Gastronomically Terrific

January 30, 2016

Mini cupcakes

Mini cupcakes CUFor a while now, I have been wanting to make the cocktail-inspired mini cupcakes that appear in my Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book. They look incredibly appealing, and I really wanted to give them a try. New Years Eve and a dinner party in mid January seemed like two really good excuses to try out 3 of the 4 recipes that appear in the book. For New Years Eve, I made the brandy chocolate mini cupcakes. For my January dinner party, I went with the Strawberry Daiquiri mini cupcakes and the Mojito mini cupcakes.

The brandy chocolate mini cupcakes turned out fairly well. The cupcake mixture was a chocolate, orange and brandy one, and the frosting was a chocolate, orange and brandy flavour too. To give the cupcakes a festive feel, I covered them in edible gold glitter. They looked stunning, and tasted pretty good. The only problem was with the amounts. The recipe claimed it made 24-30 cupcakes – I ended up with 48, which was far too many. And I still only needed two thirds of the frosting to ice all 48 cakes.

The strawberry daiquiri and mojito mini cupcakes didn’t go so well, however. Whilst the strawberry daiquiri cakes tasted OK, the frosting was really grainy and just didn’t look very impressive. Also, the bottom of the cakes are just strawberries soaked in white rum. So whilst they taste OK, they aren’t the easiest thing to eat. The mojito mini cupcakes were even worse. They had plenty of white rum in them, but you couldn’t taste any of it. They just tasted like boring tiny lime cakes. They also looked pretty bad, as the frosting for these was just as grainy as that for the strawberry daiquiri mini cupcakes. Whilst some of this may have been down to the way I baked the cakes, I’m entirely unconvinced that the recipes are particularly good ones. Whilst I was also looking after an ill baby the day I made these, she did spend a lot of time asleep, so I had plenty of time to myself to concentrate on making these… it’s unlikely to be an experiment I repeat any time soon!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Recipes to make every day special, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 198

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December 10, 2014

Candy cane cupcakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:29 pm

Candy cane and eggnog cupcakesFollowing on quite closely from my last blog post about cherry cupcakes, this week I made two more varieties – candy cane cupcakes and eggnog cupcakes (more about those later…).

All of these recipes came from my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, I have wanted to bake all of them for ages (the pictures make them looks pretty amazing), I was testing them all (partially) to see if they would be suitable Christmas presents, and they all follow the same basic recipe – although the frosting for each is rather different. Here, it’s the frosting that truly makes the cake.

Both the candy cane cupcakes and the eggnog cupcakes really are a basic muffin mixture – they don’t even have the added cherries of the added cupcakes. So for these two cakes, I made the actual fairy cakes together, and then made two varieties of frosting.

The frosting for the candy cane cupcakes is a striped pink and white frosting, liberally flavoured with peppermint essence, which you pipe onto the cakes. You get the two-tone effect by placing the pink and white butter-cream side by side in a piping bag before piping it onto the cake. You then finish off the whole thing by adding some translucent sugar (or, in my case, some edible silver glitter – because that’s what I had). In the past I’ve used spray glitter, but recently I’ve bought some sprinkle-on glitter because spray glitter tends to send icing sugar flying. It worked well, although it may be that the spray glitter would have been fine to use as it was being added to butter-cream, rather than a much more fragile coating of icing sugar.

The one thing to say about these cakes is that they are very minty. They taste like eating a tube of toothpaste. Which is great if you’re me and love the taste of mint, but less positive if you hate the stuff. Of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t flavour the butter-cream with something you did like the taste of (lemon/ almond/ vanilla/ rum etc) – or just use less peppermint essence!

Oh, I was also rather pleased with how these looked when I made them!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Humming Bakery Cake Days: Recipes to make every day special, Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 208-209

June 12, 2014

Teach Me Sugarcraft cupcake decorating class

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 1:02 pm
14 All my cupcakes

Dogs, hedgehogs and flower decorated cupcakes

OK, so, for my birthday, my husband bought me a voucher to attend a cupcake decorating class with a friend. He said he’d be happy to attend, but equally happy to look after the little one if I wanted to go with a friend. I chose to go with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages – partly because I thought she’d enjoy it more, partly because I thought it would be a good chance to catch up, and partly because I know she’s good at the practical stuff and could help me out when I messed it all up!

I have to admit, I did have a bit of trepidation about going. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and it’s not something I ever really would have considered going to if it hadn’t been a present (not that I don’t love baking and decorating; I do. But it’s a bit like sport. I’d much rather do it in the privacy of my own home than as a team with an audience).

Luckily, overall the session was really enjoyable. 15 Flower cupcakes CUDecorating the cakes was great fun (you don’t get to bake them – you’re given 12 cupcakes and you have 2 hours to decorate them, with the leaders showing you what to do. Don’t worry, they’re not judgmental. Just encouraging). I was super proud of my cakes, and actually seemed to be a bit more confident than my friend – not that she didn’t also do a fine job (notwithstanding the fact that she then dropped her cakes when we were walking back – which was in equal parts distressing and heartbreaking after 2 hours worth of work). There were a couple of issues with the class – mainly that 2 hours isn’t really quite long enough when you have to share equipment and cut out billions of little sugar flowers for your cakes.

Whilst the class did have some good tips (did you know you can freeze sugarpaste?), I felt that the majority of my problems at home come from not having the right pieces of equipment, not a lack of knowledge. For example, I buy sugar flowers because I think I’d be rubbish at making them. With a flower cutter I didn’t have a problem. But I don’t own one. To be fair, if I’m serious about creating these items in the future, I can always just go and buy these things!

Anyway, if I was proud of those cupcakes with rose icing, I’m really proud of these 12 cupcakes. Especially the dogs!16 Dog cupcakes CU

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