Chocolate and hazelnut cupcakes (with gooey centre)

It’s chocolate time! I managed to save myself £1.50 on the hazelnuts in the supermarket – one tip – don’t buy nuts from the ‘whole foods’ or ‘healthy’ section, they’re a rip off! Go to the baking section instead.

For these chocolate and hazelnut cupcakes I used Green & Blacks cocoa powder and then once the batter was spooned into the cases, I made a well in the centre and added a ‘gloop’ of Nutella :). Once baked for approx. 15 mins (at 175 in a fan oven), I piped chocolate butter cream on top (I think chocolate ganache would work nicely too), and sprinkled more hazelnut pieces over them.

Some tasty cupcake goodness to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon (and in the lunch box for the rest of this week!).

Baby’s 1st birthday cakes

In a previous post I was trialing building block cakes for a friend’s baby’s 1st birthday. We revised the idea to three cake presents instead – one chocolate, one strawberry and one vanilla. The brief was colourful with two polka dot, one plain and some butterflies landing on the cakes. Lucky for me, I’d attended a short cupcake decorating class the Saturday before where I learned how to make a fondant bow which came in super-handy here!

I used a 7inch square cake tin and stacked two sponge layers on each cake (sandwiched with butter cream). I cut down the sponges slightly to get rid of the outside and levelled off the top of the cake. I then covered the outside in a thin layer of butter cream (jam on the strawberry cake) before covering with fondant. We’d had a lot of snow and temperatures in my Dad’s catering kitchen were to say the least, chilly, so the fondant wasn’t playing ball and hard to tease into a pliable state.

I cut four 6 x 2inch strips for the side ribbons and a 12 x 2inch strip for the bow. Once I’d folded the sides of the bow to the centre (creating two bow loops), I rolled greaseproof paper and sat this inside each loop to stand them up and allowed to dry for about an hour (I would suggest leaving these a bit longer if the room temperature is above 10 degrees!).

I cut the polka dots out using the end of an icing nozzle and stuck them to the cakes with a tiny bit of water. The butterflies were cut out and sat inside the lid of an egg box to make the wings stand outwards (anything with a fold will do). I also sat a few upside down over the egg box prongs, made a little sausage of fondant, and stuck this one the butterflies under-bellies. I then stuck cocktail sticks into the fondant sausage so that these could be pushed into the cake once hardened.

Finally I make a gift tag out of fondant and piped ‘Happy 1st Birthday Lila’ onto it, threading a piece of ribbon into a hole for effect. Take a look at the photos to see how they turned out. The family were really pleased with them “…omg the cake was sooooooooooo cute and good!!!!!!! thank you so much for doing that!”

Happy Valentines – Red Velvet cupcakes

Happy Valentines Day one and all xx

What better cupcake to celebrate the day of lurve than Red Velvet?! I took this receipe from ‘The Cupcake Bible’ which I bought in the States. Starting with a bowl of salt and flour, a bowl of cocoa powder and red colouring, a bowl of butter and caster sugar and another bowl of buttermilk and vanilla (phew! I’d almost run out of bowls!), finally a fizzing science lesson-like reaction between the bicard of soda and white vinegar and everything comes together in a stunning blood-bath of rouge batter.

20 mins at 180 c (15 mins in a fan oven) later, and there are a bunch of 18 ruby red beauties staring back at me. I decorated these red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – I added extra icing sugar to make the frosting stiff enough to pipe, red edible glitter and chocolate shavings.