Monday, 30 May 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

So I made these cupcakes for a friends birthday last summer. She loves Guinness and I love her so it went together perfectly! We went to see Ghost stories at the Duke of York’s theatre before I iced these. If you like jumping out of your skin then I definitely recommend this play. It was so clever and creepy  I am surprised the icing came out straight bearing in mind my hands were still shaking! I am not going to spill the tricks, lets just say I can’t look at dolls in the same way!
I carried all the cupcakes wrapped up in cling film and kitchen towel with two Tupperwares of icing and my piping stuff. They got a little bit squashed but not too badly, I iced them in the kitchen and brought them in fresh. Yum.
The Guinness in the cupcakes makes the chocolate richer and malty-er so I think they go best with vanilla cream cheese icing. I made them with vanilla and chocolate buttercream to make pretty patterns (Apologies for the poor photo quality!).
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
2 large eggs
125g plain, thick yoghurt or sour cream or crème fraiche
180ml Guinness
2 tsp vanilla extract
85g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
150g all plain flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C) and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake cases.
2. Melt butter in microwave or on the hob, then set aside.
3. Whisk together eggs and yoghurt in a bowl, preferably with a spout. Add the Guinness and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
4. Sift all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) into a separate bowl.
5. Add about a third of the dry mixture into the wet ingredients and blend well with a spatula. I tend to avoid electric mixers as they remove a lot of air from the batter. If you sieve the dry ingredients this helps to avoid lumps.  Add the rest of the dry mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition.
6. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter then continue mixing until very well combined.
7. Pour the batter in to the cupcake cases, two thirds full, and bake for 25 minutes.
Top with cream cheese icing…delicious!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Raspberry cake with Italian Meringue Icing

So as I’ve only just started this blog I am kind of back tracking with baking I have done in the past. So, not to bring up Valentines day even more than once a year but I just quickly wanted to share this recipe!
I wanted to make a indulgent cake suitable for Valentine’s day and what is more indulgent and romantic than meringue! A colleague bought me a heart shaped silicon cake tin that I wanted to try out too so I made a raspberry caked topped with Italian meringue and fresh raspberries.
I took this cake to work for our Valentines day fun (my boyfriend didn’t get any, oops). When I got in to the office, all of our desks were covered in red heart balloons, love hearts and heart cards from our secret admirers. What a lovely team! To top if off we had tea and valentines day cake and chocolates hearts after lunch.

Raspberry Cake

180g unsalted butter (room temp)
260g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
260g self raising flour
pinch of salt
6 tbsp milk
1 box of raspberries (hold some back to decorate)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a cake tin (round 22").
2. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric whisk until fluffy.
3. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, and vanilla essence.
4. Sift in the flour and salt.
5. Stir in the milk until all combined, use a spatula to scrape down the sides.
6. Fold in the raspberries.
7. Pour batter into the tin and bake for 40 mins. Resist opening the door, it will sink!

Italian Meringue Icing
120g Sugar
80g Golden Syrup
1 1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1. Whisk the egg whites in to stiff peaks.
2. Heat the other ingredients on the hob, constantly stirring, until the temperature reaches 112C to 116C. Test this with a jam thermometer.
3. Pour the boiling liquid in to the egg white peaks slowly, while beating at a slow speed. Beat until the peaks are stiff and shiny.
4. Spread on to the cake with a palette knife. You can make swirly patterns with the meringue and it will set like that.
The raspberries contrast with the sweet and mild flavour of the meringue. As this icing is not as moist as buttercream (or not really icing at all) the fruit keeps the cake moist too. Enjoy!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes last month for a leaving do at work and they seemed to go down well. I love using Whittards tea powders to flavour cakes so when I saw pink lemonade the other day (after trying a free sample!) I thought it would make a great tangy summer cupcake.

I topped them with Roses and Calla Lilies made from fondant icing but any pink sprinkles would do. Try sprinkling some popping candy on them for a 'sparkling' twist.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
4 tbsp Pink lemonade powder (I use Whittards)
3 tbsp boiling water
80g buttery margarine (I find it much softer and easier to use than butter - try not to use an olive oil based one)
280g caster sugar
255g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
200ml milk
2 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (190C) and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases

2. Mix together the pink lemonade powder and boiling water until combined and melty (Don't worry if it is not completely dissolved)

3. Cream margarine and sugar together. Combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt with butter sugar mixture (it's really important to sift the dry ingredients, it removes lumps and puts air in to the batter to make the cakes lighter)

4. Beat eggs in a jug with milk and pink lemonade mixture.

5. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the pink lemonade mixture bit by bit, stirring as you add.

6. Make sure all ingredients are combined but try not over mix as you want some air in the batter.

7. Pour batter in to cupcake cases 2/3 of the way up. I find putting the batter in to a jug and pouring the batter in to each case the easiest way.

8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 18 mins. When they are ready they will be golden brown and springy to touch. You can double check by piercing with a toothpick, If it come out clean they are cooked.

Pink Lemonade Buttercream

75g softened butter (best to not use marg for icing as butter is better for a thicker consistency but if you are not piping then you might be okay)
550g icing sugar
4 tbsp milk
3 tbsp Pink Lemonade powder

1. Dissolve the pink lemonade powder in the milk

2. Combine the icing sugar and butter

3. Slowly add the milk mixture until it reaches a nice consistency. If you would like to colour the icing, add it here. I recommend you use a colour paste rather than colour liquid as it will change the consistency.

4. Beat on a high speed with a hand mixer until the icing is light and fluffy.

Let me know how you get on if you try these, any suggestions welcome. Enjoy!

NB: This is a semi cheating/just got home after a long day method but if you have a bit more time and would like to make fresh ones you can substitute the pink lemonade with 1 park lemon juice to 1 part raspberry juice (just squish some raspberries through a sieve).

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fondant Roses and Calla Lilies

This is my first attempt at modelling fondant icing! To make it easier I just bought the ready to roll stuff from the supermarket and coloured it by mixing in some food dye. I tried making Roses, Calla Lilles and one Carnation (although the Carnation wasn't great!).

Fondant is softer than gumpaste and doesn't get as hard but it tastes nice! If you put the flowers in the fridge they harden up nicely.

I watched some great videos on youtube to learn how to make them:

This one is by aine2 "How to make a miniature rose with fondant"

This one shows you how to make mini Calla Lilies by Sugariesweet.

When you work with fondant, sprinkle some corn flour on the surface to stop it sticking.  I found this great little tip, if you put some corn flour in to a knotted stocking it gives an even distribution when patted on a surface.

Usually I wouldn't make something like this as it is so fiddly but they are so pretty I gave it a go. I just made them after dinner in front of the tv and they don't take as long as you would think. I am going to invest in some cutters to speed up the process next time. I'll let you know how that goes.