Archive for Cupcakes

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].

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.

Space cupcakes for the final shuttle launch

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 10/07/2011 by libbyplummer

Space cupcakes 2I fully admit that I’m a bit of a space nerd (I own mission patches from all 17 Apollo launches), so the very last space shuttle lift-off on Friday 8 July 2011 was a pretty big deal, and certainly an occasion worthy of some themed baked goods (you’ve probably noticed by now that I don’t need much of an excuse).

I should probably point out these are space cupcakes only in the sense that they sport the red, white and blue of the NASA logo along with the starry sky effect icing. They’re not the kind of space cakes that contain illegal drugs. Just a touch of vanilla. Sorry.

Final space shuttle launch

You can read my ramblings on the space shuttle over at Pocket-lint.com or if you want to make your own space cupcakes (of course you do), then read on and get stuck in. In the meantime, if you want a laugh, check out this space shuttle-based post over on Cake Wrecks.  Although the comedy cake blog is always amusing, this is the only post that has ever had me guffawing uncontrollably (or LMFAO if you insist).

What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
110g/4oz margarine
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream icing:
225g/8oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
100g/3.5oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Black paste food colouring
Silver sprinkles
Edible silver glitter

Makes 12 cupcakes

Space cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases. Plonk the sifted flour, sugar, margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract. One it’s all combined, give it a quick go with a whisk to make the mix light and fluffy.

Distribute evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases and bung in the oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After taking out of the oven, let them cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Make sure they’re totally cool before you add the icing, or it won’t stick.

For the buttercream icing, sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream in the butter using a fork. Once it’s all combined and smooth, add the paste colouring using a cocktail stick, a little at a time. Each time you add some, mix it in with a fork until you get the colour you want. Once it’s ready, either pipe on with an icing bag or use a flat knife to spread onto the cakes. Swiftly add the sprinkles and edible glitter before the icing dries (it’s best to ice half the cupcakes then add the sprinkles before icing the rest to make sure that it doesn’t set in between).

Renshaw debuts home baking range

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Out and about with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 21/06/2011 by libbyplummer

Renshaw Simplymelt
Professonal baking supplier Renshaw – which has been in business since since 1898 – has launched its very first range for home bakers and I was invited along for a sneak preview and to sample some of the goods.

The new range comprises four products – my personal favourite being the Simplymelt flavoured toppings (£1.39), which can be melted in the bag in a microwave and used for pouring over shortbreads, flapjacks and crispy cakes. It also looks ideal for decorating cake pops without having to bugger about melting chocolate or candy melts on the hob. There are five flavours – white chocolate, milk chocolate, toffee, strawberry and yoghurt – most of which I tried and found to be dangerously tasty.

Renshaw cake pops

The range also includes Ready to Roll Coloured Icing (£1.25), which comes in black, red, green, pink, blue and yellow, along with Snip & Swirl ready to pipe icing (£2.49) – available in strawberry, chocolate and vanilla – and edible icing ribbon (£2.49), which is perfect for making fancy borders on celebration cakes.

Renshaw home baking range

The baking supplier has also launched Renshaw Juniors for kids which includes Magic Melting Icing (£2.09) which comes in raspberry, blackcurrant or tropical flavours along with coloured sugardough (£2.59) and flavoured sugardough (£1.99) which is basically edible Play-doh.

Renshaw cupcakes

Alongside the new range, Renshaw also launched the mybakes.co.uk website for keen bakers and you can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

The products will be available at Lakeland, Hobbycraft, Morrisons, Bako BFP and Culpitts and you’ll also be able to pick them up in Asda and Tesco from August 2011. Renshaw gave me a stash of the products to try out, so I’ll be coming up with a few recipes for them in the near future…

Terrorist threat thwarted by cupcakes

Posted in Baking, Cakes with tags , , , , on 03/06/2011 by libbyplummer

Anarchy in the UK cupcakes
I tweeted about this ludicrous, but apparently true, story this morning and have had lots of feedback – so here’s the lowdown. British intelligence officers recently managed to scupper the launch of the first English language website to be set up by an affiliate of terrorist organisation al-Qaida.

The jihadist site, known as Inspire, was crippled courtesy of a pdf file full of cupcake recipes which managed to garble the website’s existing instructions on how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”.

Traditionally, the art of baking minature cakes hasn’t been widely used as a weapon in the war on terror, but if it works then I’m all for it.

Via: The Guardian

Lomography LC-Wide cupcakes

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Out and about with tags , , , , , , , on 21/05/2011 by libbyplummer

Lomography LC-Wide cupcakesCouldn’t resist posting a pic of these cool cupcakes adorned with images of the new LC-Wide analogue snapper from Lomography. Served up at the launch party for the new camera at the Lomo Gallery Store in central London, these kitsch cakes were very tasty as well as being a handy way of soaking up the numerous Moscow Mules.

If you want to know more about the camera, check out my hands-on write-up over at Pocket-lint.com.

Rooibos tea cupcakes

Posted in Baking, Cakes, South African food with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/05/2011 by libbyplummer

Rooibos cupcakes 2We all like a decent brew, but PG Tips cupcakes didn’t sound particularly exotic, so I decided to make some Rooibos tea cupcakes instead. Rooibos is a type of tea that only grows in South Africa. It’s pronounced ‘roy-bosh’ (although I believe this varies slightly between dialects) and is Afrikaans for ‘red bush’. As the name suggests, it’s a reddish-brown in colour and has a slightly nutty taste. You can drink it with milk (if you’re a pleb), but it’s much more commonly drunk without. It’s available in most supermarkets nowadays, but I usually get mine from the The Savannah – a London-based South African food shop that also sells online.

Rooibos teabags
For the ingrediants lineup, I used the Earl Grey tea cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery‘s Cake Days book (substituting Rooibos for the Earl Grey, obviously).

Rooibos cupcakes
I used Dr Oetker Polka Dots for decoration, painstakingly removing the orange ones to leave just red, blue, yellow and green. This wasn’t some sort of OCD-related cry for help or merely down to the fact that I had a hour to kill before the FA cup final kicked off. It was actually so that the decorations would match the South African flag (along with the white icing and black cases). Worth the effort? I reckon so.

South African flag