Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: cupcakes

Christmas Afternoon Tea At Emma Jane’s

Readers of my blog will know that I love Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen. Aside from the fabulous cupcakes, the decor is quirky and cute, it’s a cosy spot to meet friends and the lovely Emma Jane herself makes you feel welcome and valued.

afternoon tea2

If you love cupcakes, this is the obvious place to come for orders and to enjoy some cake in a gorgeous setting. However, it probably isn’t the first place you would think to come for Afternoon Tea. There are plenty of places in Cardiff offering Afternoon Tea and they all have their specialisms. Some are known for their tea, some for their bubbly and some have an envirnoment that screams out to be serving afternoon tea. Well, Emma Jane has the cake!

I’ve been to some perfectly nice Afternoon Teas where everything has been lovely but the cakes aren’t always homemade and for me this is pretty much essential. With Emma Jane’s Christmas Afternoon Tea, we got two cupcakes, delcious mince pies and gingerbread, all homemade.

When we arrived everything was prepared for us and we were asked to choose our cupcakes and our choice of tea. We chose a spicy Chrsitmas tea, a Gingerbread Cupcake and a Cranberry and Orange Cupcake. These were brought to us on a pretty three tier cake stand (also essential in my opinion).

The sandwich selection was excellent. No boring choices here. We enjoyed cranberry and brie, turkey and stuffing, ham and pickle, and cucumber. The sandwiches had their crusts removed in the traditional manner but they were packed full of filling.

We polished off the sandwiches in no time and moved onto the middle tier; mince pies and cream and gingerbread. The mince pies were warm and delicious. We had a huge pot of cream and we managed to eat it all, finishing it off by dipping our gingerbread in it which were also very good.

Lastly, it was the turn of the top tier; the cupcakes and chocolates. We were told that if we couldn’t eat everything we could take it away in a box but we powered on. The cakes were very good as I would expect based on Emma’s other cakes. I especially enjoyed the gingerbread cake.

afternoon tea

A lot of effort went into this Afternoon Tea. Everything was homemade and it was all served at the bargain prize of £8.50. If you love cake and you love afternoon tea, Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen is your answer. If you’re not interested in Afternoon Tea then definitely pop in for a cake.

Advertisements

Your Last Mouthful’s Most Beautiful Cupcake- Your Vote!

Thanks to everyone who entered my competition. There are some very skilled cupcake makers out there and you can see all the entries in the post above.

Guest judge Alison from Tea Things in Penarth has kindly shortlisted the entries by selecting her top 5 most beautiful cupcakes and now it’s down to you to vote for the winner.

Here is Alison’s shortlist with her comments.

Number 1

Vanilla Pearl Vintage by Nik’s Kakes

Comments: Stylish, elegant and sophisticated. Everything I’m not while scoffing cake.

Number 2

Red Velvet Cupcake by Susie Ryan

Comments: I really like the unusual design, very sensual and romantic!

Number 3

Vintage Cupcake by Love Peace and Cupcake

Comments: This isn’t a cupcake, it’s a work of art.

Number 4

Chocolate Brownie Cupcake by Heather’s Cupcakes

Comments: I love the silver – it almost looks like a book illustration.

Number 5

Floral Cupcakes by Cakes in the City

Comments: Every one of these is beautiful in its own right – I can’t think of
anyone who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a box

************************************************************************************************************

Now it’s over to you! Vote for your winner. Voting closes on Sunday at 8pm. Only one vote per person will be counted.

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED! 

This competition was due to run until Sunday but it appears that the whole thing has resulted in an out and out cake war! This competition was intended to be a bit of fun but when I woke up this morning my inbox and Facebook inbox were inundated with accusations of cheating, bribery to get votes and evidence of abusive emails to people.

Due to this, I have had to cancel the competition and unfortunately there is no winner which is a real shame. I’m overwhelmed by the interested this post has received but it’s a shame that it couldn’t have been enjoyed by all in the spirit it was intended.

Thanks to all who entered and all who voted.

CUPCAKE WEEK: SATURDAY- Cupcakes Are The Height Of Fashion!

Today’s National Cupcake Week post is a guest post from Debra of Love, Peace and Cupcake. Deb was selected to provide cupcakes for fashion week. Her cakes are delicious and you can read my previous review here.

Over to Debs…

A successful and exciting London Fashion Week came to an end on Tuesday and Welsh designer Jayne Pierson helped the conclusion by launching her new Spring/Summer 2013 collection, Brave.

 In the planning stages of the launch Love Peace and Cupcake were approached by Jayne herself to provide bespoke cupcakes for the VIP goodie bags on the day. We thought it was fabulous to be asked to bake for such a momentous event and were keen to create unique individual cupcakes that would reflect the collection!

 Jayne and her team provided verbal and visual clues to the collections projected look by sending snapshots of their research. They described the types of fabric and blends that were being considered. This was hugely exciting as we got a sneaky peek at the innermost secrets behind the new launch!

 We took several aspects of the designs and planned a creation of black, white and royal blue. A bespoke cupcake with texture and visual sharpness fit for a style showcase.

 Armed with our trusty Nikon D5000 we got started and recorded our journey from batter to bright lights!

Exclusive invitation to the show

The batter.
In the beginning 🙂

On the train

Arrival at Paddington

A cupcake nap

Quick tour of the sights

The wonderful Somerset House on the busy Strand

Modelling Jayne Piersons new collection

The goodie bag contents…oooo look there we are!

They disappeared faster than a blink!

Thanks to Debs and congratulations!

CUPCAKE WEEK: FRIDAY- Cupcake Decorating With The Happy Cupcake Kitchen

With the cupcake craze still going strong, cupcake classes are making their entrance into the market and are proving popular not only with people wanting to learn how to do it themselves but as a social event. Groups of friends are getting together and it is becoming a popular activity for Hen-do’s.

As part of my cupcake week feature, Sara from The Happy Cupcake Kitchen very kindly ran a cupcake decorating class for me and two friends in her beautiful kitchen.

I do bake quite often but the decoration part is my downfall. I’m not patient enough or skilled enough and I get cross when I can’t do something immediately and perfectly so I tend to avoid cupcakes in my repertoire and just admire the ones that other people make. However, I was excited to give this a try.

Sara was friendly and welcoming making us cups of tea and passing around macaroons. She chatted confidently and made us feel very at home. Before we went along to the class, I was asked to pick a theme for the cakes from a long list or to come up with my own. I chose ‘retro’ and Sara had already created some retro style cupcakes for us to start decorating. The cakes were a multicoloured sponge so Sara started the class by showing us how to make them using batters died different colours.

We worked at Sara’s kitchen table where individual stations were laid out for us with all the equipment we would need for the day. There were also ample supplies of colouring paste and ready-made butter icing and fondant icing.

We got to work dying our icing, starting with the butter icing and Sara showed us how to pipe, resulting in some quirky multi coloured designs as we mixed the colours together in the piping bag.

Moving on, we set to work dying the fondant icing for the next set of cakes. Sara encouraged us to try to think about how the box of cakes would look as a whole. I never thought about this but I’m glad she pointed it out because they looked really nice in the box and if I’d just been let loose to use all manner of colours and styles it just wouldn’t have worked.

Sara showed us how to cover our cakes in fondant icing. This is more tricky than it looks if you want to get it smooth and finger print free!

Once we’d covered the cakes, we were introduced to a range of cutters, ways to imprint patterns and letters and pens with edible ink. After some demonstrations from Sara we were free to make up our own designs. Some things were easier than others but it was a lot of fun playing around with different ideas.

When I bake I’m usually alone but I had such a good time doing it with friends and chatting and laughing as we decorated. I can see that with a bottle of wine for a hen-do or a birthday party it would be brilliant. Sara was a great teacher and she just seemed like one of the group (albeit a more talented member of the group when it came to cake).

I didn’t think I’d learn a lot from a cupcake decorating class but I did and even if you think of yourself as pretty knowledgable, it’s still great fun. I’d love to do this again and I highly recommend it for a group of friends. My cakes didn’t turn out too bad either!


A class like this is £48 and you get to decorate 12 cakes which you take away with you. It icludes the use of all equipment and ingredients and we had 4 hours worth of tuition. Cupcake parties are £20 per person and you get 4 cakes to decorate and take away. Sara also does children’s parties at £16 per person.

You can find out more on The Happy Cupcake Kitchen website.

Thanks to Sara for having us.

CUPCAKE WEEK: WEDNESDAY- Animal Face Cupcakes

I have happy memories of baking with my Mum when I was little. On the kitchen stall so I could reach the counter in my little apron, waiting eagerly to lick out the bowl. When I have children, I am really excited about teaching them to cook and these cakes are exactly what I can imagine baking.

Jayne from Teisen Deg baked these with her daughter during the wet and windy summer holidays and has been kind enough to share her recipe.

Use your imagination to create animal faces that can be represented in buttercream, chocolate buttons, sprinkles and sweets. Jayne made a monkey, bear and pig, but the choice is yours. Happy baking…

(Recipe adapted from a recipe by Annie Rigg featured in “Decorating Cakes and Cookies”)

ANIMAL FACE CUPCAKES

For the buttercream:

Chocolate

125 g butter, softened

250 g icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp milk

30 g melted chocolate

Strawberry

100 g softened butter

125 g sachet strawberry icing sugar

1 tbsp warm water

1 drop red food colouring

To decorate

Marshmallows

Jelly beans

Assorted chocolate buttons

Chocolate sprinkles

Candy laces

Liquorice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the side of the mixing bowl from time to time.  Add the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add to the mixture in alternate batches with the buttermilk.  Mix until smooth and divide between the cupcake cases, filling two-thirds full.

Bake on the middle shelf for 20 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft and gradually cream in the sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the other ingredients and mix well to give a firm spreading consistency.

Cover the cakes with buttercream, spreading smoothly with a palette knife.  Use marshmallows in assorted sizes to make noses and snouts.  Cover these with buttercream to match the rest of the face and push into place.  Use marshmallows or individually stacked chocolate buttons for ears and stick in place with a dab of buttercream.

Use halved jelly beans for nostrils or large eyes, and strips of liquorice or candy laces for mouths.

Adapted from a recipe by Annie Rigg featured in “Decorating Cakes and Cookies”

Teisen Deg make all kinds of delicious cakes. Have a look at my previous review and take a look at the website for further details.

CUPCAKE WEEK: TUESDAY- An Interview With The Lady Behind Baked By Mel

As part of cupcake week, I thought it would be interesting to interview the passionate cake baking supreme that is Melanie Constantinou, the lady behind Baked By Mel.

I first met Mel when we got together for tea so I could review some of her cakes and I found her passion and excitement for baking inspiring. So, a few weeks ago, we met for yet more tea and cake and this time I took my pad and pen. Here’s what she had to say.

How long have you been baking? 

Along time for fun but a year ago last February, I went self-employed and started Baked By Mel.

What made you set up your cake business?

I have two young children and I wanted to work around them to avoid all the issues with childcare. I knew it had to be home based and I love cake! There are cakes everywhere at the moment and I was aware of the revival of grow your own and make your own so it seemed like a perfect fit.

What sparked your interest in baking?

My Mum is very enthusiastic about food. My Dad is Greek so the food we ate when I was young was really interesting and unusual. We’d have things like stuffed vine leaves, macaroni pie, all made from scratch. My Greek Nan used to make yogurt in the bathroom so I learnt a lot.

Food is really important in my background. My Grandad owned a butchers on Brick Lane in London and my Mum ran a small fruit and veg stall next door. When she met my Dad who is Greek, his Mum taught my Mum how to cook. My parents now run two cafes in Southend so food has always been an important part of my life.

What sets your cakes apart from others?

I’ve been wondering this. Apparently they look polished! They are simple but I like things to be symmetrical and made with care. I genuinely love my cakes! They look so lovely when I look through the oven door and see them all cooking together and when I ice them I get all excited! When I deliver them to people and they are pleased it’s so exciting and I get a really warm buzz, it’s great!

Call me strange but I think that love and passion can get into food. When I see my boys eating something I’ve made I get all maternal. I feel like I’m doing my job properly.

So I guess what I’m saying is, what sets my cakes apart is ‘me’. That’s how I feel anyway. I am the biggest secret ingredient! All my love and passion goes into everything I bake and I think that’s important. Oh, that and music. I always play music while I’m baking, it’s good for the cakes!

What is your greatest creation?

Last Christmas, I asked my partner what he wanted for desert on Christmas day. I thought he’d say cheesecake but no, he wanted Dutch apple pie, just like his Mum makes. Well this worried me, I would have to compete with fond memories!

I looked at some recipes and I needed a variety of apple that I couldn’t get over here so I used Granny Smith’s and the pastry was just so rich, I had no idea how I would roll it. I had a new oven that I had never used before so I wasn’t used to the settings but it turned out to be absolutely gorgeous!

The fluted edges were perfect, the apples were shiny with a brandy glaze, it looked like it should be in the window of a French Patisserie. He was delighted that I had cooked it for him and he even said it was better than his Mother’s but don’t tell her!

Where do you get your inspiration?

I look at a lot of recipes but I also base my cakes on flavours that inspire me. I might see an ingredient I like, like some nice fresh strawberries, then I think about what flavours might go with them. I look at turning large cakes into cupcakes and I like to experiment using flavours from cocktails. I’ll think of something and wonder how I’ll get it in a cake. For example, Pina Colada. I’d soak pineapple in the cake mix and I’d add coconut milk to the frosting.

Often I’ll see something like a cake wrapper or a gorgeous plate and think of flavours that would suit them. This often leads onto a whole range of things. A beautiful vintage plate might make me think of Earl Grey as a cake flavour which leads me to think of more tea related cakes I could create.

Aside from baking, what else do you like to cook?

I love baking! I love making soda bread but that’s still baking. Soup! I love making soup! It’s straight forward, nutritious and rewarding. I would NEVER have soup from a can. Once you have the basics I think it’s impossible to go wrong.

What is the best meal you’ve had recently?

It was at the Purple Poppadom in Cardiff. I had mussels to start in a coconut sauce with different naan breads. I love dipping bread in food, it reminds me of my time living in Sinai.

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

….long pause. This is so hard! Hmmmm, it would have to be my Dad’s kebabs. They are so good! I have never tasted anything like it. He cooks it on real charcoal and infuses the meat for hours. It has to come with pitta and salad. Perfect!

Mel’s creations

**********

It was a pleasure to interview Mel. I totally agree, love and passion can get into food and you will definitely find them in Mel’s cakes. Have a look at her website to see what she can do.

                                                                                          

CUPCAKE WEEK: MONDAY – Vintage CupcakeTutorial With Yes Please Louise

It’s Cupcake Week 2012! To celebrate there will be a cupcake related post every day this week, starting with a tutorial from the very talented Natalie from Yes Please Louise.

**********

Being a huge foodie myself I love reading Nikki @ Your Last Mouthful’s blog and reviews and jumped at the chance to take part in her National Cupcake week special!

In this tutorial I will show you how to make these gorgeous fondant icing covered cupcakes…

Covering cupcakes with fondant icing is a great, elegant and neat way to cover your cupcakes.

It makes wedding cupcakes look that little bit more special, unique and a lot easier to create than you may think!

I learnt how to decorate cupcakes by watching YouTube Video’s, reading lots of books and searching for online tutorials!

After trying lots of different methods I believe this is the easiest.

As they say ”practice makes perfect”!

This is my first tutorial and had so much fun doing it… I really hope it helps you create some gorgeous cupcakes!

Many Thanks to Eleanor for the lovely photo’s and capturing all the steps beautifully! Please also check out her lovely work at www.eleanorjane.co.uk and www.eleanorjaneweddings.co.uk or www.facebook.com/Ffotogirl

Here goes….

How to Cover Cupcakes with Fondant Icing

Step 1

Add a generous mountain of buttercream to the middle of the cupcake, leaving a small gap around the edge from the cupcake case.

I always make my buttercream with a little extra icing sugar and added milk or water, so its nice and thick and holds it’s shape better.

Step 2

Dust your surface with a little icing sugar if you don’t have a non-stick board. Roll out your icing to around a 1/4 inch thickness.

Using a circular cutter (I use a 7cm circle cutter for a large muffin case cupcake) cut out your circle.

Step 3

Place your circle of fondant icing on top of the buttercream centrally.

Step 4

With your fingers smooth/stretch the icing down to the edges of the cupcake case (do not over lap the case) slowly and gently making sure not to tear the fondant icing. Try not to put too much pressure on the top of the cupcake as the buttercream may squish out of the sides! Make sure there are no gaps all around the edge of the cupcake.

Step 5

Smooth all over the fondant icing with the palm of your hand to make a neat even dome shape.

Now you are ready to decorate!

How to Make Fondant Icing Bows

Step 1

Roll out your fondant icing and cut a thick strip and thin strip.

The thick strip will be your bow so have the bow size you would like in mind when cutting.

Step 2

With the Thick strip of icing fold the edges into the middle and press the middle down so they stick together.

Step 3

Pinch the centre of the folded fondant icing to make a bow shape.

Step 4

With the thin part of the icing wrap it around the middle hiding the join and pinch the edges to stick. Turn over so the joins are hidden.

Step 5

Add another strip of icing to your cupcake if desired and place the bow on top. To secure the icing you can brush a tiny bit of water to the icing first to make it sticky.

How to Make a Petal Paste Ruffle Flower

You can get Petal Paste from any cake supply shop, it is different to fondant icing as it dries hard. So remember to work quickly with it and wrap any you are not using tightly in cling film to stop it drying out!

Step 1

Start by rolling balls with your Petal Paste icing. These will be the centre of your flowers. Put them aside.

Step 2

Roll out your petal paste and cut out four different size circles. I’m using a 6/5/4.5/3.5 cm circle cutters.

Step 3

Put your circles onto a foam pad and thin out/frill the edges with a ball tool. (if you don’t have a foam pad or ball tool you can use a surface dusted in icing sugar and roll the end of a cocktail stick around the edge of the circle for a similar effect)

Step 4

Place the ruffled circles on top of each other (largest on bottom/smallest on top). Use a tiny brush of water on each layer to stick them together.

Step 5

Use your ball tool to push the middle together (gently! don’t push the ball tool straight through!).

Place one of your petal paste balls into the centre of the flower and allow to dry for an hour or so until it holds it’s shape.

Step 6

Then place your flower onto of your already covered cupcake. Again attach with a tiny bit of water if necessary.

How to Make Small Petal Paste Flowers

Step 1

Roll out your petal paste and cut out your small flowers with your choice of cutters.

Step 2

Place your flowers onto a foam pad and gently thin/frill them with a ball tool.

Step 3

Put the flowers onto a curved foam drying pad (this will make the petals dry curved not flat) you can find these at most packaging suppliers (you could also use an empty egg box). Mix and match your flowers as desired and add middles if you like! Leave to dry.

Step 4

Decorate your cupcake with the flowers. Using a tiny brush of water to stick them if necessary.

I really hope this has inspired you to give this a go…. Please feel free to post a picture of your creations on my facebook page, I would love to see them!

If you have any questions or need any help in creating these cupcakes from my tutorial please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can contact me via my website  and Facebook  or Twitter @yespleaselouise. Make sure you ‘like’ and ‘follow’ me to see my creations and get updates on tutorials and offers in future!

Natalie 🙂

Cupcake Week 2012: Who Makes The Most Beautiful Cupcakes?

To celebrate cupcake week 2012, I am going to create a cupcake gallery of beautiful handmade cupcakes. Whether you are a professional baker or a keen amateur, whatever your age or your style, I need pictures of your cakes.

All you need to do is send me your photo, your name, the name of your cake and a link to your website or social media page if you have one to be included.

I will feature all of the cakes in the gallery and then I will shortlist the best and put it to you to vote for Your Last Mouthful’s Most Beautiful Cupcake 2012.

You have until the Friday 21st September to send me your cakes. Please email them to me at nikki@yourlastmouthful.com

Get decorating!

Cupcake Week 2012! Calling All Cardiff Cupcake Lovers!

It’s almost cupcake week 2012!

Last year, my week long feature on cupcake week 2011 was my most popular search ever so this year I will be doing it again. Expect reviews, recipes, tutorials, guest posts and cakey interviews.

Cupcake week starts on 17th September so get involved and get baking. I’d love to see the cakes you make and will post them all on the blog if you send me photos.

Baked By Mel- Cakes Crying Out To Be Eaten.

As you well know, I get very excited when someone offers to send me a box of cakes to review. Beautiful cupcakes appearing on my desk is definitely a perk but it is even more exciting when I get to meet the people behind the cakes and have a chat.

Last week I was thrilled to have tea with the lovely Melanie behind Baked By Mel at the wonderful Pettigrew Tearooms. I instantly liked Mel, she was bubbly and fun and her enthusiasm for her business and love of tea and cake was infectious. I could have chatted and eaten cake for hours.

Mel told me about her business and how she had set it up so that she could be at home with her young children and how well it is now doing. It was great to hear that she enjoyed it so much and how she was staying true to what she loves. Mel believes that a cake should be all about making you want to eat it. While cupcakes can be beautiful, they still need to make your mouth water so Mel experiments with flavours and keeps her designs simple (but still lovely to look at) so that they are not just too pretty too eat, they taste great too.

I agree fully with this ethos but for those of you who read my reviews regularly you will know this so I won’t bang on about it. I will just say that I was pleased to hear this and for me a cupcake can look like a work of art but flavour should not be compromised.

Digging into Mel’s cakes, I can assure you flavour was high on her list of priorities. The cakes were delicious and very imaginative. They came packed in a colourful box, perfect for a gift and each cake had a unique design.

Black Forest Cherry

Black Forest Gateaux has never been at the top of my list of desserts so I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did but it actually turned out to be my favourite. The cake had a rich, dark chocolate flavour made incredibly moist by lashings of brandy and cherry and topped with the most gorgeous light fluffy perfectly white icing. Mel explained that the butter icing was beaten for 8 minutes and included lots of fluid to make it so light and airy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch

Topped with a piece of snickers and a moorish chocolate fudge topping, this chocolate cake was filled with peanut butter. The combination of sweet and salty is something that I am loving at the moment so I enjoyed this one.

Lemon and Poppy Seed

You can’t go wrong with lemon, it’s one of my favourites. This one was very strong and the bitterness of lemon was matched perfectly with the sweetness in the sponge and the poppy seeds gave it an extra dimension adding a bit of crunch. Again this was lovely and moist and topped with that light icing again.

Strawberry Jam

This one certainly looked very cute with a cake heart on top. It was a very traditional combination of vanilla sponge with strawberry jam inside. The jam was also handmade by The Preservation Society.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Topped with a fresh strawberry this cake was a moist vanilla sponge with soft butter icing and a layer of cream cheese in between the two. A clever idea and very tasty although as a cheese fiend, I would have liked a bit more cheese.

At just £1.50 per cake Mel’s prices are very competitive and would make a great gift or just a guilty pleasure for a Sunday afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing what new creations Mel comes up with in the future and hope to meet her again soon.

My Last Mouthful was: Black Forest Cherry Cake

Service-

Presentation-

Quality of products-

Diversity of products-

Value for money-

Overall rating-

%d bloggers like this: