Monday, 27 August 2012

Rose Cupcakes

So it seems I've been having a bit of a rosewater obsession at the moment. Fear not, it is not ending anytime soon.
I was originally really craving some chocolate cupcakes, so had intended on making some, but I wanted to give them a little twist. I googled (as I seem to do with everything these days. I now know how to mop a floor) possible flavour combinations to go with chocolate, and chocolate and rose came up. Hmmmm, I'm still a bit sceptical.
Then, on my quest for satisfying my craving and learning how to successfully pipe, I found a YouTube video on piping roses! (Don't go straight down to look at the pictures now, you'll see a very different image to the one on the video, lulz).
And then I ditched the chocolate idea. Sorry chocolate, I just didn't think I could handle your rich chocolately goodness...

Oh and once again this is a Hummingbird recipe. Someone needs to lock me away from that book.


80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1tbsp rosewater
240ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
3tsp rosewater
50ml whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
2. Whisk the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together on a low speed until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs
3. Mix the rosewater with the milk in a jug, then add the eggs and whisk together by hand. Pour three-quarters of this milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and keep mixing on a medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth once again
4. Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each case by two-thirds. Pop in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch, then allow to cool completely while you make the frosting.
5. Slowly beat together the icing sugar and butter until the butter has been completely mixed in. Mix the rosewater with the milk, and, with the machine still running, gradually pour this into the beaten icing sugar and butter. Once added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.
6. *attempt* to pipe adequately 

So they may not look good enough to win 'Britain's best looking cupcake' but it's a work in progress (does that competition exist?)

Oh, and here's a rose-themed song. I do love Outkast.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Apple Blossom cupcakes

First of all, I'd like to apologise for my absence. Cakes have been a-bakin' in that time, but I'M BACK. with a vengeance, mwahahahaha (evil laugh)

I'm not the biggest fan of summer. I'm not saying I don't like it, I just don't like super hot weather, burning (I'm Scottish so this is a frequent occurrence) and people decided to bare all their flesh just because the sun has peeked out to say hello.
But I can't spend all eight weeks of summer wishing it to go away, so I thought I'd celebrate it (in the best way I knew how). I made summery cupcakes.


Makes 12 - 16 cupcakes

4tbsp apple iced-tea powder (I bought the Turkish Apple Tea in Whittards)
3tbsp just-boiled water
80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
200ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

4tbsp apple iced-tea powder
50ml whole milk
500g icing sugar
160g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
2. Place the apple tea powder in a bowl, add the just-boiled water and allow to dissolve completely. Whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until all the ingredients are well incorporated and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
3. Place the milk in a jug with the eggs and apple tea and whisk together by hand. Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and continue to beat on a medium speed until everything is mixed in and the batter is smooth
4. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling them up to two-thirds. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well-risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool down fully before adding the frosting.
5. To make the frosting, dissolve the apple tea powder in a small bowl, with the milk. Slowly whisk the icing sugar with the butter until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain. Gradually pour the tea-infused milk into the icing sugar and butter mixture. Once all the milk has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.

These cupcakes are absolutely delicious, I can't even put it into words. They were so delicate and flavoursome, and even kind of floraly (even though they were apple-y?). And oh my gosh, they have to be some of the moistest cupcakes I have ever tasted.

So, if like me, you kind of can't wait until winter so you can wear sweatpants all the time, and have an excuse for not leaving the house but you still want to celebrate the last few moments of summer, these babies are perfecto!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Macaroon Mission: Rose Macaroons

I know in my last post I said that I was the most British person I knew. But right now, I consider myself to be rather French. One day I will live in Paris, drink coffee by the Eiffel tower, and most probably wear Breton tops and develop a moustache.

Let me confess. I have an obsession with macaroons, but have always been to scared to make them. Let's be honest, I'm no Pierre Herme. But I've been trying to make the perfect macaroon. And failing, for the most part. I tried the BBC recipe, thinking that it would be uncomplicated and useful (because it's the BBC and it's uncomplicated and useful, obviously).

There was a reason I didn't post about it. I think next time I'll stick using the BBC website for homework help and little else.

I found a great Edd Kimber recipe, which I suspect is the Pierre Herme recipe, just simplified. If you are unaware of who Edd is (shame on you), he won the first series of The Great British Bake Off. What a babe.


170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
160g granulated sugar
Pink food colouring

For the filling:

100g granulated sugar
37g water
75g eggs
45g egg yolks
200g butter, very soft
Pink food colouring
Rose Water, to taste

1. Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds in a bowl, discarding any particles that stay in the sieve, and mix until fully combined. Add the first batch of egg whites to the almond mixture, mix to form a thick paste and set aside.
2. Tip the second batch of egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml of water and the granulated sugar into a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start to beat the egg whites on high speed. Once the syrup is at 118C pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the moving whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. Add the colouring and whisk to combine.
3. Tip the meringue mixture onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter.
4. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/ gas mark 3-4. Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe round about 2.5cm diameter (I drew out circles, I'm hopeless) onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave to rest for 30 minutes out of the fridge, or until the macaroons have developed a skin.
5. Bake the macaroons for 14 minutes. Immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper.
6. To make the filling, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat to 120C. Whilst the syrup is coming to temperature add the eggs and egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk and whisk until they thicken and lighten in colour. With the mixer still on slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl and continue to whisk until cooled. Begin to beat in the butter at medium/high speed one or two pieces at a time. Add the food colouring and rose water.

Yes, the food colouring didn't work. I think it could be a liquid food colouring thing. I'm off to buy gel food colouring tomorrow, so yeah.

I mean, they look orange, but they are far more presentable than the last batch. Lets just say that the BBC said nothing about over-folding the mixture, and my macaroons came out of the oven looking like one giant ocean of lavender flavoured loveliness. Tasty but not pretty.

I'm still searching for the perfect recipe. I didn't like the buttercream method, and it seemed to split when I added the rose water. Does anyone have a recipe they use a lot? Until then, I'm going to sit here and eat macaroons until they fall out of my ears.

Oh. And thank you M&S (you beauties) for releasing affordable Jubilee themed macaroons. A guilty pleasure just became far less guilty.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mini Victoria Sandwich Cakes

Reasons why I consider myself to be the most British person I know:

1) In my imagination, Kate Middleton is my best friend
2) I drink countless cups of tea everyday
3) I watch The Apprentice. Nick and Karen feel like family, ok?
4) I'm pale. I'm the palest person I know and I'm proud
5) Exploring London is my favourite thing ever
6) I have an obsession with the Royal family. I cannot hide my love for them.
7) I have a Union Jack flag proudly displayed on my bedroom wall
8) Julie Andrews is my third grandma

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't try to hide my British-ness. I embrace it, God save the Queen and all that. So, me and all of my British-ness have decided to celebrate this very important year for Britain by baking British. (This is turning into a competition to see how many times I can say British in one post)
There is nothing more traditional than a Victoria Sandwich. But that's boring. I hate boring. 

So I made them mini.

And not only did I make then mini, I made them topped with Mini Eggs. Of course, this recipe is by Mary Berry (another British babe).

2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
6 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
300ml double cream, whipped
Mini chocolate eggs, for decoration

1) Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin and line the bases of the cups with circles of nonstick baking paper. Measure the eggs, flour, butter, caster sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk with an electric hand mixer for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Using a teaspoon, spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and even out the tops.
2) Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until pale golden and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Set aside to cool a little, remove from tins, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
3) Slice each cold cake in half horizontally across the centre. Spread the cake centres with jam and two thirds of the whipped cream and sit the other half back on top. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top of the cakes and arrange the mini eggs on top to decorate.

These cakes made me happy. They were small, they were scrummy and they were Easter-themed. I break up this Friday for three whole weeks of baking bliss (and revision, but let's forget about that), so these cakes were the perfect excuse to start the celebrations!

But Mary, I must complain. I don't like your all-in-one method. It freaks me out, it makes me nervous.

I'm sorry, it's just the way I feel.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

It was two very important birthdays this week. Oreo celebrated their 100th birthday and my friend Emma also turned 15. Double reason to celebrate!

So why not kill two birds with one stone? I wanted to make cupcakes for Emma's birthday, and I felt like I should somehow commemorate their birthday. LIGHTBULB IDEA, LUCY. Make Oreo cupcakes. God damnit, I'm genius.

Slight problemo. When I went about finding the perfect recipe for Oreo cupcakes, all the recipes were American. (Yes Americans, I may adore your 'candy', but I have no interest in measuring in 'cups' and using 'shortening'). So I've made up my own recipe, in English measurements (yes. It's in grams)

Makes 12

12 Oreos
100g plain flour
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120 ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

250 icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
2 tbsp whole milk
2 drops vanilla extract
5 tbsp Oreo, fine crumbs (or more, to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ gas mark 3

2. Then put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a bowl, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine. Slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth.

4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases lined with a regular sized Oreo, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave cupcakes to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

5. To make the icing,  beat the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Combine the milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a little at a time. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add the Oreo crumbs during the last minute (to make the Oreo crumbs, I put them in a food processor)

I never got a chance to try these cupcakes, but the frosting tasted delicious! They'll have to be made again, or you could ask Emma if she liked them. She said she ate three for breakfast, so they can't have been that bad, right?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Love (Happy Valentine's Day)

Now, I'm not going to be here on Valentines Day, I'm jetting off early tomorrow morning to Obergurgl in Austria for a touch of skiing! So, as I've been packing (or watching my mum pack, sorry mum), I've been a little pathetic on the baking front.

However, fear not. I have some lovely Valentine's themed chocolate cupcakes, using my well-tested Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.

BUT THEY'RE LOVE THEMED! I would share them with my millions of suitors just waiting to ask for my hand in marriage, but sadly they don't exist. So I'll watch a Leonardo DiCaprio movie instead.

I don't feel totally unloved, though. I sold these cupcakes for World Challenge fundraising, and one girl who bought one chased me a day later and kindly told me that my cupcakes tasted like 'war had never happened'. I can only take that as a compliment, no?

I hope everyone has an absolutely incredible Valentines Day, whether you're spending it with someone special, or whether you're spending it under the duvet with your dog and a tub of Jaffa cakes.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ella recorded her first original song! As her biggest fan, I feel obliged to tell absolutely everyone about it. So here it is. Please tell us what you think, let me know in the comments. It would be great to hear from you

And she's my Valentine. BIG UP PLATONIC LOVE Y'ALL.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Apple and Oatmeal Cookies

When my Food Tech teacher said I had to make a healthy snack product, a thousand monkeys inside my soul groaned simultaneously. I thought that healthy food meant boring food. (And 90% of the time, it really is)

But then I remembered about this recipe that someone on my Instagram account told me about. They had seen a cookie recipe in the 'The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days' book that they thought I would really enjoy. Thank you by the way, total life saver!

I know cookies aren't really healthy. But another girl in my class, Georgie, made my rocky road recipe as a healthy snack, so it's all in comparison!

135g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
190g plain flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 Granny Smith Apples
60g rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 170C / gas mark 3 and line two sheets with parchment. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two batches and mix thoroughly until a dough forms.

2. Peel and finely grate the apples and squeeze all of the liquid out of them, discarding the liquid. Add the oats and 60g of the grated apple to the cookie dough and stir in by hand.

3. Break off pieces of the dough, about 2 tablespoons in size, roll into balls and place on the baking sheet. Make sure they are spaced apart by about 3 inches because the cookies will spread quite a bit while baking. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cookies are a light golden brown. Leave on the sheets for about 10 minutes to cool, then remove to a wire rack.

I like my cookies chewy. If there's one thing you should know about me, let it be that. I get my cookies out of the oven just as they turn golden. Scrummalicious.

Make these cookies, I won't ask you again, just make these cookies.