Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Giant Cupcake

I have had one of those giant cupcake silicone moulds for a while now yet have never gotten round to trying it.  Well this weekend was the weekend for it.....OH's family were visiting us from the States and were here from Friday until Monday and as it was Lucy's (youngest niece) birthday on Wednesday, I decided I was going to make her the giant cupcake as a surprise cake.

She unwittingly helped me make her own cake as she was hanging around the kitchen whilst I was baking .....so she chose the icing colour, the flowers, where to put them etc all the while me telling her it was an order for someone else's birthday (cruel aunt!!) so it was nice to see her face when we brought the cake out and she realised it was for her and that she'd help to do it.

It was a basic vanilla sponge and took about 1 & 1/2 hours to bake.  I expected it to take longer and I suppose for the sponge to be a bit denser but I have to say it was a bit tricky getting it out of the mould.  I would suggest you grease it well to help it.  I had sprayed it with my usual spray that I use when doing ordinary cakes, but I think it could have done with a thicker covering of it.

I also got to try our my new flower cutter / mould which I have got for wedding cupcakes.  It was quite expensive for a cutter....£9......FOR ONE CUTTER!!! But it came with the mould and the flowers are lovely once done.  I think I will get my money's worth from it.

I ordered the giant cupcake box on-line and I think it made it look really special when done and even though they were damn expensive for a box, they are worth it for a special occasion and if you look after the box it should last a while (these boxes will definitely have to be returned in good order if someone wants one of these doing!!).  So all in all, it was a success!  I am thinking of doing one for Niece Chloe for her birthday next week in fact

360g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking power
360g butter, softened
360g caster sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream sugar and butter together until light, fluffy & pale in colour.  Add eggs, one at a time giving a good mix in between (if the mixture looks like its curdling, just add a spoonful of flour to the mix).  Once all eggs are in, slowly add the flour & baking powder.  Mix until combined.

Fill the tubs 3/4 way up

Place in oven at 180°C (I do 170°C as my oven is 'hot' fan oven)

Check after 1 hour.  If the top if browning too much, don't worry as you will invarably be cutting this bit off anyway to make the flat top.

once cooled, cover in buttercream or fondant...your choice.  I used buttercream, vanilla on top and chocolate on the bottom and i sandwiched the two halves of the cake together with buttercream and then decorated with sugarpaste flowers and glitter......Do not forget the glitter!

NB, the colours of the flowers were in fact much paler than the photographs suggest....they were white, lilac, hot pink & pink with lime green butterfly's

 the box had another 'cupcake window' that was on the top side of the box when shut so you could pear into the box

 Instagram picture

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nigel Slater's Banana, Hazelnut & Choclolate Loaf Cake

This is just the BEST cake!!!  I had a couple of extremely ripe banana's and as I am loath to throw them away, I freeze them, skins & all.  When defrosted they are mushy but when shoved in a cake, it doesn't really matter.  Anyway, usually I make the Hummingbird Bakery Banana Loaf cake which is just lovely (perfect with a cup of tea) but I have recently started following Nigel Slater on Twitter and someone asked him what to do with a glut of ripe bananas that they had and he suggested his recipe for this cake so I decided to give it a go

Glad I did, it is just lovely!  Very crumbly in texture and the hazelnuts give a nice background to the flavour but I suppose you could substitute with any other ground nut, almonds say.  I ground my own hazelnuts, just putting them in the oven on a tray for 5 mins to warm up and then rubbed the skin off with kitchen roll.  I put them in my little fab kenwood chopper (love it, its a great handy little chopper - birthday present from my mum!) and it made short work of blitzing them up.  Or I guess you could even leave them out if you wished. I also used all soft brown sugar as that's all I had in the cupboard whereas the recipe states half light muscavado & half golden caster sugar.  

I wanted to make the cake in a loaf tins and I need 2 of them and as I find recipes for 'loaf type cakes' can generally be split between 2 tins to make smaller loafs, but I wanted these to be full size so to speak so I took the recipe quantities and divided in half and then added that half back to the original amount (does that make sense??!!)

If you are baking this weekend or fancy trying something that is simple to make but lovely to eat, then I urge you to bake this cake!!


To follower Nigel on Twitter his address is @realnigelslater


Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 20cm x 12cm/8in x 5in loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars until light and coffee-coloured. This is best achieved in a food mixer.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts, rub them in a tea towel to remove their skins, then grind quite finely.

  4. Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, then mix in the toasted ground hazelnuts and self-raising flour.
  5. Peel the bananas and chop them the small pieces. Gently fold the vanilla extract, the bananas and the chocolate chips into the cake mixture, turning gently and taking care not to overmix.
  6. Scoop the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Dust with a little demerara sugar. Bake for between 1 hour and 1 hour 10 minutes, covering the cake with foil if the top starts to darken too quickly.

Father's Day Cupcakes

To celebrate Father's Day these were again the lemon & raspberry filled cupcakes with lemon buttercream topping.  I put a couple in bags as well & tied with a bit of ribbon which looked quite nice

Thank You Cupcakes

A small request from OH for some cakes to say thank you for someone were whipped up over the weekend.  These were a lemon sponge filled with raspberry jam and topped with lemon buttercream.

I used a lime green sugarpaste with a more pastel shade of green to contrast against the creamy yellowness of the buttercream.  Where I had used the embossing mat to create a pattern, I dusted over with gold lustre dust so it would pick the pattern up.  A touch of lime green glitter to finish and we were done!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Autumn Colour Cupcakes

Just a few examples of cupcakes (lemon & chocolate orange) with different types of flowers done in 'autumnal colours'

Mother-in-Law Cakes

I always seem to bake for my father-in-law as he loves a nice loaf cake (usually banana) or a nice sponge cake so I often take him something when me & OH go to visit.  This time he had banana loaf cake (Hummingbird Bakery recipe - very easy & very tasty) but I also decorated up a couple of lemon cupcakes that were free from the violet cupcake order.  Nice & bright!

Mary's Violet Birthday Cupcakes

These were a last minute change of design for my friend's mum.  I had seen a picture of some cupcakes in a beautiful lilac / violet colour and I thought I would give them a go.....these are my homage to the lovely colour that is violet!

(They were lemon cupcakes with a lemon buttercream underneath the flat disc of fondant - a different way of topping your cupcake)

(apologies for the 'arty shots'....I do love instagram!!)

 Embossing mats were used to give different textures on the flat discs
 A mixture of different flowers, some dusted with a little dusky pink lustre dust
 Arty shots!!!!

Ernie's Narrow Boat Birthday Cake

I had doubts about this one I must say as I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do!  But I was quite pleased with the end result.  The boat itself (Little Treasure) was quite heavy as it is all sugarpaste and had to be supported on straws and it was quite difficult to model whilst the weather was warm (that brief spell that was summer!!).  What usually takes a day or so to dry out took 3 or 4 days.

The family were all very pleased with the cake and I hope it finished off the celebrations for Ernie's 70th nicely