YouTube is full of video tutorials for more or less anything you ever need to learn doing. Regardless if you’re looking for a hair style, how to change a car tire or how to pack a suitcase – it’s got it all. One thing it does lack though is decent tutorials on making horses out of florist paste or fondant. So when I was asked to make a horse riding themed cake, I had all these magnificent ideas how to make a horse jumping over a hurdle. However, after hours of trying and tons of florist paste wasted (and a million videos watched), I had no other choice but to settle for cartoonish looking horses, made a few jumps and the birthday boy out of fondant and decorated the cake as a horse stable. I was still happy with the result but if you are a good cake decorator, you know how to make horses and have free time, please make a video tutorial. I will be eternally grateful.
A few years ago it was all about the Giant Cupcakes! Everyone wanted one so it’s not surprising I also got a giant cupcake tin. Used it a few times and then then it seemed that the popularity of the Giants died down so I stashed it at the back of my tin cupboard, forgetting completely it exists.
Until a few weeks ago when a friend asked me to make one for a birthday party. I was about to say I can maybe make a cake or normal cupcakes when it hit me I still have the tin! A little dusty but still in great shape, so why not? I baked a chocolate cake, filled it with a layer of nutella and buttercream and decorated it with white chocolate fingers for the sides, and buttecream rosettes and rose pink butterflies on top. And I fell in love again. Anyone else want a Giant Cupcake?
Last week we celebrated a dear friend’s 30th birthday. As it was quite the milestone, we went all out! Beach barbeque on the actual day, a weekend away in Tarifa with a Game of Thrones theme, all the works! This meant a few busy weeks – sorting out outfits, cakes, presents but in the end it all came up beautifully and we had one very happy birthday girl.
We put together a pretty presents display for her on the beach and were lucky to have a clear day so Africa acted as a natural backdrop. Magical!
For the weekend celebrations, I had to make a themed cake. As it turns out, a Game of Thrones cake is not a easy thing. I initially wanted to make Joffrey’s crown out of chocolate and paint it gold for the cake topper. The weather was really not accomodating though – too hot for the chocolate to set, yet if you put in the fridge to set, it will sweat when it comes out so you cannot paint it. Then I tried royal icing, failed again. After 2 weeks of trying, I finally gave up on the crown idea and focused elsewhere. An iron throne should be easier to make, right? And easy enough it was, but little did I realise it will take so long!!! I used 2 YouTube tutorials combining making the actual throne from styrofoam and covering it in tiny swords made of sugar florist paste (I find the Squires Kitchen one the best). Note to self: do not use super glue for styrofoam. It somehow doesn’t agree and the glue eats through the styrofoam. Yikes!
Once I had the throne ready, I baked a simple chocolate cake and made a Nutella buttercream as per the request from the birthday girl. Then covered the cake in white fondant and blood made of red royal icing. On top I placed the throne and added 3 plastic dragon toys. I was pretty proud of the end result, what do you think?
When a friend asked me to make a MotoGP or Formula 1 themed cake for her dear boyfriend, I quickly did a Pinterest search to get ideas. I knew my time for this cake would be limited and almost had a heart attack when I saw all the extremely elaborate designs on the Internet. So I had to get really creative in order to fit the cake in my already very busy schedule but still be able to deliver a cool cake. Which is when the local supermarket came to the rescue. I was stocking up on the usual: flour, butter, sugar when I spotted a tiny red motorcycle toy with MotoGP written on it hang off a random food isle. SCORE!
The actual cake had this Guinness base (I simply doubled the recipe to be able to cut the cake in 2 layers) but I needed a slightly stiffer frosting than cream cheese in order to avoid covering the cake in fondant (I don’t like the taste of it) so I used another favorite – Kahlua mascarpone. I cut the MotoGP logo by hand (other than the letters) from fondant and drew the shape of a nearby MotoGP circuit (the one in Jerez de la Frontera) in black royal icing. The birthday boy loved it! And here’s a few pictures:
For a second year in a row, a few local businesses organised a 4th of July party in Gibraltar. And for a second year in a row, Cupcakes & Unicorns had a small dessert stall. Picture plenty of oreos, marshmallows, brownies, NYC style cheesecake. Luckily, this year I was able to spend less time on decorations (since I managed to recycle some from last year, plus the awesome Whitney and Alan just came back from a US trip and brought some fantastic goodies, including my little top hat) and more time on baking. This is what it looked like:
We had following desserts for sale:
– Sugar cookies with a royal icing flad drawn on each
– Lush fudgy chocolate brownie (which also came in a) gluten-free and b) egg- and dairy-free version)
– Vanilla and oreo cake pops
– Red and blue whoopie pies
– NYC style oreo cheesecake (oreo base, as well as crushed oreos in the actual cheesecake)
– Boozy cupcakes (Guinness chocolate cake with Kahlua mascarpone frosting)
– Funky marshmallow skewers
Here are a few more pictures from the stall:
Unfortunately, it turned out the Miss Gibraltar 2015 beauty pageant appealed more to the local audience so not a lot of people came to the event. It was still good fun though, and the local Nazareth House received a donation of brownies, cookies and whoopie pies to give out to the less fortunate amongst ones. Also, mine and G’s colleagues and friends did not mind devouring any left overs.
Here’s to you, America. Hope you all there across the pond had a lovely 4th of July weekend.
Father’s day was not too long ago and as the designated baker in the family, it was my task to provide cake or cupcakes for the celebrations. I wanted to try a new recipe but wanted it to be a ‘manly one’ somehow. What do men generally like? Football, beer, cars. Luckily, I remembered a recipe Jemma posted not long ago for chocolate Guinness cakes – and it seemed really fitting!
I wasn’t sure what to expect – would you be able to taste the beer? Would it be weird. Little did I know that they will turn out to be amazing. Chocolatey but not overpowering, very moist and with an extremely velvety texture. It is like chocolate cake and fudge had a love child.
You can find the video recipe here but I have written it out below (easier to copy paste ingredients for a shopping list, etc.). Since mine were for father’s day, I had to write little messages with food coloring on a fondant plaque:
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
125ml of Guinness Original (from a bottle, not a can)
125g chopped unsalted butter
140g plain flour
35 g of cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
70g sour cream
1 large free range egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of cream cheese frosting (or use Jemma’s recipe)
Melt butter in Guinness over low heat and set aside. Sieve dry ingredients in a bowl and give it a whisk to mix them all in. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream, the egg and vanilla as well as the Guinness butter (cooled down). Add dry ingredients to wet ones and whisk until it is all incorporated.
The mixture will be runny so pour it in a jug. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with cases and split mixture amongst 12. Bake at 150 degrees Celsius (fan oven) for 22 minutes. While they’re in the oven, prepare the frosting.
Let cool and decorate with cream cheese frosting.
I have never been particularly good at drawing or sculpting but I do love the challenge of preparing novelty cakes (even if I don’t like the taste of fondant). So when a friend of mine asked me to make a mountain bike themed cake for her dad’s 70th birthday, I was both really excited and a little nervous. I started well in advance, working my way through little mountains of fondant, mixing colors and preparing all the little bits and bobs. I used chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting and black cherry filling – I find that the cream cheese frosting really compliments the rich chocolate cake and it doesn’t make it too sweet while it goes well with the cherries too. Advice: If using fondant, the dirty icing on the cake will need longer to set with the cream cheese frosting. I left mine the cake with the dirty icing in the fridge overnight and had no issues putting on the fondant the next day. I proudly present you the finished product:
It was so much fun to make – and I was extremely pleased to hear the birthday boy loved it. Seriously, if you have something to say, say it wth cake. Unless you’re breaking up with someone. Then talk to them – otherwise there may be a cake flying into your face!
Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? Is is a pie? It is all of the above! It’s also pretty close to pure awesomeness.
This weekend I had a play date with a puppy so I simply *had to* bake. Not for the puppy, of course, but for his owners, who refer to my baked goods as (and I quote): ‘little pieces of Heaven’. Looking for something simple, yet effective, I stumbled across Jemma’s newest recipe online – Whoopie Pie Smiles. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! May I say, they came out perfect and took some time to make but were very easy. Have a look yourself:
Personal remarks: I doubled the recipe which produced 36 discs or 18 Whoopie Pies. I think otherwise it produces too little and it’s not worth the effort! My recommendation is to print 2 pages with 6 identical circles and place these underneath your baking parchment in the tin. Then pipe on those circles. Or try and be SuperMan and pipe exactly the same circles without a pattern.
I also used the store-bought Marshmallow Fluff – do not recommend it. I am not sure if it was the heat or the humidity or simply the texture of the fluff, but while it looked perfect for the first 10 minutes or so, some of my smiles ‘drooled’ quite a lot, which is to say the frosting leaked out and also it didn’t hold well enough for me to stack them in a tupperware.
Lessons learned: Next time, I will definitely make the frosting myself. And I am not sure if I will go for marshmallow, I think peanut butter buttercream will taste incredible in those and will also hold better. And I may lose the teeth. While they look pretty awesome, it did take me a while to stick all those tiny mallows on.
I am at the airport travelling to Vienna as I type so there may be a few days of no baking and subsequently no posts, unless I stumble across a bakery worth a report from far lands. Bis bald!
So I had all those posts planned in my head… Mother’s day (in March where I am based), Easter, etc. But now it’s been way after each of these events so I decided to forget about the plan and post everything backwards. Starting with my latest baking creation: a birthday cake for a keen gardener!
Me and my friend who ordered it didn’t want fondant so this made it a little more complicated but I am still happy with the result. Red velvet cake with cream cheese all the way (albeit painted green on the outside) and all edible decorations:
I loved making all the decorations but my favorite is the watering can. Too much cute, I think!
Courgettes have recently become my favorite vegetable to add to cake. Sorry, carrots! But since I’ve made mine award-wining cake way too many times since December, I wanted to try something new. Here I present a recipe for a lush chocolate courgette cake – this time the courgettes are rather unnoticeable taste-wise but they give the chocolate cake the extra bit of moisture any cake needs. Yum! Here we go…
Chocolate courgette cake with cream cheese filling
- 4 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 375g caster sugar
- 350ml vegetable oil
- 350g grated courgette
- 65g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 100g mixed chopped nuts (or almonds or hazelnuts – according to preference)
In a deep bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, salt, cocoa and cinnamon. Mix well until it is all blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. Add to dry mix together with the oil and whisk everything together. If the dough is too thick, you can add a little hot water but I left it thick as the courgettes add plenty of moisture afterwards. Grate the courgette and add it to the chocolate mix. Stir in the chopped nuts. Butter and flour the sides of a 9-inch cake tin, butter and line the bottom of it. If you like, you can bake the 2 layers of the cake in 2 tins: just split mix in 2 but I like to bake one and cut it into 2 slices.
Bake in a preheated oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
Split cake in two. Prepare THIS cream cheese frosting. Spread plenty between layers and ice the cake with the rest. Decorate as desired.
Behold the finished product: