Sunday, 25 September 2011

More decorated Lemon Cupcakes

September is a busy month for me baking wise - everyone seems to have their birthdays this month! Next up was my lovely friend Jenny's birthday...

A group of us went out to a local Tapas restaurant to celebrate...the food was AMAZING...the service was SLOW apparently due to them being short staffed. It was a shame this had to happen on Jenny's birthday but everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the company and Jenny soon perked up when we went to a bar afterwards and realised it was cheap drinks for freshers week...we made the most of this!

I made the same recipe for Jenny's cupcakes as I did for my Mum's but decorated them with little baby blue and pink butterflies and large white shimmery butterflies. I originally got the idea from Katiecakes' blog...don't they look cute? But decided to jazz them up a little by adding extra shimmer, little metallic balls, large white butterflies and a dusting of glitter.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Decorated Lemon Cupcakes

Its my Mum's birthday on Monday and since getting into baking a few years ago I always bake her something. This year I thought I'd make her her favourite..lemon cupcakes which I decorated with pretty purple, gold and white sugar flowers.

My parents came up for the day yesterday. Originally myself and the boyfriend were going to go and visit them for a long weekend buuutttt I ended up treating myself to a car!! Yep I couldn't cope with the Honda any longer..I tried for three horrendous months to get to grips with it but I just didnt feel happy driving I sold it and have now bought a lovely brand new shiny white c1...I love it! The car garage was quite a way from our house so my parents offered to come to see us and to drop us off at the car garage to pick the new car up...very helpful indeed! Well I survived the drive back was nerve wracking driving a brand new car down the motor way for the first time..I'd been worrying all week! But I've been out in it a couple of times since and am really enjoying driving it...hooray!

Anyway back to cupcakes! I normally use Rachel Allen's recipe for lemon cupcakes but as I was so impressed with the vanilla cupcake recipe from the Love Bakery book, I thought I would try their lemon cupcake recipe as well..I think the quantities are quite similar anyway. It produced lovely fluffy and moist cupcakes which I then decorated with the Rachel Allen recipe for lemon butter cream. I spent most of my evenings last week making all the little flowers and butterflies and had many occasions where I had to explain to people why my hands were bright purple in colour! I love the finished cakes though and think the purple works really well. My Mum was very impressed and insisted my Dad took lots of pics for her before she ate any!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Amazing Chocolate Cake

Back in June it was Father's Day and my Dad's Birthday. After making my Mum both birthday and Mothers day cakes I had been promising my Dad that I would bake him something too. Unfortunately, we were away on holiday for Father's Day and couldn't get the time off work to see him on his birthday. So a few weeks ago we decided we would visit for a long weekend..perfect opportunity to bake a cake for my Dad!

I've made this cake before for Karl's birthday and blogged about it then. It really is a gorgeously moist cake and tastes amazing with a bit of cream on the side! Its a Nigella recipe but I've changed the filling and topping to chocolate butter cream...I'm a tad obsessed with butter cream!

If you've read my past posts you'll know that I've just passed my driving test and am slowly getting used to driving on my own. A major major achievement was made on the trip to my parents - I drove the whole way there....3 whole hours on the motorway. It was scary and tiring but I felt so proud of myself for doing it. I still smile now when I think about it! For poor Karl it was rather traumatic - he not only had the job of helping me with driving on the motorway but also hanging onto the cake and a huuuge bunch of flowers that I had bought my Mum to say thanks for the car. The poor guy couldn't move an inch! Luckily the cake and the flowers got there in one piece and at about half ten we sat down to a big slab of cake and some cream each!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Jammie Dodger Cupcakes

I felt like experimenting a bit this weekend with my cupcake baking and after excitedly noticing that mini jammie dodgers were on offer at the local supermarket I decided that Jammie Dodger Cupcakes were on the menu this weekend!

I used my favourite, fail safe vanilla cupcake recipe from the Love Bakery book (honestly, it works fantastically well every time!) and then hollowed out the centre of each cake with an apple corer. I then filled the centre with smooth raspberry jam. The cupcakes were topped with vanilla butter cream that was swirled with raspberry jam, a sprinkling of shortbread and a mini jammie dodger.

I sent Karl off to work with the majority of the cakes - I am desperately trying to lose a bit of weight since my all in' holiday to Crete so don't need the temptation (apparently they got a big thumbs up though!).

I did keep one for myself which I tucked into as my reward for visiting the dentist this afternoon. I feel like I achieved something this afternoon (not just visiting the dentist..yuck!) but I actually drove on my own to get there! This is a huge thing for me (I'm terribly nervous!) and apart from a kamikaze child riding her bike out infront of me and a mum with a car full of kids nearly going into the back of the car it all went rather smoothly.

Hope you guys all had a fab weekend!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Oreo Cupcakes...again!

This weekend has been an odd sort of weekend. Its one year since my gran died. I still miss her terribly and wanted to do something in memory of her. Going to the grave seemed awfully depressing so on friday I bought a huge box of her fave chocs and we drove up to Fairhaven Lake in Lytham (one of her fave places)and sat in the car (we wanted to go for a walk but it was raining!) and ate a huuuge amount of chocolate. It was a great way to remember her...just wished I could have shared the chocs with her.

Saturday, Karl disappeared off out to a stag do so I had the place to myself...I made sure I had stocked up on girly movies and plenty of food and snacks. I had a fab evening to myself eating yummy food.

Anyway..back to baking! I love all things oreo as you may or may not know and it appears so do the lads at karls work! As a sort of wedding present to the aforementioned stag I agreed I would make a batch of orea cupcakes...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Get together at ours

I have totally neglected this blog over the last few months *pulls sad face* but there has been a good reason! Over the last few months I have been trying my hardest to pass my driving test and finally at the end of May I finally did it! I had to put the baking on hold unfortunately whilst my life revolved purely around driving lessons! I passed on my 2nd attempt and I am SO glad its all over really is the most nerve wracking thing to have to go through.

Anyway...hopefully I will get back into baking in a big way in the coming weeks/months. I feel like with my driving and then going on holiday I really haven't had much chance to even think about baking.

The only small amount of baking that I have done recently was a good few weeks ago when Karl and I decided we would have a small get together at our flat. I couldn't resist cooking up a batch of cupcakes! I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream and decorated with my own sugar paste creations...check out the piccies below.

PS I finally treated myself to a new cam after the other one failed to focus on anything. These were the first pics I took with it..excuse the crappyness of photography skills have much improved since these pics were taken!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Housewarming Party and Vanilla Cupcakes

This weekend just gone we attended a housewarming party. It was held by the lovely Amy from Miss Jones Talks Makeup in celebration of her moving into a gorgeous new home. Please have a look at her blog - its full of fab tips on make up and product reviews.

Well, no housewarming party is complete without a batch of cupcakes so I got baking and whipped up some vanilla cupcakes. They are decorated with baby pink vanilla butter cream, a sugar flower and white glitter. I love this little cutter...incase you didn't notice I also used it for the flowers on the Vanilla Layer Cake.

It is a recent purchase and although a tad on the pricy side was well worth it. I will be getting alot of use out of it. It came as a little set with a metal cutter and a mould to give the veining details. They had all sorts of different flowers but this is the petunia. I used white flower paste for these flowers and then used a pink dust to give them the colour and put a silver ball in the centre. Don't they just look so cute!

A good time was had by all at the party and the cupcakes seemed to go down well. Thanks Amy for a fab night!

Mother's Day Cake

I know its super early to be making a Mother's Day Cake but I don't live very close to my Mum so when she visited a few weekends ago I had to be super organised with a present and cake.

Back in September I made her a lemon layer cake out of the Primrose Bakery Cook book which she loved so this time I made the Vanilla Layer Cake for her.

She was very impressed with the recipe and said it was very moist and had a good flavour to it. It took her and my Dad a week to eat it and apparently even a week on it still tasted nice.

Sorry about the rubbish pics! I seem to be writing that alot recently on here..but I tend to always make my cakes the day that I need them so they are fresh but my time keeping is so crap that normally I only just finish the cake/s in time and am literally rushing out the door when I'm trying to take pictures.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Chocolate Box Cake

This is the final cake that I have had to make for class. It is a chocolate box cake - the teacher originally had it in mind for mothers day...however me and Karl tucked into it last night!

I had a few problems with my fondant icing this time. I really don't understand it all at...just when I think I'm getting it and the last cake went so well and then out of the blue I suddenly go back to zero skill level and can't even cover a cake!

The cake board was supposed to be covered in fondant but after many failed attempts at that I gave up and decided I quite liked silver. The lid is made from two 6 inch cake drums covered in pink fondant and decorated. The cake is a 6 inch madeira cake covered in pink fondant. To give it the dip in the centre for the chocolates I used a roll of fondant put around the cake before I iced it.

I decided to experiment with this cake and used a different recipe. I think I have said in previous posts I wasn't a huge fan of the recipe I've used in the past, so decided this time I would try another out of one of my cake decorating books. It was a huuuge improvement - it no longer had that eggy taste I didn't like and was much much softer. I will definitely be using this recipe in the future.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Spring Cake

Well spring has definitely sprung for me! Everywhere I go I'm seeing daffodils and crocus's...I love spring cos it means summer is only just around the corner. Ok its still rather cold out there but fingers crossed it will start warming up a little soon!

In celebration of spring, the next cake I had to make for class was a spring cake. The teacher showed us various models we could make - sheep and ducks etc but I decided to put a lovely little bunny on my cake. The sponge was madeira with vanilla butter cream and raspberry jam. I really do need to find myself a better cake recipe for this - although this cake was ok, it wasn't anything amazing. I used sugar paste squeezed through a garlic press to give the grass effect and made little flowers and carrots and attached them with edible glue.

This is definitely my best cake yet - the finish on the fondant was lovely and smooth and I am definitely improving at making models. The only thing I really do need to practice at is rolling my fondant out - we cut into this cake and it was about an inch thick! Karl and I love fondant so it wasn't such an issue but I'm not sure other people would be of the same opinion!
Practice makes perfect though!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes and Nelson's 2nd Birthday

When I got invited to Nelson the dogs 2nd birthday party my brain starting working overtime thinking of ideas for themed cupcakes to take along to the party. Of course the party was more of an excuse for everyone to get together, have a natter and eat cake than a birthday party but Nelson seemed to love all the attention from everyone!

After much pondering I decided to stick with a vanilla cupcake. I used the recipe from the Love Bakery book - I love this recipe! It is by far the best vanilla cupcake recipe I have tried! I bought a little doggy bone and a little doggy paw cutter for the sugar decorations and kept to a blue and white theme. The only slight problem I encountered was colouring the butter cream - I wanted it to match the blue of the paws and bows but it hadn't crossed my mind that butter cream is off white....I ended up with green butter cream..panic!! I added a tad more of the colour and it seemed to right itself but ended up being a slightly darker shade - no one seemed to mind though as they tucked in!

Sorry about the poor pictures - I was literally running out the door with my cake box when I realised I hadn't taken any pictures!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Victoria Sandwich Cake

My super lovely boyfriend has now moved into my flat with me ..hooray! Today we invited his mum round for a brew and a nosey round his new place.
After a few weekends in a row of baking I thought I would have the weekend off from it but I couldn't resist being tempted back into the kitchen to bake something for Karl's mum when she came've gotta have a big slice of cake with a brew haven't you?!

I chose to make a Victoria sandwich cake using the Vanilla Layer Cake recipe from The Primrose Bakery book. After the success I had with their Lemon Layer Cake I was very much looking forward to tasting this recipe. It didn't disappoint. The sponge was lovely and light and fluffy with lashings of butter cream and raspberry jam.

I love a Victoria brings back so many memories of childhood. This was the cake my mum always made...using her trusty Bero book! She always complains about people making it these days as alot of people call it a Victoria Sponge..she is forever telling me that a Victoria Sandwich Cake and a Sponge cake are two entirely different things; and that a sponge cake does not contain fat in the ingredients, where as a a Victoria Sandwich does! I guess mine could be frowned upon as not being a traditional Victoria Sandwich as I have decorated the top with butter cream and home made sugar flowers instead of using icing sugar...well, it did make it taste extra good!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing and Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all my readers :) hope you all get lots of lovely treats and yummy chocs from your special someone.

I am not planning on doing much for Valentines Day this year. Last year as it was our first Valentines Day together we went all out on the presents...but this year we have just paid for our first holiday abroad together so are putting all of our money towards that its our official 1 year anniversary next month so we have chosen to celebrate that instead.

We were going to go out for a romantic meal on saturday night to celebrate Valentines but in the end decided we were too poor to! We ended up making curry and naan breads at home and washing it all down with red wine. It was definitely the right decision to stay in...the food was luuurvely!

For a good few weeks I have been planning on making Valentines cupcakes. I couldn't make up my mind which sort to do so in the end I made two batches. The first was vanilla cupcakes topped with candy floss pink butter cream which was strawberry flavoured and then fondant red and pink hearts to decorate. The second batch was chocolate cupcakes with chocolate butter cream and a glittery pink sugar rose to decorate.

I was unsure how the strawberry flavoured butter cream would turn out..having never used flavourings before and only being able to get my hands on supermarket brand flavouring at the last minute, I was pleasantly surprised. The strawberry butter cream combined with the vanilla sponge made a nice change to just plain vanilla butter cream.

I felt a bit let down with my chocolate cupcakes...I have made the recipe before from the Primrose Bakery book and loved it but this time it just didnt turn out the same way as before and for some reason it seemed to spread side ways rather than rise and my cupcakes looked a bit of an odd shape.

Nevermind though... I think with the decorations they do look very cute!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Valentines Day Cake

I signed up for another 10 weeks of cake decorating class in the new year...the first assignment was a Valentines Day cake which had to have a model on it.

My attempt at modelling people was not a great success...although practice does make perfect so fingers crossed I will start to improve soon, so I decided I would do a teddy bear model for my cake.

After the whole chocolate cake and fondant icing fiasco at christmas I decided to go back to the recommended madeira cake recipe to use for the cake. The icing of this cake went surprisingly well - I only had to roll the fondant out twice (compared to the 8 attempts last time!) and it covered the cake (almost) perfectly. I was very very proud of this best yet I think!

I'm not much of a madeira cake fan...I prefer a lovely light fluffy cake and I find madeira's rather heavy. The last time I made it I also found it had a very strong eggy flavour..who knows what went wrong but this cake had a much better taste to it and Karl and I enjoyed a slice each after my class this week.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Blueberry Burst Cupcakes

This is the first recipe I've made out of the Love Bakery cupcake book. This book is well worth a read for all you lovelys out there who like making cupcakes. The book is full of lots of fab recipes from the basic vanilla cupcake to more unusual flavours such as rhubarb and custard.

The sponge of these cakes is plain vanilla - I really liked this recipe for the sponge. It seemed to rise really well and was lovely and fluffy. I will definitely be using this recipe again when I want a batch of vanilla cupcakes.

I then used an apple corer to remove the centre of each cake and filled the cake with a spoonful of blueberry jam. I used St Dalfour's Wild Blueberry jam and it was definitely worth the extra pennies. The jam has a very high fruit content and is not sweetened with additional sugar but with fruit juice.

I then topped the cupcakes with a swirl of vanilla butter cream. The recipe called for cream cheese frosting but I'm always a bit against topping my cakes with this as they don't keep as well. I bought some new Wilton nozzles recently as I had got a little bored with using the same ones. I thought this one would make a nice alternative! I then popped a few blueberries on each cake.