Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Say it with Daffodil Cupcakes this Mothers Day

I love daffodils, they're such cheerful (if short-lived) flowers and that splash of yellow is a clear sign that spring is on the way.

So with Mothers Day I thought is would be good to add something seasonal to my list of 'How To Cupcake Decorating Instructions'. You can't get much more seasonal in spring that daffodils so I set about seeing if there was a way I could come up with a way to make daffodil cupcake decorations, without the need for any special equipment, and that anyone could make.

It took a bit of working out but eventually I came up with 2 designs, both using the same method but differing in how they are attached to the cupcake - and crucially neither needing anything more specialised that a cocktail stick to make.

For full instructions follow the link for Daffodil Cupcakes, and whilst you try them out I'll go back to the drawing board and start working on an Easter design.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Wedding Cake Prices ~ Why The Cake Carries That Price Tag

The price tag attached to a bespoke handmade wedding cake is often accompanied by a sharp intake of breath ~ and I can see in peoples eyes that they're thinking ' but it's just a cake' and 'even if it's 5 tiers tall why isn't it just 5 times the price of a birthday cake'?

Well folks, the reasons are many and varied ~ but they're mainly due to time.

These days you can buy very attractive wedding cakes from places such as supermarkets and department stores, and there's nothing wrong with that ~ but the reason you can buy reasonably priced wedding cakes from department stores is that you are choosing from a very small selection - with little or no room for customisation - which means they know exactly how long it takes to make them, and they can knock them out at a fair old rate.

However, if you want something designed for you, delivered to your venue and set up for you, all that takes time - which you should expect to pay for.

You can find out more about about why wedding cake prices are the price they are and some options on how to keep them down in this Wedding Cake Prices and Sizes Guide.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Water, Water Everywhere ~ But How to Create it in Cake

Fairytale castle cakes have long been a favourite of all young girls who dream of being a princess.

Now castles come in all shapes and sizes, but no castle is complete without a moat for a handsome prince to ride across on a firey white steed - and that leaves cake decorators grappling with the problem of how to make water look like water.

You can of course just use blue fondant icing, or even blue royal icing or buttercream, but none of those quite give the glistening sheen of water. The answer is to use piping gel.

Piping gel is a jelly like substance which can be coloured and used in a variety of ways to create the illusion of water or any shiny surface such as glass i.e. if you wanted to create a stained glass theme cake. It's great for creating the illusion of liquid - I've used it both as 'tea' in a mug of tea cake, and also as 'cocktails' for to make 'cocktail cupcakes' for an 80's theme event.

It's not the sort of thing you generally find in the supermarket but is widely available in good cake supply shops or online, so if you haven't dabbled with it yet, it's well worth a try.

You can get some more ideas about what to do with it in this article Piping Gel - How to Use Piping Gel in Cake Decorating

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Futures Bright, The Futures Orange and Cinnamon Cupcakes

I had the idea for orange and cinnamon cupcakes a couple of weeks ago. I wanted something that incorporated the zing of orange but with a warming background i.e. cinnamon.

After a couple of attempts I decided to go with soft dark brown sugar to give a richer colour and flavour and although I have come up with a dairy free version, the butter version is definitely the best.

If you want a go yourselves then here is the Orange and Cinnamon Cupcakes Recipe.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Cupcake Decorating Classes - Expect the Unexpected ....

My favourite part of running cupcake decorating classes is watching a persons initial disbelief that they'll ever be able to make a rose / frog / elephant (insert your own 'I could never do that' object at this point), not only turn into amazement that they can, but carry on into a streak of creativity they never knew they had.

My classes have a structure to them, and there are certain things we always make, lilies and frogs for example, but I always like to have a bit of flexibility to be able to incorporate special requests from my classes - which yesterday included elephants, pandas and dolphins - not too unusual so far, but them came the big one - could I show them how to make a Jasmine flower as it had particular significance for one of the girls.

Now animals are no problem, I pretty much know what they look like, and when you're making them in sugarpaste you just need to break them down into a selection of various coloured sausages and balls. But  flowers - let's just say roses, daisies and sunflowers are about the limit of my 'recognise on sight' repertoire.

Happily technology came to the rescue, as one of the girls logged onto the net via her phone and found a photo. Luckily the Jasmine flower turned out to be a fairly simple 5 petal flower with a yellow center. Easy enough for me to create in sugarpaste, and it left the young mum in the class who had named her daughter after the flower, delighted.

So happy people all round, plus I've got another flower to add to my Floral Themed Cupcake Class - and it's one I wouldn't have even recognised 24hrs ago.

Cupcakes and education - who'd have thought ....

Monday, 31 January 2011

Fabulously Fuss Free Quick and Easy Fruitcake

Fruitcake is one of those things I never generally cook. Not because I don't like it (I do, very much), but it's all that chopping peel and soaking fruit business that puts me off ~ I never seem to have the time.

However a couple of weeks ago whilst on my weekly meander round the supermarket I saw they were selling off jars of mincemeat (of the mince pie kind) for pennies ~ must have been trying to get rid of left over stock from Christmas.

A little bit of a light bulb moment later and it occured to me that here was the answer, a jar of ready chopped, pureed and spiced fruit - perfect for a fruitcake.

A couple of kitchen experiements later produced a wonderfully moist light (in colour) fruit cake, rich in flavour and dead easy to make. 

If you want to make it yourself here's a link to the quick and easy fruitcake recipe.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Cute and Cuddly Christening Cupcakes

Christening cakes seems to be one cake area where tradition stays well and truly firmly fixed when it comes to christening cake decorations.

These christening cupcakes were made for a lovely little boy named Charlie and the brief was very specific, a blue and white baby theme.

The sugarpaste teddy bears are a particular favourite of mine and are always a great hit when used. The dummies and booties are perennial favourites and very easy to make  - just follow the link for instructions on how to make those particular christening cake decorations.

The other decoration on the cupcakes are boxes of present made using a patchwork cutter.