Archive for the Cakes Category

‘Razor Blades in Candy’ red velvet cake

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , on 30/10/2011 by libbyplummer

Razor blades in candy red velvet cakeThis is my cakey take on the classic Trick or Treat urban myth of ‘razor blades in the candy’. Firstly, I should probably point out that there are no razor blades in this cake. The one in the picture is actually a pendant that I used for the photo and then removed. Putting actual razor blades in your cake is likely to end in tears, blood and a lengthy prison sentence. Don’t put actual razor blades in your cake. I really can’t stress that strongly enough.

If you want to include razor blades, I suggest ‘getting your craft on’ and making some out of silver cardboard.

Red velvet cake

I decided to use candy corn to decorate my ‘blood’-splattered cake as I’ve seen it dished out to Trick or Treaters in hundreds of American Halloween films and TV programmes (I exaggerate), but we don’t have it here in the UK and I’d always wondered what the hell it was. I ordered mine online from the Stateside Candy Company. Turns out, it tastes a bit like fudge.

Brach's candy corn ad

I don’t usually use ready-made cake mixes, but recipes for red velvet cake always involve so much arsing about with buttermilk and red food colouring and so on, that I find it easier to cheat (I used a Duncan Hines, again, from the Stateside Candy Company).

Brach's candy corn & red velvet mix

What you’ll need:

Red Velvet cake mix

For the icing:
450g icing/confectioner’s sugar
75g unsalted butter (softened)
190g cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)

For the topping:
Candy corn
1 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

What to do:

Prepare the red velvet mix according to the instructions on the pack to make two round layers of sponge.

Once the cake is cool, make the icing by creaming together the icing sugar, butter and cream cheese using a fork. Don’t be tempted to use reduced fat cream cheese as it’s far too runny and your icing will end up as a gooey mess. Once combined, spread half the mixture onto one layer of sponge using a large palette knife then place the other layer on top. Ice the top of the cake using the remaining mixture.

Razor blades in candy red velvet cake 2

Add some candy corn for decoration. For the fake blood, melt the jam in a saucepan, adding a few drops of not-quite-boiling water to thin the mixture slightly. Once melted, drizzle on the top of the cake and you’re all done. Trick or Treat!

Choccy Horror cupcakes

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , , on 24/10/2011 by libbyplummer

Choccy Horror cupcakeAnd so the onslaught of Halloween-themed baking continues. Today’s masterpiece – Choccy Horror cupcakes. As well as desperately lame punning, these chocolate cupcakes also involve toppers emblazoned with minature film posters from some of my favourite horror flicks, namely Night of the Demon (trailer below – it’s called Curse of the Demon in the US), Halloween, Night of the Living Dead and The Tingler.

The cakes are topped with Renshaw Snip & Swirl ready-made chocolate icing, kindly given to me by the makers to try out when I went to check out their latest products a few months ago. If I’m honest, I don’t think it’s quite the same as freshly made icing, but it does have a surprisingly good taste and it’s a great alternative if you haven’t got much time on your hands. Recipe after the vid…

What you’ll need:
3oz self-raising flour (sieved)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (sieved)
4oz caster sugar (sieved)
4oz margarine/unsalted butter (softened)
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp skimmed milk (or any kind of milk you like)

For the icing:
Renshaw Snip & Swirl (chocolate flavour)
Or to make your own:
8oz icing/confectioner’s sugar (sieved)
3.5oz unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder (sieved)
Red sprinkles

Makes 12 cupcakes

Choccy Horror cupcake lineup

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150° (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large bowl, then cream in the margarine/butter using a fork. Next, add one egg at at time, mixing with the fork after adding each one. Then, add the milk and baking powder and mix until everything is combined. Lastly, give the mixture a few stirs with a whisk to make sure that it’s nice and smooth. Using a tablespoon, bung the mixture into the cupcake cases (dividing it evenly among them, of course).

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (with no runny cake mix on it). Once done, take the cakes out of the oven and leave in the tin for around 15 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Choccy Horror cupcakes

Once the cakes are completely cool, you can crack on with the icing. If using Renshaw Snip & Swirl, simply snip the end off the pack and ice away. If making your own, cream the icing sugar together with the butter using a fork, then mix in the vanilla once combined. Add the cocoa and mix in until the colour is even and you’re ready to stick it in an icing bag and pipe away. If you really can’t be arsed to deal with any icing, just add some chocolate spread (e.g. Nutella) to the cakes with a knife or just melt some chocolate and spread that onto the top.

The movie-themed toppers are simply made from film poster images (procured via a Google Image search) printed out on white paper and stuck onto black card, with a cocktail stick attached to the back with sticky tape. Arts and crafts, kid, arts and crafts.

Smashing pumpkin cupcakes

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , , , on 09/10/2011 by libbyplummer

Smashing pumpkin cupcakesIt’s nearly Halloween! Not only is this my favourite time of year, it’s also the best time for baking, largely because of the seasonal delight that is pumpkin. The fact that it’s a seasonal vegetable is however completely irrelevant seeing as this recipe uses the tinned variety (I used Libby’s pumpkin puree procured from The Stateside Candy Company).

Once upon a time, the Smashing Pumpkins were my favourite band in the whole world and they serve as the inspiration for these cupcakes. Not only are they pumpkin flavoured, but I’ve also used the band’s Bullet with Butterfly Wings track as a theme for the topping, which consists of gunmetal grey cream cheese icing and sugar butterflies, kindly sent to me by the nice people at Dr Oetker. Thankfully, the brand has recently designed its packaging  moving away from the pesky plastic bag and cardboard box combo to a more cupboard-friendly storage jar. But, enough on the riveting subject of kitchen storage, let’s crack on with the recipe, which is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Watch the Pumpkins video below (that’s a suggestion, not an order), then get baking.

What you’ll need:
120g plain flour (sieved)
140g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, softened
60ml milk (doesn’t matter which kind, I used skimmed)
2 eggs
200g tinned pumpkin puree

For the icing:
300g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar (sieved)
50g unsalted butter, softened
125g cream cheese
Black food colouring paste
Edible pearlescent spray

Makes 12 cupcakes

Smashing pumpkin

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 170°/150° (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cake cases.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it in with a fork until the mixture looks like sand. Next, add the milk and mix until combined. Add the eggs one at at time, mixing after each addition then stir in the pumpkin.

Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases and bung in the oven for 20 minutes or until the tops of the cakes start to turn golden brown and ping back when touched. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Make sure they’ve completely cool before you add the icing, or it won’t stick.

Smashing pumpkin cupcakes 2

For the icing, cream the icing sugar, butter and cream cheese together in a bowl, using a fork. It’ll look like there’s too much icing sugar to start with, but believe me, the proportions are correct, it just takes a bit of graft before they start to mix together. If you want to colour your icing, add paste food colouring, a tiny bit at a time, using a cocktail stick and mix in with a fork. If you want your icing to be dark grey like mine then you’ll need to add quite a lot of black colouring. Next spoon the icing into a disposable icing bag and pipe on using a large star-shaped nozzle. Lastly, add the sugar butterflies and a quick squirt of edible lustre spray for a shiny gunmetal finish and voila – smashing pumpkin cupcakes.

Here’s another Smashing Pumpkins video for your enjoyment – this time, an early performance from Japanese TV including a brilliantly awkward pre-song chat with the hosts. [Please take note: some of the lyrics might be a bit too salty for young ears].

Dan Lepard’s almond layer cake with crushed raspberries

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 30/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Dan Lepard's Almond and raspberry layer cakeIt was my birthday over the bank holiday weekend and I was hosting the celebrations as usual, so it was up to me to make my own birthday cake. Sad, but true. Obviously I could’ve opted for a novelty cake like the ones my mum used to make, but instead I stuck to a very grown-up concoction, in the form of Dan Lepard’s almond layer cake with crushed raspberries, as featured in The Guardian magazine a few weeks ago. I’m a big fan of Dan’s recipes although I could’ve done with a bit more help on the rather vague instructions and lack of measurements for the filling and topping….

Dan Lepard's Almond and raspberry layer cake

Thankfully, it turned out ok, although the topping was something of a bodge job. I’d definitely recommend giving it a crack if you’re looking for a summery cake.

While I’m at it, here are some coconut cupcakes that I made for my birthday last year, using an excellent recipe from the Primrose Bakery book.  I realise they look a tad girly, but I only coloured the icing pink to match the whole ‘coconut ice’ pink/white colour scheme. Honest.

Coconut cupcakes

The previous year I made this red velvet cake with cream cheese icing (as you can tell from the picture, my icing skills were clearly still ‘in the post’ at this point). I made the icing from scratch but cheated and used a Duncan Hines mix for the cake, procured from Americansweets.co.uk. It was only recently that I found out that although Duncan Hines was a genuine food critic, Betty Crocker was an entirely made-up character and never existed at all! I’m still reeling from the shock.

Red velvet cake

Bake-off at The Boogaloo

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Events, Out and about with tags , , , , , , , on 07/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Bake-off at The BoogalooAfter a successful launch in July, Holly and Poppy Presents will be holding a second bake-off at  The Boogaloo in North London. The event will take place on Sunday 14 August and the crew are looking for new stall holders as well as keen bakers to enter the bake-off. Here’s the winner of the last bake-off – Dion Gray with her red velvet cake:

Bake-off at The Boogaloo July winner

For more information, contact holly@hollychaves.com or check out the Facebook event page.

Bake-off at The Boogaloo flyer

Via: Holly and Poppy presents

Cakey Perry afternoon tea

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Events, Out and about with tags , , , , , , , , , on 03/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Katy Perry cupcakeMy chums and I had high hopes for the recent Cakey Perry afternoon tea and we weren’t disappointed. Created by Miss Cakehead, whose previous projects include the Cakes for Japan pop-up shop, the world’s first 18+ cake shop and the Will & Cake royal wedding pop-up shop, the event ran over three days at Prangsta in SE London and was inspired by Katy Perry’s California Gurls video.

Cakey Perry cake

First up, Miss Cakehead herself made sure that we had plenty of refreshments in the form of toffee-flavoured vodka topped up with ginger beer (a surprisingly moreish concoction), before presenting us with a round of scones decorated with green glace cherries, complete with clotted cream and jam.

Cupcake-stuffed strawberry

Phase one complete, we moved onto cupcake-stuffed strawberries before sampling the mini Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg cupcakes. After a short rest we moved onto heart-shaped biscuits with candy floss before completing our sugary feast with a massive slab of awesome rainbow cake from Leshie Loves Cake.

Leshie Loves Cake rainbow cake

We couldn’t finish it all, so we ended up taking the rest away with us, along with some rainbow-cake push pops and a doughnut-shaped cake pop from Molly Bakes.

Molly Bakes doughnut cake pop

All of the food was fantastic (with my personal favourite being the rainbow cake), and the venue’s decorations – including a Love Heart sweet encrusted table and exquisitely painted biscuits from Nevie-Pie cakes – were also superb.

Cakey Perry cake

I probably should have snapped more pictures and taken the time to use the correct settings rather than the autofocus, but frankly, I was far too busy quaffing vodka and snaffling cakes. Our sugar-heavy afternoon was rounded off neatly with a sharpener in the boozer. Special praise goes to Smithy for requesting a wine list in the Hobgoblin pub. Strangely, the barman found this somewhat amusing.

The Lily Vanilli Bakery

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food, Out and about, Savoury with tags , , , , , , on 19/07/2011 by libbyplummer

Lily Vanilli bakewellsAt the weekend me and my chums set off for a mince around the markets of East London, with the primary objective of sampling some of the goods from the new bakery run by kooky baker and author of A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, Lily Vanilli.

Lily Vanilli Bakery cakes

Situated just off the famous Columbia Road flower market, the new shop sells a small range of treats, with the menu varying every week. The bakery itself is quite small but the shabby chic decor gives it a very cosy feel and we were jammy enough to grab a few seats in the corner without needing to wait.

Having all skipped breakfast and trudged through the rain from the tube station – the freshly baked sausage rolls were first on our hit list. This was no Greggs-style porcine product – it was a crispy, golden roll made with top quality sausage meat from none other than The Ginger Pig. Thankfully for pescetarian Kat, there was also a NOsage roll on offer.

Lily Vanilli Bakery sausage roll

Not content with a much-needed brunch we ordered cakes for afters – between us we opted for the Victoria sponge with fresh berries, a slice of the passionfruit, almond and poppyseed cake and a buttercream-topped cupcake.

Lily Vanilli Bakery cakes

Kate, Kat and I are all camera-toting, cake-loving wordsmiths so we’d all taken photos of our food for blogging purposes faster than you can say “what the hell are those three nutters in the corner doing”. The food was all fantastic, so I’ll definitely be returning to sample some more of the grub and if you haven’t been yet, then I highly recommend a visit.

Lily Vanilli Bakery cupcakes

The Lily Vanilli Bakery is at 6, The Courtyard, Ezra Street, London, E2 7RG and is open every Sunday 8.30am-4.30pm.