Sunday, 18 April 2010

Eva's birthday cakes

Eva celebrated her birthday this weekend, so I made her
some (almost) nutritious butternut squash cupcakes as she's
about to run the Edinburgh marathon.

I iced them with glossy melted white chocolate...

...And rolled out some red royal icing which I covered
with red edible glitter...

...Then I stamped out lots of Es, Vs and As using my
awesome new mini alphabet cutter set.

And here's the birthday girl with a cake,
hot and fresh out the kitchen...

Chocolate chilli macaroons

And another first this month: macaroons.

I followed Hugh F-W's recipe for easy chocolate macaroons
in Guardian Weekend magazine, so these are a kind of rustic version
of le macaron... not quite Laduree standard.

I also took the liberty of adding a bit of chilli powder to the
macaroon dough and the ganache.

They tasted good, but are not the most attractive thing I have
ever made.... next time I'm going to try to make the real thing.

Au revoir Libby and Andre

Elizabeth Rose Bankford and Andre CMS-Rickerby are both off to bigger
and better things, so had a joint leaving do at work.

I made them my customary au revoir gateaux...

Never one to make things easy for myself, I made 3 different types:

Rocky Road cupcakes
Lavender cupcakes
Lemon buttercream whip cupcakes

The rocky road cakes were made from chocolate-rich sponge
with big chunks of white and dark chocolate and mini marsmallows
both in the sponge and on top... as well as gooey chocolate ganache icing.

The lavender cupcakes were made by whizzing up the dried flowers
with caster suger in a blender, and using that to flavour the sponge.

For added lavender flavour, I also added some more ground flowers
to the icing sugar and dropped in some violet food colouring.

And to finish... a giant Parma violet!

And nothing new, but always a favourite: lemon buttercream.

However, this time I added lemon zest to the sponge rather than
vanilla essence (thanks Julie Australian Masterchef!),
and it worked really well.

Then you add more zest and juice for that zingy, buttery icing.

Easter hot cross buns

I've never made hot cross buns, so thought I would
give it a go on Easter Monday.

I consulted Delia and here's what happened...

It's basically like making bread as you have to let the dough
rise twice, but what I thought would be a complicated
process is actually suprisingly simple.

The key ingredients are the ground mixed spice,
cinnamon, nutmeg, currants and candied peel, all of which give
the buns that sweet but slightly bitter, tangy taste.

Once you've let the dough rise for an hour or so, you knead it
again, divide the mixture up into 12 round buns, score a cross on the
top, cover, and leave to rise for another half hour.

Meanwhile, the best bit... making the crosses, which are a flour
and water paste, rolled out and cut into strips.

So cook them in a hot oven for 20 mins or so, and make a
glaze from granulated sugar and hot water...

Once they're cooked, brush them with the glaze and they're done!

I like them cut in half, toasted under the grill, spread with butter
and placed strategically near a Jack Wills mug.


Zephyr baby shower

So I made some cinnamon butternut squash cupcakes
with white chocolate icing for Emma & Joe's baby shower.

And as we were celebrating the impending birth of little
Zephyr, I piped a "Z" onto each cake.

I hope Zephyr liked them!

About Me

I'm a fashion writer/baking enthusiast based in North London.

I'm particularly keen on icing and decoration as I love painstakingly laborious tasks, but the cakes taste great too.

Should you wish to get in touch re a commission, please do!