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