Friday, 16 September 2011

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

A difficult one this!
I am on a mission to find the best vanilla cupcake, part of the problem being that it is such a personal thing. After trying the Primrose Bakery recipe a couple of years ago, it was all I used for a long time. 
About a year ago, I made the Hummingbird Bakery recipe and with the help of my friends we conducted a very non-scientific (and fattening) experiment as to which one we preferred. Again, the Primrose one came out on top. However, I am convinced that there is a better recipe out there somewhere just waiting to be found.
Although the taste and texture of the Primrose Bakery cupcake is delicious on day one, its crumbly texture means that it dries out incredibly quickly.  As it is not always practical or possible to make the cupcakes on the day they are going to be eaten, this can sometimes present a bit of a problem. (and a very early alarm call).
So, off I go on my mission into the world of the vanilla cupcake.
I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Gingerbread Men

With the children still being off school, I am rapidly running out of ideas to keep myself sane. Well, today we made gingerbread men. I love making these as they remind me so much of when my boys were really small. They both loved 'ginger men' and can still polish a tin full off in record time. the recipe I use is so simple but for me it produces the perfect taste and texture. If you like yours a bit chewier just add a bit more syrup.

350g / 12oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
100g / 4oz butter or hard (block) marg
175g / 6oz light soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
4 tablespoons of golden syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

1) Put the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl.
2) Rub in the butter.
3) Add sugar, syrup and egg and mix until it forms a firm dough.
4) Roll out to about 5mm thick.
5) Cut into desired shapes.
6) Bake for 10 to 15 Minutes.
7) Leave to cool on a wire rack.
8) When cool, decorate as desired.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


I've been meaning to have a go at baking macaroons for ages now and after being inspired by last nights 'Great British Bake Off' I was really in the mood for having a go today. My husband is not really 'into' fruit flavoured things (far too healthy), so I thought I would try my hand at some chocolate mint flavoured ones. I had a good look round for a nice easy recipe and found a great one on a blog called 'The Pink Whisk' which is written by Ruth from last years GBBO. 
I followed Ruth's instructions to the letter and am delighted how they turned out.
I coloured them green and filled them with a rich dark chocolate and mint ganache.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cupcake Decorating

I've not written lately as time seems to have run away with me. 
Last week I did a cupcake decorating session with a group of Explorer Scouts. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and they all went home with a bag full of beautifully (?) decorated cupcakes.
I taught them how to colour sugarpaste and make a rose and how to use cutters, moulds and some other 'tools of the trade'. I made plenty of cupcakes for them to decorate and I demonstrated 5 different designs.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Lavender Cupcakes

Lavender is a flavour I've wanted to have a play with after visiting Yorkshire Lavender and trying their lavender ice-cream.
I came up with these cupcakes which I have to say have turned out remarkably well. I am really pleased with the flavour, which is definitely of lavender but not overpowering.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


My youngest son is mad about Lego and last week he came home from school telling me he had seen a picture of some chocolate Lego mini-figures that were really cool.
Not to be outdone and to keep up the pretence that I am super mum, I decided to see if I could find some of the aforementioned mini-figures.
After a bit of shopping around I found a Lego ice cube mould on ebay that I was sure would do the job. He was having a friend home after school today and they had asked me if I would make them some buns. So, as you can imagine I was delighted when the postie brought me a lovely little parcel this morning. 
Well, after a bit of a play this afternoon, I had enough little chocolate figures for a batch of cupcakes and I am fairly happy with how they turned out. I think next time I need to do a bit more banging to get some more of the air bubbles out.
When we got home after school I told the boys that I had made them some buns. After a mad dash to the kitchen and lots of oohing and aahing, the final verdict was in. They are cool and awesome and, its official, I am amazing!

and of course, when it was his birthday he had to have a lego cake................

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Christening Cake

When I was first asked to make a three-tier cake for a baptism for six children (3 boys and 3 girls) I was apprehensive but delighted to have been asked.
I decided to take the bull by the horns and jump in at the deep end (and any other suitable metaphors you can think of).
I was concerned that I had bitten off more that I could chew (there I go with another of my much loved metaphors) but decided that if I am going to stand a chance of getting any sort of business off the ground then the more cakes I can get out there and seen by people the better.
I spoke to the lady and went ahead planning what I was going to do, incorporating the ideas she had put forward into my design, all the time terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off and it my first experience of making a tiered cake would all end in tears (boom boom).
Well, it really couldn’t have gone better I don’t think, I had a couple of hairy moments but I was really pleased with how it came out and the lady was delighted.