Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Testing Piping Nozzle Techniques with American Vanilla Cupcakes

I 'splashed out' today and brought myself new baking stuff from Lakeland! How exciting..! Basically just brought a set of cupcake icing nozzles which are huge compared to all of my other icing nozzles so I had to go home and test them out. I've grown to really like the American batter cupcakes so I made an easy vanilla batch then some basic buttercream frosting to test out the nozzles.

Cake Ingredients
180g self raising flour
210g caster sugar
80g salted butter
180ml whole milk
1 large egg/ 2 smaller eggs
vanilla extract

500g icing sugar
200g butter
25ml whole milk
few drops of vanilla

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius, have 12 hole muffin tin lined
  1. Put flour, sugar and butter in a bowl together and beat until all combined; like very fine breadcrumbs.
  2. In a jug, mix egg and milk then very gradually pour it into the flour mix until smooth, but do not over mix
  3. Pour mixture into cupcakes and bake for 20- 25 minutes
  4. Take out of the oven and leave to cool
  5. For the frosting, beat the butter till fluffy, then gradually add the icing sugar; it will get quite stiff but it will get looser when the butter melts a little more and the milk is added. At this point, you can add cocoa powder or colouring as you wish
  6. When all the icing sugar is incorporated, add the milk and vanilla, spoon into piping bags and you're away!
This is my first attempt at cupcake icing, so they're not great. My favourites are the rose style ones!

enjoy! x

Monday, 20 February 2012

Perfect Pancakes!

To make perfect pancakes you need the perfect pan, and this is it Lakeland Non-stick Crepe Pan. This pan, honestly, will not let you ruin pancakes. You won't even need to loosen the pancake- it just won't stick! It's even got shallow sloped sides so much easier to flip!
I use a fork rather than a whisk for this recipe, but, its really up to you!

110g plain flour, sifted
2 eggs
200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
50g butter
pinch of salt
plus, whichever toppings you like- mine are with lemon wedges and white sugar

  1. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it
  3. Whisk the eggs into the flour, incorporating all the bits from the side
  4. Very gradually begin to add the milk-water mix into the flour, while whisking. Make sure to do this really slowly as it will reduce lumps
  5. When this is done, the mixture should be very thin. Now, put the butter in a non metallic ramekin and melt in the microwave. Spoon 2 tbs of melted butter into the batter and keep the rest to hand
  6. Get the pan very hot, turn down to a medium heat then dip a piece of kitchen roll in the melted butter and wipe it round the pan
  7. A ladle is easiest to make the best pancakes because the batter all goes in at once. Fill the ladle about 2/3 of the way and pour into the pan.
  8. As soon as the batter hits the pan, tip the batter from side to side, evenly coating the whole pan, until it stops moving
  9. The pancake should take about 30 seconds to cook, give the pan a shake to loosen it and check if the bottom is golden brown with a palette knife
  10. Flip the pancake over- either using your 'pancake flipping skills' or with a palette knife! Leave for just a few seconds on this side and then slide onto a plate
  11. Squeeze your lemon on, sprinkle with sugar and either roll or fold into quarters

Enjoy! x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Red Velvet Valentines Cupcakes

Okay, so I hate romantic crap, but I had such a craving to bake, and all the valentines baking is so pretty that I thought I would bake these for valentines day this year. Its another recipe with amazing cream cheese frosting (this time vanilla) and I got to test chocolate piping which was, interesting! Red velvet cupcakes are so tasty; the slightly chocolately vanilla flavour is made more intense by the buttermilk in the recipe and the best thing is that because it's an American recipe, the cake mix is more of a batter, so you can literally put it in a jug and pour it into the cases- SO much easier!

Cupcake Ingredients:

125g sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons (10 g) good quality cocoa powder
57 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
120 ml buttermilk (milk, with 1tsp lemon added, left for 10 minutes so it begins to curdle; sounds gross, makes good cakes)
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting:
227g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
60 grams icing sugar, sifted
160 ml whipping cream (make sure its cold, as this can turn very runny)

(Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and have a 12 hold muffin tin lined)

  1. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Mix in egg and then vanilla
  3. In a cup, add food colouring to buttermilk, and in a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa
  4. Slowly alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour
  5. In an eggcup, combine vinegar and baking soda, let it fizz and fold it into the cake batter quickly
  6. Then quickly pour the batter into cases and smooth the tops
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
  8. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese till smooth
  9. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until incorporated
  10. Gradually add the cream and whisk till thick
  11. You can then either pipe or spoon the frosting on to cakes

While my cupcakes were baking, I melted chocolate and added a little oil, put it into a piping bag and piped some valentine-y words and hearts onto my icing mat, put it in the fridge to set and then used them to decorate my cakes, but you can decorate them however you like.

Enjoy! x

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Rainbow Cake.. my way!

I saw this cake on the internet and knew I wanted to attempt it for my best friend, who luckily has a rather large family! I love how people think its just a lovely looking white cake, then they slice into it and their faces light up!
However, the blog I found it didn't have a recipe, just the instructions to use 'White cake mix' and 'grape soda'. So I decided to use a plain and simple victoria sponge mix, and treble it...
My thinking was; one lot of the recipe makes two sponges, so i need three lots to get six sponges- no thought was there for A) the height of the cake and B) how was it not going to slide!
If you are making this cake , following my recipe, it will hopefully turn out smaller than mine and look a little more professional.. that said, my cake was huge and got mistaken for a wedding cake!

Utensil-wise, obviously a 6 layer cake seems daunting! I went out and brought 3 sets of Sainsburys Basics Cake Tins (cost around £2.50 for 2). They are slightly smaller than the average cake tin, which is a good thing for this cake! And ensured that they are all the same size. I also brought a set of 6 pint glasses (also very cheap) to ensure the cakes are the same size and to save on washing up!

Cake Ingredients (x3 for rainbow cake)
225g caster sugar
225g softened butter
4 eggs
225g self-raising flour
1-2 tbs milk
Your 6 gel food colourings (I couldn't find purple or orange, so mixed the other colours)

(preheat the oven to 190 degree's Celsius, grease your 6 tins)
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth
  2. Beat in the eggs
  3. Sift the flour in whilst mixing
  4. Add the milk as needed to make a good consistency
  5. Divide the mixture into the 6 pint glasses, add the colours 1tsp at a time to achieve a nice bright colour
  6. Put in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. If, like me, you have a smallish oven, you may only be able to fit 2 or 4 cakes in at a time. If this is the case, put the bottom colours of the cake in first, so that they can begin to cool as the others cook!
  7. The cakes may well be slightly brown on the top and sides but when the cake is iced, you will only see the colours in the middle, anyway!
  8. When the cakes are cooled, brush off the crumbs, trim the edges with scissors and begin to ice! I found it easiest to hold the sponge underneath with one hand, whilst icing the sides with the other hand, then placing it down and doing the top (repeat!)
  9. Try and give a thick layer of buttercream, but both the buttercream and cakes need to be completely cooled, or else they will melt and slide (speaking from experience!)

tip: put a blob of buttercream on your cake board so the first layer sticks

Enjoy! x