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Let us all stop for one moment, and give praise, to the Lemon tart.

Zedel lemon tartAs you can probably tell, this is not my creation, but that of the French restaurant Brasserie Zédel. It was pure perfection. So I just had a take a photo and share. It’s not just the classic French desserts that stand out in this restaurant. Oh no. Everything is fantastic. Not one person at my table was disappointed. No grumbles. No food envy. Just happy faces and full bellies.

It’s a huge underground place with classic Art Deco style. The great service, atmosphere and excellent value for money makes this place one of my fave’s. OK I’ve only been there once, but I plan on going there again. And soon. *message to fellow blogger Claire: you must go. You will love it. And take me with you*

Have a look for yo’selves:

http://www.brasseriezedel.com/

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

lemon merigue cupcake

So I’ve already shown you my lemon cupcakes. But these are lemon MERINGUE cupcakes. Far more superior. These are without doubt my most favouritist most deliciousist cupcakes I have ever eaten. The sharpness of the lemon curd. The sweet softness of the meringue. The crumbly moist sponge. My goodness. I’m coming over all unnecessary. If you bake these, I assure you, you will NOT be disappointed. The meringue really is super easy as it doesn’t need proper baking. It’s supposed to be soft.

If I am voting in National Cupcake Week for a winner, then this is it. The Mighty Lemon Meringue!!!

Ingredients
For the cupcakes

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 75g ready-made lemon curd

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
  • Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and beat into the mixture.
  • Fold in the flour and lemon zest until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases. Add a big dollup of lemon curd to the top of each cupcake.
  • Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are pale golden-brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.

For the meringue

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g sugar

Method

  • Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Gradually add the sugar, whisking continuously, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  • When the cakes are cooked, turn off the oven and preheat the grill to its highest setting.
  • Spoon or pipe the meringue over the cupcakes. Place them under the hot grill for 2-3 minutes, or until the meringue is golden-brown.

Recipe taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemonmeringuecupcake_92527

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Banoffee Cupcakes

banoffee cupcakesThese aren’t something I would choose to make myself, as I’m not a fan of toffee. Caramel? YES. Toffee? Nah. It’s caramel gone too far. Tipped over the edge. But I had a request from a work colleague so how could I refuse? I can’t remember if I even ate one, (I made these over a year ago) which is annoying as I should have. What kind of baker am I if I don’t even try my own wares? But I do remember my team telling me how scrumptious they were. So for that reason, I am welcoming them to blogdom.

Ingredients
175g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g light soft brown sugar
1 very ripe banana (about 150g) peeled
3 medium eggs
100 unsalted butter, melted
75ml buttermilk

For the topping:
150g dulce de leche toffee sauce
75g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 190C, gas mark 5. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

Put the flour, bicarb and brown sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mash the banana with a fork. Put the eggs, melted butter and buttermilk into a jug and lightly beat together until combined. Pour into the flour mixture along with the mashed banana and stir with a spatula until just combined. Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden and risen. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the decoration, whisk together the dulce de leche and butter until well combined. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Use a palette knife to spread the buttercream on to the top of each cake. Decorate. I used mini smarties. You could use mini fudge chunks. That’s what the recipe recommended but I couldn’t find any.

Recipe taking from my Good Housekeeping cake book.

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Giant cupcake

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If you’re a fan of the cupcake, then what could be better? A giant cupcake of course.

I did a bit of research into the moulds first and settled on a cast-aluminium non-stick one, rather than a silicone mould. Only because I had heard these were better. Not having ever used a silicone one I can’t make a comparison myself, but I can say that the cast-aluminium one worked really well. Phew.

Giant cupcake mould

As stated on the instructions I used a 6 egg cake mix, and added the cake mix to the lid part of the mould half way through cooking because that bakes faster than the base. As I made this about nine months ago I can’t now remember which recipe I used, but there are lots of 6 egg cake mix recipes online.
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Once baked I cut the base in two and sandwiched buttercream in between the pieces, as well as adding buttercream in between the base and the lid. I was then attacked by a girly moment, used a Wilton 1M nozzle to pipe even more buttercream onto the lid, dotted on some edible sugar flowers (to hide the gaps!), sprinkled over some edible decorations and glitter and finished off with a happy birthday on top and a ribbon around the base (sadly, not edible).
I baked this one for my mum for her birthday last year and it went down a treat.
Claire
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Cupcake decorating

If you’re looking for some inspiration for decorating cupcakes then look no further. Well, look to the end of this post at least!

A star nozzle can give you piping like this:

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You can create different effects depending on whether you pipe from the outside of the cake in, or from the middle of the cake out to the edges.

The rope nozzle gives piping that looks like…wait for it…a rope:

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A two-tone piping bag has two bags (which you fill with different coloured butter icing) that feed into one nozzle. Ooooohhh:

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For extra two-toneness I made a vanilla and chocolate cake mixture and swirled them together before spooning it into the cases:

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I think I made these ones using a petal nozzle. I piped two layers, but the butter icing was a bit runny and so the petals weren’t as defined as they could have been:

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Glace icing is very easy to make and gives a smooth finish to bakes. It’s just icing sugar and warm water and you can adjust the consistency and add flavourings just the same as butter icing. Recipes for glace and butter icing can usually be found on the back of the icing sugar packets. I added a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to these ones:

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At the Earls Court Cake and Bake Event last year I bought a stencil and made these:

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It’s very easy to do and the result is pretty impressive *looks smug*. Basically I bought some ready to roll icing in blue. Rolled it out. Laid the stencil over the top. Shook over some edible glitter. Cut out circles using a glass. Then placed the pieces over the cakes. Easy peasey. The glitter was from the ‘Rainbow Dust Edible Silk Range’ in Metallic Gold Treasure and Metallic Fire Cracker.

So there you go. Hope that’s given you a few ideas for future baking. There’s a whole variety of nozzles and decorations out there so go for it!

Decorations

Nozzles

Claire

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Malteser cupcakes

Malteser cupcakes

Cake with Maltesers! An exciting combination. I made these for a friend who loves Maltesers. And who doesn’t? Plus I kept a few back for me. For quality control purposes. Light malty sponge with Malteser flavoured butter icing, topped with whole and crushed Maltesers. Oh yeah. Here’s how to make them, along with a warning below for your consideration…

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

For the cake:

  • 110g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 2 heaped tbsp Ovaltine (I couldn’t find any in my local shop so used Horlicks. It worked. Although I would like to try Ovaltine next time.)

For the butter icing:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 75g Maltesers (for decoration and snacking)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • For the cake: Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/160C and place the cupcake cases into a cupcake tray or directly onto a baking tray.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, flour and Ovaltine and beat until smooth.
  • Spoon the cake mix into the paper cases and bake for 15 – 20  minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the centres spring back when pressed lightly. (When baking cakes never open the door until the time stated in the recipe has been reached. Otherwise the cakes won’t rise properly and are likely to sink in the middle. Once the time has been reached you can check if they’re ready and pop them back in if not.)
  • Once cooked, leave to cool slightly in the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the butter icing: Using a food processor or bashing with a rolling pin (while in a bag), crush the Maltesers into a fine dust and keep in a separate bowl for now. (See the warning below for the significance of this step coming first if using a food processor.)
  • Beat the butter and icing sugar together (adding the icing sugar a bit at a time) until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy.
  • Then add the vanilla extract and the Malteser dust and beat a bit more.
  • Decorate the cakes with the butter icing. I spread mine over these ones. After I had a piping fail.
  • Warning: Two pieces of advice – 1) If you decide to pipe the butter icing onto the cakes, the Malteser pieces must be small enough to pass through the piping nozzle. 2) If using a food processor to make the butter icing the Malteser pieces must be crushed before they are added to the butter and icing sugar mixture. Sounds obvious, right? No my friend. Beware. Maltesers are crafty and tempting. I had already beat in the Malteser dust and was ready to start decorating, but was overcome with greed and Malteser frenzy, and added more and more whole ones. I was using a food processor and the whole ones didn’t get crushed enough in amongst the butter icing, which was not detected until it was too late and there was already a jam in the piping bag. A jam in the piping bag is very bothersome so take heed of this warning!
  • Break up some more Maltesers using a knife, crumble the pieces over the cakes and top with a whole one. Ta-dah!

I found this recipe online here. Thank you Sunday Girl.

Claire

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Sweet Shop Cupcakes

IMG_2040Sweets AND cake? In one? Now you’re talking. These little pretties were made for my friends summer birthday. They’re so cute! I mean, they’re only your standard vanilla sponge and buttercream, and the decoration is beyond simple. But they still managed to impress. They looked fab, if I do say so myself. Lots of us don’t eat sweets as grown ups (sad fact). So I think to be presented with them like this makes us feel all nostalgic and kid-like again.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Topping & decoration:

  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 50ml milk
  • Dolly mixtures, jelly beans, any kind of sweet you like!

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale, fluffy and well combined.
  • Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and beat into the mixture.
  • Fold in the flour and baking powder until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases.
  • Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are pale golden-brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the topping, whisk to butter and icing sugar together, adding the milk at the end, always whisking.
  • Using a palette knife, spread a little over each cake. Or pipe it. It’s up to you. I did a bit of both. Next decorate with your sweets. A light sprinkling of hundreds and thousands finished the job.

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