Saturday, 27 October 2012

{Mini Post} Quick Coffee Cupcakes

Not many people in this world enjoy a coffee cupcake. I do and so does my bestie, Practical Tallulah (aka Victoria.) So when we planned a catch up involving cake I wasted no time in indulging in one of our favourties!

Once again BBC Good Food came to the rescue with the below recipe. As I was just whipping them up after work, I didn't have time to make a layer cake so I made it in cupcake form and so have adjusted the method as required!


For the cake:
- 150g caster sugar 
- 150g butter or margarine 
- 3 eggs 
- 150g self raising flour 
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
- 1 tbsp hot water 
- 1 tbsp instant coffee (add more if you like it strong)

For the icing: 
- 225g icing sugar  (I altered this as I have come to enjoy my own buttercream recipe - use
  half the amount of butter that there is icing sugar, so 200g icing sugar, 100g butter)
- 100g butter or margarine 
- 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee 
- 1 tbsp hot water

- Preheat the oven at 160C, 325 F,gas 3. Line a baking tin with cupcake cases. 
- Add the sugar and the butter to a bowl and whisk until very fluffy and a pale cream,
- Whisk the eggs with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 tbsp of 
  flour each time. Make sure you don't use all the flour. 
- Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and add to the mixture
- Add the rest of the flour and the baking powder to the mixture and fold it in gently. 
- Divide into the cake cases and cook for 18-20 minutes
- Meanwhile Cream the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve the  
  coffee in boiling water, making sure you don't add too much water or the icing will be 
  runny and add it to the butter and icing sugar. Whisk and leave in the fridge until the 
  cake is done. 
- DECORATE! I just spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the cupcakes - just enough so 
  the coffee wasn't too overpowering. I then, to please everyone, left some plain, 
  crumbled some walnuts on some, flicked chocolate over some, used walnuts and 
  chocolate! Spoiled for choice!

We muchly enjoyed them! (We had 1 1/2 - less fatty than having 2 each.) Tallulah 2 went home with a plate and my brother even had 2 when he got in from work. 

I hear a coffee revolution coming on...! ;)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Time For Tea

Unsurprisingly, I am one of the bajillions of people throughout the World who loves a good cup of tea! It really is so comforting and can fix about anything.

I also happen to have a newly formed obsession with tea cups and tea pots. I love them. There is something so delicate and pretty about a good tea set. And they just make you feel you are doing something really special when you are having a cup of tea; it turns it into an occasion. (No, I don't get out much.)

For my birthday this year I decided to hold an afternoon tea party and I used this as an excellent excuse to start a collection of vintage teacups, saucers, plates and tea pots. My main source was eBay; I did trawl though charity shops but they were sadly lacking in what I wanted. I also borrowed a beautiful tea set from my Nanna, which she gave me under strict instructions that it was not to be broken because it was an engagement present for her and my grandad when they got engaged FIFTY YEARS AGO! Needless to say I informed everyone of this and no one dared use them! It's one thing breaking an eBay find but another breaking something so special and with so much meaning.

But did you know in all my searching I did not find a tea pot that I loved? I was very disappointed in this. I think I have mega high tea pot expectations and also imagine some perfect vintage specimen that may or may not exist. 

I am getting to the point I promise...

So in lieu of an actual tea pot, I went to my happy place (Hobbycraft) and purchased a tea pot cookie cutter. Hooray! And I was rather pleased with the results!

So, for the biscuits, I used a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and it looks a little like this:

140g icing sugar, sifted
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
250g butter
375g plain flour

- In a food processor, pulse together the icing sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter
  until combined
- Add in the flour, mix it in, then bring it altogether to a firm dough
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 fan/Gas 5
- Roll out the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- Decorate!

I love this recipe because it is super simple - anything that reduces the amount of mess I make by using a food processor is fine with me. I also halved this recipe because I knew I was just going to practice the decorating and didn't need a mass of cookies. Half the recipe made 10 cookies.

So, being new to this, I have no photos of those steps, but I did remember half way through the decorating process. Hurrah! :D

There is some fondant on the cookies but I mostly used royal icing for the decoration but cheated slightly! Did you know Silver Spoon do a quick royal icing sugar that you just have to add water to? Best invention, EVER!

I got my design in mind and set to putting it together, starting with the fondant, which I plonked in the middle of the cookie.

Ta da!! I then edged the cookies with a thicker icing and then flooded with a thinner batch. I'm not so great with the flooding so I had to shimmy it about with a cocktail stick.

Sadly one teapot lost its spout along the way so it was only right and proper that I ate it....

I then waited until the green bits had dried and then added the white bits.

I then waited again for more drying to occur and added the last little details - some beading and liney things.

For the finishing touches, I added some pink fondant roses and flowers, and a bit of leaf, and voilĂ ! Tea pot cookies! 

I enjoyed making these even if they are a little time consuming, And I love the taste of the crumbly biscuit against the smooth icing. Yum! In the absence of a vintage tea pot, I would happily make do with these!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Roma: Pizza, Pasta, Cake...?

Well, I loved Rome. It was fantastic! Fantastic weather, (mostly) fantastic wine, fantastic ice cream, and super fantastic old stuff round every corner! As I mentioned before, I studied the Romans a lot in university so to finally be in Rome was a dream come true. I don’t actually think I realized how much of a dream it was when I was there because there was just so much to take in, it was all a bit overwhelming. But since I have been back and have been telling everyone about it, it’s really sunken in how much we saw and how remarkable it all was. I was really blown away by all the sculpture. For such beauty/importance/grace/wisdom to be portrayed so brilliantly through marble is a truly extraordinary thing.

Sadly, I don’t have any sculpture pictures due to a dead camera and a bag unnecessarily locked in a locker but here are some pictures of some of the stuff we saw:

History! Yes!

Cake? No.

Now when we set off to Rome, I had the very romantic idea that we would be sat in squares drinking coffee and eating cake multiple times a day. Sadly, there were less squares that I anticipated (but more tiny side streets than I could have ever imagined!) We did have some excellent pizza, pasta and ice cream (as expected) and I had the strangest, yet delicious, dessert I think I’ve ever had: grilled pears, drizzled with honey and topped with goat’s cheese. Yes, goat’s cheese. Weirdly captivating!! We did go to a little patisserie one night for dessert and caused much trouble by all trying to pay separately with 20 Euros notes. I would have liked more of that I think…

Dear Rome, get more squares and more cake, preferably with views of some of your awesome sculpture, ta muchly, Vic.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

{Mini Post} Charity Giant Cupcake

While I get my thoughts in order about all the lovely things I saw when I was in Rome, I thought I would keep the momentum going and do a little mini post about the giant cupcake I did the other week for the Macmillan Coffee Morning.

My Mum's work has two lovely tea ladies, one who makes *the best* milky coffee, and this other one who asked me to do this cake. (She is also nice but always forget to make me milky coffee when I was temping there last winter... No grudges...) She does a lot of work for the church so at first we thought that is where it was going but it actually went to the local library and was part of a raffle to raise some more money. (No pressure!)

I didn't have to worry though because everyone at the office loved it, and the library lady loved it so much, she asked me to do a birthday cake for her! I was super excited! This is my first cake commission from someone who isn't family or friend and I was so so proud of myself. I have to make her a skull & crossbones cake and I am so excited about it!

As well as this exciting job, the cake also managed to make £50 for the charity so that made me super happy too! I just hope they didn't leave it to long before they gave it away and someone ended up with nasty dry cake... Eeeep! :/

Anyway, here it is:

Why this is sideways, I have no idea! It was not like that when I uploaded it! :/ Don't hurt your neck trying to look at it!

If the picture had worked that might have been a bit less anti-climatic. But anyway! I really like these giant cupcakes, particularly now I know how to make a cupcake 'case' using chocolate melts. It just looks to effective!

I enjoyed doing it and I am ever so glad I had a little hand in raising some pounds for a worthy charity :)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


This time tomorrow I will be just about getting on a plane to Rome! How exciting is that? My university background is in Greek and Roman history, and Roman art in particular, so I actually can't wait. I just know I am going to be so overwhelmed by it all. There will definitely be a post when I get back about what I saw and the cake I ate! :)

I am also pretty excited for coming back as I have 3 paid cake orders to do. I think that is pretty exciting news really! I can't wait to get stuck in to them!

I have also seen a picture of the most amazing cake I want to try when I get a chance:

It's a 24 layer chocolate cake with chocolate ganache! Every bite will be filled with cakey ganachey goodness! I might not quite go to the extreme of 24 layers but there will be a few! I got this picture from Tumblr and it was without a source. This is not my idea or my image. Someone clever than me has come up with this and they get all the credit for it.

That's enough cake talk for now - I should be packing!

Ciao! x