What goes on in the kitschy kitchen? Recipes and ramblings from the home of Kitschy Cupcakes.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins

So, I end the year as I began - messing around with white chocolate! I've learned my lesson though and this recipe just calls for chunks of white chocolate and nothing more complicated.... It also uses up those cranberries hanging around after Christmas (use fresh or frozen ones defrosted).

So, you will need:
100g unsalted butter
284ml soured cream (a standard tub)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g caster sugar (golden if you have it)
150g fresh cranberries (blueberries would also work well)
150g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks

1. Preheat oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 5. Line a 12-hole muffin/large cupcake tin with cases.
2. Melt the butter (in the microwave is fine), leave to cool back down a bit, then mix in the soured cream. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again, very thoroughly.
3. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and sugar) together and sift into the butter mixture. Combine well.
4. Add cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Combine thoroughly. The mixture will be quite stiff, this is quite normal!
5. Fill cases - pretty full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer pulls out clean when poked into your cake.

I read somewhere that muffins are an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Hurrah for that!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas crackers!

Look at these little lovelies ready for the off yesterday. From top to bottom: Mince Pie Cupcakes; Gingerbread, Man, Cupcakes; Chocolate Yule Log Cupcakes, Christmas Cake Cupcakes.

Feeling festive yet?

What about this proper job Christmas cake, sent off for delivery today? Understated, yes, but it's covered in pearlised shimmery sparkle! Will look so lovely with ribbon of colour-coordiated-with-Christmas-decorations choice!

Weddings of all shapes and sizes

I never thought I'd be so busy thinking about weddings this time of year, but with two weddings and three sets of tasters for next year's brides it's been all go and I've been conjuring up romance in the kitchen in between the christmas puddings and preserve presents!

As if to prove no two weddings are the same, look at these beautifully purple vanilla and blackberry cupcakes (pre romantic glitter application) and the delicately delicious lemon and flat topped cupcakes ready for tasting.

Kitschy she say, it doesn't matter how you do it as long as you do it your way!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Flavour of the month: Mince pie

This month I have several cupcake flavours on the go including Christmas Cake and Chocolate Yule Log (right), but the official flavour of the month is Mince Pie. I know, you may already be sick of mince pies, but, trust me, this one is delicious!

As it’s the season of giving, here’s the (deceptively simple) recipe.
Basic sponge mix for about 10 cupcakes, so:
2 eggs, beaten
Equal weight of unsalted butter, softened
Equal weight of light muscovado sugar (or caster sugar is fine)
Equal weight of plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice
half a jar of mincemeat (about 150g)

Preheat oven to 180/160 fan (or whatever your equivalent is!) and pre-fill a muffin tin with 10-12 muffin/cupcake cases.

Whisk up your softened butter until light and ‘oily’ (the consistency of mayonnaise ish), add the sugar and whisk some more until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the eggs, taking care not to add too much egg at once so that the mixture doesn’t split. Sift together your flour, baking powder and mixed spice and whisk into the mix quickly and lightly. Stir in the mincemeat (thoroughly, but don’t bash your cake mixture around too much).

Fill your cupcake cases about two thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes (until a cake skewer comes out clean). In my oven the cupcakes cook reliably in 22 minutes, but it’s a bit warmer on one side than the other, so I turn them round at 17 minutes. Definitely don’t touch them for 10 minutes (unless something disastrous has happened).

I’ve topped these with a vanilla cream frosting (a mixture of basic buttercream, double cream, condensed milk and vanilla extract), plus a jaunty shortcrust pastry lid or star for the mini ones. The pastry is obviously an optional extra, but gives a nice contrasting crunch to the overall cake. If I was eating these at home, I’d be tempted to serve slightly warm(ed) with a dollop of clotted cream on top.

Have a wonderful festive season!

Milverton Candlelit Bazaar

I had a great time last week selling cupcakes at the Milverton Candlelit Bazaar. I spent a whole day doing nothing but baking cakes and making them look pretty and an evening in a beautifully festive location with some jolly lovely people. I even won a bottle of wine in the raffle.

Thanks to the wonderful organisers and, of course, the discerning customers who purchased my festive cupcakes.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wedding cake not in a cup

My friends Sara and Broomer very kindly asked me to do their wedding cake for yesterday, and were trusting enough to let me just get on with it (although I had some idea of the kind of things Sara would like, and sneak preview photo of the dress to give me some ideas!)

Although slightly nervewracking at the start of each new stage - I was very worried about the waste of effort it would have been if I messed up putting on the icing! I loved every minute of making the cake, even the hours putting on silver coated chocolate beads with a pair of tweezers. The cake is three tiers: victoria sponge, chocolate brownie and lemon sponge on top, covered in pearlised and silver icing, with hundreds of silver dragees and sugar diamonds, with some (non-edible!) sugared ivy to go with the natural leaves and branches used for decor at the party.

On the fully-blinged photo above the cake doesn't look that big, so here's a photo of the cakes in development (bottom and top layers covered with smooth vanilla and lemon curd buttercreams to make a nice base layer for the icing). You may note that the base layer is almost as big as the hob! (And that I was having a between-stage pot of tea!)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Alternative festive cupcakes...

Clever yes, but is this also a bit wrong somehow...?
Check out the slashfood site
Thank you Paul!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Festive cupcakes

Festive cupcakes now available!
Boozy fruit sponge topped with marzipan (quite a bit), icing (not so much) and some festive glitz.

£5 for a beribboned box of four cakes. Buy at Wivey Market (11 December), Milverton Candlelit Bazaar (1 December), email me or give me a call!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Coming soon: festive cupcakes

This week I'm working on the festive flavours ready for next week's Wivey market and Christmas markets in December.

I've just got the Christmas cake cupcakes in the oven - jam packed with dried fruits boiled and soaked in Jack Daniels. Wooah baby!

Next up the mincemeat cupcakes, which I might make December's flavour of the month. I'm getting very festive now - I'd put up some decorations if it wouldn't upset Christmas Scrooge quite so much....

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Wedding taster box

It's late, I'm tired and I've missed Antiques Roadshow, but my wedding taster box is read for delivery first thing tomorrow!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Top toppings

One of the questions I've been asked most recently at my stall is how I get my toppings so smooth/firm/nice (thank you to everyone who has been so complimentary). I don't know that I have any special secrets but this is what I do to make and apply a tasty buttercream.

First, butter - it must be soft and smooth. I chop mine up a bit and put in the microwave on high for 20-40 seconds depending on whether it has been out in the kitchen or on the fridge. I usually make basic buttercream packet of butter at a time! You probably want to be a bit more economical - I think you'll need 150g for 12 cupcakes. Beat the butter until it is smooth and roughly the consistency of mayonnaise or Hollandaise sauce (mmmm, eggs benedict).

Second, icing sugar. Sift it into your butter. Don't think you can get away with putting it in a bit lumpy (ok, you can sometimes, but it's not worth it). If you hate sifting, you can put your sugar in a large bowl and beat it with a balloon whisk to break it up and add air. An observation, the larger quantities in which you buy it, the less 'lumpy' it appears to be - when I have 3kg bags it will need very little sifting, but the sugar is always well compacted in a 500g box. Tip 1: Add it a little at a time to minimize icing sugar fog in your kitchen. Tip 2: You'll need twice as much as you think.

Third, blending. Your sugar can be mixed with your butter with a wooden spoon or with a hand blender, but when it starts to get stiff go easy on your hand blender (I broke my cheap one mixing buttercream, although it was a good excuse to my beautiful Dualit blender: see 27th October). Keep adding sugar until the mixture stands away from the bowl (in a dough like lump) when you add a new batch of sugar; it should soften back down and you may need to add a bit more sugar. When ready it should not drop easily from a spoon, but be soft enough to drop off when you flick the spoon or tap on the side of your bowl.

Fourth, flavour. Plain buttercream may be just what you need - subtle with vanilla and a great topping for carrot cake. If you're a novice stick to some easy to mix flavourings. Lemon juice is often suggested for a beginners lemon cupcake but, actually, the buttercream can split if you add too much. Better to start with an oil or essence - orange extract, vanilla extract or rose water will mix in easily. Add to taste and add more sugar if necessary to get back to your desired consistency.

Finally, application. Get the right kit. I use large plastic star nozzles in 7 or 8 point stars (large 7 is used on Toffee Apple for example). Apparantly there is no consistent numbering system for nozzles, so to give you an idea the nozzles are about 2 inches high with openings 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch across. I prefer 30-40cm nylon or disposable bags (cheap disposable ones WILL split), any smaller and you have to refill more times, increasing the liklihood of air bubbles.

Once you have filled your piping bag (probably half full is enough to handle easily), twist the top to contain and put pressure on your icing. Swirl away in whatever pattern you like, twisting the bag slightly between each cake to maintain a consisten pressure.

Oh, and then add sparkles, sprinkles, drages, cherries, smarties, flowers, hundreds and thousands, chocolate shavings....

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Flavour of the month: Toffee Apple

The traditional tastes of Guy Fawkes - jacket spuds, bonfire ash and, of course, toffee apples.

This month's flavour has already been tested on an unsuspecting public at the Wivey Carnival in September (when it was made with apples gifted from next door) and it went down a storm.

The cake is a deliciously moist apple sponge, made with muscovado sugar for extra toffeeness, topped with a toffee brown butter icing and suitably firework-esque bronze and gold glitters. November in a red cupcake case.

PS Happy birthday Mum!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

New mixer

I have a new hand mixer. I am in mixer love.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Hallowe'en excitement, probably part 1 as I'm quite excited...

I am in love with these skeleton cupcakes from the 52 cupcakes blog. I only wish I had the time this week to attempt to make the cute little skeletons, even just one!

I've also been given some fab little hallowe'en cupcake cases and Lily Vanilla's new book A Zombie Ate My Cupcake for my birthday. I love the Shattered Glass cupcakes - blood oozing out of the cake. I might try these and the Ghastly Gouls for trick or treaters on Sunday (not that we get many, so more cakes for me!)

I will be making Lily's meringue bones for Saturday's Hallowe'en party, as they'll go well with the theme. Hopefully I'll have time on Saturday to post a photo of them along with my volcano cupcakes....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Daily Mirror

Check out today's Daily Mirror! I haven't seen it myself yet, but they have a cupcake feature scheduled for today and I have a little 'advertorial' booked for the South West edition!

Not my usual paper of choice, but it is my parents' so don't be mean ;o) They'll be so proud!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Three words: Skull cake pan

My friend Paul sent me this link some time ago, but in the run up to Hallowe’en I thought it was time to share!

Check out Megan Reardon’s ‘Not Martha’ blog about the pan and her fabulous skull cake (left).

Sadly, I can’t find this pan available anywhere in the UK (it's made by Wilton,so check out your local supplier!). Although it is now back available in the US at prettypartyplace it will never ship in time for Hallowe’en (sigh).

Instead, I may have to console myself with this fabulous pumpkin cake tin from the cakes, cookies and crafts shop, which I love partly because the tin itself is also orange....

They also do some cute little cupcake stencils – ideal for decorating flat iced pumpkin cupcakes!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Flavour of the Month: Smashing Pumpkin

Inspiration struck while I was making the first big batch of pumpkin cupcakes for market on Friday and, lo, it is now called Smashing Pumpkin!

It's a pretty satrightforward recipe - just like a carrot cake really - from Susannah Blake's Cupcake book that mother-out-law loaned me. It makes really light and moist cakes.

For 12 muffin size cupcakes:
115g soft brown sugar
120ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
115g grated squash (I'd recommend small pumpkin or butternut for taste)
zest of 1 lemon
115g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180c or 160 fan and line your muffin tin with spooky cases.
Break up sugar in a bowl so there are no lumps and beat in the oil and the eggs. It's goo to leave this while you grate the pumpkin as it seems to combine well after a little sit. Add grated pumpkin and lemon zest.
Sift together dry ingredients and fold into wet ingredients.
Fill cases 2/3 full.
Bake for around 20 minutes (I always check cupcakes at 17 minutes, and maybe give the tray a turn if your oven is - like mine - slightly warmer on one side than the other!)

I've topped with a vanilla buttercream in orange and black (although I was worried about the amount of black food colouring required so they were kind of dark grey really), but white chocolate topping or flat icing would work just as well.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Off to market

Back to Wivey Market tomorrow after a few months' break. All of the usual suspects will be there, including Chocolate Chocolate, Very Vanilla and Luscious Lemon, along with new October flavour Punky Pumpkin. Watch this space for photos!

No more Blackberry Crumble, sadly, as the blackberries are now all well past their best. It feels like we're saying farewell to Autumn and hello to winter already!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Chaos in the kitschy kitchen

It's been a crazy few months in cupcake land for many many reasons, but I thought it was about time I picked up the blog again. Really need to update the website too, which hasn't promoted a new flavour since June (although, there have been new flavours of course; this month's is pumpkin!) I also have some lovely photos and testimonials from this summer's weddings - coming to the website soon....
At the moment though, the kitschy kitchen is having an overhaul so baking is not permitted on hygiene grounds! (Not to mention a complete lack of space.)
I best get back to painting the kitchen cabinets so that I can get it done before next weekend's Wivey Market. If I'm pleased with my work, I'll post a photo later!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Back ... almost

I've certainly been back in the kitchen after a few weeks squeezing it whenever possible, but I've still been way too busy to write about baking as well as bake!

Have done a few great orders for parties and weddings, which has been fun if a little stressful at times! I did some super glammed (chavved up) chocolate cupcakes for a party this weekend - look at 'em ready for the off.

I've also been branching out into the world of cakes not in a cup for the Dulverton market. Carrot cakes, sponges, scones and flapjacks seem to go down much better than cup cakes :o( It's interesting to diversify though. This week's sale will include carrot cake, victoria sponge, coffee and walnut sponge, honey nut chocolate tiffin, scones, and boxes of rose and chocolate cupcakes (separate - not both flavours together...). Let me know any favourites, recommendations or requests!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Still on the road

Kitschy cupcakes has been on the road in recent weeks. Sadly, not in a delightful whirl of visiting bakeries and cake shops, but 'doing the day job'. Stopping at weekends only to BAKE! (And do the washing.)

I'm also in the middle of a website overhaul at the moment, and am about to launch July's flavour (rose), minicupcakes and information about cupcakes for parties. Phew! So I've been quiet on the blog, but all go in the real world.

Also been planning an expansion into other cakes, tarts, scones etc (although resiting the ruddy whoopie pie), so need new branding. If you've any ideas (sensible or amusing) for a new name, send 'em over! Top of my list at the moment are CakeSmith and Wimblebakes. Oh, 'the naming of things is a difficult matter'.

Friday, 18 June 2010

What is a cupcake?

After listening to a Radio 4 programme about cupcakes (someone tipped me off ok!), I got to pondering if the cakes I make really are cupcakes. One of the luminaries on the panel insisted that cupcakes were a basic sponge that must also include oil in the mix to make a lighter sponge. The cakes should also have some kind of cream or butter cream frosting.

My ‘standard’ sponge recipe cakes don’t include oil – I did consider it after working with diary-free spread and producing such a light (and longer lasting) sponge, but after some experiments, I think the only important thing is to get the butter as soft as possible (yes, in the microwave is fine as long as you’re careful, and this is certainly better in food safety terms than leaving your butter in the sun all day), and then beat it ... a lot until it’s really light. No oil required.

I also don’t restrict myself to standard sponge recipes; one of my earliest recipes was a gluten-free cake recipe made with ground almond rather than flour (more like a brownie mix) and I make dairy-free cakes with oil and fruit (which are more like muffins), so are these not cupcakes?

That dodgy yet democratic information source, wikipedia states:
A cupcake, or fairy cake in British English, is a small cake designed to serve one person, frequently baked in a small, thin paper or aluminum cup. As with larger cakes, frosting and other cake decorations, such as sprinkles, are common on cupcakes.

The term "cupcake" was first mentioned in 1828 in Eliza Leslie's
Receipts cookbook. In the early 19th century, there were two different uses for the name "cup cake" or "cupcake". In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has persisted, and the name of "cupcake" is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. […]

The other kind of "cup cake" referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed [eg a pound cake]. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves.

In sum, a cupcake is a cake made in a cup….

I then found lots of useful info on chowhound.com about the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, which is essentially the technique – a muffin being a “quick bread” for which you just bung all the ingredients together; a cake requiring creaming of butter and sugar first.

So, probably some of my cupcakes are not, strictly speaking, cupcakes, but I won’t tell if you don’t!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

New flavour: Elderflower

The elderflowers are finally out, which gives me the opportunity to play with another new flavour for June. It's a basic cupcake sponge recipe minus vanilla, which would overpower the elderflower, with elderflower cordial for flavouring. I think this still needs a bit of work - the flavour perhaps too subtle in the sponge? - but the elderflower butter cream is such a pretty pure white!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Melting chocolate in the microwave

Thank you Tessa - I love you!!
I didn't quite believe it could work and only because I trust my good friend Tessa with my life did I dare to try it....
Pretty much any chocolate (oddly) in any amount - 4 minutes at 40%. Perfect. Even when you include butter too; even white chocolate, although it still then misbehaves on contact with butter (see earlier ramblings).
All that faffing about with bain maries is SO OVER.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Party glitter

Had great fun this weekend with a party order, requiring lots of sparkle. Here are some chocolate and caramel ready for the off, with gold sprinkles. Party on!

Flavour of the month: Strawberry Shortcake

A bit late this month, but I've been - oh I don't know - busy making and selling cupcakes!

The new Strawberry Shortcake has already been released on an unsuspecting public, and has had a very positive response: "one of the best cakes I have ever eaten"! The cake is a vanilla sponge flavoured with pureed strawberries (fresh and local of course) and strawberry and shortcake pieces; the topping is a vanilla butter cream, also flavoured with strawberry puree. Delicious. And thank you to Tessa for helping me with ideas and baking in the trails stage!

Available every Wednesday this month at the Dulverton market, as well as at Wivvy market and online for local delivery!

Friday, 28 May 2010

New flavour: Chocolate Orange

I know it's nearly the new month and time for a new flavour anyway, but this week I have also 'launched' the jolly yummy Chocolate Orange.

Inspired by that delicious dark chocolate with italian orange peel pieces (which is what's used in the topping). I just love the 70s brown and orangeness of it all - reminds me of curtains of my youth...

Monday, 24 May 2010

The blues: champions!

No, I can't take credit for Chelsea's success, but at least the cupcakes were a hit with this Chelsea fan! Thanks Nick, for wearing such a perfectly co-ordinted t-shirt!

Kitschy Cupcakes now at Dulverton Market

Need a more regular cupcake fix?! Kitschy Cupcakes are now for sale every Wednesday at the market in Dulverton's Town Hall. A jolly nice lady called Ruth is manning (womanning) the stand for me.

Get there early before the bus loads of tourists eat all the free tasters!

Info about Dulverton

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Milverton Street Fair III

Maybe next year I'll do a cheese flavour to go with the demented grin!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

May's Wivey Market

Well, it might be next to a big metal cupboard and a fire hose, but I LIKE my little corner at the Wivey Market! Here's a picture of my display, with new stands from Mum and Dad (thanks!) and May's flavour of the month, Caramel Crunch.

Another good day today - the sun was shining, so people were shopping. Sold 80 cupcakes, which is not bad for three hours trading. Had just enough donate a few to my friends in Whelan's Cafe and Thorne's the Butchers!

Friday, 14 May 2010

I got the blues

Is this wrong? I know it's a little bit, well, Conservative, but other than that...?

My good friend Ann, asked for some Chelsea blue cupcakes to celebrate the FA Cup tomorrow (Ann has now branded these FA Cup Cakes). Contrary to my usual no additives policy, but fun to play once in a while!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Blissful Blueberry gets a facelift

I've had a bit of a break from the kitschy kitchen over the past week (except for making a big batch of Caramel Crunch), with a family visit and some time in the garden preparing veg, fruit and flowers for future consumption and cupcake use! No - there isn't a spinach cupcake on the horizon, but some edible flowers (borage) are sprouting, the cherry and apple trees have had a good lot of blossom and the blueberry bush is about to flower....

Which leads me on to a revamped Blissful Blueberry cupcake. I haven't yet decided upon topping, but here's the cake recipe if you fancy a go.

100g butter, room temperature
200g sugar
100ml maple syrup
2 small eggs, beaten, room temperature (its 3 for 24 cakes, so you ideally want 1.5 but that's not very practical...)
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour, sifted
0.5 tsp baking powder
100ml milk
@150g blueberries

As per usual, preheat oven to 180/350/160 fan and prepare 12-hole muffin tin with large cupcake cases.

Beat the c$%*p out of the butter until smooth and light, add the sugar and beat, beat, beat again. Add the maple syrup and beat some more.
Beat the eggs and vanilla into the mixture a little at a time.

Now, this is a wet cake batter so the flour/baking powder and milk need to be added to the batter alternately a little at a time and mixed in lightly (the time for heavy handed beating is over!). Add roughly a third of the flour and fold until combined. Add half of the milk and mix until combined. Repeat, and then finish with flour and the baking powder (if not already sifted into your flour).

Carefully fold in as many blueberries as you like - I like a lot which for me is roughly three big handfuls.

Get your mix into those cases and pop in the oven for approx 25 mins. The cakes are ready when lightly golden on top and a skewer comes out clean etc etc.

This cake lasts a bit longer in an airtight container than a standard sponge mix, so you can enjoy your blueberry delights for longer!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Milverton Street Fair II

Having a well earned rest today after a successful street fair sale yesterday at Milverton. I completely sold out by 2pm - hurrah! Am sure I could have sold more Chocolate Chocolate and Very Vanilla, but actually things quietened down around lunch time, so probably not a bad guesstimate of numbers. The day stayed fine although a bit chilly and blustery in the morning, so overall pretty busy. Was most excited to sell a box of 12 - pleased I got those new extra large boxes in!

Thanks to friends who popped by to say hello and bought cupcakes and for Miverton Hall for the loan of the table!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Milverton Street Fair

The kitschy kitchen is a hive of activity today in preparation for Monday's stall at the Milverton Street Fair. This will (hopefully) be my biggest sale so far, so I'm ready to bake with a mountain of butter, a crate of flour and sugar and more eggs than I've seen in one place outside a shop.

If you're interested in the Milverton Festival you could check out the particularly uninformative website www.milvertonfestival.org.uk but, frankly, I wouldn't bother! Just come along and see for yourself (and buy a cupcake).

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for fair weather.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Flavour of the month: Caramel Crunch

May's flavour of the month is the delightfully sickly Caramel Crunch cupcake. A very moist, lightly caramel flavoured sponge, topped with an American-style brown butter and caramel frosting. Oh my it's sweet, but in a very good way.

I've developed this flavour for my Nanny (ie my grandmother, before you think I'm super-posh and had a nanny as a child...), who is visiting this month with my Mum and Dad - yippee!

A brown butter frosting is an adaptation of a standard butter icing. First melt the butter in a pan until it goes brown and takes on a nutty caramel taste. My recommendation would be use a low-medium heat, and it will take about 5-10 minutes (nb you must strain the melted butter to take out any burnt solids - using a seive was fine enough for my liking, but you might want to use a fine mesh one.) Then simply add sifted icing sugar until you get the right consistency for frosting - swooshing, piping, eating off your finger or whatever. (You'll need roughly 100g of butter and 500-600g icing sugar for 12 large cupcakes.)

You can also add flavouring, but I'd stick to caramel, toffee types of flavours - it would work really well for a maple syrup frosting for example. For this cupcake I included a couple of tablespoons of homemade caramel syrup. Mmmmmm. Shame I've already eaten all the test cakes...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Don't fancy yours much

Ok. Maybe I'm being a little unfair, as I have destroyed this cupcake - it looked quite pretty beforehand...

On noticing a tray of cupcakes in the window of Gregg's yesterday I decided to buy one to check out the competition. Seriously for research purposes - I only go into Gregg's once every three years, under duress from other parties to buy sausage rolls while out shopping.

Anyway, I would consider the Gregg's cupcake a low-end product, selling for 55p (or 4 for £1 I think, though that doesn't really make sense), and I wondered what they were like versus my 70p-90p cupcakes. As it turns out, they don't travel awfully well when you forget you've bought it and leave it in your laptop bag.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Carrot, Apple, Ginger

Success! After a couple of attempts and some different options (see right in their colour-coded cases), I have fixed upon the final recipe for Carrot, Apple, Ginger.

This one has a lot of ingredients but is actually really easy to make. You basically have some dry ingredients, some fruit ingredients and some wet ingredients. Mix them separately, then mix 'em together!

So, preheat oven to 180C (160C fan; 350F; Gas Mark 4). Prepare your muffin tin with 12 cupcake/muffin cases.

150g wholemeal flour (sifted)
30g demerara sugar (or caster or muscavado, or even granulated would do, this isn't a dainty, fussy cake)
25g skimmed milk powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground ginger
0.25 tsp salt
Mix these together.

125ml vegetable oil
60ml runny honey
60ml maple syrup
2 eggs
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk these together.

FRUIT - leave this until last so that your apple doesn't brown while you're doing everything else:
75g carrot, peeled and grated (I think a small grate works best)
75g chopped crystalised ginger (small dice)
1 large apple, peeled and grated
(nb this makes for a very gingery cake - if you want less zing and a bit more sweet, you could replace some of the ginger with chopped dried apple)

The easy bit: add the fruit to the dry and mix it about a bit, but don't fuss too much; add the wet to the dry and fold in. Spoon the mix into 12 cupcake cases (about 3/4 full), and bake for 20-25 mins. nb you might want to turn the heat down 5-10 degrees (C) after about 10 minutes, as it's quite a wet mix and if your oven is too hot it will brown on top before cooked through (but the cakes need the heat to start with).

I'm sure this would also make a great loaf cake, although I'm not sure what timings you'd need. If you experiment - let me know!

Friday, 23 April 2010

It's not healthy

Today I've had one of those days when I've been so busy I didn't really have time to stop for lunch, so with my cup of afternoon green tea I had a left over barbecued sausage and, you've guessed it, a cupcake (Luscious Lemon). That can't be healthy, can it?

Thank goodness this weekend I'll be working on my Carrot, Apple, Ginger recipe which is 'almost healthy'. Wholemeal flour, honey instead of sugar and packed with fruity goodness (if you class carrots as a fruit, which they apparently do in some obscure region of Spain or something). Anyway, I'm also going to try a lighter apple juice icing rather than butter-based or cream cheese topping (which is what I used last time round) which will make it an entirely dairy-free recipe too.

Watch this space for updates and hopefully photos over the weekend....

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cupcake tasters

A little selection of minis and maxis!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I can't believe it's not butter

Back from Glasgow (boy, was that a train journey!) and already been back baking in the kitschy kitchen. I haven’t posted for while as my laptop isn’t connecting to the internet at home (so I’m currently in the day-job office - shhhhh).

Anyway, had my first experiment with (gasp! horror!) butter-free cupcakes this week. A very nice bride-to-be with intolerance to lactose came round for a tasting. I think it went ok!

The sponge mixture was very light and the cupcakes rose really well, so I was unexpectedly pleased with the results. If it wasn’t counter to my principles of using good natural stuff, I’d be tempted to change to margarine! (Just like mother used to make!)

I also tried a range of I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-icing toppings, and took the opportunity to go like a kid in a sweet shop on a range of decorations (I’ll post some pictures when I’m back online at home). What fun! If it wasn’t so impractical to have a different topping style on every cake I think I’d decorate all my cupcakes in this haphazard manner – a bit of this, a sprinkle of that!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Flavour of the month: Introducing Lady Marmalade

April's flavour of the month! Hey sister, go sister, eat sister, cupcake sister!

Now all those chocolate mini eggs are out of the way, it's time to have some fun! This month's flavour is a sponge recipe sent to me by mum, with a kitschy twist of course!

Lady Marmalade is a delicious sponge (a basic vanilla recipe minus vanilla), flavoured with orange marmalade, which makes it extra moist too. I've opted for shredless marmalade in the final recipe as the 'shreds' are quite long and unruly. My tip would be to make sure the mixture hasn't got too wet with the addition of the marmalade - add a bit more flour if necessary. The topping is a standard butter-cream with a healthy dollop (or two) of fine-shred orange marmalade (let the shreds fall where they will in the topping!).

A bit zingy, but still quite sweet and perfect with a nice cup of earl grey tea.

Perhaps next month we'll have the Mocha Chocolata ya ya (whatever that means).

Saturday, 3 April 2010

More Easter bunnies!

Easter orders are now awaiting delivery by the Easter bunnies...!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Easter bunnies

I'm getting ready for the Easter bake off!

I've bought a mountain of chocolate (to add to some gratefully received supplies from Mum) and bags full of fair trade mini eggs (I've now ditched Cadbury's in favour of Traidcraft). I'm still not happy about the white chocolate - baking with it always seems to throw up new problems (see earlier ramblings on Death by white chocolate). I can always recover it (adding milk to split white chocolate and whisking really does work every time), but I wish it wouldn't be so darned difficult in the first place.

I also have a wedding anniversary order to fulfil Sunday morning (let's hope I don't interrupt the celebrating couple!). At least that includes some Lemon Lovehearts cupcakes so I'll have a bit of a break from chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate...

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Birthday boy

Sunday was my little bro's birthday and we had a lovely family meet up to celebrate. No birthday would be complete without cupcakes of course, and to satisfy the marzipan monster that is my brother (well, and me actually) I created a retro pink and yellow battenburg cupcake. I think he enjoyed them...

The topping was an experiment - essentially a frangipan, equal quantities of butter, icing sugar and ground almonds, and egg. I used about 75g each of butter, almonds and icing sugar for 12 cupcakes.

Beat the softened butter until smooth and mix in the (sieved) almonds and about half the sugar. Add one egg yolk and cook slowly over a bain marie for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly (until the egg cooked and the almonds no longer taste 'raw'). Leave to cool slightly then add the remainder of the icing sugar a little at a time until you get a consistency you're happy with (for spreading, piping etc).

Friday, 26 March 2010

Kitschy Cupcakes goes global!

Well, we're not quite talking world domination, but this week I had my first international order! A very lovely cupcake (and piste) fan from Switzerland wanted some cupcakes delivered as a birthday gift to a friend in Taunton. How cool is that?!

I have heard that the recipient enjoyed her cupcakes (jolly good) and it was a pleasure to have helped sweeten the path of true friendship against long-distance odds!

Am thinking I should include a birthday cupcakes option on the website for those seeking non-seasonal gifts. Although of course there's the thorny issue of the day job to consider...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

First Wivey Market sale

I've been having a well earned rest this afternoon after my first Wivey Market sale (plus a bit of tea and cake of course). All went well and I sold 40 cupcakes in total, which was not bad at all for three hours on a drizzly Somerset morning. Not quite enough to be giving up the day job just yet, but one has to start somewhere!

The punters' favourite flavours were Chocolate Chocolate (popular with those who planned to eat immediately!) and Luscious Lemon (sold out!). The WI ladies confirmed that lemon is often the most popular cake choice (followed by ginger, so I can sense a new recipe coming on...). Delectable Date 'n' Walnut obviously didn't look delectable enough, so I'll need a new flavour for next month's sale anyway. I also didn't need to take as many Very Vanilla, which I thought would be more popular, and they looked so pretty in their spotty cases (thanks Ann!).

All in all not a bad day's work, and at least we have plenty of neighbours willing to eat the leftovers...

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cupcakes on everything

I wandered into Paperchase the other day (as one does of a lunch break) and have fallen in love with their new cupcakes range. More cupcake than kitsch, but the tea towels would be so cute in the kitschy kitchen!

I’ve already acquired a couple of pinnies for ‘corporate clothing’ and am thinking I should take home the lovely notebook for my recipe scribblings….

Lovers of all things cupcake click here.
Look at the Paperchase website

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Victoria's Victoria Sponge

The star cupcake in the ‘Women’s Institute’ Collection I’m creating for this summer’s fetes will have to be the Victoria sponge. I’ve been developing this recipe in honour of our friend Victoria who recently had baby Lucy, hence the double Victorias.

There has been much tinkering with the basic vanilla sponge recipe as this one will really have to stand up on its own and needs to be both light and moist. I think the old trick of weighing your eggs and using equal quantities of butter, sugar and flour has had the best results. As well as good quality vanilla (of course), I think that good quality (well beaten) unsalted butter is a must, but then I do love my butter as anyone who knows me well will testify!

With the sponge is wrapped up I’ve finally Victoria’d it by adding jam inside the sponge and whipped cream on top. Yes, jam in the middle really does work! It’s a bit of a faff as you need to be careful to seal the jam in the sponge mix while also keeping a good amount of cake mix underneath (because it sinks). The first ones I tried were with cherry jam (because the jar was open!), which was fine, but for traditional Victoria Sponge taste, the ones pictured contain raspberry jam. I’m hoping a seedless raspberry jelly may be better behaved and sink less – that and better cream presentation are my next tweaks.

I hope Victoria likes them!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Cupcake accoutrements

Sadly, my wrist is giving me too much gip this week for there to be much activity in the kitschy kitchen, so I have been busying myself with preparations for my first ‘sale’.

Monday I got myself officially booked in for the next Wivey market – 20 March – where I will be putting my wares on display. At this point I realised I would actually have to display the cupcakes. What in? What on? Help! EBAY!

Goth cake stand
So, I am now the proud owner of this rather goth-cutesy cake stand (from the highly recommended lovetoplan25 if anyone is an obsessive ebayer ); I patiently await more kitsch in the form of a red and white polka dot stand and Allan is on the scrounge for some plastic trays for transporting from his chum at the greengrocers. I think we may be bartering trays for cupcakes….

I can’t think of anything else at the moment. I’ll have to sell 40 cupcakes to make enough profit to pay for the stand, so it’ll probably have to wait anyway!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Kitschy web

Well, there's not been a lot going on in the kitschy kitchen this weekend, but the kitschy computer has been very busy! I've now tarted up the kitschy website, with some fabulous paisley wallpaper (and much improved content, but paisley is the most fun bit!)

Hopefully, we'll be able to add lots more info about new flavours and cupcake collections over spring and summer, with photos and dates for stalls etc. Online ordering soon too if I can make it work....

Check out the updated www.kitschycupcakes.co.uk and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Death by white chocolate: Episode II

Well, Green & Blacks made no difference at all. In fact it split from the butter in the melting stage and was only rescued with some very vigorous whisking (a drop of milk really helped to save this mix). So, tasty and organic it may be, but a solution to the problems of baking with white chocolate it is not.

I've put the goal of a gluten free white chocolate cupcake on hold for now and have started from scratch with a standard white chocolate sponge. This seems to have worked out ok - hurrah! Just as well, as I've had an order being collected this morning...

The recipe is: 125g caster sugar mixed into 125g soft butter, add two eggs and mix until light and fluffy; add 150g well-sieved plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder, plus about 70g grated white chocolate. Leave to sit in the cupcake cups for 20 mins or so before bunging in the oven at 180c for 25 mins (or until golden brown on top). This makes 12 'normal size' cupcakes or about 8 'power' cupcakes! (ie made in a muffin tin, as pictured.)

Friday, 26 February 2010

Death by white chocolate

This weekend I’ll be trying to resolve my current issues with white chocolate cupcakes. I’m advertising these already for Easter, so I’d better make the recipe work somehow!

Essentially I’m adapting a gluten-free chocolate brownie recipe, that I’ve already successfully converted to chocolate cupcakes, but my recent attempts to replicate this in white chocolate was disastrous (although still delicious, said our very polite guests). There was pouf where there shouldn’t have been pouf, and uncooked almond squish in the middle – yuk! In my opinion the only thing it had going for it was the topping.

Anyway, I think I know where it all went wrong, so for round 2 I will be experimenting to find out if Green & Blacks white chocolate, with its minimum 30% cocoa solids, makes a difference to the mix. Already I can report that Tesco white chocolate is much nicer than Sainsbury’s (who’d have thought it) and made a yummy white chocolate topping. Green & Blacks tastes very different to me – it contains real vanilla and tastes, well, of vanilla! So, even if it works in texture it maybe won’t taste of white chocolate. Oh what to do?

If anyone has any top tips for perfect white chocolate cupcakes, please let me know…