Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Creepy pumpkins and happy ghosts...

Well. That has been some time, no? Can you believe it's Halloween??!!! I don't even know where it has gone, that's the scary thing! It's been a bit of an adventure in cakery, I can tell you that much...

Things are going well over at the Bakehouse and I am loving being able to bake and decorate more. The decorating is of course the best part, and I have been learning so much from reading other blogs and Facebook pages and so on.

But here is a confession. I have always been somewhat of a secretive baker but I love it when people share techniques and ideas so willingly with me, and of course my decorating has grown a lot from that. So… I plan to be doing a lot more blogging next year and sharing tutorials, recipes and how tos with you.

If by any chance you have liked my Facebook page, you'll know that I plot lots of things each week for my followers ~ just to keep you guys entertained! We all get together on a Wednesday evening to look at other people's cake pages and find new friends; on Thursday there is  ¨·*°·*°¨*¤ .¸¸.*˚° The weekly crumbs °˚*。.¸¸.¤*¨°*·°*·¨ which can be something exciting in the land of cake, a bit of laughter and fun or an amazing cake to look at. 

And this week I've just launched Bakers' Secrets, which will feature a tutorial for something useful in cake making or decorating every Tuesday. It started off with a tutorial on how to make an extremely real looking pumpkin cupcake topper by the lovely Calli from Callicious Cakes. It's a fun tutorial and is perfectly timed for the spookiness of Halloween!

© Callicious Cakes

This is the link to the tutorial if you'd like to try out the pumpkin for yourself:

I'd love to see some pictures of how you get on, please feel free to post them here!

See you soon,


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

ivory blue

Since I last posted to all you lovely lurkers, I took an order for some wedding cupcakes for a lovely bride and groom, Rachel and Rhys, who were married in July and had their reception in Callaghan's Bar, just outside Reading.

The bride had seen one of my cupcake stalls at a local fair and she contacted me for some sample wedding cupcakes in their colour scheme, a gorgeous royal blue and ivory. She finally settled on vanilla cupcakes decorated with buttercream swirls, hearts and tiny butterflies. Also in the design was embossing on sugarpaste discs and the hearts and a good few handrolled pearls - as requested by the bride. 

Now, why exactly would I agree to this? Or even vaguely think about it??! Apparently the usual dragees that us cake decorators rely on seem to crack people's teeth now and again.

The start of the quest - how to match the exact shade of blue in sugarpaste, and with complementary cupcake cases. The bride had asked for blue and ivory cases. Does anyone ever think about manufacturing plain, simple, sturdy, non peeling, ivory - or even a cream, pleeeeease - cupcake cases? I honestly can't tell you how many people I found hunting for them while I was hunting for them. *Just* a thought.

As they were for a wedding, foil cases were ideal, and I couldn't find anything matching the blue unless it was shiny anyway. The ivory cases were ditched. Eventually. Thanks to Catherine's Cakes for bustling me off some pretty, shiny blue cases - happy days!

I used Hummingbird Bakery's recipe for vanilla cupcakes, which - if you haven't yet come across it - is a completely lush tasting, fluffy-cupcake-creating, fail safe, and everyone-in-your-crowd pleasing recipe. All I can say is, try it. Or even better, buy one of their books. Their cocktail cupcakes are to die for!

Here are the final pictures of the cupcakes - I hope you can see the embossing detail on the sugarpaste discs and butterflies, and the larger pearls. HAND ROLLED, all three hundred or so of them... The last touch was a stroke of silver lustre for the heart accents and a sprinkling of glitter for the buttercream:


 ♥ Many congratulations, Rachel and Rhys! ♥

Monday, 23 May 2011

Honeycomb Fudge Cupcakes

So the sky hasn't fallen down!!  Ironic that I always expect it to, just for being open and honest and true to myself - for once...  I had honestly expected a lot more comments and thoughts from anyone who read my last post.  Like I said, I wasn't even sure how many people would read it, hence the sneaky cupcake recipe offer, but in a way, the fact that not many commented on my revelations is a relief.  

Without further ado then: here is the long awaited Honeycomb Fudge Cupcake recipe.  I am afraid to have to tell all you cupcake bakers and makers out there that I have now officially named this cupcake the best cupcake ever.  I am so serious that you really shouldn't think I am kidding.  I have adapted the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and this said, I feel that I can take a teeny bit of credit for the gorgeousness of the results.  

The cupcakes are very fluffy and very moist, incredibly tasty in a caramelly fudgy way but without being either too rich or sweet, and the light buttercream with caramel drizzles just finishes it off nicely.  I'm actually craving some for myself (and only myself!) right about now.  

Honeycomb Fudge Cupcakes
(adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

240g plain flour
280g soft brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, room temperature
240ml whole milk
2 eggs
130g small honeycomb pieces
195g fudge, chopped into smallish pieces
½ tsp vanilla extract
fudge buttercream and fudge sauce, to ice

1.       Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.
2.       Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
3.       Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
4.       Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).  Add honeycomb and fudge pieces and continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.
5.       Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
6.       A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
7.       When the cupcakes are cold, ice with fudge buttercream and drizzle with fudge sauce.
Makes 24 cupcakes

Please do try it out - it's one of those quick and easy recipes that is really worth it and you'll probably come back to it lots of times once you've tasted them...  In any case, let me know how you get on!

Happy baking!