Wednesday, 11 July 2012

White Russian Cupcakes

On 2nd July, I had the pleasure of being a finalist in the National Cupcake Championships at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London along with 55 other shortlisted bakeries. There were 7 categories this year including: 
  • Best Handcrafted Cupcake for Multiple Outlets
  • Best Free From Cupcake  
  • Best Classic Cupcake  
  • Best Micro-Modelled Cupcake 
  • Best Savoury Cupcake 
  • Best Themed Cupcake
  • Best Cupcake Made with Alcohol
My White Russian Cupcake was shortlisted in the 'Best Cupcake Made with Alcohol' category and I had to make 10 identical cupcakes for judging. A winner and a runner up (highly commended) was awarded in each category.  All of the cupcakes were worthy of winning - the standard this year was incredible. You can see the list of amazing entries here. I really thought that I was out of my depth a bit when I arrived with my little white cupcakes. But, at the end of the day I was awarded runner up in my category....I was so shocked!

This is a very boozy cupcake (adults only!) but you can easily add less alcohol if you would prefer a more subtle flavour. The cupcake sponge contains Kahlua, and there is a shot of white chocolate vodka ganache in each cupcake. They are also topped with kahlua swiss meringue buttercream for an extra kick. Here's the recipe if you want to make them:

For the cupcakes

• 1 cup plain flour

• 1/2 tsp baking powder

• 1/4 tsp baking soda

• 2 tsp instant coffee

• 1/3 cup Kahlua (or more if you want them extra boozy!)

• 3/4 cup white caster sugar

• 110g unsalted butter at room temperature

• 2 large egg whites

• 1/3 cup semi skimmed milk

• Small pinch of salt
For white chocolate vodka ganache filling

• 250g white chocolate (melted)

• 2/3 cup double cream

• 2 tbsp unsalted butter

• 6 tbsp vodka
For kahlua swiss meringue buttercream 
• 250g unsalted butter

• 6 tbsp kahlua (can be varied if a less boozy cupcake preferred)

• 2 large egg whites

• 120g white caster sugar



To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 170C (fanforced). Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together the kahlua and the coffee. Beat the butter and caster sugar in a third bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg whites one at a time and mix until well combined. Alternate adding the milk, flour mixture (from 1st bowl) and kahlua mixture (from 2nd bowl) to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
Spoon batter into cupcake cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cupcakes to completely cool on a wire rack before filling and decorating.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the white chocolate ganache by heating the cream and butter in a small saucepan until small bubbles appear then adding in the melted white chocolate. Stir until completely combined then stir in the vodka and chill the ganache in the fridge for about an hour.
To make the kahlua swiss meringue buttercream, add caster sugar to egg whites in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water in a double boiler and whisk until the sugar dissolves in the egg whites. Mixture should reach around 60C. Take the heatproof bowl off the double boiler and transfer mixture into electric mixer bowl and whisk for 5 minutes on high speed, or until the mixture is bright white in colour and does not move in the bowl. Divide the butter into 8 soft blocks. Reduce the speed in the mixer to medium and start adding the butter, one little block at a time. Wait until the butter has been mixed thoroughly before adding another block. Once all the butter has been added, mix in the kahlua and put buttercream into a piping bag.
Once cupcakes have cooled – core out the centre and fill with white chocolate vodka ganache. Top each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream and decorate as desired. I used a Wilton 2D tip to make the swirl on my cupcakes.
Hope you all enjoy your White Russian Cupcakes x

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Squires Cake Exhibition 2012

This weekend (9-11th March) is the annual Squires Cake Exhibition in Farnham. The exhibition celebrates everything to do with cake decorating and sugarcraft and attracts thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world. There are also several cake competitions and this year I entered the cupcake catergory. The theme was 'baby shower cupcakes' and you can see some of the cupcakes I entered below:

I decided to make something simple and  in my shabby chic style. I knew I'd be up against tough competition and I wasn't wrong. You can see some of the other entries here:

This entry below was my favourite and the one in my opinion that should win. We won't know the scores until Sunday though. The detail on each cupcake was extraordinary - the photo really doesn't do it any justice....
Here's a close up of one of the cupcakes - so amazing....

There were so many other lovely entries - I'll have to do another post soon with more pics.
Here are a few other photos of cakes that were on display at the show.....

This was a c ake in the miniature cake category - the flowers were tiny!!

 Here are some photos from the sugar flower category... they look so real!

And here are some photos of the wedding cakes on display......

Everything was stunning - if you have time this weekend to go to the show I highly recommend it.

Happy baking x

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Catch up

Hi everyone,

It's been quite a while since my last post. I've been putting regular updates on my facebook page, but haven't been putting enough time aside for my blog. So to bring everyone up to speed, here's what's been coming out of my kitchen recently: 

I'm teaching a shabby chic cake decorating class at cakeology now. This is a 4-layer cake covered in sugarpaste and handmade edible shabby chic decorations.

Here's a cookie stack decorated in ruffles and flowers - all edible - a lovely gift for someone special or for a wedding favour.

Rose buttercream cupcake - I love piping these roses - they are so easy to do and so pretty. If you want to learn to pipe these roses there are quite a few tutorials on youtube. Try as an example.

Here are some cakelets (mini cakes) decorated in black and white couture theme. You can learn how to make these at my Vintage couture course at Cakeology.

And lots of cupcake examples - I've been making heaps recently and trying out new techniques like brush embroidery and stencilling - I'll put up a tutorial soon on some new techniques to share the baking love.

Happy baking xx