Monthly Archives: May 2009

30th Birthday cupcakes

This week I mostly made cup cakes for our old Nanny Julie’s 30th birthday party. I made these as a present for her on Saturday as we were unable to go to her party. I’m quite pleased with the icing decorations I made although I still think I need to do more swirls. Also I think that a flooded cake looks better with a swirl on top, its just neater.

It was good practise though, especially at making a larger quantity. I made about 60 cakes in all although I wasn’t concentrating on the first batch and they came out a bit too doughy.

I’m going to do a bit more experiementing with the cake batter as I’m not convinced I’ve got the right mix yet.

Also some of the cakes came away from the paper which I’ve never experienced before so not sure what happened there. Storage is a big issue too, how to store them carefully overnight to ice the following day – or should I make and ice in one day and put toppings on at the last moment. All verycomplicated.
The text worked though and I enjoyed the royal icing piping. I think the swirls need to be a bit more solid too, perhaps the butter was too soft.

I had fun experimenting with what I could draw in icing and did a range of my favourite modernist furniture – see if you can spot the Barcelona chair, the Artichoke light, the Thonet B33 chair, the Eames molded plywood chair and a couple 50s inspired leaves and an owl in there too.

Cupcake USP

I’m trying to work out what my USP (unique selling point, mum) for cupcakes will be and have been scouring the net to see what people do out there other than the big swirls and roses. I’ve come across a number of people that I really admire that do different things and this weekend I had a go at painting on fondant. Here are the results….

More research to do, I’m thinking of looking at 1950s patterns next…

Lemon cheesecake

This weekend I mostly baked lemon cheesecake. Just to make sure that I could do the whole cheesecake thing really.

And I think it was successful, if a little undercooked which just made it a lot more yummy. Anyway both our guests and the girls ate half they daily calorie allowance in one slice very quickly so I think it was a success.
The topping was soured cream mixed with lemon curd which was a very nice bittersweet to cut through the very cheesy cake. This was described as being ‘light’ enough to have after a big meal….er no, it’s not light, it’s dense!

Cupcake course

I had the most wonderful day today spent with a group of like minded cupcake addicts making and baking and learning all about cupcakes and decorating them. Run by Fair Cakes, the day course looked at baking vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, creating royal icing shapes and fondant icing flowers and other decorations. We had a wonderful teacher who made it all seem so easy and I started to wonder why I hadn’t been able to work it all out by myself. But sometimes it’s just good to share.

I’ll post some more pictures later but here’s a picture taken by Shikhita, mine is top left. I’m very excited by my new skills and now want to practise practise practise!!!


Earlier in the blog I featured one of the many pavlova’s I’ve made. A couple of people have been asking me for the recipe so I thought I’d write it up here for all to share in the perfect, gooey, crunchy, sticky pavlova.

3 egg whites
6oz caster sugar
1 level tsp cornflour
1 tsp raspberry/cider/wine vinegar
300ml whipping cream
fruit of your choice

Draw a 23cm or 9 inch circle on a sheet of non stick baking parchment and place on a baking tray.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl then add 2oz sugar at a time, whisking in between each addition to stiff again. Finally fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
‘Dollop’ or pipe the pavlova into the circle marked on the baking sheet. Make a dip in the middle to hold the filling.
Bake in the oven at 180C 350F mark 4 for 5 minutes then at 130C 250F mark 1/2 for a further 45-50 minutes until set but soft in the middle.
Leave to cool slightly then carefully peel off the paper. Don’t worry if it cracks.
When completely cold, whip the cream until it just holds its shape and then pile on top of the pavlova. Add fruit on top.

I often make two batches and make a pavlova ‘sandwich’ as in the picture, especially for large gathering. I try and make the dollops look like a flower…


I’ve just looked back at my blog and realised that I’d already posted the recipe…my memory is as bad as my mums…tut tut.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Last weekend we had a BBQ with our neighbours and I set myself the weekly cake task for the event. Last week I thought about things that I’ve really not cooked very often and sought inspiration from cookbooks and the internet and decided upon cheesecake. Cheesecake is one of those puddings that either makes me think of the 1970s lemon cheese cake on crushed digestive biscuits with mandarin segments (from a tin) on top or something found lurking in the frozen isle of the supermarket. Either way, not that tempting. However I remembered my mum’s cousin Anne introducing me, as a teenager, to the delights of baked cheesecake. I must get her recipe again as it was delicious.

Baked cheesecake has much more of a sophisticated flavour about it and less of the 70s kitsch. So I scoured a few recipe books and a few websites and found a double chocolate cheesecake recipe which could be adapted for the wheat free requirements across the road.
So I found this recipe on BBC Good Food (as usual!) I think mine was a bit more goey than perhaps I expected, but it was very much appreciated by the friends across the road.
And despite being incredibly rich (I added raspberries in an attempt at being healthy and to cut through the richness of the chocolate) this very large cheesecake didn’t last too long!
Next week I am going on a cupcake course with Fair Cake to learn the delicate art of perfect swirls and sugar craft toppings. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some much better cup cakes on Sunday. I’m hoping for something close to the image below…wish me luck!