CUPCAKE WEEK: FRIDAY
As part of my cupcake week feature, I thought it would be great to have a guest blog post from a cupcake enthusiast so please welcome… RACHEL ELLIS!
Rachel has been baking and decorating cakes for 2 years and although it’s just a hobby at the moment she has lots of plans and dreams to make it her job one day. Rachel is married and lives with her husband in Cwmbran, although she is originally from Cardiff. In her spare time she likes to see friends and family, go on long walks with her two dogs and the occasional run! She is currently training for the Cardiff half marathon to raise money for Free Cakes For Kids Wales.
Over to Rachel…
What’s not to like?
I love baking, I love decorating cakes and I love sharing my cakes with anyone who’s happy to be called a taste tester. Cupcakes are perfect for all of these things and I often use them as my baking fix. When time is short but I need to bake, when I want to try new decorating ideas or when we have guests visiting they are just perfect. Cupcakes are a great place to start for anyone who is just joining the world of baking and ideas can be developed as your confidence grows.
Cupcake week seemed a great time to work on a recipe that I’ve been thinking about for some time, a light, delicate orange sponge with a smooth passionfruit buttercream.
Orange Cake Ingredients Makes 8-10
120g Unsalted butter (softened)
120g Caster sugar
1 large egg
150g Plain flour mixed with 1tsp baking powder
Zest &juice of 1 orange
Passionfruit Curd Ingredients Makes 1 jar
50g Unsalted butter (melted)
75g Caster sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
6 passionfruit (juice only)
80g Unsalted butter (softened)
250g Icing sugar
Firstly make the curd and allow it to cool.
Whisk the sugar, egg and egg yolk together.
Add this mix to a pan with the melted butter and mix.
Then add the passionfruit juice and continue to stir over a low heat until thickened.
On to the cupcakes
Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of your bowl if needed.
Add half of the flour and beat (on slow speed if using an electric mixer)
Add the milk, beat well.
Add remaining flour and beat.
Lastly mix in by hand the juice and zest of an orange.
Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full and bake in preheated oven at 160C for 20 – 25 minutes
When baked allow to cool on a wire rack
For the buttercream
Beat the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed
Add passionfruit curd to taste, I add approx. 2 tablespoons.
When the cakes are cool, scoop out a piece of cake from the top of each cake. Fill hole with curd and place cake cut out back on top. Top with buttercream and add decorations as required.
The recipe above may seem to have many stages but there are shortcuts and on the days when you are in need of a cake fix there is nothing wrong with a cheeky shortcut! Curd can be shop bought, and although passionfruit is hard to find it can easily be substituted for another flavour. Check your local farm shop for the more interesting flavours or head to the supermarket for trusty lemon curd. You don’t need to add the scoop of curd into the cake as buttercream alone will be enough to finish it off. Or if you really are in a rush for a sweet treat these cakes are delicious still warm from the oven with no topping or decoration.
When it comes to decorating I am a huge fan of the simple buttercream swirl, I am also happy to scoop the buttercream on with a knife and sprinkle some shop bought decorations over the top. Having said that I love to decorate and there are many ways to make a cupcake look even more tempting. It can take time but for me it’s relaxing and rewarding to create those finishing touches. If you would like something with more detail but don’t want to make your own head to your local cake decorating shop, most stock decorations that are handmade and they offer more choice than the supermarkets.
For a special occasion or if you like to make your own, a few basic sugarcraft tools and cutters will get you started. Simple flowers can be made to suit your colour scheme and quickly add detail to your cupcake swirl.
A piece of icing can quickly be transformed by embossing using a cutter and this can be complimented with a matching handmade decoration. Butterflies are lovely for adding detail and all of this was achieved with a simple cutter.
So it’s cupcake week…what are you waiting for?
New to baking or an experienced baker, get to the kitchen, pop the oven on and have a go…simple or complicated, it really doesn’t matter. Cupcakes can be what you want them to be, but they will always work best and be enjoyed most when you are having fun and sharing them with taste testers. I’m sure everyone will easily find some of those!
You can follow Rachel on twitter or visit her brilliant blog for more cake related posts.
If you would like to write a guest post, please get in touch.