Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hen Night Naughty Cupcakes

As mentioned in a recent, previous post, my best friend from school is getting married this year.  Her hen do was last week, and, well, as with any other opportunity, this one was made the most of, for cake making possibilities!

I did some research and looked around the internet for some good ideas for hen night decorated cupcakes.  I started by deciding to make these my first attempt at decorating cakes with piped rosettes.  Then putting a number of hen themed toppers onto the cupcakes.

I thought it would be a wise idea to test out making the rosettes before making the final versions.  My boyfriend liked this step, as he got about 8 cupcakes out of it (as a bridesmaid, I have been trying very hard to remain the same for my dress, which means not too many cakes for me in the last few weeks!).  The result in decorative terms however, was not quite so great a move forward.  The word disaster could certainly be applied!  As I watched the icing ooze over the edges of the cakes and refuse to hold the rosette shape, I concluded that in my first attempt the icing was far too runny, and learned that I would definitely have to improve upon that when decorating the real thing.

I chose a red and black theme (with a few additional toppers having a few other colours for specific reasons) and made all of the fondant toppers, decorated with glitter and royal icing, over the course of the weekend before I made the cakes, to give them plenty of drying time.

Charlie is a coeliac, so that was then the next little hurdle to overcome.  Soooo, having made the gluten free toppers, I moved on to making my red velvet cupcake recipe gluten free.  Thank goodness there are now quite a good range of such flours available!  It was nice and simple, and I just had to be very careful to check all the ingredients and nutritional warning bits on the other ingredients. And of course, most importantly, I only used unopened brand new packets, so that I could be 100% certain that I had no contamination from previously using a spoon that might have gone near gluten or such, which would have been a massive oversight.

Once the cakes were made and cooled, I then had a fun time practicing the cream cheese rosette swirled icing on plates.... they did NOT go well for quite some time.  And once I finally thought I had got it ... I hadn't, if you were to look at a side profile of some of the red iced cakes, there is the same height of icing as cake on most of them, where I messed up comepletely the first attempt, and re-iced over the top.  But, who doesn't love icing?!

Having finally sorted out the icing too my satisfaction, I then simply placed the pre-made toppers, decorated with a little bit of coloured royal icing where relevant (e.g. the handcuff links and between the chain part of the ball and), then sprinkled with some red love hearts, which I already had, and happily were made with rice flour, so posed no problems! 

Et voila ....
A beautiful, bountiful box of naughty treats and goodies to be enjoyed with tea/coffee/champagne (delete as you feel appropriate) over the course of an amazing hen mid-week-weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Little Bit of Fun

I went home to visit my Mum and Dad, and get fitted for my bridesmaids dress (my best friend from school is getting married, and awesome, yet terrifying experience to come this year) a couple of weeks back. My Mum was in need of making some sweet treats of a cakey variety to take on a picnic with some friends.

My Mum is an amazing baker, and makes brilliant cakes herself, however she is also a perpetually busy person, with four boys (ok one is a dog, but he still counts) to be looked after in the house, so .... one daughter to the rescue! (Actually I totally stole this task out from under her nose and ran off to find baking ingredients before she could stop me).

Ta da ....

I created some little cupcakes, in four flavours (you've got to cater to all tastes after all!) - Lemon and orange, Chocolate, Vanilla and strawberry and Coffee.

I then got busy with play time and rummaged around for some decorating items. I found (ahem my Mum found and gave me) a plastic bag filled to the brim with goodies that she has collected  ... my Mum is a little like a magpie at times, not stealing things, but she does have a habit of buying shiny and pretty things, the majority of which then quite often sit in cupboards and drawers for up to  5 years after their expiry date because she has bought too many to use up in that time (but then I can hardly talk, if anything I am so very much worse for the very same habit).

Getting back to the bag of goodies.  There were all sorts in there, silver hearts, all sorts of dragees, chocolate beans, an exploded container of pink sanding sugar ...

I chose a minimal (ish) approach and selected a few fun items to jazz up each of my cake flavours.

The Lemon and orange sponges are topped with icing sugar mixed with lemon juice, then sprinkled with citrus flavour strands.

The Chocolate sponge, was topped with chocolate buttercream, and each one then with an upside down raspberry.

Vanilla and Strawberry cakes were topped with vanilla buttercream and a little trio of fruit.

Finally the coffee cakes were topped with coffee buttercream and some golden sugar pearls.

Lots of fun to decorate and nice selection to choose from. :)

They went down well I am told, and I had fun making them, so that is all the important boxes ticked!

Thanks for looking :)