Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love red velvet cupcakes. There is a cupcakery down the road from me that makes amazing red velvet cupcakes. I have never made red velvet cupcakes before, so thought I would give it a try. I used the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes and can highly recommend it. (The book and the recipe).

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

(Makes 24)

2 1/2 cups plain flour (sifted)
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs (at room temp)
1/2 teaspoon red gel paste food colouring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 180 degrees centigrade / Gas Mark 4. Line muffin tin with paper cases
2. Whisk the flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

3. With an electric mixer on a medium- high speed, whisk together the sugar and the oil until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in food colouring and vanilla.

4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Stir together the bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar. Add this frothy mixture to the batter and mix for about 10 seconds.

5. Divide batter into paper cases. Cook for about 20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

6. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting.

There are loads of recipes out there for cream cheese frosting. My favourite one uses 4 oz of butter, 6 oz of full fat cream cheese and 2 cups of icing sugar. Oh, and a teaspoon of vanilla.

With the first two cupcakes, I attempted the Magnolia - style method of frosting. No way Jose. I could not get the hang of it at all, and had to revert to a piping bag. I don't think it helped that it was scorching today, making the cream cheese frosting quite runny. Or maybe I just overbeat the cream cheese.

I was pleased with my first attempt though. The red velvet cupcakes were yum. Mr G agreed wholeheartedly.

I topped them with regular and mini red heart sprinkles.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blue Mondays

I don't like blue. It is just one of those colours that does not appeal to me in any way, shape or form. It just isn't girly enough for me.

I decided to make some cupcakes for Mr G's work colleagues and against my better judgement, I decided to frost the cupcakes with blue frosting and decorations.

I suppose I was trying to see if I could make blue girly.

I admit defeat. Not even with a vast array of sprinkles could I achieve girly, cute looking cupcakes.

So there. Un-girly blue cupcakes. I had to take a photo of them next to some pink flowers. To make myself feel better. I love you pink.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Redemption - Part 2

As we were in Knightsbridge, we decided to stop off at the Hummingbird Bakery on Old Brompton Road.

I bought a selection of goodies including a frosted brownie (absolutely amazing), a red velvet cupcake (nice but have had better), a blackout cupcake (delicious) and a raspberry cheesecake brownie (would have been nicer but for the fact that the topping melted in the heat by the time I got home). It was my first time to the Hummingbird bakery, but I doubt it will be my last.

Redemption - Part 1

After the 'burger cupcake incident' I was just about speaking to Mr G the following morning. As a peace offering he agreed to take me to Harrods so that I could visit Laduree, the ultimate in macaron heaven. It was everything I had hoped for. The macarons were so pretty. I couldn't resist purchasing a small box to take home.

I bought vanilla, pistachio, salted caramel, coconut, chocolate and raspberry. My favourites without a doubt were the vanilla and pistachio. Or maybe coconut. The vanilla filling tasted like a rich creme anglais. It was delicious.

Some of the macarons did not make it for the photo! I had also bought some for Beks, which included Lemon. (Bleurgh!! Not my cup of tea at all).

We couldn't resist having a mooch around Harrods Food Hall where I stopped to purchase some Whoopie Pies. I can highly recommend the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie. It was filled with a peanut butter frosting but the combination worked well together. The peanut butter was much richer than the peanut butter frosting I make but it was amazing.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes

As well as the burger cupcakes, I made some chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting.

I wanted a decadent frosting so I decided on using 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar to 1/2 cup of cocoa. I love my Kitchen Aid for making my frosting. I know some bakers swear by making frosting by hand. Not me. It's the Kitchen Aid all the way.

I then piped on the frosting and topped it with some gold sugar crystals and a chocolate gold heart.

Luckily, these made it to London in one piece!

Burger Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for ages and didn't really have an occasion to make them. My cousin's birthday seemed like an ideal opportunity! They were actually a lot easier than I thought. You start with good old vanilla cupcakes. And a tray of brownies. (Confession - I didn't make my brownies from scratch. I used a Betty Crocker mix for two reasons:- (1) I was short of time and (2) I haven't found the perfect brownie recipe as yet. Once the brownies had cooled, I cut out circles using a 2 inch round cookie cutter. Then I made a batch of vanilla frosting which I then separated out into three separate bowls. I then used gel colours to tint the frosting - red for the "ketchup", yellow for the "mustard" and green for the "lettuce". I then set about assembling the burgers. I cut the cupcakes in half and placed the brownie pieces on the bottom half. I then piped a layer of red frosting followed by a layer of yellow frosting to look like the ketchup and mustard. For the lettuce, I piped the green frosting in a more squiggly fashion to look like lettuce leaves. I then placed the top of the cupcakes on top of the frosting and then finished the look by placing a few sesame seeds on the top of the cupcakes. I was so proud of these. Unfortunately, my crowning glory did not last. On route, Mr G dropped the container carrying the cupcakes. Not one of these little beauties could be salvaged. Needless to say I did not take any photos. It was all too raw at the time. I have to say that Mr G made up for the 'burger incident' the following day but more on that later. At least I have my memories. And these photos. Sniff.

Happy Birthday Raj!

We went to London this weekend for my cousin's 30th birthday party! I decided to make a variety of treats to take including these "30 cookies". I decided on red and white as I hadn't really baked anything World Cup related. I decorated them with fondant and then decided to add some stars to make them look a little bit prettier. I think I've got my recipe perfected now as the cookies hold their shape perfectly after cooking.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Cake Tins

I have a new obsession. Cake Tins. I can't seem to resist them particularly when they come in pretty pastel colours. My faves are these pink ones with the word "Cakes" written on the front. Mr G keeps asking me if I really need another cake tin, and of course the answer is always yes. Just one more. Promise.

Pretty Cake Cases

I love cupcake cases. The range available on the market now is unbelievable. I have gathered a pretty good collection, but the problem is, some of them are so pretty that I never want to use them. Beks and I discovered a great website recently called They have a really good selection of designer cupcake cases. I've ordered some and I can't wait for them to arrive! In the meantime, take a look at some of my favourites!

Sprinkles Part 2

Beks and I love finding new sprinkles. We get as giddy as school children when we discover new ones. On a recent trip to the States, I went to a shop called Michael's which is a sort of Hobby Craft type store. It was amazing. The range of baking equipment was fantastic and the array of sprinkles was mesmerising. I quickly set about grabbing as many jars as I could to bring back. A lot of them I have still not even used as yet but if anyone needs mint crunch topping or lavender - coloured sugar pearls then I'm your girl. By far my favourite toppings are these M&M's I bought in the U.S. They have a huge variety of colours and you can buy the colours individually like a pick and mix.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Geometric Cookies

I had invited some friends over for lunch and thought I would make some shortbread cookies to serve after lunch. Mr G had ordered me some small cookie cutters in a variety of geometric designs. I thought it would be good to experiment using some fondant icing which I had tinted.

My first mistake was not chilling the shortbread before cooking. I ended up with air pockets in the biscuits which meant that I had to put the fondant on the bottom of the cookie. My second mistake was trying to decorate them in warm weather. The fondant was not as easy to handle and the shapes were not as clean cut as I had envisaged. My first two attempts were pretty disastrous but I eventually got the knack of it. I liked the combination of colours, but it took a bit of time cutting out the different sized shapes.

Sweet treats cupcakes

Remember the birthday cake topped cupcakes I made for my friend's birthday? Well I had a couple of slices of the "cake" leftover and it got me thinking. Maybe I could make a whole range of sweet treats out of fondant. I put my skills to the test and these were the results! I was really pleased with the ring doughnuts. The jam filled ones were okay but I think my ice cream cones need a little improvement. I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting which I tinted green to make the toppers stand out.