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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February 21, 2014

Chocolate and lime cheesecake

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 10:21 pm
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Happy Valentines Day!

This Valentines Day weekend brought about something of a plethora of baking and cooking. Not just because it was Valentines Day, but also because we had 10 visitors over the course of 4 days. The feast began with a 3-course Valentines Day meal, which consisted of chilli cheese crostini for starter, BBQ baked beans with squashed sweet potato for main, and a chocolate and lime cheesecake for pudding. Saturday saw us consuming homemade olive and fennel bread, whilst on Sunday we had feather fairy cakes for elevenses, roast beef with port and stilton gravy, and chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce for afters.

I’ve blogged about the chocolate pudding before (still no photo, sorry), and it tasted just as good the second time around, so I won’t blog about that again. Of the other dishes, they weren’t quite made in the order they were eaten, so I’ll write about them in the order they were made.

First up, the chocolate and lime cheesecake. This was made a few days in advance, as in my house it’s generally felt that the longer a cheesecake has to sit in the fridge soaking up all the flavours the better. The hardest thing about making this cheesecake was the amount of lime zest I had to grate. The recipe called for 6 limes. I had a slightly smaller tin, so I went with 4 and a half limes worth of zest for the filling, and half a limes worth of zest for the decoration on the top (so 5 in total). I did all my grating a day in advance, so making the cheescake was actually really easy. It involved bashing up some chocolate biscuits for the base (always a great stress reliever, until all the crumbs explode out of the bag because you’ve bashed a bit too hard), mixing together sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and lime zest and juice, and popping the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes or so.

I decorated the cheesecake the next day, once it had had time to set in the fridge. The recipe book called for simply grating chocolate and some lime zest in a circle round the edge of the cheesecake, but I wanted to do something a bit extra as this was for Valentines Day. So I cut a heart shape out of some greaseproof paper, and put the remaining template on the cheesecake. This meant that when I sprinkled grated chocolate and lime zest on the cheesecake, it made a heart shape. I finished that off by making a ring of grated lime zest and chocolate around the edge of the cake.

I have to admit, I was pretty proud of how this looked. I’m not great at decorating things, and I thought I did a pretty good job with this. Of course, this was all helped by the fact that it tasted pretty good too. It’s actually a rather refreshing cheescake, as it’s very, very limey. The only chocolate is in the base and the decoration, so if you wanted to you could easily adapt the recipe so there was no chocolate at all. Although why anybody would think that’s a good idea is a different question.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, pg.216

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