Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Have your cake and eat it!

My creative cupcake design
The country has gone baking mad!
It seems that since the Great British Bake Off began on BBC2, people up and down the country have been whisking, beating and folding to create their own masterpieces.

Following last week’s final, it was reported that M&S recorded sales increases of up to 20 per cent in baking ingredients, with specialist sugars and cake decorating equipment flying off the shelves.
It was claimed that at John Lewis, customers buying cake tins and muffin trays increased by 15 per cent, while vintage-style tins and stands more than doubled.
It would seem that everyone has caught the baking bug, and I am no exception.

My mini carrot and orange cakes

This weekend I made mini carrot and orange cakes and a lemon drizzle, and still found time for a two-hour cupcake decorating class.

The session was held by Virginia Valentine, who runs her own cupcake company, Angel Cakes, based in Altrincham, Cheshire.

Virginia has been baking cakes for 30 years and she has been a professional cake decorator for around six years.
She makes all kinds of occasion cakes, mainly working with sponge cakes using family recipes handed down to her by her grandmother.

Now she teaches cake decorating courses and I, keen to improve my techniques, went to one of her taster sessions in Sale on Sunday where I learnt everything from the perfect tool kit, to how to make sugar paste roses with my fingers – trickily I discovered!

I was really pleased with the results though and I’m now more passionate than ever before about baking and making pretty cakes!

Cupcake recipe (makes 12)

6oz vegetable margarine
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour

Line a muffin tray with paper cases and pre-heat the oven to180 degrees.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl, starting with the margarine, sugar, then eggs, and flour.
Use a hand mixer on a low speed until all the ingredients are mixed.
Switch to a high speed until the mixture is creamy and a soft dropping consistency.
Spoon into cases until 2/3rds full and bake for around 20 minutes.
When cooled, the cakes will be springy to touch.

For the frosting, mix 10oz of soft vegetable margarine and 16oz of icing sugar in food processor, mixing gently at first then increasing the speed.

My carrot cake and orange muffins

150g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
150g caster sugar
250g grated carrots
100g finely chopped walnuts
150g corn oil
2 small beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
zest of an orange

Line a muffin tray with paper cases and pre-heat the oven to180 degrees.
Sieve the flour, bicarb, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl then stir in the caster sugar, carrots and walnuts.
Pour in the corn oil, eggs, vanilla and orange zest and stir. Beat for about one minute until the mixture is a batter-like consistency.
Pour into cases and bake for around 25 minutes or until springy to touch. 

For the frosting, beat together 200g full-fat cheese, 3oz icing sugar and the zest of half an orange.
When the cakes are cooled, dollop a teaspoon of frosting onto each cake and spread around. Top with walnuts. Yum yum!!

No comments:

Post a Comment