Tag Archives: vanilla

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

 

 

 

 

Pastries fresh from the oven

Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries

Danish Pastries are a recent addition to my baking repertoire, but after my success with croissants moving on to danish pastries was a natural progression. Again I turned to Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake‘ for advice on how to make a basic danish pastry dough and then I filled them with whatever I wanted. These particular ones are filled with vanilla creme patissiere, flaked almonds and dark chocolate chips. My favourite danish pastries are Pain aux Raisin, really just because I love the shape, so I opted to use the snail shaped swirl for these pastries too. They make take time to make but homemade croissants and danish pastries really are so much better than the ones you buy in the shop, the smell they fill your kitchen with when they are baking is also wonderful and the bonus is that you can add to them whatever you want. You can see my chocolate orange croissants here. Just be prepared as to how much butter both of these doughs really do use!

Danish Pastries

To make these Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries you will need:

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
2 medium eggs
90ml water
125ml warm whole milk
250g chilled, unsalted butter

For the filling:
100g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
40g cornflour
500ml whole milk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate chips
100g flaked almonds

To finish:
Beaten egg
Flaked almonds
Apricot jam
200g icing sugar

Start the dough the night before you plan to eat the pastries. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl, mix together. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix until well combined. If making in a mixer leave on a medium speed for 6 minutes, if making by hand then knead the dough for up to 10 minutes. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove the dough from the fridge and roll to a rectangle approx 50cmx20cm. Take the butter and flatten it with a rolling pin. You want to make it into a rectangle that will cover two thirds of the dough. You can sandwich the butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use the rolling pin to roll it out. Once the butter is flattened place it on top of the bottom two thirds of the dough, it should come almost to the edge. Fold the top third of dough over a third of the butter and then fold the bottom half up over the top. Pinch the edges and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Flatten the butter

After another hour take the dough out of the fridge and put on a floured surface. Have the short end towards you and roll the dough into a 50cmx20cm rectangle again. Fold up one third and then the other third. Chill for another hour. Repeat this twice more, chilling between each turn.

Dough

Now leave the dough in the fridge overnight to rise.

You can make your creme patissiere ahead of time too. Whisk together the sugar, egg yolks (discard the whites) and cornflour until smooth. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla extract. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Pour a splash of this milk onto the egg mixture and whisk together then pour all of it into the milk and stir over a gentle heat. Stir until it becomes thick and then remove from the heat. If you have any lumps don’t worry, just pour the mixture through a sieve to smooth it out. Add the butter, stir in and then leave to cool and chill.

The next day it is time to put all of your hard work into actually making some danish pastries. Take the dough from the fridge and cut in half, you should be able to see lots of lovely layers.

layers

Take one half and roll into a large rectangle with the long edge facing you. Spread the creme patissiere over the dough, leaving a couple of cm clear at the edge closest to you so it doesn’t leak out too much when you roll it. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and chocolate chips over the creme patissiere.

Sprinkle with chocolate

Roll the dough towards you, rolling as tight as you can. Cut the roll into slices approx 3cm thick and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough (you may wish to use a different filling for the second half of the dough – raisins and cranberries with some cinnamon work well sprinkled on the creme patissiere).

Ready to bake

Leave the pastries in a warm spot for approx 2 hours, they should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C, brush the pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until lovely and golden. While they are in the oven heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam and brush the pastries with it as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pastries fresh from the oven

 

To finish mix the icing sugar with a couple of tbsp water and drizzle over the pastries, sprinkle with flaked almonds and enjoy while still warm!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into this month’s Calendar Cakes as this is me trying something new. This is hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

calendar-cakes

 

2 cupcakes

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Someone asked me the other day as we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery just why cupcakes are so popular. It’s true, we really do have an obsession with cupcakes. While macarons, whoopie pies and marshmallows have all had their go and tried to become the ‘new thing’, the cupcake always wins. There are small (well kind of) and everyone loves little individual cakes but I think the real win is in their variation. There is a cupcake to suit everybody. Whatever flavour you want be that lemon, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, the list goes on. Covered in whatever frosting you like …. ganache, cream cheese icing, buttercream. Then of course they can be decorated however you want, be it with a quick dash of sprinkles or more elaborately with little fondant figures. It is no wonder everybody loves a cupcake. And that’s why when we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery we couldn’t help but be tempted inside by row upon row of absolutely perfect looking cupcakes and choose our individual, just what we want, cakes. Another thing…cupcakes are great fun to make at home and with a piping bag and a bit of simple decoration, very easy to make look professional.

vanilla and chocolate cupcakes

This recipe is for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, for that time when you can’t decide which you want. The chocolate sponge is dark and moist and is covered with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. I finished these cakes with simple pink daisy, made from fondant icing.

Cupcake

To make the chocolate sponge (12 cupcakes) you will need:

110g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
125g caster sugar
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
125ml whole milk
65ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, add the sugars, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. In another bowl beat together the egg, milk and sunflower oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The cake mix will be very runny so pour it into a jug so you can pour it out into the baking cases. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one half to two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 -25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cupcakes

Now to make the icing, you will need:

125g full fat cream cheese (cold)
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
450g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. If you are using an electric whisk or stand mixer then you might want to cover the bowl and whisk with a tea towel while you do this bit to avoid getting icing sugar everywhere. Now add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and whisk again. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined, if you whisk it too much then the icing will go runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. Fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (I used the Wilton 1M nozzle – my favourite as I’m sure you know by now!) and pipe big swirls of frosting on to your completely cooled cupcakes. Finish with whatever decoration you fancy!

Tray of cupcakes

2 cupcakes

And while we are on the topic of cupcakes here are a few cupcakes I came across recently:

How absolutely amazing are these gorgeous cupcakes that I found in the Whole Foods Market in Kensington!

Flower cupcakes

And have you ever seen so many red velvet cupcakes in one place as at The Hummingbird Bakery in Soho??

Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Cupcake Baking!

Lottie xx

Butterfly cupcakes

Raspberry and Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Butterflies

I have this thing for butterflies, I love them. In fact our whole flat is decorated with butterflies, my boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind, he must have a secret love for butterflies too. It is a bit like hide and seek but with butterflies, they are dotted around everywhere!  At the moment you seem to be able to buy butterfly stickers and feather butterflies everywhere, perfect for making the flat prettier. I like to use butterflies to decorate my cakes too, one of my very first posts back in 2011 was in fact some pretty butterfly cupcakes and I adorned this ruffled pink chocolate cake with butterflies too. Recently I came across these wafer paper butterflies on Amazon from Eshack, colourful and realistic looking butterflies that are just perfect for cupcakes! These raspberry and vanilla cupcakes are vanilla sponge cupcakes with a raspberry jam swirl, decorated with two tone cream cheese vanilla frosting.

Butterfly cupcakes

 

To make the cupcakes you will need:

170g butter or margarine (I use Stork)
170g golden caster sugar
170g self raising flour
3 eggs
splash of milk
1tsp vanilla extract
raspberry jam

Start by preheating the oven to 180C and lining a muffin tray with cupcake cases. In a bowl beat together the butter and the sugar until creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour to the cake mixture and gently fold in using a metal spoon or a spatula until it is all combined. In a small saucepan gently eat a few tablespoons of the raspberry jam until it is runny. Now spoon the cake mix into the cases until they are half full. Drizzle a spoonful of jam over each cake and top with the rest of the cake mix so that each case is about 3/4 full. Now use a skewer to give each one a swirl. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes or until they are golden and springy to touch. Take out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Jam

Jam swirling

 

 

To make the cream cheese frosting you will need:

200g unsalted butter (softened)
200g cream cheese (I used Philidelphia)
500g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until well combined, trying not to get icing sugar everywhere like I do! Now add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat in well. Add the milk if you need to loosen up the mixture a bit. Beat the frosting so that it is light and creamy and keep in the fridge to set until needed.

Icing the cupcakes

To ice my cupcakes I used a Wilton 1M nozzle (my favourite!). To do the two tone icing you need to paint a stripe of food colouring down the inside of the nozzle and piping bag, I like to use the food colouring pastes as I find they work much better than liquid food colourings. I used Sugarflair pastes in pink and tangerine, putting a stripe of each inside the bag. Once you have added the colour put the icing into your piping bag, squeezing it down to the end and pipe straight onto your cupcakes. To get this effect I have used pipe from the outside in. Piping from inside out will give you a pretty rose effect. You will find that the first few cupcakes have a very bright colour with diminishes the more you pipe, so to keep your colour bright you might want to use a couple of piping bags and do half of your cupcakes with each.

Cupcakes

 

Inside the cupcakes

 

Hope you all enjoyed some bank holiday baking this weekend!

Lottie xx

christmas-cupcakes2

Christmas Cupcakes!

Christmas Cupcakes!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There is something just so magical about Christmas, everything is so exciting and there is so much going on! I am away for Christmas this year and will actually be on a plane so I am determined to make the most of everything Christmassy before I go. We may not be here on Christmas Day but the Christmas Tree is still up in our flat, decorated with red and gold glittery baubles, glittery little birds and traditional white lights. When the Christmas tree goes up that means that Christmas really is here! I made some of my own decorations too this year and have given them to people as presents. I dried oranges (which made the kitchen smell delightful), then threaded them with cranberries and cinnamon sticks to make decorations! And of course I have been doing some Christmas baking, mince pies and even Panettone this year. These though are my Christmas cupcakes for this year, they have a variety of decorations, the snowflake ones being similar to my Winter Cupcakes from last year. These cakes were made to sell at ELOCs performances of Jingle Belles where I was working behind the bar and selling lots of mulled wine!

christmas-cupcakes2

I made half of them vanilla and half of the chocolate cupcakes. I topped the vanilla cupcakes with either the festive red sparkly icing or with the fondant icing present design. I topped the chocolate cupcakes with either chocolate icing and holly or blue icing and snowflakes. All of them were finished off with a touch of edible silk shimmer dust.

To make the vanilla cupcakes:

6oz golden caster sugar
6oz butter or margarine
3 large eggs
6oz self raising flour
splash of milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one. Fold the flour into the mixture with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Add a splash of milk and the vanilla and mix in. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes.

To make the chocolate cupcakes I used the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book which gives lovely, moist cupcakes. You can see the recipe here where I used it for my Black Forest Cupcakes.

christmas-cupcakes3

To make the frosting:

Beat 250g softened unsalted butter together with 500g seived icing sugar. Add 2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Beat until smooth and creamy. To make the chocolate icing add seived cocoa powder to the frosting.

The cupcake toppers were made out of rolled fondant icing using holly and snowflake cutters.

christmas-cupcakes4

I rolled a pattern onto my present toppers using a textured rolling pin like this, I love the effect!

christmas-cupcakes5

christmas-cupcakes6

christmas-cupcakes7

Merry Christmas everybody!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into Calendar Cakes hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

calender-cakes

 

Optimized-DSC_0992-2-1024x685

Fondant Rose Cupcakes

Fondant Rose Cupcakes

Halloween this year just seemed to pass me by, I sadly didn’t even get round to baking anything pumpkin themed. Last year was the first time I made a pumpkin pie and I think it will have to be done again soon. In fact I only really registered it was Halloween when I was having dinner in Croydon on Wednesday and the Grim Reaper glided past on rollerskates with a sign saying ‘Free Hugs Or Else’! So instead of some Halloween baking I have something much prettier to post about. Last time I posted I wrote about the Rose Cake I made but because my sister managed to spread out her birthday so long, the week after I got another chance to make a rose themed cake. Yay! This time we have Rose Cupcakes and I decided to try my hand at some sugarcraft, something I hadn’t done before. It was rather therapeutic though really, I spent an evening learning to make and making lots of little fondant roses! This is the video I used to learn how to make them. I used a Renshaw Ready to Roll icing which is a lovely bright pink, I was quite pleased with the result. The cupcakes themselves are simple vanilla cupcakes and they are iced with runny fondant icing. I finished them off with a sprinkle of Rainbow Dust Edible Silk, which meant that when she blew the candles out the air was full of glitter!

Optimized-DSC_0009-2

To make the cupcakes:

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

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well, add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and fold in with a spatula until it is all combined. Spoon into cupcake cases but don’t fill them too much, you want to have a nice flat top to your cupcakes when you ice them. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes and leave to cool before icing.

To ice the cupcakes make up some icing with a couple of drops of rose water. You can use standard icing sugar or fondant icing sugar for a fudgier texture. Spoon the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and leave the icing to level out and create a flat surface. Ice the cupcakes right to the top of the case.

Optimized-DSC_0965-2-1024x685 (1)Optimized-DSC_0976-2-1024x685Optimized-DSC_0992-2-1024x685

Add your Roses and sprinkle of glitter and they are done!

IMAG0979-2-1024x613

Lottie xx

I am entering this into Tea Time Treats. The theme this month is CAKE! It is hosted byLavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

tea-time-treats1-150x150

 

1

A Rose Cake for a beautiful Rose

A Rose Cake for a beautiful Rose

My sister’s name is Rose. Therefore her birthday cake had to have roses. And be pink of course. Queue the Wilton 1M, ready for some rose swirls! Rose is a lovely name, very pretty and it means she is so easy to buy presents for. I am probably most guilty of always buying her things with roses on them but this  I managed to steer away from anything printed with roses, even wrapping paper … although I did still opt for arRose themed cake of course. Oh and it had to be pink or I think she might have cried (yes, it was her 21st). Rosie, if you are reading this, after the success of the ‘Rose Cake’ your challenge is now to make a ‘Lottie Cake’ … Good Luck!!

1

My sister’s 21st birthday was great fun. She managed to spread it out over an awfully long time but I think that is allowed when it is your 21st. It started at the after show party for ‘Half a Sixpence‘ where she turned 21 when the clock struck 12. This is where we had this cake. The next day we all went for afternoon tea at Fanny’s Farm in the pudding room. Fanny’s Farm is a delightful place and the pudding room was lovely…and yet more cake! I made her another cake too that she took to work that week and then the weekend after it was time for a meal out with family friends and then off to party. This time I made cupcakes…Rose themed cakes of course! Then at the end of this week she was off to the Ritz for afternoon tea, lucky her! … yet more cake!

You might recognise the theme of dark chocolate cake and pink icing from a cake I have previously blogged. I think it is really effective and everyone loves chocolate cake, so I went for it again, but with a different cake recipe this time. After the success of the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake I made for another recent birthday I decided to use the sponge recipe for this cake. It is a lovely moist and chocolatey cake. You can find the recipe here. It is from theHummingbird Bakery Book ‘Cake Days’. I used exactly the same recipe but isntead of dividing the mix between 3 tins I used 2 this time. You can also see a previous Rose Swirl cake I have made here.

The icing is a simple vanilla buttercream, the only thing is you need a lot of it to do the rose swirls. It is better to make more than you need as well so you don’t have to make up more and try to get the same colour. With an electric whisk beat together 500g softened unsalted butter with 1kg sifted icing sugar. Add 2 tbsp milk to loosen the mixture and add food colouring to acheive the colour you want. I used Sugarflair Pink Paste for this, you only need a tiny bit. Put a small amount of buttercream on the cake board you are using to stick the bottom layer to. Ice the top of this with a layer of buttercream and sandwich with the second layer.

2

Coat the cake in a thin layer of buttercream. There will be gaps between roses so this will hide the gaps a bit and also catches the cake crumbs. Fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M (or other large star nozzle) and cover the cake in rose swirls. These are done by starting from the inside and swirling out. I did 2 layers of roses on the side of the cake in different colours and also covered the top in 2 colours of roses. You can fill the gaps with more piping but don’t worry about little gaps too much.

 3

4

5

And this is the cake I made for her to take to work. It is exactly the same sponge but just one layer and uses vanilla buttercream too.

6

More Rose Cakes to come!

Lottie xx and Happy 21st Rose!

I am entering this into November’s Tea Time Treats, the theme is cake! This is hosted byLavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

Optimized-DSC_0703 (2)

Paralympics Cupcakes

Paralympics fever has started and I love it. I went to the athletics this weekend and it was fantastic, such a buzz in the stadium! There are some really inspirational athletes, I am loving watching it all. To celebrate the Paralympics I decided to make some Paralympic themed cupcakes! I made vanilla cupcakes with a jam filling and swirls of cream cheese icing. You can find the recipe for the cupcakes here, they are the same ones I made for the Diamond Jubilee.

The recipe for the cream cheese icing is here. I decorated half of them with cocktail umbrellas (which were quite hard to find!) because the umbrella was a very prominent object in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony and I also got to carry one around the stadium. The other half of the cupcakes I decorated with the agitos. The 3 agitos in red, green and blue are the Paralympic symbol. Agito is ‘I move’ in Latin and this symbol is representative of movement. The motto of the Paralympics is Spirit in Motion.

To fill the cupcakes with jam just cut away a little circle from the top of the cupcake, add a little spoonful of jam and replace the top of the cupcake.

To do the swirl on the cupcakes I used the Wilton 1M nozzle. I coloured the icing with red, blue and green to represent the colours of the agitos. To do this effect you paint stripes of colour inside the piping bag, then fill with icing and pipe.

I hope you like them!

Lottie xx