Tag Archives: strawberry

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

Valentine’s Cupcakes – Renshaw Baking Competition

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, time to get thinking about what gifts you are going to buy/make/bake your loved one. Cupcakes make the perfect present so maybe these Valentine’s themed cupcakes will give you some inspiration to make your own! I was recently contacted again by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their Valentine’s Day Baking Competition. Last year I took part in the Royal Baby Competition and made this ‘From Cradle to Crown Cake‘, so I was ready for another competition! The challenge was to ask a loved one to bake something special for Valentine’s Day using Renshaw Baking products we were sent. I asked my lovely sister Rose, who jumped at the opportunity to test out some icing and make some cupcakes! I’m sure you will agree that what she came up with is fabulous! She couldn’t decide which products to use so she went for several of them and came up with three different Valentine’s cupcakes.

So here we have it – Valentine’s Cupcakes for the Renshaw Baking Competition made by my lovely sister Rose!

Valentine's Cupcakes

To make the vanilla cupcakes :

6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz unsalted butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

These are really easy to make, just put all the ingredients in one bowl and use an electric mixer to combine all the ingredients together. Spoon out into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes. Then it is time to ice and decorate!

These first cupcakes are my favourite, they are iced with the Renshaw Baking snip and swirl milk chocolate flavour icing. It is a lovely chocolate fudge flavour and texutre. They are decorated with Renshaw mini chocolate beans, hearts made from Renshaw ready to roll red icing and finished with a sprinkling of edible glitter.

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

These next ones are iced with a delicious Renshaw snip and swirl strawberry flavour icing, decorated with Renshaw Pink and white pearls and finished with a foil wrapped chocolate heart. Beautiful!

Strawberry Valentine's Cupcakes

Finally we have these ones decorated beautifully with a rose. These are iced with Renshaw snip and swirl vanilla icing, decorated with dots of red icing and finished with a handmade rose made from Renshaw ready to roll icing.

Vanilla cupcakes

Here are the beautifully iced cupcakes and the decorations she used.

Iced cupcakes

Renshaw

I hope you agree with me that she has done a fantastic job! Here she is with her cupcake creations:

Rosie and her cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Baking!

Lottie xx

Thanks to Renshaw Baking for sending the icing and decorations.

renshaw

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry and Chocolate Cupcakes

Strawberries are everywhere at the moment, made famous by Wimbledon’s strawberries and cream, they are the perfect summer fruit. Therefore also the perfect fruit to use in your baking this summer! I can’t seem to get enough of strawberries right now but chocolate and strawberry are a perfect combination.

I finished University recently, finished 6 years of medical school and had a lovely graduation day (you can see a picture of me on my graduation day below) earlier this month at Royal Festival Hall as well as a graduation ball at the Tower of London. A fantastic end to an amazing 6 years! During my last placement I had promised my class that I would bake them something and bring it in, I made them 12 of these strawberry and chocolate cupcakes and 12 orange and lemon cupcakes and then transported them across London in my amazing 24 cupcake carrier! These cupcakes are chocolate sponge iced with a strawberry cream cheese frosting topped with a strawberry and a drizzle of melted chocolate.

Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

For the cupcakes I based the chocolate cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook as I find this Hummingbird recipe works very well every time, it is also a lovely moist chocolate cake. I used it in my very first blog post – Black Forest Cupcakes and also for these Christmas cupcakes. This time I adjusted the measurements of the ingredients to give a slightly bigger cupcake.

Cupcakes

To make 12 cupcakes you will need:

150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
210g caster sugar
2.5 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter (softened slightly)
180ml whole milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat slowly until the mixture looks sandy. You can do this with your fingers if you prefer, rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients. Whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together and pour half of this into the flour mix in the bowl. Beat well before adding the remaining milk and egg mix and beating again until well combined. The mixture should be smooth. Pour or spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cakes until about two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C. When they are done they should be bouncy to touch. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Chocolate cupcakes

To make the strawberry cream cheese frosting (I used this recently without the strawberry on some vanilla and raspberry cupcakes) you will need:

200g unsalted butter (softened)
200g cream cheese
500g icing sugar (sifted)
3 tbsp strawberry purée (made from fresh strawberries)
pink food colouring (I use the Sugarflair pastes)

Start by making the strawberry purée with a handful of fresh strawberries. There is no need to cook the strawberries first, using a food processor purée the strawberries. If you don’t have a food processor or blender just use an electric hand whisk. Once you have made a purée push it through a fine sieve to remove the little strawberry seeds that coat the strawberries on the outside.

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined and then add the cream cheese and beat well. Finally add the strawberry puree and pink food colouring until you get your desired colour. If you are using the pastes, a little goes a long way. Beat well but don’t over mix or the frosting will go runny. If this happens you can add more icing sugar or you can leave the frosting in the fridge to firm up so that you can pipe it.

Strawberry frosting

Now it is time to assemble the cupcakes! Use a piping bag fitted with your favourite nozzle (I used the Wilton 1M to create a Mr Whippy style swirl) to pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top each cake with half a strawberry and drizzle with melted chocolate. Leave the chocolate to set before serving. Enjoy some lovely fruity, summery cupcakes!

Cupcakes on stand

And here is a picture of me with my siblings on my graduation day, it was such a lovely day and a great way to end 6 years. Hope you like the shoes! On to the next chapter!

GraduationLottie xx

PS. I am entering these fruity cupcakes into this month’s Tea Time Treats and this month’s Calendar Cakes as theme for both is fruit! Tea Time Treats is hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked. Calendar Cakes is hosted by Laura Loves Cakes and Dolly Bakes.

calendar-cakes

tea time treats

 

Optimized-DSC_0099 (2)

Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Something very sad happened recently. You may remember that on 18th September I posted about my Strawberry and Cream Macarons, well don’t cry…..but they got lost! Lost in the world of cyberspace forever! However I decided that it would be such a shame to lose them forever so here it is again! I hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry and Cream Macarons

Last time I wrote this I wrote about my experience in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony on 9th September. I was a flag escort and walked out with the San Marino flag bearer. We all formed a heart shape and then a heart of fire lit up around us. After we had done our bit we joined Team GB to watch the rest of the show. It was just amazing and Coldplay were just incredible. One of the best experiences of my life. I was on such a high from the Paralympic Ceremonies that it has taken me ages to come back down to earth! Now I am gathering things together for my London 2012 scrapbook. You can read about my Paralympic Opening Ceremony experience here. I even made Paralympic Cupcakes!

Now I am back at University and life has started to get back to normal…although I am looking forward to my next time on stage now in Half a Sixpence with Epsom Light Opera Company! Not long to go! Rehearsals also make the perfect opportunity to bake cakes for people (not that I need an excuse)! Every time I watch The Great British Bake Off I want to make what they have been baking, I am building up such a list I don’t know how I will fit it all in! Don’t forget to enter your Bake Off inspired bakes into my Bake Off Challenge….deadline for the next round up is 5th October!

Now back to resurrecting my Stawberry and Cream Macarons:

Delicious Macarons presented on a table

To make macarons I use this recipe and technique from the Delicious Magazine Website. I find it works really well. You can see how to make the basic macarons here on my Cappuccino Macarons post. The recipe and technique are exactly the same for these macarons, the only difference being adding the food colouring. It is really important that you don’t overmix when you add the ground almonds, or your macarons will be like pancakes. To avoid this you need to add the colouring to the beaten egg whites before you add the almonds. Fold the colouring into the egg whites gently, until the colour is even, then add the almonds. I did the same thing for my Chocolate Orange Macarons. The colour I used was the Sugarflair Pink Paste, a little goes a long way and pastes are good because they don’t water down your mixture.

Macarons at an early stage

Perfectly bakes macarons

Once you have baked the macarons you can do the filling. I filled these with strawberry jam and buttercream.

To make the buttercream:

100g softened unsalted butter
200g sifted icing sugar (I used golden icing sugar, hence the colour of my icing)
drop of vanilla extract

Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until well combined. Add a drop of milk if you need to loosen the icing up to pipe it.

Pipe the buttercream onto half of the macarons and had a blob of jam. Sandwich the halves together. I decorated my macarons using a Sugarflair Sugar Art pen.

Piping the filling into the macarons

Beautiful macarons

And here is the heart that we formed with the flags in the Closing Ceremony:

Paralympic closing ceremony

Thank you for reading and happy baking!

Lottie xx

 

 

 

chocolate_dipped_rose_and_strawberry_meringues

Chocolate Dipped Rose and Strawberry Meringues

The last 2 weeks have seen me practically glued to the TV at any spare moment. I will admit it, I was addicted to the Olympics. I’m not even a very sporty person, yet I found myself enjoying every sport that there is and screaming at the TV with excitement when we won medals! I also thought that both of the ceremonies were just absolutely fantastic! Like many, I did feel a little bit sad at the end of the closing ceremony, that was the end of the Olympics and it was such a fabulous 2 weeks, everywhere in London was buzzing. Now I am just as excited though for the Paralympics, I cannot wait for them to start. I am performing in the Opening and Closing ceremonies and had my first rehearsal recently, I cannot put into words how excited I am to be a part of these ceremonies! Bring on the Paralympics!

Me and Russ supporting Team GB at the Olympics:

However you may have noticed that I haven’t had a chance to blog over the last 2 weeks of the Olympic period, there was just too much happening! Then this weekend I went on a little Camping Trip to Eastbourne. Turns out a 6 man tent really isn’t big enough for 6 people! All of us being Olympic fans we found a big screen in Eastbourne where the Olympics were being shown. We turned out there at 10am on Saturday morning to watch the diving semi final and cheer on Tom Daley and were practically the only people there. We were back again in the evening and sat in the cold to see Mo Farah win and Tom Daley get his bronze. This time a few more people were there. On Sunday we turned up for the Closing Ceremony, armed with sleeping bags to keep us warm, to find the place absolutely jam packed with people! It was fantastic and the atmosphere was amazing. An excellent end to the Olympics. Now though it is time for another little blog. This is another pretty post, I do like a bit of pretty baking. These meringues are lovely and make a fantastic summer treat for a party or picnic. They are rose and strawberry meringues dipped in chocolate and drizzled in chocolate. Yum!

 

To make these meringues you will need:

4 large egg whites (at room temp)
120g caster sugar
120g icing sugar
2 tsp rose water (I used English Provender Co. Essence of Rose Water)
Freeze dried strawberries (I used a tube by Cake Professional from Waitrose)
Pink food colouring – optional  (I use Sugarflair Colour Pastes)
Chocolate for dipping (I used white and dark chocolate)

Beat the egg whites on medium speed with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar a bit at a time and beat in between each addition. Also add the rose water and a small amount of food colouring if you are using it. Add the icing sugar half at a time and fold in using a metal spoon trying to keep as much air in the egg whites as possible, also fold in the freeze dried strawberries at this stage.

Spoon or pipe the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. I tried to pipe swirls using a 1M nozzle but the strawberries get stuck in the nozzle so make sure you use quite a large round nozzle if piping.

Bake in a preheated oven at 100C for about 1.5 hours. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water. Once the meringues are cool dip the bottom of the meringues in the chocolate and put on a piece of greaseproof paper to leave the chocolate to set. Drizzle any left over chocolate over the meringues.

I made half of mine pink and half of them white. The white ones I dipped in dark chocolate and the pink ones in white chocolate.

On another exciting note, The Great British Bake Off starts tonight! Woop woop!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am linking this to the Cook.Eat.Delicious-Desserts blog event because the theme this month is Chocolate! It is hosted this month by Culinary Vibes.

I am also entering it into Simple and in Season hosted by Ren at Fabulicious Food because strawberries are in season this month.

I am also entering this into Calendar Cakes hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes. The theme this month is British Summertime, so these fit in nicely!

Victoria sponge 150

Back to summer with a Victoria Sponge Cake

My full winter wardrobe is pretty much in use now, with thick socks, gloves and scarves, it just seems to be getting colder and colder! I’m still holding out a bit longer though before I get the hats out, then it means winter is actually here! I’m quite a fan of autumn and winter clothes, so I’m quite looking forward to it getting colder! But in the mean time I thought I’d bring back a touch of summer for you all with this summery Victoria sponge cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream! And it’s really easy too!

Victoria sponge cake

Ingredients:

6oz butter (at room temp)
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour
Strawberry jam
Double cream, lightly whipped
Fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
Icing sugar for dusting

Start by creaming together the butter and the sugar until soft and well mixed. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each egg. If the mixture starts to curdle add a little bit of the flour. Once all 3 eggs have been added fold in the flour with a metal spoon until it is all combined.
Pour even amounts into 2 greased and lined sandwich tins and level off the top.
Pop into a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes, until the sponge is springy to touch. Leave to cool for a while in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
Once cool, spread one cake with a thick layer of jam, sliced strawberries and thick layer of whipped cream, add the top with the second cake, and finish with a dusting of icing sugar (seeing as it is such an English cake, I did my icing sugar in some kind of union jack design). A lovely summer cake!

Cake from above

Lottie xx

In other news, my long awaited for Wilton 1M nozzle arrived this week, very exciting, so expect lots of post exams Christmas Cupcakes!