brownie you need

For the hearts with roses
A Lace mould or embossing mat, I used this one
Squires Kitchen Mould Lace Intricate Floral
A Rose mould, shop bought icing roses or hand made roses
I used the roses galore mould from first impressions to make these

Roll out the chocolate sugar paste about half a cm thick
Put the lace mould on top and roll over it with the rolling pin
Lift the mould and cut out the heart shape
Place the moulded heart onto a brownie
Roll a ball of lilac fondant for the rose
Press it into one of the moulds
Remove any excess and tidy up the edges
Flex the silicone to pop the moulded rose out
Gently brush the dusky lilac lustre dust over the rose

For the hearts with letters

Lace mould or embossing mat as above
Letter cutters. I used Patchwork Cutters.

Mould and cut the chocolate sugar paste as above
Roll out a small amount of lilac sugar paste
Brush all over with the dusky lilac
Cut out the letters and remove the excess paste
Use the letter cutter to gently make an impression on the moulded chocolate sugar paste
Gently lift the letter and ease into place using the impression as a guide.

For the springerle moulded brownie

You need this beautiful springerle mould from House on the Hill
Green Luster dust. I used Squires Kitchen Bridal Satin in Myrtle

Roll out lilac sugar paste about 1cm thick
Place the springerle mould on top and press down firmly. (My sugar paste didn't feel sticky so I didn't use anything to help stop it sticking to the mould, if yours feels even slightly sticky, smear a little vegetable fat on to the sugar paste before moulding)
Cut out a shape the same size as your cut out brownies and place on  top
Paint the heart and flowers with the dusky lilac lustre dust
Finally paint the leaves with the myrtle lustre dust

All done. Beautiful. Even though I do say so myself!

That's all for today
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Friday, 13 July 2012

Hope-lace romantic brownies

Hope-Lace Romantic Brownies

Thought you might like to see a little something I threw together for a tea-time treat. Some more glamorous brownies, with the look of antique lace.

I baked a tray of brownies using my usual favourite brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book, you can find it here.

What You Need to Decorate Them

A lace mould
This one is the Lace Rose and Lily of the Valley  mould from Squires Kitchen

A Cutter size and shape to match your mould or part of your mould.

Lustre Dust
I used this Pear Ivory Dust by Sugarflair

Coloured Sugarpaste / Fondant
The lustre dust will make the colour appear lighter, bear this in mine when choosing a colour

How to do it

Use your chosen cutter to cut out shapes from the baked chocolate brownies

Roll out a small amount of your sugar paste to about 1cm / half an inch thick.

Place the sugar paste on top of the mould and press it down to emboss the pattern

Flip over the mould and sugar paste together and gently lift off the mould.

Carefully position your cutter over the mould and cut out

If your making these for a special occasion, you might want to use some edible glue or piping gel to help stick them on top of the brownies. As I was just making these for tea I didn't bother with the glue. Carefully press the edges of the sugar paste tops onto the brownies, taking care not to flatten the moulding.

Finally, take a clean paint brush and brush on the lustre dust.



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Friday, 6 July 2012

Pink Peppermint Cupcakes

Pink Peppermint Cupcakes

These pink peppermint cupcakes were inspired by the infamous grasshopper pie. You haven't heard of Grasshopper Pie? Well, you are just going to have to google it yourself, I have a blog post to write!

My cupcakes evolved from the design in my head of a  peppermint cupcake atop an Oreo cookie encased in a silver cupcake case and topped with a creamy white frosting and a sprinkle of chocolate was brought to a rather abrupt halt by a severe lack of silver cupcake cases in the County of Gloucestershire, well the three shops that I had the chance to visit anyways.

And so, these are my pink peppermint cupcakes, still a surprise Oreo in the bottom, but now topped with a creamy and light pink peppermint frosting.

Peppermint Cupcake Recipe

Most traditional sponge cake recipes are an approximation of this traditional equal measures recipe.

You have to start by weighing your eggs in their shells. I used two eggs and this made 10 cupcakes. My two eggs weighed 137 grams. You need the same weight of

Margarine or butter
Caster / Superfine Sugar
Self-Raising Flour
Culinary Peppermint oil (I used Pure Peppermint Extract from Star Kay White)
Oreo Cookies (One for each cupcake)
Optional mint green food colouring


Line your bun tin with your cupcake cases and pop an Oreo cookie in the base of each cupcake case if you want to use them

Cream together the margarine or butter, sugar and a teaspoon of the peppermint oil with a stand mixer, hand mixer or wooden spoon until light and creamy.

Beat in the eggs, mix well

Mix in the flour until just incorporated.

Things always taste better when they look like what they taste like, if you want to, add some mint green colouring. I used a mint green liquid colour from Squires Kitchen. (I think actually I overdid it a tiny bit)

Fill the cupcake cases with the batter until they are about two thirds full.

Bake at 180 C or 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Fluffy Pink Peppermint Frosting

I delayed making these cupcakes for days, whilst I mused on what the frosting should be, then, I developed this recipe to be white because I wanted the frosting to have the look of whipped cream on top of the cupcake and then I decided to make the frosting pink!

250g / 5oz solid vegetable fat / shortening (Trex)
250g / 1 cup icing / confectioners sugar
1 397g / 8oz can condensed milk
2 to 4 teaspoons culinary peppermint oil

Mix the solid vegetable fat with about half the sugar and beat in a mixer or with a hand mixer until smooth.
Add the rest of the sugar and beat again until smooth
Next tip in the whole can of condensed milk and beat again until the icing is soft but still firm
Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint oil, mix in and then taste. Add a bit more peppermint if you like it more perpperminty.
Add a couple of drops of gel food colouring if you like. I used a tiny amount of Wilton Rose.


Piping the Frosting

The frosting is piped with this Wilton Nozzle 2F

Hold the nozzle perpendicular to the cupcakes to get this flower effect. Squeeze slowly and pause before lifting the bag.

Pipe the flower in the centre first and then pipe a circle of flowers around it. Finish by piping another flower on top of the first one in the middle

Making the Fondant Birds

You will need

A little sugar paste / fondant or modelling fondant in whatever colour you fancy. I coloured mine with a tiny amount of Wilton Gel colour in Leaf

A bird mould. This is the Wilton Nature Mould

Lustre dust. I used Squires Kitchen Magic Fairy Sparkle in Absinthe

Mould the birds by pushing a small amount of fondant into the mould. Press down gently and remove any excess fondant. Then gently flex the mould and lift the moulded fondant out. If you find your fondant is stretchy and or sticky, pop the fondant into the fridge for 20 minutes and then try again.

Add the lustre by dipping a clean paint brush into the lustre and gently brush it over your moulded bird

I thought you might like to see the difference between the bird moulded in fondant and what it looks like when it is brushed with the lustre.

Pop one of the birds on top of each cupcake and you are finished.

One last thing - Grasshopper Pie Recipes. Just in case you were still wondering

That's all for today
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