Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ironcupcake Earth - Apple Challenge

The second round of ironcupcake earth is on now and this month the theme was 'Apple'. My colleague generously gave me some baking apples which I used for this recipe however I have to admit I was initially skeptical about using them because they looked quite strange and felt really firm....

I didn't realise that apples can either be for 'baking' or 'eating' - these ones are clearly for baking, but they have a beautifully strong apple taste which blended well with the spices I added to the mixture for warmth.

I ended up coming up with Caramelised Apple and Cranberry Cupcakes topped with Dark Brown Sugar Frosting and a handmade sugarpaste apple.

If you want to recreate these cupcakes, here's the recipe:

Caramelised Apple and Cranberry Cupcakes

  • 250g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 large green baking apples (peeled and finely grated)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Dark Brown Sugar Frosting

  • 250g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • Eggwhites from 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 175C. Melt 50g butter in a nonstick pan over a medium heat and add vanilla essence. Cook for 1-2 mins until the butter is lightly browned then stir in grated apples, cider and 1 cup of caster sugar. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the apples are golden and translucent and most of the liquid has evaporated, remove pan from heat and allow apples to cool.

Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl to combine. In a separate bowl, beat 200g butter, 1 1/2 cups of caster sugar and the dark brown sugar on a high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, then reduce the speed and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream. Lastly fold in the caramelised apples and cranberries.

Divide mixture between 24 holes in a lined cupcake tray, remembering to only fill cups about 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes for about 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown then remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.

In the meantime, prepare the dark brown sugar frosting by whisking egg whites, dark brown sugar and salt in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water for about 5 minutes. Next transfer the mixture to an electric mixer and beat on a high speed for 5 minutes or until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed and gradually add the butter until it is well combined and the frosting is smooth and glossy.

Once the cupcakes are cool, spread the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate as desired. Store them in an airtight container to retain freshness.

Voting will be held from 27th November - noon on the 3rd December at http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com/. Be sure to stop by at the website and check out all of the great entries and vote for your favourites! We're all competing to win some fantastic prizes, including:

Thanks for your support!!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Christmas Inspirations

On the weekend, I finished making a small sugarpaste flower arrangement of ivy, holly, rosehips and christmas roses. This is the second flower arrangement I have completed now and I must admit, it's very satisfying once all the pieces have been made and the final arrangement is tied together.

I also made a batch of russian doll cookies using a template I created. I am still working on the designs of the dolls, but as a practice run this is what I came up with:

I hope to do a lot more baking over the next few weeks for Christmas, so stay tuned for more updates soon!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Garrett Frills

I recently learnt how to use a garrett frill cutter to add decorative touches to cakes. This tool is really easy to use and creates lovely frills or ruffles - perfect decorations for wedding or christening cakes. Here's what the cutter looks like:

This particular cutter is from Orchard Products and has 3 interchangeable centres to help you make wider or narrower frills.

To use the cutter, roll out 50/50 paste thinly on a non-stick surface and then press the cutter firmly into the paste. Lift up the cutter, then remove the circle of paste from the centre, so you are left with a scalloped ring.

Use a cocktail stick or a modelling tool to frill the edge of the paste. Continue this process until all edges are done.

Next cut a slit in the ring, then gently open the circle and trim frill to the size you want. Attach the frill to a cake covered in sugarpaste by dampening the unruffled edge of the frill with water before sticking it in place. After placing all the frills on the cake, you can add bows or roses to connect the frills together if desired.

Here's an example of how I used garrett frills to decorate this christening cake.

Hope you have fun making frills!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Iron Cupcake - November Entry

Last night was the november round for Ironcupcake London. The theme for this month was 'spice', and there were 33 fantastic entries - the largest number of entries so far! Here a a few pics from the night....so many delicious cupcakes.....

I used 7 spices to create Chai Latte and Honey Cupcakes

These cupcakes are super easy to make, and are really delicious. Here's how to make them:


1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons honey
2 black tea bags
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground star of anise
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
225g unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla essence

Spiced Frosting
250g unsalted butter (softened)
4 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pre-heat oven to 175°C. Combine boiling water, honey and tea bags in a bowl and let it stand for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bags and squeeze out liquid. Place spices, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well before setting it aside. Next, cream the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla essence. Beat until light and fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and 3/4 cup of tea blend; beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix after each addition until just combined. Mix cake batter until smooth after final addition of flour. Divide batter into 12 lined cup cake tins. Bake for approximately 25 minutes before allowing the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting beat butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Pipe generous swirls of frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired. I added a piece of chocolate coated honeycomb.

Happy baking!

Cookie Challenge - October Entry

This month, the secret ingredient for the National Cookie Baking Network Challenge was squash, or pumpkin, as I'm used to calling it. Here's what I came up with:

Dark Chocolate, Squash and Cranberry Cookies


· 125g unsalted butter, softened
· 200g caster sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 egg
· 2 cups of butternut squash (pureed)
· 300g plain flour
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· Pinch of salt
· 150g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
· 2 handfuls of dried cranberries
· 75g roughly chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
· 250g light cream cheese
· 1 cup of icing sugar (sifted)
· 3 teaspoons of lemon juice


Roughly chop half a butternut squash (skin off) and place in covered bowl with 4 tablespoons of water and microwave on a high setting for 10 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow squash to cool, drain any excess water then mash with a fork. (Alternatively you can puree it in a food processer).

Preheat oven to 190 C. Mix butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, egg and butternut squash. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and baking soda, and stir well to combine. Stir in cranberries, walnuts and dark chocolate pieces. Place spoonfuls of mixture onto lined baking trays, and bake for 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.

To make the frosting, whisk cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together in a bowl until smooth. To achieve a runnier consistency (if desired) add more lemon juice, a little bit at a time. Drizzle the frosting over the cookies once they are cool, then decorate by sprinkling on some extra dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.

The cookies are especially delicious when served warm. Yum!

Happy baking x