Gar’s 5 Step Yummy Summer Cupcakes!

I absolutely love cupcakes! And if you’re reading this, I am guessing you do too 🙂 I have only been making them for around 6 months and have learnt so much during that time. I never knew there was so much to it! But don’t let that put you off, that’s why I wanted to put this blog together so you could quickly get up to speed and start enjoying the best part – Decorating and eating them!

1. The Cup Cakes: A Simple and Tasty Recipe!

I have tried so many different recipes and it turns out the simplest is the best:

Ingredients / Equipment:

175g Self Raising Flour
175g Caster Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
3 Large Eggs
1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
Vanilla Extract (Or any other flavour you fancy, they all work with this recipe!)
Food Processor / Whisk
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl
12 Cupcake Cases
Oven Tray / Cupcake Tray

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 170c / 338f
  • Chop the butter into cubes and throw them into a large mixing bowl
  • Add the 3 large eggs
  • Add the sugar and blitz it with a handheld food processor until smooth (or if you have a strong arm and patience, use a whisk – I have neither :P)
  • Drop in the baking powder
  • Add the sieved flour and continue blitzing till smooth
  • Add a generous dribble of vanilla extract or any other weapon of choice! (To gauge if you have added enough, take a big sniff. The stronger the smell the stronger it will taste!)
  • Place 12 cupcake cases on an oven tray (preferably a cupcake oven tray as it helps hold the shape of the cake)
  • Spoon in the mixture so each cupcake case is half full (or half empty, depends on your perspective in life of course :P)
  • Throw them in the oven for 20-22 minutes

2. The Frosting: Sweet Tooth Satisfaction!

The frosting is most certainly the sweetest part of the cupcake. As with the cake, you can use any flavours you like:

Ingredients / Equipment:

250g Bar of Unsalted Butter
500g Pack of Icing Sugar
Cupped Hand of Water (Loving these crude units of measurement?)
Vanilla Extract (Or of course anything else you may fancy. Did someone say lemonomnomnom?)
Food Processor / Whisk
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl

Instructions: (No weighing needed!)

  • Chop the whole bar of butter into cubes and chuck’em into a large mixing bowl
  • Sieve and add the bag of icing sugar
  • Throw in a handful of water
  • Beat together with a food processor or with a whisk if you’re a crazy person
  • Add the extract once the mixture is smooth and fluffy and finish of with a final mix

Top Tip: As the frosting mixture contains no egg, you can taste to gauge the amount of extract to add. If you don’t fancy that (weirdo!), just take a big sniff and the stronger the smell the stronger the flavour.
(You probably want to take those cupcakes out of the oven by now if you have forgotten! Let them cool for at least 40 minutes before moving on to the next step. Why not spend the time preparing the icing?)

3. The Secret Centre: Everyone Loves a Surprise!

I recently got hold of some piping bags and a wonderful nozzle from http://www.lakeland.co.uk It cost about £3 and finally I can inject some flavour right into the heart of my wonderful cupcakes!

Ingredients / Equipment

Any Filling Your Heart Desires
Nozzle Thingy
Piping Bags

Instructions:

  • Fill the piping bag with anything you want! Chocolate sauce, lemon curd, honey etc
  • Press the nozzle about half way into your cake and give it a generous squeeze and you’re done!

Top Tip: You may want to bake a few extra cupcakes to practice this on as getting the right amount can be tricky! Once you have created a few testers, just cut them in half and see how well you did.

4. The Decoration: Time to Get Creative!

My favourite part! For these designs I wanted to use 6 different colours – Yellow, purple, pink, green, white & black (and yes, white and black are colours :P) This is how to prepare the modelling icing:

Ingredients / Equipment:

300g of Readymade Icing (This is my favourite! Not too sweet or sickly – Here)
4 Teaspoons of CMC Powder (A pain to get hold of, but invaluable in modelling, it’s what makes the icing stiff enough to retain detail and shape – Here)
Icing Colourants (I found these to be great – Here)
A Large Food Bag
Icing Pens (These are great – Here)
Edible Glue  – Here
Small Paint Brushes – Here
Leaf / Flower Cutters – Here
Veiners – Here
Cocktail sticks
Rolling Pin

Instructions:

  • Knead the CMC powder into the readymade icing.
  • Fully incorporate the two together (about 5 minutes of kneading)
  • Place the icing into a food bag and leave somewhere cool for a few hours (ideally overnight)
  • Divide the icing into potions ready for colouring
  • Add a drop of food colouring using the cocktail sticks and knead until incorporated, adding more as you go to reach the desired colour (Do this over the kitchen sink as the colours can be very hard to wash out if dripped!)

Once you have all of your coloured icings, it’s time to get creative. This is how I make my bees:

Bees:

  • Roll a ball of yellow icing and then squash it slightly so it’s cubed with rounded edges to make the body
  • Draw 3 lines with the icing pens onto the body (I double back on myself to make them thicker)
  • Roll up 2 little black eyes and stick them on the yellow body using the edible glue
  • Now get 2 small balls of white or yellow icing and squish them so they are flat and oval shaped to make the wings. Push the 2 wings together at their base then attach to the back of the yellow body using the edible glue.

Lemons:

  • Roll a ball of yellow icing and then squash it into a lemon shape (d’oh)
  • Use the cocktail sticks to prick lots of small holes all over the surface of the lemon
  • Roll up a little black ball to use as the stalk and stick it to the lemon with the edible glue

Leaves:

  • Roll a small ball of green icing and squish it into an oval shape (or be lazy and use a leaf cutter)
  • Place it in the centre of the veiner and push down

Flowers:

  • Take any coloured icing you like and roll it out
  • Use the cutters to…cut the shapes (obviously)
  • Use the veiner to…add the veins (Even more obviously)

5. The Final Result: It’s All About the Presentation!

You now have all the parts! Time to put them together 🙂

Instructions:

  • Either spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes
  • Place the icing models on top of the cakes, slightly pressing into the frosting to help hold the design together
  • Take pictures, post them to Facebook, then eat those lovely cakes!

Top Tip: Are you a chocoholic? Then add about 50g of high quality cocoa powder to the cake mix when you are adding the flour! Also add the same amount to the frosting.
Top Tip: The darker the colour, the more chocolaty the flavour!

Follow me on Twitter @GazzMills

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Chocolate Marble Cake

This is quite simply the same recipe as the sutlu kek (Milky cake). However I have added cocoa powder to turn it into a chocolate swirly marble cake.

This cake is so much fun to make, especially when it comes to making the swirls. The only problem you will have with getting your kids involved, is that they can not wait to add cocoa powder. “When are we going to do the chocolate bit?” You maybe asked about 10 times or more by your child helper. Perhaps this cake should be be called ‘Add the chocolate NOW cake’.

Chocolate Swirl Marble Cake

You will need;

A cake tin (greased) and two mixing bowls
170g self raising flour sieved
200g caster sugar (you can add more if you wish)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder 
9 fl.oz of milk 1/4 litre (that’s approx. 1/2 pint)
9 tablespoons of oil (I used olive oil) 4 fl.oz
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
2 teaspoon baking powder

Apart from cocoa powder, the eggs and sugar, place all your ingredients into a mixing bowl. Get yourself another bowl and start beating the eggs and sugar together to combine into a thick consistency. Once thickened add to the rest of the ingredients.

Give the whole mixture a good whisk, then pour out half into a bowl, so you have divided your cake mixture into two. Now you can add your cocoa powder to one of the bowls, carefully stirring it in.

Using two different large spoons, dollop a spoonful from each mixture into your cake tin. Continue with your sequence until all your mixture is finished. (If your child helper has managed to get any of the mixture into the cake tin and not just onto the work surface, then give your tin a slight tap or a shake. Next using a blunt knife, spatula or skewer (making sure your child has still got their eyes at the end of this process), start swirling around the mixture to give it a marble effect. You may need to shout ‘THAT’S ENOUGH’ after a few seconds.

Pre-heat your oven and bake on the middle shelf for 25-35 minutes at 180°c (fan) 200°c without fan) 350F or gas mark 4. This time can vary depending on the depth of your cake tin, so keep checking.

When your child has completed all the shopping, washing, ironing and cooked you dinner. Let them have a slice.

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Chocolate and Orange Cake

Make this your guilty pleasure. Not one for the calorie counters, but absolutely delicious. This is a cake, my sister Filiz makes to perfection and I eat with a smile on my face.

Thank you Sis. for this recipe. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Preheat oven at 190C Fan 170C 375F Gas Mark 5
Grease and line the base of two 20cm (8in) sandwich tins with parchment or grease proof paper.

Chocolate and Orange Cake

Ingredients 

225g (8oz) softened butter
225g (8oz) caster sugar
1 large egg
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
4 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate powder)
3 tablespoons of golden syrup or equal measurement of maple syrup or light honey
3 large oranges

FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING

100g of good quality 90% cocoa dark chocolate
4 heaped tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread

1 – Cream together the butter and sugar, add the flour cocoa powder, egg and baking powder. Beat together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Add the juice and thinly shaved orange rind along with syrup or honey of your choice. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and level out.

2 – Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes middle shelf (centre of oven) or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with finger, or, place a small wooden skewer or cocktail stick in the centre of cake to make sure the cakes are cooked evenly. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.

3 – When both cakes are completely cold gently melt the dark chocolate over hot water and then add the chocolate and hazelnut spread stirring until it becomes a nice spreadable consistency. If, at this stage the chocolate is too runny add some more spread to thicken.

4- Sandwich the cakes together with the 1/4 of the chocolate topping and then spread the remaining topping evenly on the top of the cake, giving it an even and shiny finish.
Serve and enjoy!!!!!

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Sutlu (Milky) Cake

This cake recipe is quite popular in Turkey. It is usually served with a cup of tea. However you could also try it with a generous scoop of ice cream after dinner.

Sutlu Kek (Milky Cake)

You will need;

A cake tin (greased) and two mixing bowls
170g self raising flour sieved
200g caster sugar (you can add more if you wish)
2 eggs
zest of two oranges
4 fl.oz of milk 
9 tablespoons of oil (I used olive oil) 4 fl.oz
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
2 teaspoon baking powder

Apart from the eggs and sugar, place all your ingredients into a mixing bowl. Get yourself another bowl and start beating the eggs and sugar together to combine into a thick consistency. Once thickened add to the rest of the ingredients, and whisk together until you are satisfied that it is nice and creamy.

Pour your mixture into your cake tin and bake for 25-35 minutes at 180°c (fan) 200°c without fan) 350F or gas mark 4 in a pre-heated oven. This time can vary depending on the depth of your cake tin so keep checking.

Once cooked and cooled down, cut into individual portions and decorate each slice with a walnut or an almond. Try sticking the nuts down with a drop of honey. Then when you are ready serve as you wish.

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