Sally & Adam’s Wedding cakes (including a Groom’s cake)

What a complete honour to be asked to make my friends Sally & Adam’s wedding cakes! Not only that, but I was a guest at the big day too – and what a wonderful day it was ๐Ÿ™‚

Their wedding cake was 3 tiers of belgian chocolate Sachertorte cake, covered in vanilla butter cream roses. With the wedding theme being ‘secret garden’ I also added belgian chocolate ivy leaves around the bottom. There are many Sachertorte recipes out there, but I used the Mary Berry recipe (from the Great British Bake Off) which was practised a few times before the real thing!

After a bit of deliberation, we decided on 3 flavours of cupcake; vanilla, strawberry and Malteaser. For the strawberry cupcakes I popped a spoonful of strawberry jam (from France) into the centre of each baked cake and piped strawberry butter cream over the top.

The Groom (Adam) has been working hard restoring a beautiful early 70’s bay VW Campervan which was the couple’s wedding car, it is stunning! So what better groom’s cake than a celebration of this gorgeous camper. The cake was a light fruit cake, covered in Anton Berg marzipan (which is super difficult to roll out by the way!). I did my best to model their cute little pooch ‘Lily’ to sit beside the van.

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Sweet summer strawberry cupcakes

Despite a bit of a turn in the British weather recently, I was determined to banish the rainy blues and bake summery strawberry cupcakes! This is also my first go at doing domed cupcakes (fondant topped cupcakes with buttercream underneath).

I whizzed a punnet of short-dated strawberries and pushed the liquid through a sieve to remove the pips. I made up my usual cupcake batter and added approximately 1tbsp of strawberry ‘juice’. Shared between 12 silver foil PME cases, and into the over for about 20 mins.

I made up my buttercream, again, adding enough strawberry ‘juice’ to achieve a super-strawberry flavour (it naturally adds a subtle pink to the buttercream too). I cut 6 rounds of white fondant and used a stencil lightly rolled over to create an embossed effect.

Once the cakes were completely cool, I piped 6 with buttercream swirls as normal and decorated with sprinkles. I then piped 6 with just a small amount of butter cream in the centre, laying a fondant disc over the top and patting the sides down until sealed. While the cakes were cooking I also handmade a few fondant strawberries which I placed on top of the cakes – cute and ideal for any party come rain or shine.

To intensify the strawberry flavour in the sponge, you could add a strawberry jam centre ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rose flavour cupcakes

On finding Rose Water extract for a decent price in Lakeland, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Adding just a teaspoon of rose water to my cupcake batter delicately flavoured the sponge – some said it was similar to turkish delight.

I decided to frost with a touch of pink (just a small amount of red liquid food colouring), lightly rose-flavoured buttercream. I used the Wilton 1M piping nozzle to get the rose shape (working from the inside, outwards) and decorated with a few small edible pearls and handmade green fondant leaves. I would recommend leaving the fondant leaves off of the butter cream if transporting or storing overnight as they tend to get a bit sticky and floppy once in contact with the butter cream ๐Ÿ™‚

Another decorating idea is to use crystalised rose petals – whip up egg white until frothy, gently paint a little on the front and back of a clean, dry rose petal and evenly sprinkle with sugar. Leave to dry overnight or until crispy.

1400 cupcakes for Wolfson College, Cambridge May Ball 2012

After a day’s recovery after a rather busy week I thought I’d post about my 1400 cupcake marathon! Wolfson College’s choice of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mocha, ginger, banana, red velvet, chocolate & hazelnut, Oreo cookie, lemon, orange, coffee & walnut and carrot cake cupcakes went down a storm. It was a pleasure working with the committee, and President Tamara on the order and I got to use both of my acrylic stands and mini board signs for the first time.

Despite many, many, many hours of baking, frosting and decorating I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am very grateful to the guests for all of the wonderful comments and cake compliments I received throughout the night of the ball ๐Ÿ™‚

Sadly there wasn’t time to take many photos but I managed to quickly snap my cakes on their beautiful stands… if anybody reading this was at the ball and took photos of the stands/cakes, it would be great to see them – email me!

Coffee and walnut birthday cake (covered in roses)

A scorching week of beautiful sunny weather really helped soften the butter for this birthday cake, celebrating Gary’s nans (Peggy) 85th birthday.

On finally finding a trustworthy recipe (the link to this recipe is below) the cake was baked in two 8 inch sandwich tins and prepared for decoration.

http://www.awtonline.co.uk/recipe.php?recipeid=369

Firstly I made a batch of coffee buttercream for the centre of the two sponges and then continued all over the outside of the cake. Using a cake smoother, I went around the edges two smooth it off, and then chopped up more walnuts to gently pat around the sides of the cake (a messy job, but worthwhile for all those walnut fans). The excess plain coffee buttercream was then kept to one side while I prepared a second batch of coffee buttercream, this time adding a few teaspoons of red, (mixed with a little blue) food colouring to get a soft vintage pink tone.

A dollop of each colour was added to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M nozzle, I then piped a number of roses onto the top of the cake. Start in the middle of the cake and pipe from the centre outwards (unlike the way you’d usually pipe onto a cupcake, where you would start from the outside and work towards the centre). Ensuring that all areas were covered with rose swirls, I popped an edible pearl into the centre of each rose and lightly sprinked with white edible glitter.

I also decorated a few chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream roses to accompany the main birthday cake.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

30th birthday cupcakes!

An excellent opportunity to try out my new cupcake stand ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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) ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰