Sunday, 22 August 2010

Wedding Belle

After what seemed like MONTHS of practice and preparation, my friend, Amy's marriage to Mark took place yesterday afternoon and i was even more organised with the cupcakes than i thought i could ever be.

The only thing i did forget was to buy the extra violet sweets that i needed to decorate the lemon cupcakes....and i got to the venue and suddenly realised there were 8 cakes NOT decorated....ARGGHHHHH stress haha.

It was fine, we managed to hide that fact and on the tier they looked amazing.

In fact the whole venue looked amazing....they had been given their venue (An old and nearly collapsing barn- which was donated to them for the day and looked just STUNNING lit up with fairy lights and decorated with sunflowers everywhere : )

The rain held off until later in the evening (Where we had a huge electric storm....scary stuff!) and it was a very warm day, so very lucky with it all : )

And now for a cupcake rest! haha....i don't want to see any cupcakes for at least a day or two!!!!

J : )

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cambridge Cupcake Club...

I feel that i should perhaps use this blog to promote my very own tribute to all things cupcake...and that would be through the medium of the Cambridge Cupcake Club.
This is a club*** that i have helped to set up with my good friend Kirstie.
We basically used this as an excuse to try loads of different cupcake recipes, but allow some of the calories to fall onto other cupcake lovers' hips! - it works....sort of!

I say sort of, as we do tend to still eat more than we should, as it has been such a popular concept, that the second meet we organised had a turnout of 14 members!

So...the concept....

We are a facebook group run by myself and Kirstie, where we basically meet up, we each bake a round of cupcakes and swap them with each other, along with the recipes.
This is purely for fun, and we welcome new members, just drop us a line if you are interested in joining us : )

We thought it would be a good excuse to get girlies (And guys) together, make new friends in Cambridge and surrounding areas, and generally just have a bit of a giggle,..And it is proving really popular, so we think it's working hehe.
And trust me when i is not possible to eat 14 cupcakes in one sitting.... if that can be proven wrong, i welcome you to try(!) the family are always happy bunnies when i come home with my leftovers after the meet!

Our first meet was in a small, and local coffee shop on Saturday 24th April 2010 - There were 8 members there with their tasty cupcakes! And it was really exciting, considering one of our members drove all the way from Essex to join us! I think she was glad that she did! The cupcakes that were made included a delicious Cherry and Vanilla cupcake, Refreshingly (And massive!) Triple Chocolate Muffins, Coffee cupcakes made from the Primrose Bakery recipe book, and even a shockingly tasty Chocolate and Beetroot cupcake which was a winner by everybody!

Our second meet was at The Arts Picturehouse Cafe in Cambridge (Which really is a very impressive venue and we were honoured to be allowed to squat in here for a few hours...and we did leave the staff leftover cupcakes as a thank you!) on Saturday 12th June 2010- There were 14 members there with their yummy cupcakes!
And this was an even bigger success than the first : )
The cupcakes here included a really scrummy Lemon Meringue Concotion, a very professional looking Rocky Road recipe, 2 varieties of Peanut Butter, my Boozy Blackforest cupcakes and a really unique Lavender cupcake which went down very well indeed!

So now we are on the hunt for our THIRD cupcake venue.... we have a couple of ideas but we want something new and exciting, so if anybody has any ideas....... please do make them known : )
We are open to new suggestions!
We are hoping to gain even more members this time and make this one even better than the last....if that is at ALL possible!

(And for the readers who want to recreate my masterpiece, my piece de resistance, my signature cupcake... the Boozy Blackforest Cupcake, which i made for the second cupcake meet, and have made many times since (As i know how well it goes down!....)
I am listing my recipe below.... and believe me, it is goooooooood!

*** If you would like to follow us on facebook and add us as a *Friend*, then search JoKirstiesCupcakeClub : ) ***

Makes 12

For the Sponge:

115g butter, softened
115g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk ( I used Skimmed)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
Espresso Powder (3 tsp mixed with 2 tbsp of bolied water)
Cherry Brandy
Cherry Sauce or Compote ( I bought Cherry Pie Filling from Sainsbury's)

For the Icing:

225g unsalted butter, softened (Room Temp is fine)
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
450g icing sugar, sifted
40ml (2.5 tbsp) cold water

Glaze Cherries for decoration (Optional)
Dark Chocolate for decoration (Optional)

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180*c and prepare a muffin/cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (Use an electric hand-held mixer to make easy work of this), then add the eggs and whisk in, one at a time until combined. Add the milk, espresso mix and the cocoa powder and mix in with a spatula until fully combined with the mixture.
Sift in the flour and fold gently until blended with the wet mixture.

2) Divide the cake mixture between your 12 cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. (Mine took nearer to 15 minutes as the cocoa moistens the mixture).
Leave them to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, and then cut out a hole into the top of each cake, as you would a butterfly cake. (You want a deep enough hole for the filling)
When completely cool, drizzle a little cherry brandy into each hole to moisten the sponge and then with a teaspoon, spoon the cherry sauce / compote into the hole and then gently place the piece of cake on top and push firmly. (It will look funny and risen, but this will be covered up later).

3) For the butter cream, beat the butter until soft with a hand mixer. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Gradually beat in the icing sugar and water together.
Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Towards the end, add the vanilla extract.

4) Using a piping bag, pipe the butter cream over the cake in a pyramid movement (Mister Whippy style!) to cover the risen sponge.
Place a cherry on top to decorate. Grate a little Dark Chocolate over the top if you want even more decadence!

5) Enjoy....possibly with a fork as it can get messy : )

Bon Appetit!

Monday, 16 August 2010

My Newest Cupcake Related Purchasing!!!.....

Oh MY GOD...i am such a cupcake GEEK! Haha.

I was shopping for cupcake cases in Lakeland over the weekend, and came out £30 poorer as a result of visiting this lethal and addictive shop!

They do not usually have many cupcake-related goodies in this place, so i thought that i would be safe walking in here, however........ there was a whole display sprawled out in front of me with everything and anything cupcake related that your mind could ever imagine! I was one of those poor beggars who just couldn't pass it without having a look....and picking up cases, which i DID actually need....however i also managed to find myself carrying to the counter a big plastic carry case with handle for all those big cakes i intend to bake and carry around with me (!?!) and a set of 2 individual cupcake caddies.....which were just TOO cute and USEFUL to pass on! (These were essentials i kept telling myself whilst trying to justify the spend when i can't afford to buy myself new shoes or save up for my wedding....ahem!)

When will i use these items? - Who knows....but they were SO useful i just HAd to buy them.

And i will.....Damn it!!!!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Lavender & Lemon Wedding Cupcakes....Strrreeeeesssss!

Ok..So i make Cupcakes for fun, and i somehow thought it would be a nice thing to offer to make my friends wedding cupcakes to take some stress off their shoulders! Well.... i gave myself plenty of time, and got making them, and freezing them to be REALLY organised!
They wanted a mix of Lavender (Which i made and froze right away) and then half Lemon...which again, i was organised and made and froze.
I thought i would count them to check that i had made the 100 that i need...... I got to 99, then re-counted to make sure i had gotten the *One* i had missed. 99 again..... GRRRR haha.
So now i have to make one more batch to get that ONE cupcake i missed....just my luck, but not a problem.

I sat down last night and decided to try my hand at purple vanilla buttercream....and it took me half an hour to get the colour right....blimey! This is harder than i thought it would hard honestly can it be to make the colour purple??? Blue and Red.... right.....but how much of each? ..... This is quite the science! It really is!!!

I did give a few a go at icing, and came up with some really BAD icing skills.... why is that when i am making cupcake for fun i get the most amazing looking cupcakes? But when i am making 100 for a friends WEDDING...for people i don't know to eat (!), that they go so wrong and i get upset because they are looking like something a 3 year old has decorated? haha.....

My partner, Duncan has said that they look great, and once they are all in cases and mixed up on a stand they will look GREAT.... i know he is right....and i know my friends are not expecting a professional cupcake (As i am far from it!) but i still feel that i want these to look fantastic..... 6 days to go and i am sure it will be fine...... : s

Watch this space!!!!

Friday, 13 August 2010

I am Officially Blogging....Who Would Have Thought It?

Ok, So here it goes....As you may have read from my info, i have decided to blog about everything cupcake related, so as not to keep annoying my facebook *Friends* with my ramblings.....As it turns out that nobody else i know is as thrilled as i am about Lemon Buttercream, or Chocolate Coffee Beans for those Primrose Bakery Cupcakes i made last week! haha i don't understand why (EVERYBODY should be excited about Lemon Buttercream, Chocolate covered Coffee beans  or even  Lavender Sugar!)..... Everybody i know is very happy to EAT my recipes, but i don't seem to have a reciprocative relationship with these same people..... Nobody generally makes ME cupcakes hehe.... or shares with me THEIR recipes!

I say GENERALLY, as i have, as a result of my cupcake craziness, set up a *Just for fun* group called the Cambridge Cupcake Club, which i set up on facebook for local people (predominantly my friends!) to get together over a cup of coffee and swap home-baked cupcakes which we all take (Enough for 1 per person) and take some home should we not be able to finish them all!
It is easy to think that you could eat lots of cupcakes in one sitting, but believe me, our last meet had 14 bakers, so 14 cupcakes was a challenge that NOBODY could complete in one sitting!

Anyway, i am waffling....

This is what i need! An outlet and a place to receive cupcake-based advice and (Potentially) free cupcakes whilst i am here hehe.....should you want to share one with me, i would not say no ; ) 

I guess i figure that if anybody makes cupcakes and posts them as a business or sideline, please do feel free to ask me for my opnion as a chief taste tester ; ) 

Thanks for reading, and i shall be back soon to post something useful no doubt!

CCL : )