Friday, 25 June 2010

Start again!

After last weekend's disaster I decided to go back to the start, back to where it all the classic vanilla cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Ok, so not very exciting, but I needed to go back to a trusty recipe (especially in preparation for some other cupcakes I will be making soon!).

As usual, the recipe didn't let me down, here they are fresh out of the oven.

Time for frosting (I chose buttercream). I've seen some amazing frosting recently, making me very jealous, and again I am determined I will get better. Here are some of the results:

Definately not perfect but perhaps a small improvement. I reallly should fill up the cupcake cases a little more to prevent the paper coming away from the cupcake. Generally i'm happy though :)

I'm currently scoffing away on one while watching Glastonbury and wow they taste yummy!

P.s. they weren't quite meant to go as purple as they did, I got ahead of myself with the new colouring pastes I bought!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's day disaster!

As it's Father's day today I thought I would make my Dad some cupcakes and decided on chocolate chip cupcakes as they are made with brown sugar, which I knew he likes. I also decided to make the brown sugar frosting (from Martha Stewart). Big, big disaster.

The mixture came together and I put them in the oven full of confidence, and then they came out and I knew something was wrong (see below). Yes they're golden brown but they were kind of fizzing and a bit flat looking.

I carried on, thinking they'd still be ok and made the frosting which came together well. I tried a little bit and wasn't happy, but thought the cake and the frosting would be ok. To be honest, I should have just put them in the bin there and then, but I wanted to try out my new piping tips.

Looking back, perhaps I should have left the butter out for a little longer, but even so. Ben and I tried one after dinner, had one mouthful and threw the whole lot in the bin. They tasted weird and almost like they hadn't cooked - when I knew they had. I have no idea what went wrong, I followed the recipe and used the correct ingredients. Any ideas?

The positive thing I suppose is that I like the piping tip. Also, I managed to make some Oreo truffles from Bakerella, which my Dad loves! However, it's so deflating when it goes wrong. Nevermind, we live and learn and next week I'm hoping to make some banana split cupcakes after seeing them on Cupcake Corner's blog.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A little midweek treat

This week, I decided to treat myself to some new piping tips and found a cool little website called Sugarshack which I thought I'd try. After seeing some great results with these tips both online and in Martha's book I just couldn't resist.

I was really impressed with Sugarshack - I placed the order late on Friday evening and it arrived this morning. Plus, they came in this little plastic tupperware box which is perfect for storing little bits of pieces.

So what did I buy? I bought 2A and 8B and below is an example of the results from them (the snickerdoodle frosting is actually using 1A, 2A is slightly smaller). The photos are from Martha Stewart's website.

Really excited about trying these out, I know what i'll be doing this weekend!...

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Chocolate brownie cupcakes

As mentioned previously, I recently bought the Martha Stewart cupcake book and i've been desperate to try one of the recipes. My friend Gem is always raving about the chocolate brownie cupcakes and how delicious they are, so I just had to give them a go! She wasn't wrong, they were amazing!

So firstly, I had to melt the chocolate and butter together, which made me really hungry!

The next step was to whisk in the sugar and salt, followed by the eggs. Then to mix in the flour and cocoa powder. Such simple steps! Here they are about to go in the oven...

They came out of the oven about 20 minutes later - the recipe says 35 minutes but my oven's a little strange. I think they were actually slightly overdone, but my boyfriend disagreed!

Next up was to make the frosting. I decided to just do vanilla frosting, but again use Martha Stewart's recipe, as opposed to my normal Hummingbird book. I made more than I actually needed, but I was happy about that because normally I never have enough and there are always a couple of what I call "retard" ones that only have a splodge of frosting on.

Now I made these for a World Cup party I went to last night, and these aren't themed in the slightest but I bought some food paste from Squires recently and I really wanted to try it out - and everyone loves pink haha! The piping was better, but it's still not perfect - any tips?

I loved the brownies. They were quite dense, but then brownies are. Ben and I tried one before we left and were super impressed.

So, off we went to the World Cup party, which was a lot of fun. Plus, I got to put my efforts in my lovely new cake tins - I love the patterns on them!

All in all, a success! I would definately recommend the recipe - it's simple and the chocolatey-ness (that's not a word) is perfect.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Lesson's learnt so far...

So i've been baking since January when I was given the Hummingbird Bakery book and a food processor for Christmas. It's been a long journey since then and i've learnt a lot...with a lot more still to learn. Each time I bake I make some form of mistake, and each time I bake I learn something...progress!

These are some of my adventures so far...

1. Vanilla cupcakes.
The first ones I tried and a firm favourite. I love how dense the sponge is and i've made this recipe several times, trying different frostings/fillings in the process.

Next step: try a different vanilla cupcake recipe.

2. Cream cheese frosting
So I kept reading about cream cheese frosting and I really wasn't sure about it....time to try it! I made strawberry cheesecake cupcakes with a plain cream cheese frosting sprinkled with crushed digestive biscuits. They were so delicious and I really should make them again, but I mixed the frosting too much and it was too runny and make the cake quite messy!

Next step: don't mix frosting too much!

3. Lemon cupcakes
Next up, I made some lemon cupcakes. I loved them, though perhaps they were a bit too lemony! I was really chuffed with them but when I looked at the photos of them I realised my decorations were just not up to scratch, see in the photo below.

Next step: buy some piping tools and some nicer cupcake cases.

4. Vanilla cupcakes with M&M's
After a few more baking sessions, including making Oreo cupcakes and truffles with my friend Gem I decided to make some M&M cupakes. The main aim of these was to improve my decorating skills as well as use my lovely new blue cupcake cases. However, the M&M's sunk and although I didn't get a photo, I was told the bottom of the cakes looked like rabbit droppings. Ooops. However, I was super chuffed with the frosting!

Next step: coat M&M's (and any toppings) in flour before adding them to the mixture.

5. Toblerone cupcakes
Probably my most adventurous cupcakes, I saw the recipe on Gem's blog (they were originally from Red Deer) and as it was my step-Dad's birthday and I knew his favourite chocolate was toberlone, I thought i'd give it a go. The cakes were amazing, they were so golden and the toblerone chunks didn't sink (wohoo!). However, the SMBC was a complete disaster, really runny and I put it in the fridge to help it set but nope, no go. I need to look into this and try again!

Next step: learn how to make SMBC successfuly!

Now that I have Martha and I've found some great online blogs it's time to be more adventurous. I think my next baking day will be Sunday 13th, so watch this space...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

First blog post

So it's a Sunday evening and i'm finally setting up a blog! I'm really excited about finally documenting all my baking adventures. My current favourite food to make is cupcakes, it dominates my weekends!

Recently I purchased Martha Stewart's cupcake book and I've got a long list of recipes I want to try. I'm also visiting Iron Cupcake for the first time tomorrow with my friend Gem and I recently visited Squires Kitchen, which is a sweet little shop in Farnham, Surrey. I'll definately be going back soon!

I'll soon blog about my adventures so far, and of course document any new cupcakes I try out!