Are you afraid of Spiders?!

There are two key things to remember at Halloween in my kitchen:

1. There is an abundance of pumpkin entrails (come on it’s halloween I had to get that word in somewhere!)

2. Anything goes – although I prefer to stay with the idea of cute rather than too gross to eat!

Now the first feedback I received when I said I was going to use the mountainous pile of pumpkin to create a sweet pumpkin cupcake was not exactly encouraging.  It was more like the way you shout at the TV ‘don’t do that!’ as the girl in a horror film has made the lame decision to go down the stairs into the basement having heard something that is probably going to result in her sudden and untimely gruesome death…

I decided to work on the idea of similar ingredients to that of a carrot cake, using lots of warming cinnamon and allspice combined with chopped walnuts and a little white chocolate to add a more distinct sweetness.

The cupcakes were then finished with a simple vanilla buttercream so not to distract from all the flavours in the sponge (although I do think they would be delicious with a Cream Cheese Frosting!).  This was coloured bright orange – obviously a typical halloween festivity colour but also very autumnal as are pumpkins!

Then my favourite part…Oreo Spiders!  I placed a variety of Oreo cookies on to the cupcakes (Regular & Snack Size) and then used sugarpaste in white and black to create little eyes and of course as reminded by a close friend the 8 legs that makes a spider a spider rather than an insect (see I do listen!)

The Spiders were super cute and a little Sesame Street-esque but at the same time had that Halloween theme that I was aiming for.  I have to give a big shout out to the amazing pumpkin carvings done too! (mine was the cat!) See for yourselves…

And…most importantly for all the doubters out there…the cakes were wickedly good (sorry I couldn’t resist one last Halloween word play!)

Happy Halloween everyone x

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A Marbling Delight!

Usually when I make a cupcake its that final flourish of Buttercream or Chocolate Ganache that really turn it into a thing of beauty (combined with glitter and sprinkles of course!), there is one exception to the rule and that is Double Baked Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes! The cupcakes are a combination of dark chocolate sponge and vanilla chocolate chocolate chip cheesecake (yes complete indulgence but entirely worth it!) I sometimes like to add a little crushed oreo biscuits just to add a slight crunch.

They have such a unique finish that is almost like marble and a complete shame to even contemplate covering in any form of icing, that said if you just cant utter the word ‘Cupcake’ without sugar filled buttery lovelyness then a cream-cheese based frosting works really well.

More Wedding Bells…

I seem to be asked more often than not to create wedding cupcake towers over traditional wedding cakes lately…not that I am complaining!  As this time the bride was family, and so obviously the bride’s family were my family without trying to sound too much like the mafia – this time it was personal!

Kelly wanted cupcakes that would match the burgundy and cream theme of the wedding with a little golden sparkle to finish.  We decided upon two different flavours – Caramel Crunch and a simple but delicious Vanilla sponge.  Each individual cupcake was tied in a burgundy ribbon and finished with tiny little gold stars as well as a hand-made sugar roses. Kelly wanted a traditional cake on the top tier so that she could still have that moment as the bride to cut the cake with her new husband.  This was made to resemble the smaller cupcakes finished with a large burgundy rose with stars shooting out of the top.

When I agreed to make this cake (or these cakes being that there were over 100 of them!) I didn’t exactly consider the logistics of transporting from Cornwall 300 miles into the Midlands. With a little bit of careful packing and some very careful driving they all arrived safely – phew!

I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the incredible dance moves that took place later on at the evening reception and decided to include a few anonymous pic’s – you know who you are!

National Baking Week – Oreo Cookie Cupcakes

Keeping up with the theme of National Baking Week (see earlier posts) I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes my friends and family love.  I know it is a favourite because they rarely stay on the cake stand for more than an hour after serving!

The Cupcakes are a cocoa based sponge that is dark and delicious topped with a Vanilla Buttercream that is blended with crumbled Oreo cookies.  For that final lavish touch half an Oreo cookie is simply pressed gently into the buttercream.

I managed to get just one picture before they all disappeared… 

National Baking Week – Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

As it was Chocolate Week last week and I had a big bowl of left over chocolate custard/ganache sat in the fridge it seemed only right to get it used up!  So I decided to combine this with the beginning of National Baking Week 17th-23rd October 2011.  

I chose to make Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes topped with a caramel and nougat enrobbed in milk chocolate slice cut from a well known branded bar…rhymes with ‘Cars’…here are the results…

Red and yellow and pink and green…

I recently made some out of the ordinary wedding cupcake favours – by this I mean with a rainbow theme! Usually when I am asked to make these it is based on a simple cream buttercream and then a little hint of the chosen colours of the Bride and Groom’s wedding theme.  The two Groomsmen had chosen a rainbow style tie for the wedding suits and wanted the favours to match – and I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for the spreading of multicoloured love!

As the wedding party had chosen to arrive in a pink Fiat 500 it seemed only right that the main colour for the cupcakes would have to be a sexy hot pink!  I decided to swirl the hot pink in with the cream buttercream and then add multi-coloured sprinkles.

 The cupcake favours were doubling up as place cards so they were finished in little clear gift bags, tied with a ribbon (multi-coloured of course!) and the hand-made place-card/thank you’s were attached.

 

 

These were then put at the head of each place setting at the wedding breakfast.  From what I can tell there were two types of reactions to these cupcake favours – 1. Devoured immediately 2. Hidden in bag to take home and admire before no.1 takes place, either way this was a happy brightly coloured day for me!

 

The now happily married couple are emmigrating to New Zealand in the New Year and I wish them all the success and happiness that life can offer.

Going to the Zoo, Zoo Zoo, You can come to…

I was lucky enough this summer to have my sister Beth from ‘Up Country’ come to stay and this mean’t without a doubt baking something weird and wonderful was on the cards. Beth may only be 15 but has the sugarcraft skills of a pro and I have no doubt that whatever she chooses in life she will make the most of it!  We decided to create some multi-coloured cupcakes that would be topped with a green grass buttercream and zoo animals – we had visited Paradise Animal Park earlier in the week and this was enough inspiration for us…

P.S. You can click on the picture below to see it in full screen glory! Claire

Ding Dong the Bells are going to Chime…

It all started with a message posted on one of my wedding cake pics by the lovely Louisa Ussher that simply said “When are we going to talk about mine then?!” Little did I know at the time she would become one of my closest friends, and I couldn’t be more happy for the now Mrs Ussher-Bass, you deserve all that life can offer x

Now I have finished gushing about the romance of the day lets talk cake!  Louisa wanted a simple cupcake tower that matched the colour theme of the wedding – Cornflower Blue and Yellow.  Louisa and I decided to go with a simple rose swirl buttercream on a base of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes finished with a cute little sugar flower and the customery RosyCheeks Bakery sprinkle of glitter!  The tower was decorated with beautiful fresh flowers from the wedding breakfast tables. I base the success of the cakes on the small children seen sneaking over during the first dance to carefully take a cake and disappear into the darkness never to be seen again, the only evidence were the empty cases littered around the marquee…

Ooo La La – Cupcake Camp Paris

Cupcake Camp is quite simply described as “an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment.” Cupcake Camp (2011)

The second annual event took place this past weekend and over 2600 cupcakes were sold and devoured! If you wanted to find out more information check out their beautiful blog over at cupcakecampparis.blogspot.com 

Below are a few photographs of some of the winning cupcakes;

Marie Grave won Best Fall Inspired Cupcake with her Apple, Nut and Maple Syrup cupcakes.

Rose of Rose and Cook won Most Unusal Ingredient with her Vitelotte Potato and Violet Syrup cupcake.

The big winner of the day, Rahima Mohammad a.k.a Fairy Cooker, won not only Most Parisian Cupcake and The Make a Wish contest, but she also won Best in Show.

If you wanted to check this out further with some enchanting pictures that really capture the day in all its colourful sugar filled glory please click here for the wordpress freshly pressed choice of the day ‘Colourful Concoctions at Cupcake Camp’

Claire x