Friday, 10 December 2010

Just a quickie...

... I haven't forgotten you, honest!
Things have been a little hectic for me of late, so I haven't had much chance to blog or bake. Which makes me sad.
That and my current oven is rubbish... hohum!

But I do have a couple of things to blog (I had a birthday last month, so did my mum - someone had to make the cakes!) so there'll be a couple of goodies up soon.
I'm baking tomorrow as well, so that makes 3! :)

Stay tuned!


Friday, 5 November 2010

Pumpkin Muffins, with Cream Cheese Filling & Pecan Streusel Topping

As I'm sure you're aware, this time of year is pumpkin season.
And what better way to enjoy a good pumpkin than in some sort of baked product?
Just like these muffins - don't they look lovely?

Now, the problem I have had in the past with pumpkin cakes and their ilk is that most of them hail from across this pond. Our dear American cousins seem to have an obsession with pumpkins that we simply do not share here.
This of course makes obtaining one of the main ingredients required for pumpkin bakes rather difficult... "canned pumpkin puree"?! Really??! Hmm. Not happening.
I've had limited success in the past with liquidising pumpkin, but it isn't perfect & often results in a stringy, watery mess.
And then, whilst browsing t'interwebs as I am wont to do, I came across instructions for making proper pumpkin puree. Genius!

Of course, it needed to be tested. I mean, I have to know if these things work, right? And as such a suitable recipe was required as a test subject. Cue Brown Eyed Baker, and a well-timed post of pumpkin muffins, filled with sweetened cream cheese (yay!), and topped with a pecan streusel.
Oh yeah... ;)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

I never used to like ginger.
For years I avoided it - left it out of recipes, checked ingredient lists to make sure ginger isn't too highly featured, and chosen very carefully at the Chinese to keep out of it's way.
Then I grew up, and along with peanut butter, ginger has found a firm and welcome place in my kitchen cupboard.
As such, when I had a mild cake craving the other day and fancied something different, ginger came to mind. More specifically, ginger bread. In a cupcake. Well why not?!

A quick google offered me a few possibly-viable recipes, but in the end I decided to use one as a generic base, and pretty much create my own.
The results?

The cakes were light and airy, very slightly sticky from the black treacle, and deliciously spiced.
The addition of lemon rind to a simple buttercream frosting then took them to a new level, sublime!

Halloween Cupcakes!

I must apologise once more for my absence. I am without internetz at home - apparently moving house is something of a problem for certain telecommunications companies, and as such I have spent the last fortnight unable to do little more than s-l-o-w-l-y check Facebook via my phone.
On the plus side, however, lots of baking time! And as such I have a number of delicious things to post.

I'd like to begin with (slightly late, I'm aware!) the traditional Halloween Cupcake. I say traditional... What I mean is, "I made some last year, and this year, and will probably do so next year as well". I'm trying to create a tradition, OK?

Anyway, here they are in their Halloweeny glory!

In more detail, the cake parts are a simple chocolate cupcake, the frosting is orange cream cheese, and they're filled with orange curd. All topped off with some adorable pumpkin & bat sugar sprinkles, and a Haribo spider!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Get involved on Facebook!

A quick apology for the lack of posts recently; I've been very busy moving house & as such baking has been somewhat abandoned.
However, I now have a different oven to test-drive, and a rather... interesting new recipe to try out, so rest assured there will be cake in the very near future!

In the meantime, why not pop on over to Facebook and join our group, Ultimate Cake Forum? Just search for it and you'll find us easy enough. You should recognise the Dragon Cake photo ;)
There are a number of members' cake photos to peruse, and a monthly baking event to join in with! This month's theme is pumpkin, so if you have, or are going to bake any pumpkin-related treats before the 15th of November, do stop by and share recipes and photos!

See you soon!
Becka xx

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Faerie Cakes

Bolstered by the success of the Dragon Cakes (see previous post) my little mind began wandering around ideas for my next creation.
Quite taken with wings and glitter, and having successfully experimented with colouring the white chocolate cake covering a lovely dusky pink, I naturally made the leap from dragons to fairies (who wouldn't?). FYI food colouring gels work really well for colouring the chocolate without changing the consistency, texture, or taste. Just don't expect strong colours, you won't get them.
Once again I happened to have the perfect excuse to trial these - another birthday, this time of someone who liked pink. So the challenge was set...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dragon Cake

This is an idea that spawned a while back, and has taken me around 3 months to develop and perfect the whole thing.
Then I just needed the perfect excuse to make it, and lo and behold a good friend of a slightly Gothic inclination happened to have a birthday, how convenient!

So please give a warm welcome to the Dragon Cake, my most ambitious, and prized, creation to date!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

"Artic Brownies" aka Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

Take a look at these little beasties! Are they not a thing of beauty?
There's 5 different chocolates lurking in there you know. Yes, you heard right... FIVE different chocolates! *drifts off into chocolate heaven* oh, sorry! Got distracted there.

Where was I? Oh yes.
This recipe came up when tasked by work to create a suitably themed bake for our quarterly newsletter. Given that my line of work is waste water treatment, brownies were considered to be, er, fitting. The "artic" part represents the large number of articulated lorries we receive on a daily basis, so I picked a recipe with a white topping like snow, as a play on words with "arctic". Geddit??

Anyway, enough ado... to the brownies!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Teeny Tiny Gingerbread Men

I was shopping last weekend and popped into TK Maxx. I don't normally go in there, but when I do I often find something worth buying and this time was no exception - one set of gingerbread biscuit cutters, in the shape of little inch-high men in various poses! How cute!!

Obviously, I bought them. ;)
So the next problem was to find the perfect gingerbread recipe. Well, I think I found it.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate? Yup.
Coffee? Yup.
Cupcake? Yup.
Frosting? Yup.

Well, they just had to be tried really, didn't they?!

Traditional Victoria Sandwich (sponge) Cake

I haven't made on of these for years, and I have no idea why as they're super easy and very, very good!!
The Victoria Sandwich was apparently named after our dear old Queen Victoria, who is said to have enjoyed a slice of the cake with her afternoon tea. I'm guessing this helped attribute to her rather *ahem* hefty girth, as it's not exactly calorie-light! But if you can bear to sin, it's definitely worth it.

Mmmm, just looking at that photo is making me drool!
A simple sponge cake was the first cake I ever made; my grandma taught me how to make them using her old Kenwood food mixer, and baking them in the Aga. The smell still brings back happy memories for me, and a slice of sponge with a cup of tea is one of life's great pleasures. Traditionally the sponge doesn't contain cream - just jam - but hey, if you're going to do it, you might as well go all the way right?

So, how do you create one of these confections of perfection? Well, I'll show you!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Low Carb Muffins

I'd like to begin this post with an apology for my absence - things have been a little crazy here, as we're in the midst of moving house. Needless to say, baking has been somewhat difficult!

I do have a couple of little treats to post though, rest assured I haven't abandoned my life completely.

I begin with this lovely little gem I stumbled across for low-carb muffins. Being a diabetic, ideally the fewer carbs I consume the better (yes, I'm very good at that... honest!), so I decided to investigate low carb baking. This recipe is absolutely brilliant - so easy to make, and the end product is really, really good! Moist, not too sweet, and delightfully almondy.

So, lovely muffins that are healthy...? Nope, I see no reason not to indulge either!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Pink Lady Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

The second part of my weekend baking marathon involved attempting a recipe that I spotted on Smitten Kitchen (if you've never been there, do take a look!) for something called a Pink Lady Cake.

"A what?" thinks me. Well, it turns out that said cake is a gorgeously pink towering confection, covered in nothing less than my favourite cream cheese frosting! And to make it even better, the aforementioned gorgeous pink colour is reached by the addition of strawberry puree.

So, it's pink... it tastes of strawberries... it's covered in cream cheese frosting... exactly where does this cake fail? Ah, I see, it's an entire cake!
So of course, I simply had to see if it would turn into cupcakes!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Hummingbird Bakery's Vanilla Frosting

This is a very simple, yet highly delightful, vanilla frosting from the Hummingbird Bakery.
I used it to top their Vanilla Cupcakes, and I would happily use it again for other cupcakes where a cream cheese frosting is less suitable (yes, I believe there are such creatures!)

The frosting was light and fluffy, and took colour well. It also held its shape well and would probably pipe wonderfully, however I was feeling too lazy on Sunday to go through the rigmarole of piping. And it was warm in my kitchen. Piping is rarely successful in a warm kitchen, or at least that's my excuse!

Hummingbird Bakery's Vanilla Cupcakes

I had a bit of a kitchen marathon over the weekend. I think maybe I was making up for not baking last weekend. Or I was incredibly bored.
Or it could have been that over the last week I stumbled across two very lovely-looking recipes for cakes that had to be tried. So I dutifully tried them both!

The first was the recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery.

If you've never heard of them, please do go and have a look at their site. I vow on my next visit to London I must pay them a visit, though I fear I may come out slightly broke and considerably more chubby than I went in!

If you have heard of them, you may be aware that their vanilla cupcakes are considered to be very, very good. And since the Daily Mail kindly pilfered & printed the recipe from their cookbook, I felt it was only right and proper that in return I be kind enough to make them. (I must add here, their cookbook is on my wish list along with the Magnolia Bakery one. They shall be mine, one day!)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

New Things!

Just a quick note to say that I have posted some photos of my first attempts at food jewellery on the Good Enough to Eat? page!

Pop over and have a look, tell me what you think!
More coming soon.

Becka  xx

Monday, 28 June 2010

Baking replaced with puppies!

I begin this week with an apology.
I have to admit to being useless over the weekend - I completely failed to do any baking whatsoever, and am hanging my head in shame as I type.
In my defence, it has been far too hot to go near the oven (I failed to do any cooking at all, unless adding extra toppings to a supermarket pizza counts?), and I've not been at home much the last couple of days either.
So please forgive me! I aim to make it up this week, having only this morning discovered a new recipe I have to try - I should have it tested, photographed & on here by the later part of this week. It looks like a good one!

I did not completely leave the kitchen behind me, however - my first order from Squires arrived on Saturday, very exciting!
Here's what I bought:

Only a small order, as it was rapidly approaching pay day, but not a bad little haul! 3 different cupcake cases (can't wait to try the ones in the front, they're gorgeous!), some edible glitter (a "whim" purchase), and some silver lustre dust. I have a purpose for this, but it's currently in the development phase so please be patient!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

About a month or so ago I made a shocking discovery.
I actually like peanut butter!
This might not seem so strange to most people, but I have spent the last 20-something years believing that I hated the stuff, and apparently this is no longer the case. Which is brilliant, as it has now opened up a whole new world of gorgeous-looking recipes that I no longer have to pass by! Life is good, no?

Anyway, to get to the point, a couple of weeks ago I spotted some gorgeous looking Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting on Browneyed Baker and my new-found love of the peanut stuff told me that I just had to try it.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favourite cake toppings of all time has got to be cream cheese frosting! In fact, I'm not sure I can think of a frosting I prefer, so I might as well say it is my favourite!

I first experienced it on top of a carrot cake, which is its traditional home as far as I am concerned, and since then I've used it as a frosting for a number of different cakes & cupcakes. It's sweet yet salty-savoury flavour combination just seems to go so well with so many things! And the left overs in the bowl are always a welcome cook's perk. I have been known to make an excess "by accident" on more than one occasion...

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

These are a variety of cupcake I've wanted to try for a long time, so when I offered to make cupcakes for a good friend's housewarming it seemed the perfect excuse to give them a shot!

If you've never run across them before, red velvet cakes are a largely American phenomenon. They consist of a chocolate sponge coloured the most gorgeously rich red, hence the name. They are then, traditionally, filled and/or topped off with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.
Anything with cream cheese frosting is bound to be good as far as I'm concerned, so naturally these had to be tried!

Real English Custard

In my last post I mentioned that the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes go wonderfully with custard.
So, I thought it might be useful if I also posted the recipe I use for that too.

I'm afraid I have no photos, but cast from your mind the image of bright yellow, gloopy, lumpy school custard, and imagine instead a gloriously rich, pale yellow, creamy smooth elixir, flecked with dark vanilla seeds. Drool-inducing, I promise you!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

The first post in a new blog is always the hardest, so I thought I'd jump straight in with this one - my recipe for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. A gorgeously light lemon sponge, topped with delightfully crispy meringue, and hiding a zingy, gooey lemon curd filling.

This is a recipe that is mainly my own, but was originally adapted from one for a Lemon Meringue Cake that was published in a BBC Good Food magazine about 3 years ago.

My apologies for the quality of the photograph - it wasn't taken in the best conditions!