Friday, 19 November 2010

Sugar Cookies

I thought it was about time to share my sugar cookie recipe. I love this recipe - it's so simple to make - and it always holds its shape after baking. Here are some of the cookies I have made using this recipe:

  •  6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. You will probably find that the electric mixer struggles to combine all of the ingredients once the dry ingredients are added so you may have to mix it all together with a spoon. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add a little more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough and dry. Form dough into a fat disk and wrap it in plastic wrap, or put it in a plastic bag. Put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up a bit.  Preheat the oven to 175C (or 160C fanforced) while you are letting the dough rest.
Once the dough is ready to roll out, sprinkle a wooden board (or another surface you want to use) with flour, place dough on it, and roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. If you find that the dough sticks to the rolling pin, put a piece of plastic wrap or baking paper between the dough and the rolling pin. Cut dough into shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Carefully lift cookies with a spatula onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Be sure to place the cookies a little apart on the trays as they may spread slightly during baking. Try to make sure that all the cookies on a tray are approximately the same size. Larger cookies take longer to bake than smaller ones.

Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes. You'll know when they are ready when the edges just start turning gold - don'[t worry if they are still soft in the middle, they will firm up as they cool. Transfer the cookies from the tray with a spatula to a wire rack. When they are fully cooled, decorate them with royal icing or sugarpaste.

Hope you all have fun making sugar cookies during the holiday season. Stay tuned for some of my cookie creations xx

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Calla Lily Wedding

On Saturday I had the pleasure of creating a cupcake tower of lemon cupcakes decorated with handmade burgandy calla lilies and white cherry blossoms for a gorgeous couple who were getting married at a golf club. Here's the cake all set up - unfortunately it was difficult to get a good shot with the light in the background.....

I made a 6 inch chocolate cake, covered in white sugarpaste and handmade flowers for the top tier of the tower.I used bear grass to give the spray a modern touch.....

And, here's a close-up of some of the cupcakes. There were 100 of these in total.....

In addition to the cake, I made wedding favour cookies for all female wedding guests - all in all I had to make 100 cookies, but they looked so pretty on the tables so it was worth the late nights......

Hope you all have a nice week. Happy baking!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A Day at Cupcake Camp London

OK, I know the cupcake craze is still strong in London, but last Sunday, the number of people who came to Cupcake Camp London was incredible. There were thousands of people there, all trying to buy some of the thousands of amazing cupcakes donated by amateur and professional cupcakers in the UK to raise money for the North London Hospice. Here's a peek at the crowds....

....and this is just one room, the crowds continued into other stalls, where all the wonderful cupcakes were available for sale. Here's a sample of what was on much to choose from!!!


I particularly loved all of the Halloween-inspired cupcakes. Here's a plate of spooky sweetness.......

During the day there were several competitions for bakers to enter - Best Taste, Best Vegan, Taste of London, Little Work of Art, Most Unique Ingredient,and Halloween-inspired. Here's the table with some of the entries - how amazing do they all look??

The judging panel held some serious talent  Mary Berry, Edd Kimber (winner of the Great British Bake Off), Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas (owners of Primrose Bakery), Lily Vanilli, Elizabeth Hastrop, Ms Cupcake and Alastair Campbell. They spent over 2 hours tasting and judging all of the categories.Here they are at work.....

I entered into the Little Work of Art category with a vintage-inspired creation.......
Here are some of the other entries I was up against - so amazing!!!!..............

There was only one winner in each category and I didn't take the prize. But I was thrilled to get a special mention for my entry in the Best Taste category - my mojito cupcake. I've previously written about this cake and posted the recipe here!!!

Over £4,000 was raised for the North London Hospice....which is such a great achievement. A film was made of the day, which is currently being edited, but it will be available soon on the Cupcake Camp London website. Rumour has it that this will become an annual event - I really hope so, it was such a great day and I can't wait to take part next time.