Madeira birthday cake (covered in roses)

Today is my Nan’s birthday, and I’ve been planning for a while to make her a surprise birthday cake – one of her favourites is Madeira cake so naturally I went with that. I had quite a few ideas for decoration, but decided to cover the whole cake in buttercream roses (she loves flowers and gardening).

Here’s the ingredients for the Madeira cake I made:

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
100g plain flour
zest of 1 and a half unwaxed lemons

I use a fan oven so pre-heated to 160C and prepared my 8 inch round, springform cake tin with baking paper on the base and butter on the sides – this cake will not stick!

Next, I creamed together the butter and sugar until fluffy and gradually added my eggs (one at a time, giving each on a good beat each time). I slowed the mixer to the lowest speed and folded in the flours, 2 tablespoons at a time. Finally I added the lemon zest. If you have a stand mixer – make sure you scrape down the sides of your bowl regularly with a spatula to make sure everything mixes in thoroughly.

The batter was then poured into the tin and gently smoothed before entering the oven for 1hr 10 minutes (the time will vary depending on your over, basically until an inserted cake tester comes out clean).

My recipe recommended waiting 24hrs before decorating, so I popped the cake in an air tight tub once completely cooled.

When I was ready to begin decorating, I covered the cake in Raspberry jam (seedless) and a layer of vanilla butter cream and popped it in the fridge for about 20mins while I made the rest of my vanilla buttercream. To get the two-tone effect on the roses I divided my buttercream mixture into two, and coloured one half with a tiny bit of red food colouring. When my piping bag was prepared with a 1M nozzle, I layered 1 scoop of pink buttercream, then 2 scoops of plain buttercream. Push these through the nozzle until you see both colours coming through – it’s an unpredictable result but it creates a nice three dimensional effect, it can be very subtle or quite dramatic (depending on the colour strength). Finally pipe rose swirls (starting from the centre and working out) over the whole cake, filling in gaps with smaller swirls. I chose to decorate the roses with a edible pearls and a sprinkling of edible glitter but it’s completely up to you!!

Enjoy 🙂

30th birthday cupcakes!

An excellent opportunity to try out my new cupcake stand 🙂 My wonderful friend Leila turned 30 this month and along with some other friends, they held a joint birthday party and I provided the sweet treats in form of cupcakes!

Chocolate cupcakes – chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream and chocolate curls

Strawberry cupcakes – strawberry sponge using fresh strawberries whizzed in the mixer, then popped through a sieve. Topped with strawberry buttercream and a blushing red slice on top.

Vanilla cupcakes – can’t go wrong with a good old vanilla cupcake! Vanilla sponge with vanilla frosting, topped with a cocktail cherry. It’s amazing how much more flavour a good quality vanilla extract gives compared to an essence – this means you don’t need to use as much either 😉

The band ‘The Undercovers’ were really good too.

Raspberry cupcakes with raspberry compote

Raspberry cupcakesRaspberry cupcakes compoteRaspberry cupcakes with vanilla frostingRaspberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting

Fancy a refreshing cupcake which feels healthy? Raspberry cupcakes are just the thing….

For these cupcakes I used 250g of raspberries – 125g in the sponge (these were whizzed up and then put through a sieve), 12 whole raspberries for the decoration and the rest for the compote. I made the compote by gently warming the raspberries in a pan until soft and them adding sugar (until sweet enough for your taste) and finally leave to cool. I then cut a small amount of sponge out of the top of each cupcake and spooned in about a teaspoon of compote.

I’ve use vanilla buttercream here, but intend on using white chocolate next time around (making them less healthy, more naughty) 🙂

Delicious and great for spring/summer tea parties!

Next up, an order for my lovely friend Leila for her 30th birthday party…

Easter mini egg cupcakes!

How could I resist making cupcakes for Easter?! There are sooooo many great decoration ideas out there but being a true mini egg fan at heart I had to use them.

I made a classic chocolate sponge cupcake and topped it with simple chocolate buttercream (just snipped a hole in the piping bag to get a smooth swirl). I then smashed up a couple of Cadburys Flake bars and gently rolled the sides of each cupcake in the Flake to give a nest effect. I slightly over estimated the amount of mini eggs needed and was left with a whole bag to myself (ooops)!

Hope you had a great Easter too 🙂

Wedding cupcake trials – chocolate & hazelnut and vanilla cupcakes

Feeling inspired to decorate, I made two batches of cupcakes as taste trials for my friend’s wedding cupcakes. Firstly vanilla, topped with vanilla buttercream and fondant ivy leaves (I left these to harden over night in the crease of an egg box – this gave them a bit of shape) and edible pearls. For the wedding day ones I’m going to use darker green fondant and tease the edges of the leaves to appear more realistic.

The second flavour was a current favourite of mine – chocolate & hazelnut with a good dollop of Nutella in the centre. I’ve decorated these cupcakes using my Wilton 1M star nozzle which I’m finally getting to grips with :). The chocolate and hazelnut cakes are topped with chocolate buttercream and smashed hazelnuts.

Thumbs up from the bride to be 😉

Coconut cupcakes

Where has the time flown? It’s been ages since I posted, but still been baking like a crazy cupcaker!!  First up – coconut cupcakes containing desicated coconut in my usual vanilla batter and topped with vanilla buttercream frosting and dipped the edges into more coconut before finishing with a glace cherry.

I used this opportunity to trial freezing the sponge as I was worried about it drying out when defrosting, but I can safely say no such disaster occurred – even the baking cases stayed fully intact 😉

Next time I bake coconut cupcakes I think I’ll try using coconut milk instead of cows milk and see if I can really bring out that beautiful delicate flavour in the sponge and buttercream. Any volunteers for tasting?? 🙂caked in coconut cupcakes