Despite the odd start to cupcake week with the Sunday Express article (!) I still had a few friends to make cakes for and of course to help celebrate National Cupcake Week.
Firstly a friend in the office asked me to make a few cakes to help a celebration of a member of the public winning a competition. Part of the prize was to have tea with Dame Tani Grey-Thompson and I said I would give them a few cakes to help with the afternoon tea. So I gave them a box of a dozen cakes, gluten free vanilla with courgette and apple and cinnamon. I went with vanilla and courgette considering a healthier option for an Olympic Athlete. But I also added some apple and cinnamon cakes in case diet wasn’t a factor at the moment.
Day 1 of National Cupcake Week was gluten free apple and cinnamon. I made a pured of apples stewed with a cinnamon stick stired through the cake batter. The buttercream as vanilla. They went down well. I asked for feedback giving catergories such as cake texture and flavour, icing texture and flavour, overall appearance, should it go on a stall (when I get one!) and price. Generally all the feedback was incredibly positive with some obvious subjective comments about flavour and in particular strengths of flavours. I think the Apple was lost and needs beefing up more.
Day 2 was gluten free pina colada. I made stewed pinapple in pinapple juice to add to the top of the batter just before cooking. The batter also had pineapple juice in it as well. The icing was buttercream made with coconut milk and then sprinkled with desiccated cocnut and topped off with a bit of dried pinapple and a straw.
Again some great comments, particularly around presentation and not overpowering the coconut. I think again the cake was so subtle that I perhaps need to get a more concentrate pineapple flavour to really pick this up. But I was very happy with this gluten free little cake.
Day 3 was also a friends’ daughter’s birthday cake which was a chocolate and chocolate ganache cake and some cupcakes. This gave me endless worry over transporttion and it did suffer slightly so I think I’ll stick to cupcakes. Hopefully she liked it though.
Day 3 of the cupcake challenge continued with a triple chocolate cupcake. This was a light chocolate sponge with a dollop of chocolate ganache in the centre giving a gooey, moist cake. All topped with a generous swirl of chocolate ganache and grated 100% Venezuelan Black cocoa.
Really good feedback that this was extremely moist and the chocolate gooey centre was a nice surprise. I used slightly smaller cupcakes and a couple of people commented that there could have been more!!! As I felt that I had probably peaked too soon with the chocolate, I decided to give the decision on the last cupcake to my audience so offered them three choices of Strawberries and Cream, Lemon Meringue and gingerbread.
Day4 and my final contribution. I was slightly surprised to see gingerbread winning the poll but I guess people are gearing up for autumn and winter and the taste buds are crying out for some heart warming winter concoctions such as mulled wine, spiced pears and of course, gingerbread.
Personally I felt most happy with this cupcake. The sponge was light and airy (perhaps because it wasn’t gluten free?) and was made with ground ginger and grated fresh ginger. The topping was cream cheese and icing sugar with ground ginger topped off with crystaline ginger and mini gingerbread men. It was just lovely, and will certainly feature a lot more.
I love it when they’re all the same and lined up. I’ve also chosen to depart from some of my ‘usual’ toppings as this is what I’m more interested in rather than sugarpaste. Also I decided to get over my hang up of the ‘poo’ nozzle as I like to call it (I still won’t use it with chocolate or coffee though) and I quite like this smooth swirl even if it does still look a bit like anaemic poo.
Phew, it was a mamouth week and was also finished by another quick box of cakes for a friend to take to her friend’s baby shower. She just wanted something completely un-babyshowerish so i decided to use the same decorations as the cupcakes at the beginning of the week as the bright colours look so lovely together. I added the names of the parents to be and step daughter and hopefully they all had a lovely weekend.