Christmas Tree cupcakes

So, I was too busy during Christmas to upload this recipe. I made these cupcakes for the Christmas meal we do every year with few friends and they were an absolute success! I got the idea from this video that is really helpful because they explain the step-by step of how to make them.

First you just need to make your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. Choose a simple plane one it will work better with the overall flavouring.

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Then prepare your buttercream and add green food colouring until you get the shade you want. I had to add a lot of it because I wanted a vibrant Chritmas tree green.

Put it in a piping bag with a star tip; I think I used a star decorating tip #3.

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Then wash your strawberries and dry them thoroughly, any moist left on the strawberry will spoil the buttercream. I used kitchen towels to make sure they absorb all the water. Cut the strawberry steams and leafs making a nice flat surface where they can rest upright. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step) And we’re ready to start decorating!

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So, the fist thing you want to do is to put some buttercream on top of the cupcake, like so:

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Then put a strawberry on top of the buttercream, this will act as glue sticking the strawberry to the cupcake. Do that with all your cupcakes:

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Then with your star tip, pipe all around the strawberry starting from the bottom up to the top.

For me it worked quite well to sit down at the table and to pout the cupcakes on top of a closed jar to give them some hight and not break my back in the process of decorating.

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You should end up with something like this:

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Once you’ve done all the cupcakes you can proceed to decorate the “trees”.

I used Wonka Nerds and white chocolate stars sprinkles but you can use whatever you want.

It works quite well to put the cupcakes on a tray as you have to throw the Nerds to the buttercream in order for them to stick to it… It was fun!

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They look something like this:

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I also tried another decoration for few of them using silver pearls instead of Nerds, I had to put the pearls one by one on these but they look more elegant and classy:

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And I ended up with a little forest of delicious chocolate Christmas tree cupcakes!

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Hope you enjoyed this post! Merry Christmas!

Make your own cookie cutters

I can’t believe I never thought of that!

Cookie cutters sometimes are so ridiculously expensive that you want to think it twice before buying a design that you might only use once a year… Well, this is the solution to our problems my friends!

You will need:

A can of larger (who hasn’t got one of those around?) or any other drink, but lager cans tend to be taller therefore you’ll get more cutters out of it.

A pair of kitchen scissors.

Super glue and maybe some electrical tape.

And here’s the process!

1. First of all you need to wash your can thoroughly. 

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2. For this step you might want to use garden gloves or any other kind of protection for your hands as tin can cut really easily through your skin. So proceed to cutting the top and bottom of the can, very carefully!

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3. Then cut the rest of the can in even stripes.

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4. Now you just need mold the stripes into the shapes you desire (down side is that you can’t really make any crazy shapes so you want to keep it simple) To tie the ends together you can either use super glue or electrical tape. You can also tape all around one of the edges of the cutter so you won’t cut yourself when pressing the cutter onto the though.

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5. And now you just need to use your cutters to get your desired cookies! 

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Steps 6+7 cook and enjoy!

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Victoria Sponge Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

The Victoria Sponge Cake is a British classic, I twitched this all time favourite to add one of my favourite ingredients of all: CHOCOLATE! So instead of filling the cake with cream or buttercream I made chocolate buttergream. Om nom nom…

This traditional recipe is also one of the easiest cakes to make as you just have to add all the ingredients together without worrying to much about the result.  For this recipe you will need two 20cm/8” cake tins. Let’s start:

Ingredients

4 Eggs

2 tsp Baking Powder

225g Caster Sugar

225g Self Raising Flour

225g Butter

Ingredients for the filling

Raspberry or Strawberry jam 

75g butter

225g icing sugar

60g good dark chocolate (melted)

 

How to proceed

Preheat the oven at 180ºC.

Add all the ingredients together: start with the eggs, then the sugar, baking powder, self raising four and finally the butter.

Mix thoroughly until well combined, do not over-mix.

Divide your mix evenly between the two tins, level the surface of the mix so it’ll cook evenly.

Put in the oven for 25 min at 180º

When cooked -you will know the sponges are cooked when they separate from the edges of the tin and when an inserted screwer in the middle comes out dry, you will eave them to cool down. Leave them in the tin for few minutes and then take them out to cool completely.

Meantime you can prepare the filling: Sift the icing sugar, melt the butter and the chocolate together and mix everything well. If the icing seems too dry you can add few tablespoons of milk one at the time making sure it doesn’t become too runny.

When the sponges are completely cold spread some jam on the bottom half of the cake, then carefully spread the chocolate buttercream on top of it (you can pipe it on to avoid spreading away the layer of jam) put the other sponge on top of the spread and press lightly to set the two halves together (don’t push too hard or the filing will spill through the edges!)

Your Victoria cake is nearly ready, now you just need to sift some icing sugar or cocoa powder on top of your cake and you’re read to go!

You can use some sort of stencil when putting the sugar on the top to create nice patterns. Like for example: this flowery one, or this less feminine more “trendy” stripy one. I’d really like to try something like this some day, but I didn’t have the time nor patience today so this is how mine turned out:

 

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And as one of my favourite architects used to say…

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Oreo Cupcakes

My mum passed on me this amazing recipe of Oreo Cupcakes, and they are as yummy as they sound! I just added a bit of fun adding a whole Oreo at the bottom of the cupcakes and it worked out pretty well! You  can sprinkle these cupcakes with Oreo crumbs and they will look amazing, but you can use whatever you want -I used heart-shaped sprinkles because they are a treat for Valentine’s Day! ❤

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 2 eggs, 115 g butter, 220 g sugar, 200 g flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 140 ml milk, 10 Oreo (smashed) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Butter cream: 120 g butter (softened), 300 g icing sugar, 125 g soft cheese (like ‘Philadelphia’) 1 spoon of milk and 10 Oreo (smashed into fine dust)

Toppings: Cut aprox. 6 Oreo  in half or use Mini-Oreo, they look so cute! You can also sprinkle some Oreo crumbs on top of the butter cream.

Procedure

Preheat the over at 180ºC

Prepare the cupcakes liners on the cupcake tray and add a single Oreo at the bottom of every paper liner

Mix the dry ingredients together sifting the flour with the baking powder

Mix the eggs with the sugar, softened butter and vanilla essence.

Mix everything together and manually fold in the smashed Oreo

Scoop a spoon of cupcake mix in every paper liner, they should be 2/3  filled up

Put them in the oven for 25 – 30 min watching them often. To know when they are cooked you can insert a bbq stick or cocktail stick in any cupcake, if there is no cake mix stuck to the stick when you withdraw the stick it means they are ready, if there are residues leave them for few more minutes keeping an eye on them.

Once they’re cooked let them cool on a  cooling rack until absolutely cold. Meantime you can prepare the butter cream.

To make a nice butter cream the butter needs to be soft, not melted. The best thing to do is to leave it out of the fridge for a couple of hours before you start baking but it -like mine- your kitchen is like a fridge itself you can pout the butter in the microwave for few seconds.

Very slowly mix the butter with the icing sugar, when the mix is smooth you can add the cream cheese. When all the mix is nice an smooth again manually fold in the Oreo dust. Put the mix in a piping bag with the tip of your choice -Note: the tip should be quite big as the some Oreo chunks could obstruct the tip.

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cold before adding the butter cream or this will melt on top of the cupcake and it wouldn’t look good. Get ‘butter-creaming’ those bad boys!

To top up your creations add 1/2 Oreo on the top of the cupcakes or use 1 Mini-Oreo. You can also sprinkle them with Oreo crumbs and they’re ready!

Hope you enjoy them, mine where a big success! 🙂

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Tank Cake

This post is just to show off my latest creation, a not ordinary birthday cake that I am very proud of as it took me hours of baking and decorating.

This birthday cake was for someone who is really into tanks and I decided to bake him a gionormus Tank Cake! To do that I baked 3 different cakes. I made two types of cake mix; chocolate and vanilla. I separated the vanilla mix and dyed half of it green so when I mix the 3 colours together they would look like a camouflage pattern.

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I stacked up the 3 cakes and shaped them with a bread knife until I got the tank shape I wanted. Then I covered all the cakes with vanilla butter cream dyed green.

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Next I added the wheels (Oreo) and the tracks covering the wheels (Kit-Kat)

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Next step was to add some extra details like the gun, the drivers optics, the hatch and a log (Flakes) on each side. I piped some bolts and rims to finish it off. I also added crushed Digestive biscuits at the bottom of the tray to make it look like sand and that was the result:

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I am quite happy with the results and the “birthday boy” was astonished with it, so much that he didn’t want to eat it! What do you think of it?