Thursday, 26 February 2015

Baroque Gold Cupcakes

So, the ladies coming to my Baroque Cupcakes classes haven't been loving the mustard paste I've 
been presenting them with! It's a mix of ivory and egg yellow. And no it's not pretty, but it's a necessary precursor to bold gold.
 Prepare to be amazed ....
Ok, not really. But it sounds impressive ;o) 



                                                                ... lustered ...


So much better!

And if you play around with your base colour, you'll get different shades of gold.
Whether you dry brush or paint on the lustre will also make a difference.
 Find out how to make gold paint here.

Happy decorating!


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Banana and Coconut Chocolate Squares

It's been a little bananas around here the past couple of weeks, so just ignore the fact that the 14th Feb is a whole week in the past. This is my Valentines offering....
It's the thought that counts though, right?!

These are fudgey, moist, banana flavoured dark-chocolate squares with a bit of interest added to the texture by the coconut.
Yes, you could call them brownies - but they don't have that flakey surface that I insist on in a brownie. (Just kidding! Call them brownies if you want to!)
 But now that we're on the subject: if you want that flake, rather beat the sugar and eggs together until fluffy, then add the melted chocolate and butter followed by the rest of the ingredients. (Have I confused you?!)
And the mix would also make good  muffins.

Banana and Coconut Chocolate Squares 
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Pre-heat the oven to 175'C
Grease and line a 20cm square baking pan


200g caster sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
200g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
150g butter
100g flour
20g cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
60g shredded coconut


Melt the chocolate together with the butter and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla.
Mix well; then mix in the banana and coconut.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 30min - until just firm in the centre.

Remove from the oven.
 Cool in the pan.

Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Happy baking!


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream Secret Centres

I'm considering calling these "load shedding cupcakes".
Not because of the surprise inside (surprise: load shedding tonight. Ugh!) , but because they withstood a 2 hour power break during production. (Thankfully at the beating stage, not the baking stage).
And because, while the electricity situation might be getting you down, it helps to have some pretty pastel cupcakes around to focus on instead.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream Secret Centres

Marshmallow Cream

300g marshmallows
500ml fresh cream
1tsp vanilla extract
Pink gel colour*

Heat the cream, vanilla and marshmallows together in a medium sized saucepan.
Stir frequently until the marshmallows have completely melted. Add the gel colour.
Place in the fridge to cool completely - stir occasionally.
Remove from the fridge and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture starters to thicken.
If the mixture remains very liquid, let it stand for 30minutes, it'll thicken further.

 *If you want pure white marshmallow cream, use white marshmallows only and omit the vanilla.

Vanilla cupcakes

You can use your favourite vanilla cupcake recipe, but this is an easy one that goes far:

4 eggs
400g caster sugar

300g cake flour
2 tsp baking powder

250ml milk
100ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven temp at 175'C
Line muffin trays with cupcake cases - makes 24-30 cupcakes

Mix the milk and oil together in a jug, and heat in microwave for 2 min on high. Set aside for 15 minutes, then add the vanilla. 

Place the sugar and eggs in a mixer, and beat on high until pale and fluffy (approx. 6 minutes). 

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl.  

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the oil/ milk to the egg mixture. Begin and end with the flour. 
Mix until just combined. 

Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to fill the cupcake cases.
Bake for 18 -20 minutes.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe the marshmallow cream into their centre. Use a piping bag fitted with a long, plain tipped icing nozzle. 

I used swiss meringue buttercream to ice these cupcakes (with a drop of yellow gel colour added) , but you can use any icing of your choice.
Find icing/ frosting recipes here.

Satin bow topper from Candy Tag

Happy baking!


Friday, 6 February 2015

Love Bee Cookies

So a few days ago I posted the question "how many heart shapes could one possibly transform into bees?" It was rhetorical... I knew the answer - every heart!
Bees buzzing everywhere!
It happens like that if you're a little OTT about themes the way I am....

Let's talk about the evolution of these canoodling bees from a double heart cutter ...

gerund or present participle: canoodling
  1. kiss and cuddle amorously.
    "she was caught canoodling with her boyfriend"

Sketch on paper:

 Sketch on cookie:

Outline wings with piping consistency icing* and an Ateco 00 or PME 1.5 tip.

 Outline bodies

 and stripes
(Yes, I know - different bees!
Just be grateful there are photo's, ok?!)
Flood a section with flooding consistency icing* ("15 second icing" )
 After the first stripe has dried (approx. 20 min)
fill in the yellow, and the opposite side's black stripe. Add some wet-on-wet pink cheeks
(you'll see them in the next pic!)

Fill in the outer wing first, let that set before  flooding the second wing

Use piping consistency icing to add final details - eyes, feelers, little shared heart.

For a royal icing recipe and explanation of consistencies, see here.

Cookie designs inspired by Sweet SugarBelle, SweetFace Cookie Boutique and Cookie Crazie;
the canoodlers are my own ;o) 

Ha-bee decorating!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Top Deck Cupcakes

No, I haven't misplaced my piping nozzles - I was going for the rustic look with these ones... which is surprisingly hard to do neatly. Funny that!
No, not really... I've been having some sense of humour issues... o_O

It's been one of those weeks:
Two failed recipes (still scraping the dregs of one of them off my cookie trays); chocolate with the sulks; humidity literally making sugar creations weep, and a virus (courtesy of the first week back at pre-school.)
Oh, the joys!
So, I wasn't expecting much from these cupcakes, especially the ganache - which I liked the sound of, but fully expected to separate at the addition of the cream cheese. But, it didn't. The week might be redeemed!

Here they are, courtesy of Yuppie Chef and Leigh who kind of insisted they be tea at Saturday's class ;o)

I'm an incorrigible fiddler when it comes to recipes. So if you want to see the original, find it here; but here's mine with some small changes:

Top Deck Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Yuppie Chef

Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line 2x muffin trays with cupcake cases

280g cake flour
2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
15g unsweetened cocoa powder
200g brown sugar
2 XL eggs
200g dark chocolate, melted
180ml vegetable oil
250ml buttermilk
150ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt

Sift the cake flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in the melted chocolate, followed by the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and sour cream. Mix well.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the egg/ chocolate mixture.
Use a figure of eight motion to mix the batter.
Divide amongst the prepared cupcake cases.

Bake at 180'C for approx. 18minutes - remove from the oven when a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Remove from the muffin trays to cool.

Cream Cheese Ganache

360g white chocolate
120ml cream (you can use sour cream)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
250g cream cheese

Melt the chocolate together with the cream and vanilla pod in a double boiler.
Remove from the heat when all the chocolate has just about melted, and stir until smooth.
Scrape out the seeds from half the vanilla pod, and mix into the ganache.
Allow to cool and set slightly. Stir often to prevent a skin forming on the surface of the ganache.

Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then slowly beat in the ganache. Mix until smooth.
Spread onto the cooled cupcakes.

Like most chocolate cakes, the flavour is even better on day 2 - if you can resist them that long...