Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Giant Cupcake- my first ever birthday cake!

I've recently become bored of being restricted as to what I can bake. As my parents and brother are on diets and my boyfriend is a bit of a picky eater, my creativity is limited. So, when my friend told me she was looking for a cake for her daughter's birthday, I begged her to let me attempt it. We agreed that it would be a large cupcake and the rest really was down to me.

I've never made a birthday cake and making it in a situation where I wouldn't be able taste it scared me a lot! I'm also a complete novice at decorating cakes so I had planned a test bake but I never got round to it. The cake went into the oven looking most promising!

There are a lot of things I wish I had realised beforehand that a practise run would have eliminated. Firstly, I wish I'd cooked it for longer, all the signs were there for a perfectly cooked cake but, once cooled, I began to worry. This then caused me to cut it in half (at a dodgy angle) and fill it with jam and buttercream which all merged together into one slop.

This stressed me out hugely and at one point my mum even suggested I start again!! I ended up walking away and going back to it a while later, in a much less stressed state. After some icing and a bit of decoration, the cake was completely transformed and I think it turned out really well, even if it does have a bit of a pointy tutu going on!

So, not much to report and not a lot of pictures but apparently it went down really well and Jayden absolutely loved it!

Giant Cupcake- adapted from GoodToKnow


For the giant cupcake:
450g softened butter   
450g caster sugar
8 large eggs
450g self-raising flour
4 level tsp baking powder
2 tsp of vanilla
3 tbsp milk
Giant cupcake tin- mine was silicone and I found this incredibly easy to turn out
For the cake covering:
250g white fondant icing
Pink food colouring
Strawberry jam- I used raspberry
For the buttercream:
110g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
60ml milk, room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
Pink food colouring


Set the oven to 180ÂșC and grease the tin using cake release spray or groundnut oil.

Cream the butter and sugar and add the vanilla. Beat for about 5 minutes. Add one egg at a time with a third of the sieved flour and baking powder until it has gone then add the milk and beat slowly until it is mixed in.
Place half of the mixture in each side of the tin to about ¾ full and bake for 50 minutes. Times really depend on your own oven, so start to check the cake at 50 minutes, then every 10 minutes and do not remove from the oven until the cake is springy to the touch. This might take up to 1 hr 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before tipping out. If the cake has overflowed or has risen too high don’t worry, you can trim this with a bread knife or a cake leveller. It’s easier to do this while it is still in the tin.

Hold the cooling rack tight over the top of the tin and turn them out to cool. Once the cake is totally cool (probably an hour or 2) you can start decorating it.
Colour and roll out the fondant icing to a ¼ of an inch thick. It has to be 25cm in length and 8cm high.
Melt some jam in the microwave and leaving the cake in the upside down position brush over the base of the cake. This helps the fondant stick. Place the fondant around the cake and trim the excess. You can fold a little over the top (which is the bottom) so you have a clean edge. Press your finger round the indentations so you get the shape of the base back. Then turn the cake (not gripping too hard or you will squash it) the right way up.

Beat the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Put a third of the buttercream in another bowl and add pink food colouring to it. Reserve this for your buttercream roses. Spread jam on the bottom half of the cupcake, then the icing and sandwich the two pieces together.

Ice the top with the rest of the buttercream in a design that suits you- I didn't pipe the icing as I was too scared, so just spread it on using a palette knife and finished with a patterned edge side scraper

Add any decoration that you fancy- I used Love Hearts, Dolly Mixtures and some raspberry sherbet


Monday, 21 November 2011

Baking for Children in Need

Firstly, my apologies for a lack of posts recently, baking has been put on hold once more for education but I have a multitude of bakes to blog about, so keep your eyes peeled!

As most of you will be aware, it was Children in Need on Friday and my Dad asked me to make something for a sale they were doing in his office. Although Lakeland were selling Pudsey cookie cutters, I felt that they were an unnecessary cost and probably limiting, as they printed the famous bandage onto the biscuit. I did have a teddy bear cutter that I bought from Fenwicks for 60p, which provided a perfect template for a teddy bear biscuit.

I used the same vanilla cookie recipe for these as I did for my Dracula biscuits and was reminded how much I absolutely hate it. It's sticky, hard to work with and, no matter how long it sits in the fridge before and after you cut your shapes, the biscuits ALWAYS spread into one large tray shaped biscuit. As per usual, I had a mad rush to re cut and carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack before they firmed up. Nightmare!

I iced an outline around the bear first so that it would remain in that shape, and then filled it in. Sometimes I can be naturally creative but by this point it was late and I was fed up, so a few Pudsey's looked a bit rubbish.

All in all, I feel that they look good, and apparently they were delicious! I also made some cupcakes by adapting a recipe from The Caked Crusader (which seems to be so versatile it's unreal) to be chocolate chip vanilla cupcakes and decorated them using some buttercream that I had left over from a birthday cake I made earlier that week- I'll update soon!

They look great but I'm still practicing my piping skills, any tips would much much appreciated! My dad says all of the cakes went down really well and they made lots of money for Children in Need so my good deed has been done!

Finally, I got a special mention from The Great British Baking Club which made me very happy!

Happy Baking!!
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