And so my affair with Frosting began!

As you can probably tell from almost everything I’ve posted so far, I’ve been veering away from frosting. The sky high towers of sweet,buttery, creamy heaven haven’t had much of a show on this blog so far. This is mainly because I know that once I’d taken a single bite off the top of a ‘Vanilla Buttercream Frosted Fudge Chocolate Cupcake’ I’d never go back! And now I have, and I don’t think that I will.

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These chocolate cupcakes are SO moist! It’s almost unreal. They definitely deserve a picture to themselves. I almost felt bad putting icing on top of them. But then I didn’t!

Is it just me or do these look like whippy ice-creams on a cupcake? I almost feel as though I should have put little flakes sticking out of the top! Maybe I’ll do that next time!

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There is actually no chocolate in these cupcakes. It’s the cocoa that give them they’re perfect chocolaty taste and texture. Sometimes I find that putting chocolate in cupcakes or brownies can give them a slightly greasy texture. Try and use a good brand of preferably dutch processed cocoa such as Bourneville for best results. Drinking chocolate (Cadburys etc.) is usually about 50% sugar which will really change the taste and colour of your cupcakes. So basically, Emergencies Only!

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This picture here is a great example of ‘The End of the Piping Bag Conundrum’.

That was a mouthful!

What I mean by this is: With any icing I’ve piped from a piping bag I’ve always found that the last cupcake, or whatever you’re using the bit of icing at the bottom of the bag for comes out wonky. I reckon it’s that there just isn’t enough icing left to pull it off smoothly. And that would be perfectly fine if every time I took the nozzle out of the piping bag there wasn’t a good spoonful of icing just sitting there. It’s infuriating!

I usually just decorate the cupcake with something to take your eye off of the blobby mess underneath, chocolate chips in this case. Any comments or solutions would be appreciated!

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So here’s the link to the original recipe: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/03/classic-chocolate-cupcakes-with-vanilla-frosting/ 

Happy Baking!

xxxxx

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My First Paid Gig! Wedding Cake.

I’m going to start with a back story, just to get you in the loop. My friend’s dad does wedding ceremonies. They’re usually relatively small and independent, but really beautiful too. One day he asked me and his 2 daughters if we wanted to make a cake for this wedding. The only brief was that they wanted it to be chocolate. Perfect! 

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Needless to say, it took us quite a while to make! We decided to go for a devil’s food chocolate cake. They had asked for chocolate after all. It took us a little bit longer to decide on the style, but classics win every time, so a three tiered cake it was. Not the most innovative idea anyone has ever had but this really couldn’t be a flop. This cake really is my pride and joy! Me and my friends just sat staring at it for ages when it was finally finished, which happened to be about 6 hours after we started!

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The play mobile pieces on the top were a genius idea of my friend’s 10 year old sister. She even matched the hair colours on the dolls to the ones of the bride and groom! The only slight problem was the eye-patch, we’re just hoping that the groom didn’t notice. 🙂

 

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This cake has a secret… Do you want to know what it is? To make this cake extra special and extra tall we decided that instead of 3 layers of cake we’d make 6. So in each tier of the cake there happens to be 2 devils food cakes separated by a thin layer of vanilla buttercream icing. I hope the wedding party didn’t die of a heart attack after all the butter that went in.

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I reckon that the hardest part of this cake was the icing. The crumb proof layer was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done! But we managed it! The cake stayed in one piece.

One of the greatest things about this cake is that it’s super easy. It’s just an easy peasy devils food chocolate cake recipe:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/DEVILS-FOOD-CAKE-5310

I got mine off Nigella Lawson.

Topped off with an even easy peasier buttercream icing:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/quick-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-recipe.html

To this I just added a small amount of cocoa powder until it reached the colour I wanted. And voila! Cake made!

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Now, I know in the title I said paid gig. I wasn’t lying, it was paid. Even if it was only 6 euro once we’d paid for food and divided it up between ourselves. 🙂 But it was a million times worth the effort.

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‘Till next time my friends. 

xxx

 

Strawberry Strawberry Cupcakes!

Summer… Fruit… STRAWBERRIES!!!

These are the perfect summer party cupcakes. Enjoyable for people of almost any age and best heaped with sprinkles! 

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Being the amateur baker that I am I hadn’t actually iced cupcakes before. Ever. Shock horror, I know. It’s unacceptable. So please excuse the lopsidedness of the icing on my cupcakes.

You wouldn’t believe how fun it is though! I got a bit carried away and used almost EVERY single head in the the bag. The amount of wash up was absolutely humongous but 100% worth it. My hands were covered in icing, I had used up almost every single spoon in the house, there was icing on the floor, on my new leather boots (a lot of talcom powder was in order for that one) and there was even some in my hair! But by the end of my icing session those cupcakes were darn freezing! :p

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And being the food nerd that I am I of course went as far as to make little chocolate decorations for the tops of the cakes. Using a plastic bag to pipe! (We didn’t have a nozzle big enough!).image_5 (3) image_6 (3)

 

These cupcakes were sweet as icing sugar! And had the most amazing strawberry pieces scattered the whole way through the cupcake. They are possibly the moistest baked goods I have ever eaten aside from my favourite carrot cake! Which is a given, seeing as they’re from… drumroll please….. SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION! (And just so you know, I don’t always bake off SBA. Just yesterday I made Brown Eyed Baker’s Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting. They were incredible. So incredible even that I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of a single one!)

Here’s the link: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/01/26/fresh-strawberry-cupcakes/

And my favourite part…. Wait for it…. : They are completely naturally coloured. The pink icing on the top is all freshly squeezed strawberry juice!

The recipe I used was this one:

 http://addapinch.com/cooking/2013/06/20/strawberry-buttercream-frosting-recipe/

I replaced the syrup with the strawberry juice and used normal milk, not cream. It’s fattening enough as it is!

So in conclusion. For a summer snack, tea, dessert, party or almost anything else. Bake them. Bake them I tell you!

Hope you’re enjoying the summer.

xxxxx

 

Special (belated) Mothers Day post. Blueberry Lemon 3 Tier Cake.

I know it’s about a week late but it’s been really busy around here for the last week. Moving house really does take up your entire life. Between shuttling stuff between the houses and trying to find enough boxes to pack all our stuff in (I can’t believe how much we fitted into our cottage, we’ve accumulated quite a lot) we’ve been pretty busy. Everything else has gone on the back burner. But now I’m back. And I hope you haven’t missed me too much!

This is a really special recipe. I know you must be sick of hearing about Sally by now and I promise that at some point soon I’ll cook something that’s not off her blog but I just couldn’t resist this one. I saw it and thought how perfect this would be for my mom. And guess what? It was! Lucky that Mothers Day was coming up.

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I’m not usually a fan of any cake that doesn’t have the word chocolate in the title but this one broke the streak. It was gorgeous. It was airy and light melt in your mouth icing with popping blueberries and a slight tang of lemon all mixed together with a bit of love a lot of sugar and some vanilla essence! And yes, I did say all of that in one breath. It was gone within 24 hours of being made. With a little bit of help from 4 or 5 friends of course! And then we made it again for an event the next weekend. A big hit.

The cooking process took a little longer than expected. Between the cooling time (which I never listen to unless icing is involved) and all the other minor complications by 10 ‘o clock that night me and Jay were sitting at the kitchen table darting frequent looks at the fridge and clock just waiting for those final 45 minutes to tick by. The reason for this is that I only had one cake tin of the right size. And there was no way it was going to be a 2 tier cake, because that’s just not impressive, it had to be 3 tiers (silly me). So with a 4 ‘o clock start, no electric mixer and one cake tin I began to bake.

So we now know that complication:

1. Was the cake tin conundrum

2. Was the absence of an electric mixer

And of course, as the saying goes, ‘What happens twice always happens 3 times’. So now number:

3. There weren’t enough blueberries at the shop. So we had to make do with some strawberries.

And oddly enough, these were what made the cake so nice. I’d advise you if you’re cooking it to put in half strawberries half blueberries. Their sweetness goes really well with the overall tanginess of the lemon in the cake. Plus, they look extra pretty on the top.

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I wasn’t sure how to arrange them so I had to do a first draft. This is it! However, the top of the cake wasn’t quite this big so I had to cut it a bit short.

Oh yes! How silly of me, I forgot to tell you about complication no.

4.  ( It seems that what happens twice doesn’t happen only three times, but 4!) In the recipe it tells you to toss the blueberries in tablespoon of flour before putting them in the cake to stop them from exploding. This I did. And it worked very well. I had unexploded blueberries in my cake. But when tossing them I forgot to account for the blueberries that I’d have to put on the top of the cake. Oops! So as a result of this I spent about 10 minutes hand-washing and towel (or tissue) drying every single blueberry on top of this cake. Here’s a picture of me in action:

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These were squeaky clean blueberries by the end of it.

As you can see, this became quite a hectic day. So by the time I got around to icing the cake it was already a little late. And I was already more than a little tired. So icing made I set out to begin the icing process. And hungry as I was I ate the majority of it before it went on the cake. But never mind, I made the rest of it stretch.

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I got to this point without too many hiccups. Not looking too shabby, eh? But when I got to here I paused and took a deep breath. It was time to begin icing the sides. Here’s about the point where you begin listening to the Jaws Theme Tune and looking away in fright. As you can see from my pics of the finished product it obviously didn’t turn out too badly but there was a bit of a waterfall effect. I still haven’t figured out how to stop the icing from running down the side of the cake and pooling on the plate!  Am I making the icing too thin? Is there a special utensil that’s needed to ice a cake?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  🙂 However by the end of a few minutes wrestling with the knife and icing I managed to coat the sides in an even layer of icing.

And then it had to go in the fridge.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

It felt like hours.

So after 25 minutes we took it out of the fridge!

And it didn’t crumble. The first slice came out perfectly formed.

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And so did the second.

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And the third as a matter of fact.

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This was one nice cake. The perfect springtime treat.

This evening is taken up with compiling a shortlist of possibilities for………… MY BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yay! And you can be assured that this will be no lemon cake. I have a sneaky suspicion that the word chocolate might be included in the title. I don’t think that even the nicest non-chocolate cake in the world could sway my loyalty to chocolate!

I’ll post this shortlist soon.

xxx