Sunday, 27 July 2014

Kettlebell cake!

Last week was my brother’s birthday and so he put forth a special request for this birthday cake, he wanted it in the shape of a kettlebell and for it to be piƱata style so that when you cut it open smarties and maltesers come gushing out.  Easy right? Haha
At first I had thought I would just bake a Giant Cupcake using my silicone mould then shape it accordingly into the kettlebell shape and simply cut out a ‘hole’ between the handle and the top of the weight. But then I thought the handle won’t be too sturdy as it will only be made from cake. My next thought was to just make the actual shape of the kettlebell weight from the cake and find something else to make the handle from. Then another thought, there must be ball shaped cake tins right? Of course! So I sourced the ball cake tins and used that instead.

That covered the weight part of the kettlebell but I had no idea how I was going to do the handle part. I google it to hopefully gain some inspiration but it seems most people used rice krispy treats or something like that, wasn’t really something I was too keen to try, so I just figured I would make it from fondant.

So I consulted my cookbooks shelf and pulled out this book.

And found this recipe …

I had all the ingredients in the cupboard and it looked relatively easy, and it was! It turned out really well, the tins were perfect, they rose slightly, but I was able to cut the tops of to make them flat in order to put them together to make the ball shape of the weight.

I also cut the bottom to make that a little flat so that it was more sturdy and kettlebells have flat bottoms too. Then I took a small bit off the front too as that was where I was going to put the weight number, or in this case, my brothers age.
So once all put together, I covered it in buttercream frosting, blue as was requested by the birthday boy.

Then onto the fondant handle.

I split my fondant up into 3 parts, 2 for the side bits of the handle and 1 slightly longer part for the top of the handle. Then I simply rolled them into thick sausages. Oh I almost forgot, I coloured the fondant blue first of course, to match the frosting colour.

Once each piece was rolled and to the size that matched my ‘weight’ I slid a bit of wooden dowel (kebab sticks) into each bit as that was how I was going to stick it into the cake. My local kitchen supplies shop had recommended getting cake wire and using that, but they were out of stock and the place they recommended closed before I could get to it, so I just used the kebab sticks instead. So I shoved them in to each piece, then gently molded the two top bit of the handle to the two side bits of the handle and laid it down flat to set overnight. I really should have done this on the weekend and given it more time to set, but I didn’t quite plan that far ahead :(

Looking back in hindsight it might have been better to have just done one long roll of fondant, then curved/bent it into the handle shape instead of doing the three parts then having to mold them back together. At least I will know for next time J
So I coloured a bit of the fondant black and used stencils to cut out the numbers 3 and 4 and stuck them on the flat part at the front. Then I had a little bit left over so I made a few little mini weights and dumbbells to have next to the cake.

Cakes aren’t really my speciality, but this once seemed to turn out pretty good. I definitely need more practise with working with fondant though, but nonetheless, it was fun :)

Friday, 25 July 2014

Neapolitan Icecream Sundae Cupcakes

Last month my work hosted the Biggest Morning Tea to help raise well needed funds for the Cancer Council. For more info about the Cancer Council and their research or to donate head their website here. Not only was this a great event to allow us to raise money for much needed cancer research but it also gave me an excuse to bake! (Not that I really need an excuse).

So even though its the middle of winter, doesn't mean its too cold for ice-cream cupcakes that is! Well ... not really icecream cucpcakes, more iceceam inspired cupcakes. I had orginally wanted to try doing a rainbow polka dot cake or rainbow polka dot cupcakes, but was a bit short for time so ended up using half the rainbow instead and doing neapolitan.

I started off using my basic vanilla cupcake recipe. Once the mixture was complete I split it into three seperate bowls to make the 3 different flavours and colours. I simply added cocoa powder for the chocolate, pink gel colouring for the pink, also with a hint of strawberry essence then left the third part of the mixture as was for the vanilla.

Then I layered them when I put them into the cupcake trays. I couldn't remember the proper order of the icecream and google gave me a few different answers so I had chocolate, strawberry then vanilla in my head, so thats what I did!

They turned out quite well, with not too much of the strawberry showing from under the vanilla.

Next was onto the frosting. Again I followed with the Neapolitan theme, but I also wanted to add the sundae element to the cupcake. I used a basic buttercream frosting and again added cocoa powder for the chocolate, strawberry essence and pink gel colouring for the strawberry and left the mixture the same for the vanilla.

So following the same layers as the cupcake, my first layer or frosting was chocolate.

Next was strawberry 

And then on top of that I finished with the vanilla

At this stage I realised I had run out of piping bags! I only had 2 in my cupboard but of course I needed 3, so for the vanilla I had to resort to using a zip lock bag, that was a bit of an interesting experience, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Nonetheless it did the job :)

Next was to add some chocoloate sauce. I melted some plain Cadbury milk chocolate melts, put it into a zip lock bag, (a proper use for a zip lock bag) snipped the corner then lightly drizzled chocolate over the cupcake, the same way you would with chocolate sauce on your ice cream. 

The final 2 steps were to ad a jaffa on the top and a small piece of wafer to the side, and there you have it, Neapolitan Icecream Sundae cupcakes!

There are many different ways you can theme these cupcakes to be like a sundae, you can add strawberry sauce instead of chocolate, or add sprinkles etc Tell me how you would make your Sundae cupcakes, I would love to know!

Oh and you may notice in some of the pictures, one of my jaffas on top of the cupcakes is pink! As these cupcakes are so tall, I couldnt fit them into my normal cupcake carrier so I had to squeeze them into tall plastic containers instead, only I didnt have enough room for the last one, so it went into the frige as is. Then when I pulled it out the next morning it had turned pink! Neat! Just a sneaky tip for you if ever need pink balls as decorations :)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

White Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

So with less than a week until I move house, an old work mate messages me asking for a favour. His wife, 8 months pregnant is having major cravings for ... yep, you guessed it, cupcakes! In desperation he so kindly asked if I would be able to bake for her to help satisfy his wife's mad cravings and help put him at ease. And of course, before even thinking: how am I going to have time for this? where are my piping tips? which box are my sprinkles in? I said I would be delighted to bake for her.
The flavours requested were White Chocolate and Salted Caramel. Two flavours I have never tried.

As my recipe books are all packed, I did the modern day thing and jumped onto google. Unfortunately it was a little disappointing at first, upon searching for white choc mud cake cupcakes, all that seemed to come up was cakes! Normally I would be fine with this, I would happily use a cake recipe and adapt it slightly if needed to suit cupcakes, however time was not on my side and so I wanted something quick an easy that I knew would definitely work. That's when I stumbled upon Tea for Six and her recipe for White Chocolate Mud Cupcakes. Simple, easy and makes a dozen ... Perfect!

Pink cupcake liners as my friends wife is having a girl

This recipe was super easy which was such a blessing and no kitchen mixer required, its all done by hand! Melt a few ingredients in a saucepan, then add to the dry ingredients.


Amazing, easy, fast and no mess!

The only adjustment I made was the cooking time. Her recipe said bake for 30 minutes or until cooked. I know every oven is different, but after 15 minutes mine were beautiful and golden and perfect, so out they came ...

Now onto the frosting. Again I googled recipes for salted caramel frosting, and surprisingly enough almost all the recipes I found were making it from scratch! Normally that would be a good thing, but lacking in time for precision I wanted a 'cheats' caramel. Luckily I remembered watching a video on My Cupcake Addiction recently for cheats caramel frosting with only 3 ingredients, perfect! exactly what I was after.

My caramel frosting ended up looking super delish, I simply added some salt to turn it into salted caramel frosting, easy right? of course!

When it came to piping my cupcakes, I got a little eager, my recipe was a little runny. I should have put the caramel frosting in the fridge to set and firm up a little, so that when it piped it held its shape. Unfortunately I didnt, so when I piped my frosting, it 'flopped' haha but thats ok, I tilted the cupcakes and allowed it to 'flop' and cover the whole cupcake and it left a pretty pattern from my piping tip. Phew!

The finished product

Unfortunately I didnt get to taste the cupcakes as I only made a dozen, but hopefully there were delish!

Have you ever had a recipe 'flop' or not turn out the way you planned?