Chocolate blueberry cake and impressions

tableThis cake doesn’t shy away from attention. The amazingly vibrant (and naturally-coloured) icing draws people to it. I brought it into work today to share with work mates and was overwhelmed with kind words. It’s amazing how cake brings people together.

The love that I received was received with a tiny bit of sadness, because I’ve only worked with these wonderful people for six months and am moving on. I’ve loved working with them and hope that I leave them all with delicious, cake-filled memories!

Brigadeiros and fanfare

groupThe World Cup is in full swing and I haven’t even mentioned it. I love any excuse for a themed post , but I realised recently that I haven’t taken the opportunity yet.

So I did some Googling. Having never been to Brazil, I’m not an expert on Brazilian cuisine (not that lack of experience stopped me having a go at foreign sweets before!) I am, however, a keen reader; Google, Pinterest and Instagram have taught me lots about Brazil in a relatively short amount of time.

I’ve learned that Brazilians seem to have a love of caramel and sweetened condensed milk.

I, therefore, love Brazil!

Milo cupcakes and dinosaur themed birthdays

wrapperI have wanted to do a themed birthday party for a long time now. When I was given some adorable cupcake wrappers by Illume Design, I knew what my theme would be – DINOSAURS!!

I very rarely do manly posts. Without even thinking, I drift towards florals and polka dots and tea pots. Browsing through previous blog posts, one might suggest that I don’t actually own anything monochrome or beige. I promise that I do! In an effort to counter this slightly, I styled a dinosaur themed birthday party (which any boy OR girl would happily attend.)

IMG_9589Milo isn’t a very pretty food, but it is delicious, which is why I love it. The very fact that Milo is kind of bumpy and ugly means that it is perfectly suited to a dinosaur-y landscape. It also makes the cupcakes extra delicious.

Lime and raspberry cupcakes and unbirthdays

scene (416x640)I know too many people who were born in the last three months of the year, October is particularly packed. Lots of people, including the Boy, must be celebrated in such proximity to one another that I decided to throw another unbirthday party. It’s not that I dislike birthdays (quite the opposite, actually), it’s just there are not enough days to celebrate people properly!

The last unbirthday party I threw was mainly for one person, whereas this one was aimed at three people. It is worth noting that anyone can claim an unbirthday – as long as their birthday doesn’t fall on the say that it is celebrated!

I feel as though I’m becoming a bit of an unbirthday expert…

please

 

Norman, meanwhile, is an expert unbirthday crasher. He’s got his puppy dog eyes look sorted!

Home made sprinkles and excitement

glassI can’t believe I’ve not posted this recipe sooner. I was so excited about these sprinkles when I made them – I Instagrammed them, I gave people a sneak peak on Facebook, and I used them as soon as physically possible on my caramel doughnut cake.

And then I just forgot to share them with you!! My apologies, dear readers.

I can’t take credit for the idea (as much as I would love to!)…I got the idea from Pinterest, which directed me to I Am Baker, who had a tutorial up for home made sprinkles. I modified the recipe slightly to suit me – and they are so easy!!

Raspberry cupcakes and food obsession

close upMy last post was about giving in to the gym. It’s day four of me signing up to the gym and I’ve been good so far. Except for the fact that I spend my entire life pinning, instagramming and Googling baked goods.

To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. I’m fairly sure I was dreaming about eating these cupcakes last night, because I was awoken by a sharp pain – I’d bitten the inside of my lip hard enough to draw blood!

These gorgeous little cupcakes came about by accident. I was actually trying to create cupcakes with bubblegum icing; the cupcake was supposed to be a platform to raise my glorious bubblegum icing to dizzying sugary heights.

But the icing never really made it. It didn’t taste as bubblegummy as I’ planned (don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, it just wasn’t bubblegum flavoured), but it didn’t matter, because the cupcake outshone it!!

The cupcake is light and airy. It’s delicately fruity and a little bit like eating a raspberry cloud. Or how I imagine that would taste. The icing is sweet and soft, the perfect complement to the raspberry cloud!

biteRaspberry cupcake clouds

Makes 24

  • 120g butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1-2 tsp pink food colouring (optional)

Icing:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp strawberry essence
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar

raspberriesPreheat your oven 180°C and grease a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Cream your butter and sugar together until pale. Add in your raspberries and blend until smooth. This should take 1-2 minutes to eliminate all of the lumps and bumps. You can leave chunks of raspberry in if you’d like, but I prefer them all mixed in, it makes for a smoother batter.

mixAdd in the teaspoon of vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Scoop your flour into the mixture and mix well, ensuring no pockets of flour remain. Add in the milk and combine.

At this point, the raspberries will have added a slight tinge of pinky-purple to the mixture, so you don’t have to add colouring. If, like me, you can’t resist a pop of colour, add in some pink food colouring!

That’s it! These cupcakes are so simple, but the result is so impressive.

lolliesSpoon the mixture into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 16-18 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, allow them to cool for ten minutes. While they cool, mix the butter and cream cheese together until there are no lumps and the mixture is pale. Add in the strawberry essence, orange blossom water and vanilla, followed by the icing sugar. Keep blending until all are combined and smooth.

sceneDecorate using a piping bag, or just spoon it onto your cupcakes and smooth with a knife. I added little chewy lollies to the top of mine, but don’t worry if you don’t have any they’re sweet enough without them!

Serve with a strong black cuppa to balance out all of that sugar.

Enjoy!

Edible flowers and trying new foods

aboveMy last post featured quite a few edible flowers. Truth be told, not all of those edible flowers needed to be on the cake, but they looked so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist (see the recipe here.) If I had an unlimited supply of blue starflower, johnny jump ups, violets and pineapple sage, I would have only topped the cake with these four.

Unfortunately, all of these flowers are teeny tiny, and it would take a whole lot of them to cover a cake. Also, I purchased a mixed lot of flowers, so I didn’t really have a choice in what went on my cake.

Berry & Mint lemonade party punch!

This punch doesn’t need much explanation because it is so simple. You can adjust it to suit your needs as well. I made this punch alcohol-free (although Pimms was added to it as the tea party wore on!), so it would be perfect for a child’s or an adult’s party. The Mint and berries add a vibrant splash of colour, but they also give it a great flavour.

punch glass (1024x683)

 

Unbirthdays and tea parties

I hinted last week that there was a friend’s birthday coming up soon. It was on Tuesday. So on Wednesday we threw an unbirthday party. She’s not a fan of birthdays (crazy, I know), but she loves Alice in Wonderland – how could I resist an unbirthday/Mad Hatter’s themed party?!

Recipes in this blog have all been posted before, click the name to get the recipe!

IMG_7804

Smarties cupcakes and nostalgia

This evening’s post was prompted by a request. And I’m so happy that I made them! I’m a solo worker; I choose my own recipes and prefer to make them in a kitchen with as few people around as possible. I love company, just not when I’m bustling about in my own world in the kitchen. My baking is for sharing, always, but the process is a personal one.

So when it was suggested that I make Smarties cupcakes I wondered whether I should acquiesce or not. I hadn’t had a Smarties cupcake since my childhood.

And therein lies their brilliance.

The colouring of Smarties may be less intense than it used to be, but their flavour is still the same. Complemented by a soft vanilla buttercream and chocolatey cupcake, these concoctions just work.

They taste of childhood and nostalgia. I half wished I’d made up lolly bags to go along with these cupcakes, it felt wrong to serve such festive cupcakes without a lolly bag for people to take home!

tiny teddiesSome teddy bears joined me for the photo shoot because it had been a while since they’d been played with. They enjoyed the trip back to childhood and what appeared to be a child’s birthday party.

Cook them for their colour, their easy charm and the memories they’ll bring back for you.

Just make sure you buy extra Smarties.

teddy bear picnicChocolate cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups self raising flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 100g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Vanilla butter cream

  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 tpsb milk

Preheat your oven to 190°C. Grease your muffin tins, or use cardboard cupcake cases like me if you’re feeling lazy.

Cream your butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add your eggs and vanilla, mixing them well.

cookFold in the cocoa and half of the flour flour, adding your milk when it gets too hard to mix. Fold in the next half of the flour and make sure everything is combined.

Scrape the sides of the bowl down regularly so that the cocoa reaches every part of the mixture, nobody likes streaky cupcakes!

Fill your cupcake cases or muffin tins about 3/4 full and try some of the mixture, it’s delish!

Norman

Pop them on a baking tray (or not, if you’re using a muffin tin) and bake for 16 minutes or until you can insert a skewer into the cupcake and it comes out cleanly.

smartiesWhile the cupcakes cool, beat the butter until it’s pale and soft. Add the icing sugar and milk and mix until it is smooth. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cook to ice them, you don’t want the icing sliding off.


Toss a handful of Smarties over the cupcakes and feed the waiting children (or sentimental adults.) The Smarties packet had a chef on it – I appreciated the appropriateness of the character on the box!spotty cupcake

bunting

These little gems are perfect for a child’s party – no child is going to turn down a smarties covered cupcake! Add some bunting for decoration if you’re feeling especially fun – mine was made by stringing coloured triangles in between a skewer cut into halves. A little bunting makes a big difference to presentation!

pink cupcake

 

* I doubled this recipe to make a cake – results are here.