Sunday, 28 February 2016

Ballerina Cupcake Topper

Aaah, pink and white - it's so pretty and peaceful, isn't it? So serene.
I could nod off to sleep just looking at the combination.
Or that could be the lack of caffeine in my system and all the years of sleep deprivation I've accumulated since becoming a mother....

Which is an endless discussion (all my own fault, compounded by my daughter's need to not sleep with me but on me...); so lets rather focus on ballerina cupcakes and not the little sleep-terrorists you might be making them for...

How to make a 2D ballerina cupcake topper: 

Print out an image and place it on top of a piece of rolled out CMC paste.  Use a tool to trace over the image. The imprint left behind will be the guide to use for cutting out the design with a sharp craft knife.  Keep the blade clean, otherwise it snags as it cuts. 
(You may prefer to use the flip side of the character that you've cut out as it is often neater, with cleaner edges.) 

Dip a cocktail stick into CMC glue, then gently push it up into the legs of the ballerina. (If you're concerned about the stick being eaten - replace with dried spaghetti instead. Because we do love them, even if they don't let us sleep!) 

Ruffle a piece of pink paste

... and pleat it.

  Cut to size, and use the CMC glue to stick it in place. 

Leave to dry completely before placing onto a swirl of pretty pink icing. 

Tu-tu pretty to eat!
I stole that phrase from a Facebook friend - 'cos I'm too tired to think of something clever to say myself ;o)

Happy decorating!


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Marshmallow and Chocolate Cupcakes

My apologies if love month isn't your thing: I haven't quite finished with all the "heartiness"...
Which is surprising seeing as it's not something we celebrate, as evidenced by a recent conversation I had with my husband:

Husband: We're not actually doing anything for Valentines are we?
Me: No.
Husband: Good (said with profound relief).

If it wasn't for the heart crafts that the children bring home from school, it would be a day that we allow to go completely un-noticed. Oh, that and the Valentines-themed cookie classes I run, of course.
 Can't forget those!

This was tea for our Valentines cookie class this year:

 Marshmallow and  Chocolate Cupcakes

 It's homemade rose-water flavoured marshmallow piped onto moist chocolate cupcakes and then dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles.
What a love-ly treat ;o)

Marshmallow and Chocolate Cupcakes 
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Chocolate Cupcakes 

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Prepare 2x 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake cases.


320g cake flour
400g caster sugar
90g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt 
180ml vegetable oil
250ml buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water
1tsp vanilla extract

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Use a hand-whisk to combine. 
Make a well in the centre, and pour in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. 
Mix well. 
Add the boiling water. Mix until combined.  

Pour into the prepared cupcake cases - do not fill more than halfway! 
Bake at 180'C for approx 20min, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. 
Remove cupcakes from muffin trays to cool. 

Ice when completely cool. 

Makes enough to pipe large swirls onto 12-15 cupcakes (you can double the volumes for more cupcakes). 

2 tbs gelatin
120ml cold water

400g caster sugar
120ml water
2 tbs rose water
Pink gel food colouring

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the gelatin with 120 ml cold water, and put aside.

Combine the sugar and the other 120ml water in a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan.
Cook and stir over medium-high heat until dissolved. (Brush any stray sugar granules down off the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water.)
Once the sugar has dissolved, allow to boil undisturbed for about 10minutes or until it reaches 115'C on a candy thermometer.

Carefully pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin and beat with the whisk attachment on low speed.
Slowly increase the mixer speed.
Add the pink food colouring and rose-water.
Continue to beat on high speed until the mixture cools down and becomes thick and fluffy.

Spoon the marshmallow into a piping bag prepared with a large plain round pastry tip (e.g. and Ateco 806).
It's a sticky job, and you don't want to try refill the piping bag, so make sure you use a bag large enough to hold all the marshmallow to begin with!

Pipe onto the cupcakes.

Allow the marshmallow to set (about 1 hour depending on ambient humidity).

Once the marshmallow is no longer sticky to touch, dip into melted chocolate and adorn with sprinkles. (Yes, you turn the cupcake upside down, marshmallow and all, and dip it into melted chocolate!)



Sunday, 14 February 2016

Je T'aime Valentines Cookies - Stencilling with Color Mist Spray

Valentines was the very first cookie class that I ever gave.
If I look back at those cookies, I'm mortified that I even thought of teaching at that stage!
But I made up for my lack of experience with oodles of enthusiasm! And in my defence, I saw those early sessions more as a craftsy-club get-together rather than classes (or so I tell myself!).

Over the past few years, we've done traditional Valentines, Vintage Valentines, Lovebirds, Bee my Valentine and this year's Je t'aime class - valentines cookies with a  French flair.
So... any suggestions for next year??

Here's an easy way to use a stencil on a cookie:

What you'll need:

A royal icing covered cookie, that has dried completely(preferably overnight).
Spray on luster (or use an airbrush) - I'm using Wilton Color Mist in silver, here.
Magnetic clips
Paper towel
Cookie tray

Place the paper towel onto the cookie tray.
Position the stencil over the cookie, and secure with the magnetic clips (you could just use wooden pegs, but the magnets help to keep the stencil firmly in place as they stick to the metal cookie tray).

Spray a fine mist of luster over the stencil/ cookie. Don't hold the spray too close, and don't overdo it - it's more likely to smudge if it's too wet.
(I'm spraying from the wrong direction here, because the stencil is slightly lifted at the bottom edge, and I don't want the color mist to creep under the stencil from that side).

Leave to dry for a couple of minutes before removing the stencil.

Finish with royal icing accents.

For another simple Valentines cookie tutorial (wet-on-wet hearts), see here .

Happy valentines decorating! 


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lemon and Granadilla Swiss Roll

Simpler. That's the way I'm keeping things this year. Well, as far as possible for the first few months at least!  
The noise of 2015 is still ringing in my head (visualise said head being struck like a gong, and then you've got the picture...!).   

To that end, I'm looking for treats and eats that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. 
Something like the  3 ingredient peanut butter biscuits that I posted recently. Or this chocolate cake recipe ( it's a great cupcake recipe, too.) 
So, there I was, about to make those again last week for tea. But it turns out that if I make the same thing too often I lose the will to bake (good thing I don't run a bakery!) And tea was close to being some macarons pulled out of the freezer, instead.   
Then I remembered how simple a swiss roll is to make (really, it is). And as an added bonus, I had some swiss meringue buttercream in the freezer that once thawed, would be perfect for my plan!  

Lemon and Granadilla Swiss Roll 

Recipe adapted from Fay Lewis, "From My Oven "

Pre-heat the oven to 180'C
Line a  38x26cm baking tray with baking paper/ a silicone baking mat

4 jumbo eggs, separated
125g caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
125g cake flour, sifted
5ml baking powder
30ml milk, heated
2 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Continue whipping the egg whites until stiff.
Whisk in the egg yolks.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the sifted flour and baking powder, followed by the milk and then the remainder of the flour and lemon zest, if using.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray, and bake for 8-10 minutes; the surface of the sponge should be a light  golden colour.

While the swiss roll is baking, cut a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the baking tray that you've used, and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Once it's out the oven, trim the edges off the swiss roll (about 1/2 cm). This makes it neater, and easier to roll.
Invert the swiss roll onto the baking paper while it is still warm, and peel off the paper lining / silicone that it was baked on.
Working away from you, carefully roll the swiss roll up with the fresh sheet of baking paper inside of it.
Cover with the a tea towel, and leave to cool rolled up.

Unroll; then spread your chosen filling over the cake, before again rolling it up.
Sprinkle the surface with caster sugar.

Filling suggestions...
Swiss meringue buttercream  - use your favourite SMB recipe, and add a tablespoon of lemon curd and some granadilla pulp like I did for this swiss roll.
cream cheese icing 
Whipped cream with jam or fresh berries
or... simply just jam!

Happy baking!