Archive for Cupcakes

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 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

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

Anarchy in the UK cupcakes for the royal wedding

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , on 28/04/2011 by libbyplummer

Royal wedding cupcakesOk, so vanilla cupcakes aren’t going to topple the monarchy or ignite a revolution, but they are inspired by The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK AND they have a circled A on them. Anything to make my over-enthusiastic purchasing of Union Jack cake cases make me look slightly less like a royalty-loving pillock.

And for the recipe? Read on and get stuck in.

Will and Kate mural

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

For the buttercream icing:
225g/8oz icing (confecitoner’s) sugar (sieved)
100g/3.5oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the royal icing:
1 large egg white
250g/9oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
lemon juice (if needed)

Whatever sprinkles/food colours you desire

Makes 12 cupcakes

What to do:

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.

Royal wedding cupcakes

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.

Royal wedding cupcakes

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 in any colouring that you require ( I use paste colouring). On these particular cakes, I added a few drops of icing whitener, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Once it’s ready, either pipe on with an icing bag or use a flat knife to spread onto the cakes.

Royal wedding cupcakes

Obviously you don’t have to pipe circled As onto your cakes (I don’t believe it’s a common move in the world of baking), but if you want to then read on. Whisk the egg white together with the sieved icing sugar until the misture is white and stands in stiff peaks. If it feels too thick to mix (or pipe), then add a couple of drops of lemon juice. Colour with paste colouring, pop into an icing bag and away you go.

Ms Cupcake opens London’s first vegan cake shop

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Out and about with tags , , , , , on 04/04/2011 by libbyplummer

Ms Cupcake vanilla cupcakeAfter starting out flogging cakes at market stalls just under a year ago, Ms Cupcake has opened her first bricks and mortar bakery which also happens to be London’s very first entirely vegan cake shop. The bakery opened for business on Friday (1 April 2011) and I was lucky enough to be invited along to sample the goods.

Every single concoction sold in the shop is 100% vegan – completely free of eggs, dairy and animal products. Ms Cupcake and her crew also produce gluten-free cakes as well as lines of sugar- and soya-free items. You may well wonder what the hell a cake with no eggs, milk or butter actually contains, but there are plenty of alternatives around like fruit or vegetable puree, various oils and vegetable shortening. As well as cupcakes, the shop will also be selling lots of other baked goodies like cookies, scones and tarts and there’s also a selection of cool homewares. On top of all that, the crew will also be holding regular baking and cake decorating classes.

Ms. Cupcake at Cake Britain

I’ve always been a tad sceptical about vegan baking, being a carnivorous type, but I can honestly say that the vanilla cupcake that I sampled was very tasty indeed with a lovely moist sponge and nicely flavoured icing. I also liked the fact that it was served in a small box. I’ve been to some relatively expensive bakeries that package individual cakes in cheapo cellophane bags, leading to a squishy cake-based disappointment and me making vows never to return.

In short, I was very impressed. Not only with the cakeage, but also with Ms Cupcake’s 1950s housewife style and cake-themed hat!

Ms Cupcake
408 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF
Open Wed-Sun, 11am-6pm

Best Valentine’s cakes in London

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Out and about, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/02/2011 by libbyplummer

Best Valentine's cakes in LondonIt’s nearly Valentine’s Day and that means more heart-shaped crap in the shops that any other time of year. Unless you’ve got the kind of partner who’s willing to splash out for a romantic trinket from Tiffany’s, then chances are you’ll be getting the textbook dozen roses or maybe a stuffed monkey toy proffering a heart emblazoned with a message like “You’re the one for me!”. Ahhhh, how sweet.

If you want something more practical, try dropping some hints for something you actually want – and what better gift than some baked goods. At least that way, you can get some enjoyment out of them and then move on to hemorrhaging cash on the next Hallmark day. Read on for some of the best cakes in London Town this Valentine’s Day…

Konditor and Cook
With six braches dotted around London, Konditor & Cook is offering plenty of special goodies for Valentine’s Day including a burning heart cake and anti-Valentine’s ‘Dodgy Jammers’, as well as its trademark Magic Cakes.

Konditor & cook Valentine's cakes

Hummingbird Bakery
Get yourself down to American-style cake shop, Hummingbird Bakery for a Box of Chocolates ( a selection of different chocolate cupcakes), a box of mini Valentine’s cakes or a heart-shaped red velvet layer cake.

Hummingbird Bakery Box of Chocolates

Lily Vanilli
Kooky baker Lily Vanilli is offering her red velvet Bleeding Heart cakes for people to send to their loved one this Valentine’s Day and the great thing is that 20% of the proceeds go to cancer charity Trekstock.

Lily Vanilli Bleeding Heart cakes

Primrose Bakery
Well known for its seasonal twists on cupcakes, the Primrose Bakery has pulled out all the stops for its Valentine’s collection with these awesomely kitsch cupcakes.

Primrose Bakery

Molly Bakes
Cake pop maker extraordinaire Molly Bakes will be offering a selection of handmade cake pops and cupcakes at Maiden in hipster central Shoreditch and you can even get a personliased message for just 50p extra.

Molly Bakes

Crumbs and Doilies
South London-based C&D offers boxes of cupcakes for all the big holidays and its Valentine’s selection is suitably covered in sugary lovehearts. Each box contains a mixture of vanilla, chocolate and vanilla rose cupcakes.

Crumbs and Doilies

Miss Cakehead
If you’re after something a little different, then get yourself down to the London Dungeon on Valentine’s Day where you’ll be able to get your mitts on a human heart cake, courtesy of Miss Cakehead who’ll be giving out hearty treats to the first 100 couples to turn up.

Miss Cakehead

Cox Cookies & Cakes
This edgy Soho bakery is a joint venture between shoe designer Patrick Cox and patissier Eric Lanlard. Its Valentine’s Day menu includes Lovelace cupcakes, A Dozen Red Roses (six triple Valrhona chocolate and six Red Velvet mini cupcakes in a presentation box), as well as Love Note vanilla cupcakes, decorated with a selection of romantic and slightly more-to-the-point messages.

Cox Cookies & Cake

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Human heart cakes for Valentine’s Day

Posted in Cakes, Out and about with tags , , , , , , , on 28/01/2011 by libbyplummer

Miss Cakehead at The London Dungeon
A dozen red roses? Cliche. Rom com at the cinema? Tedious. A romantic meal for two? Boring. If you like to do Valentine’s Day a little differently then why not get your teeth into a human heart? Not literally, you understand. Miss Cakehead, of Eat Your Heart Out cake shop fame, is teaming up with London’s scary wax work attraction, The London Dungeon, to offer some hearty cupcake-based fodder.

On 14 February, the Cakehead crew will be dishing up the gruesome morsels to the first 100 couples to turn up so get there quick, if you’ve got the stomach for it.

You can read about my visit to the Eat Your Heart Out cake shop here.

Via: Cakehead Loves Evil
Photos by: Nathan Pask

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Irn Bru cupcakes for Burns Night

Posted in Cakes, Recipes, Scottish food with tags , , , , , , on 25/01/2011 by libbyplummer

Irn Bru cupcakeTonight is Burns Night – an occasion on which the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns, is commemorated. A traditional Burns Night supper usually involves scoffing a haggis, neeps and tatties. I didn’t really think that a Haggis cake would prove too popular, so instead I decided to concoct some Irn Bru-based goods instead.

I’ve loved Irn Bru ever since my Glaswegian grandad used to buy it for me and my brother as kids. If you’re not familiar with this tasty beverage, it’s a bright orange fizzy drink from Scotland. As well as being popular with sweet-toothed kids, it’s also well known as an effective hangover cure, probably due to the preposterous levels of sugar and caffeine that it contains. And so, without further ado, here’s my recipe for Irn Bru cupcakes. They go particularly well with a wee dram of whisky.

Irn Bru

What’ll you need:
For the cakes:
125g plain flour (sieved)
125g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 egg
125ml buttermilk (or regular milk with a squirt of lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter
85ml Irn Bru

For the icing:
110g icing sugar (sieved)
50g unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Irn Bru cupcakes

What to do:
First pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C (fan oven)/Gas mark 4, then line a cupcake tin with cases. So far, so easy. Now get yourself a large bowl and mix together the flour, sugar, bicarb, baking powder and salt. Next get a pan and gently heat the butter and Irn Bru on the hob until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat.

Next, get your buttermilk ready in a measuring jug. If you can’t find, or don’t have any buttermilk, use regular milk instead, add a squirt of lemon juice and leave for five minutes. Beat the egg and vanilla extract into the milk. Once you’ve done that, add the butter mixture and the egg mixture to the dry ingrediants and combine with a wooden spoon. I also added some orange food colouring paste at this point to enhance the colour, but it’s not essential. Now spoon the mixture into the cases, dividing it evenly between all 12.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. All ovens vary, so you might want to check on the cakes after ten minutes (without opening the oven door). They should be ready once they’ve risen and are firm but slightly springy to touch. If you want, you can double-check by inserting a skewer or cocktail stick into the centre of one of the cakes. If it comes out clean, they’re ready, if it’s covered in wet cake mixture, then they need longer. Once done, take the pan out of the oven and leave to stand for five minutes. After that, transfer the cakes to a cooling rack.

Once the cakes are completely cooled, crack on with the icing. Using a fork, combine the (sieved) icing sugar with the butter in a bowl. If you want to, add the vanilla extract. Then either spread the icing on with a palette knife or pipe it on and add whatever sprinkles or decorations you see fit.


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