Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easy evening cake

I wanted to bake today, I fancied something sweet, but simple and quick to make... and I also wanted to use some mascarpone I had in the fridge.

I made a simple sponge based on the ever versatile recipe I have used lately for the cupcakes. But instead of using paper cases, I put the mix into a 8" tin and baked for 25 minutes instead of 15 and I added a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead of orange zest. Great result!!!

For the frosting was mascarpone cheese mixed with cocoa powder, sugar and a drop or two of pure vanilla extract... mix mix mix and then spread over the cake with a spatula. Then I sprinkled some chocolate spaghetti (from Morrisons)....and that's IT!

So, the recipe:
-350g plain flour
-1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
-140g caster sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-250ml milk (I used semi-skimmed and it worked well)
-1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
-85g butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6/Fan oven 180°C
2. Line a round 8" deep tin .
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and salt.
4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug or bowl, add the pure vanilla extract, then stir in the butter and gently mix into the dry ingredients to make a loose, slightly lumpy mixture. Do not overmix or the cake will be tough.
5. Fill in the tin
6. Bake for 25 minutes until well risen and golden on top.
Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then carefully remove and place on a plate.
7.Put the mascarpone cheese in a small bowl, add a tablespoon of sugar (You can use less or more, up to you), a teaspoon and a half of cocoa powder, a couple of drops of vanilla extract (optional), then mix well, you can use the electric mixer if you want. Spread over the cake with a spatula and sprinkle chocolate spaghetti or any other on top.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Birthday cupcakes

I had another perfect excuse to bake, but not just to bake, also decorating, which is always fun. Jasmine turned 19 on the 1st of August, I told her I would do her cake....or cupcakes, she preferred the second option. I used the same versatile recipe I shared with you all in the 2 previous posts, I changed it again and it was fabulous. I made two types of cupcakes:
-Chocolate with pieces of caramel biscuits inside

For the toppings I knew exactly what I wanted to do. But first I have to confess something.... I totally dislike buttercream....the name sounds rather yummy but the first time I made it as frosting, my face nearly got green. I love butter, don't get me wrong... but I don't fancy biting a block of butter...yuk! and buttercream is basically that, butter and sugar.
Anyway....lets leave my buttercream issues behind and let me tell you about the great frosting recipe I found.
In one of Sainsbury's magazines (to be exact, October 2009), there was an article that caught my attention: "Cupcake masterclass, 5 easy steps to sweet perfection", I was surprised when I saw that the recipe only needed very little butter, so I gave it a go and it turned out delicious, although I have to say, between you and I....that I can improve this recipe...and I will!.

I made 24 cupcakes, 12 chocolate and 12 orange-vanilla, so I decided to make 2 frosting flavours; strawberry and vanilla and!... marzipan toppers, which I personally love.
I also got myself a cupcake stand that helped to arrange them nicely.

For the chocolate cupcake recipe, please click HERE, omit the caramel and instead of using 50g of cocoa, only use 25g (that's enough) and 325g of flour. I filled the cases half way and then pushed in pieces of caramel biscuits, then filled all the cases with the remaining mix.

For the orange-vanilla cupcake recipe please click HERE, omit the cream cheese and strawberries and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

*For the strawberry and vanilla frosting*
Enough to cover 24 cupcakes.
Note: frosting and frosted cupcakes will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days. Bring frosting back to room temperature before using.

-200g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature.
-100g soft unsalted butter.
-600g icing sugar, sieved.

1.Put the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. With a big wooden spoon, slowly mix together, until you have blended all in, then use an electric mixer until you have a nice and creamy consistency.
3.Divide the mix in two smaller bowls.
Note: if the mix seems too runny, add a little bit of icing sugar.

For the strawberry flavour one, add 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam, sieved, and a drop of pink food colour. Mix well. You can then use a decorating bag with a big star tip to decorate your cupcakes.

For the vanilla flavour frosting, add the seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix well. And as above, you can use a decorating bag.

If you're interested to do the marzipan toppers, let me know and I'll try to put a tutorial, its a lot of fun making them...and eating them as well!.

Don't they look great?...

I didn't have any, they all went to Jasmine's birthday party and I heard later that everybody loved them.... job done! :-)

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