60th Birthday Cake

60 birthday cake happy sixtieth sixty shaped homebake fondant decoration green grass flowers and butterflies

It’s been ahem a few months since my last post – what can I say, things got rather busy! Rest assured I’ve been busy baking and have plenty of recipes photos waiting to be shared. And how could I not share this wonderful excuse for a celebration. Last month was my mum’s 60th birthday (sorry mum, it’s public knowledge now!) and of course I was tasked with making the all-important birthday cake.

I used my number and letter pan to make the two number-shaped cakes. Both were madeira cake as it makes a great stable base for decorating onto. One was vanilla flavoured with a blueberry and raspberry buttercream, and one was lemon with a lemon buttercream. Even though the birthday party was only a few weeks ago I can’t actually remember which was which!

After the buttercream I covered the cakes entirely with a pale green fondant icing. Next up came the grass in a rich, fresh green. I rolled long strips before cutting the blades by hand and wrapping round the cakes. It took some doing but I was so pleased with the effect 🙂

Last but by certainly no means least, the cake was finished with fondant flowers and butterflies, in bright spring colours of orange, purple, and pink, edged with edible glitter. These took up most of my evenings in the week leading up to mum’s birthday, to ensure they were fully dry and set in time. In the absence of enough flower-forming cups, I made temporary ones out of a strong tin foil. This meant all the butterflies could set in a v-shape, and gave the flowers a rounded-3d effect. The centres of the flowers were filled with a tiny piped circle of white royal icing.

edible glitter purple orange and pink flowers handmade fondant icing

edible glitter on fondant butterflies birthday cake homemade

fondant icing edible flowers with glitter edging pink orange purple

sixtieth birthday cake garden themed fondant flowers and butterflies

As ever that’s not the end of the story – just the small matter of 50 matching cupcakes for the birthday party! These were chocolate, half of them filled with caramel, and half with nutella. To top I cut matching circles of the pale green fondant, and curved pieces of the darker green grass, before finishing with butterfly and flower toppers.

matching cupcakes for 60th birthday cake green grass with fondant flowers and butterflies garden themed cupcakes flowers and butterflies on green grass fondant topping

Surprisingly enough we didn’t fit 60 candles on the birthday cake – in all honesty we didn’t really try! It was still quite an impressive inferno nonetheless 🙂

60th birthday cake flowers and grass with candles burning happy 60th birthday mum blowing out candles on cake

The party was great fun and the cakes went down an absolute treat – it was of course a pleasure to make them for my lovely mummy! ❤ Happy birthday again!

sixtieth birthday cake garden themed fondant flowers and butterflies

Baby Shower Cupcakes

baby shower cupcakes bottle teddy footbrints pram duck toy dummy pacifier handmade gift ideas

I’m going to come right out and say it. This is one of my proudest makes to date. I am SO pleased with how the fondant toppers turned out for these cupcakes – and so they should, god only knows how many hours they took!

This was my first ever baby shower, and I was so pleased to be able to make some cupcakes for the lovely mother-to-be. She and the rest of the party were delighted, as was I when they went down a treat.

The base was a light lemon cupcake, with whipped lemon buttercream, but of course the pièce de résistance are the fondant baby-themed toppers. You may guess from the colour palette that it’s a boy!

18 baby shower cupcakes party ready handmade fondant sugarpaste toppers toys blue and green

All the toppers are hand-made of course. Although one of the party asked if I’d bought them – what a compliment! I tend to get an idea for my projects then spend a bit of time on google looking at images for further inspiration and to figure out how I’m going to make the idea a reality. That was exactly the case with these – I sat with google image search open on my iPad with all my fondant and tools in front on the table, colouring and shaping the pieces and fixing together with a little edible glue.

I had 18 cupcakes in total, so decided to make 3 of each of 6 different varieties of topper.

First up – and probably taking the longest to make, smiley happy teddy bears.

handmade fondant teddy bears smiley happy for baby shower cupcakes

Teeny tiny baby footprints – blue for a boy, of course.

blue footprint pairs made from fondant icing sugarpaste for baby shower cupcakes its a boy baking ideas

Three little ducks; these were great fun to make. Can someone please have a fowl-themed party, so I can do some more?!

three yellow ducks made from fondant for baby shower cupcakes handmade

Baby dummies (pacifiers) – I used a pastel green so the colour palette was not overwhelmingly blue.

fondant dummies dummy pacifiers for baby shower cupcakes green

Teat-topped milk bottles, with hand-painted markers, using a little gel food colour and a very fine brush.

sugarpaste green and white baby bottles baby shower cupcakes

And finally – what every baby needs, a first set of wheels! Turquoise prams complete with little white cushions inside.

baby prams puschairs strollers ideas for handmade baby shower gifts cupcake toppers

The finished set – absolutely love them!

baby shower cupcakes homemade handmade decorations pram duck dummy bottle teddy footprints ideas

And because I’m so pleased with the result – more pictures, just because…

baby shower cupcakes with handmade toppers bottle duck blue boy footprints baby shower cupcakes pram teddy bear dummy pacifier handmade giftsbaby showe cupcakes different themed toppers baby shower cupcakes gift ideas unique handmade teddy ducks toys blue and green

I took my Cath Kidston blue floral cake stand to the shower – a perfect display piece for these little babies.

cupcakes for baby shower on cath kidston floral ceramic cake stand

HOW cute are these baby shower napkins?

its a boy footprints cupcake on baby shower napkin party ideas

The only problem I have? That I can’t pick a favourite! What do you think?

baby shower cupcakes handmade sugarpaste toppers

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

christmas pudding cupcakes easy recipe and method happy holidays

I can’t believe this is my first festive post of the year and we’re only just over a week away from the big day – where does the time go?

These little chocolate cupcakes were baked for a charity cake sale that my local Free Cakes for Kids rep sent over the details for. If there’s one thing guaranteed to get me in the kitchen, then a charity cake sale is just that!

The cupcakes were a rich chocolate base, with added white chocolate chunks and candied orange peel. You could easily vary the recipe and add more dried fruit, nuts, or more chocolate.

white chocolate and candied orange peel mix for christmas pudding chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)
150g butter
150g sugar
3 medium eggs
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
75g candied orange peel (make your own using the guide here)
100g white chocolate, broken into small chunks

To decorate
150-200g chocolate fondant
2 tablespoons marmalade or apricot jam
100g white fondant
Red, green and black food colouring

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs and a tablespoon of flour, and beat again
– Sieve in the remaining flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, and add the chocolate and candied peel pieces
– Fold the mixture together with a metal spoon, until all combined
– Spoon into cupcake cases, and bake at 180 degrees C for 14 – 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger
– Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely before decorating

chocolate and orange cupcakes freshly baked christmas wrappers charity cake sale

To decorate
– Heat the marmalade / apricot jam until runny, and using a pastry brush lightly coat the top of each cake
– Cut circles of chocolate fondant (using a pastry cutter), and place over the top of the cupcake, pressing the sides down
– Cut a second circle, of white fondant, and either freehand (using a knife), or with a way shaped cutter, cut about a third off the circle with a wavy edge, to look like dripping icing. Stick this onto the chocolate fondant using a little dab of water.
– Stick or paint on small circles in a dark colour, to replicate the fruit in the Christmas pudding
– Finish with a green sprig leaf and holly berries – and a little edible glitter if you feel the need!

chocolate fondant covered cupcakes round cutter for christmas puddings christmas pudding base cupcake decorated with fondant icing leaf and berries sprig on christmas pudding cupcake recipe christmas pudding cupcake recipe and method easy to follow make with kids

All packaged up and ready to go. I don’t like Christmas Pudding but could happily devour a big plate of these after dinner!

christmas pudding cupcakes festive baking ideas

Ruby Wedding Cake

john and claire ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant decorations flowers edible glitter

This weekend just gone, Rob’s parents, John and Claire, had a celebratory lunch for their upcoming ruby wedding anniversary. 40 years – what an achievement!

Claire had asked me months ago to make a cake, and specifically the Tropical Fruit Cake with coconut icing that I made for CCC last Christmas. Coincidentally it was exactly a year since I last made this cake!

I used 1 1/2 times the recipe to make a huge square cake, and a good thick layer of coconut icing, which set in the fridge before I started decorating.

Using red fondant throughout, I personalised the cake with a sparkly name plate, and ‘Ruby Wedding Anniversary’ lettering on the edge of the plate. To finish – some sparkly ruby-red flowers.

ruby wedding anniversary winter christmas tropical fruit cake red floral glitter john and claire name plate personalised ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant festive flowers on coconut iced cake decorated with edible glitter john and claire ruby wedding anniverary cake tropical fruit christmas cake with coconut icing and red decorations

Rob had mentioned that his parents wanted to give some of the cake to friends who couldn’t be at the lunch – so | made some matching cupcakes to ensure there was plenty to go around. Sticking with the theme, they were a (ruby) red velvet chocolate cake base, topped with a swirl of vanilla butter cream, and coordinating red flowers.

winter floral ruby red flower cupcakes with vanilla icing swirl for wedding anniversary ruby flower cupcake for wedding anniversary party ruby red flower cupcakes with edible glitter vanilla buttercream swirl for wedding anniversary celebration

It was a great lunch and lovely to be able to celebrate with them. Happy Anniversary John & Claire!

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

halloween spooky pumpkin face cupcakes decorated

Happy Halloween! This bake is another inspired by my baking calendar (as was my lemon & lavender cake back in the summer). Spiced pumpkin cake with ginger icing? Yes please!

baking calendar cake a month october halloween pumpkin cupcakes recipe inspiration

I altered the recipe a little, to include more pumpkin, no sultanas, and added some cream cheese to the icing. Finished with a glittered pumpkin fondant topper – scary and sweet all at the same time! A slight confession – hopefully you’ll forgive – as these cakes are made with oil rather butter, and mixed rather than creamed and folded, they’re actually more muffins than cupcakes. But they still taste as good!

Ingredients (makes approx. 15 medium muffins)

350g mashed pumpkin
125ml olive oil
150 light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Method

– In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla
– Sieve in the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined
– Spoon into cupcake / muffin cases, filling to about 2/3
– Bake at 180 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean

pumpkin cupcakes easy recipe and method for autumn or halloween baking

Spiced cream cheese icing

50g butter
125g cream cheese
275g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth
– Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Don’t beat too much or the cream cheese will start to melt.
– Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using to top the cooled cakes. Keep the cakes in the fridge until they’re ready to be eaten

pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting autumn recipe

The lovely My Cake Decorating Halloween special came with this great pumpkin plunger cutter, perfect for making scary-faced pumpkins every time!

orange fondant pumpkin shapes for halloween cupcakes

I used a little black + red edible glitter to fill in the eyes, nose and mouth for extra spooky effect.

painting fondant orange pumpkin faces with edible glitter for halloween baking Trick or treat! What do you think?

halloween pumpkin cupcakes spiced recipe using vegetable flesh cream cheese frosting halloween pumpkin cupcake flavoured and decorate spooky glitter face halloween pumpkin cupcake spooky face orange fondant and edible glitter

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

pink lemonade cupcakes using sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar easy recipe edible straws and fizzy sprinkles
A beautiful summers day and perfect excuse to use some more of my treats from Sugar and Crumbs.

A quick taste test and I was instantly smitten with their Pink Lemonade Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar. You know those Refresher sweets, with the fizzy lemon centre? It tastes exactly like that fizzy sherbet!
And despite the name, the sugar is white in colour… so you could easily confuse any taste testers… mwah haha 😉

sugar and crumbs pink lemonade icing sugar review and recipe

To keep on the theme I wanted to top these lemonades with a little straw – but no ordinary paper or plastic version. Instead I rolled together thing lengths of red and white fondant, twisting and intertwining to give the effect of a striped paper straw.

red and white drinking straws made from fondant twisting red and white

Once cut into lengths, I left them to air-dry and harden overnight.

red and white fondant icing edible drinking straws swirl striped effect

The cupcakes were a simple vanilla base – with more than enough flavour punch in the icing.To ice 12 cupcakes I used 350g pink lemonade icing sugar, 185g soft butter, a couple of drops of pink food colouring, and a splash of milk to get to piping consistency.

I used a star nozzle to get that perfect swirl, before creating a hole for the ‘straws’ with the back of a paint brush (the fondant would break if you tried to push it straight into the cake).

how to make pink lemonade cupcakes making hole for straw using paintbrush

A final topping of pink shimmer sugar for that little extra ‘fizz’ – et voila!

pink lemonade cupcakes sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar sugar sprinkles and straw

Definitely cuter than the real thing – and surprisingly refreshing to boot. A big things up to Sugar and Crumbs on this one! pink lemonade cupcake swirl icing with red and white edible straw

Hen Party Cupcakes

hen party cupcakes ideas l plates flower bouqets mr and mrs shoes underwear sets champagne

This weekend I was part of a great hen party and delighted to make cupcakes for our afternoon of fun and games (before descending into evening chaos!)

The wedding in 6 weeks time is to be safari themed, at the fantastic Chester Zoo. So anything animal went as a theme – and I bought these fantastic zebra and leopard print cupcake cases from Scrumptious last weekend at the Cake and Bake Show.

scrumptious cupcake cases animal print leopard and zebra

The cupcakes were a rich chocolate, topped with a salted caramel butter cream (thanks again Sugar and Crumbs!)

To top – I made 18 different toppers out of fondant, sprinkles, edible glitter and edible ink, time consuming but creatively great fun! Anything hen party themed went –

Moet and Veuve champagne bottles

moet and veuve champagne bottle cupcake toppers hen party

Sparkly learner ‘L’ plates

L plate learner hen party cupcakes glittery red

Bingo balls & cards – as we were heading for a few inebriated games that evening

bingo hen party cupcakes cards and number balls wedding

The bingo balls I made into the two dates – one for the hen party, and the other for the wedding:

bingo balls hen party cupcakes wedding date black edible ink

Beautiful bridal bouquets (centred with edible gold soft pearls)

red pink blue white flower bouquets fondant cupcake topper gold soft pearl centres hen party wedding

Sparkly, SPARKLY shoes

fondant sparkly shoes on chocolate cupcakes hen party celebration

And one of my favourites to make – pretty underwear sets and sexy basques

hen party cupcakes basques and underwear sets glitter and sprinkles decoration black pink and nude

Can someone please have an underwear and shoes party – I want to make more of these!!

They were the perfect centrepiece to the afternoon and quickly devoured by some hungry hens.

hen party cupcakes l learner plates flower bouquet bingo balls shoes and underwear hen party cupcakes learner plate bingo balls underwear set sparkly shoes

And amid champagne, wine and presents – one very happy hen!

hen party cupcakes champagne and presents

Banana and Salted Caramel Birthday Cupcakes

salted caramel and banana cupcakes swirl buttercream orange and yellow flower toppers recipe

Happy Birthday to me! Well, yesterday actually, but who’s counting 😉

Continuing the brilliant tradition of taking cakes into the office for my birthday, these bad boys are my offering for 2014. Having just eaten one with compliments from colleagues ringing in my ears, I cannot help but rave about them. They are so good. And, made with real bananas, good for you as well. Wins all round.

They also make use of the final product from my Sugar and Crumbs trial pack. As much as I enjoyed using the Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder and Coffee Icing Sugar, this Salted Caramel Icing Sugar was always going to be my favourite, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

At £2.99 for a 250g bag from Sugar and Crumbs, it is a fair price (if you use the whole pack for one batch like I did), so one to use for special occasions, of which my birthday is definitely one!

sugar and crumbs salted caramel natural flavoured icing sugar review and recipe

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 cupcakes)
90g butter
90g light brown sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
Approx 180g banana (2 small or 1 large bananas)
1 tablespoon milk
120g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

To ice
75g butter
1 tablespoon milk
250g Salted Caramel icing sugar

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar
– Add the mashed banana, and eggs, plus 1 tablespoon of flour, and beat until well combined
– Sieve in the remainder of the flour and baking powder, and fold in
– Spoon into cupcake cases, about 2/3 full, bake at 180 degrees for 15-18 minutes. The tops should be firm to the touch and golden brown. The cake will still feel a bit squishy, due to the banana, if unsure, insert a small skewer or cocktail stick to check it’s completely cooked.
– Once cool, beat together the butter, milk and icing sugar until light and airy but thick in texture. Spoon or pipe onto the top of the cupcakes.

cupcake buttercream perfect swirl star nozzle salted caramel and banana

The cupcakes come out light and beautifully moist, the banana flavour comes through perfectly. And combined with the sweet tang of the salted caramel buttercream – perfection!

banana cupcake recipe deconstructed method inside moist and fluffy

To top my cupcakes I embraced the first throes of spring with some orange and yellow flower toppers. Cut out of coloured flower paste, I finished them with a contrasting centre before sticking onto the buttercream with a little white icing.

homemade icing toppers yellow and orange flower paste spring bakes

salted caramel and banana cupcake recipe review and method easy how to

The cupcakes disappeared in mere seconds at work, with a few more left for a birthday dinner tonight, I can’t imagine they’ll be around for long!

banana and salted caramel birthday cupcakes with spring orange and yellow flowers recipe

banan cupcake with salted caramel buttercream swirl frosting and flower past fondant orange and yello

Black Forest Chocolate and Cherry Cupcakes

black forest chocolate and cherry cupcakes fruit flavoured cocoa powder from sugar and crumbs review uk natural ingredients

Last week, the lovely folk over at Sugar and Crumbs sent me over a selection of their products to try. Expecting just a couple of packets in a jiffy bag, imagine my delight when I opened this lovely goodie bag!

sugar and crumbs natural icing sugar cocoa powder bloggers goodie bag test and review

If you haven’t heard of Sugar and Crumbs, they are a UK based company, offer all-natural flavoured icings sugars and cocoa powders. The selection they sent me are some of their newest – salted caramel, and coffee icing sugars, and a cherry cocoa powder. Their range of products is already flavour-tastically diverse, and seems to be growing all the time.

sugar and crumbs uk natural ingredients company icing sugar and flavoured cocoa powder

As much as I wanted to just get a spoon and eat the salted caramel sugar, lack of time meant I stuck with a good old-fashioned chocolate cake as my first test, using the chocolate cherry cocoa powder.

sugar and crumbs natural icing sugar coffee salted caramel and chocolate cherry cocoa powder

It looks and bakes exactly like a normal cocoa powder, but with the addition of a sweet cherry tang.

sugar and crumbs chocolate cherry cocoa powder review

To get the most out of the flavour, the recipe enclosed suggested using a standard sponge recipe, substituting one quarter of the flour for cocoa powder. The result – a light, intense chocolate mixture, which baked into rich and fluffy cupcakes.

Once cool, I wanted to keep the topping for the cupcakes sweet and simple. What could complement the chocolate cherry flavour better than chocolate… and a cherry!

I melted down a big bar of dark chocolate, then carefully dipped in each cherry about halfway, holding by its stalk. This is such a satisfying process!

dipping red cherry into dark chocolate food porn

Carefully placing the chocolate cherries onto some greaseproof paper, they went into the fridge for a little while to set.

chocolate dipped cherries with stalks baking ideas black forest cupcakes

Once the cherries were set, I topped the cupcakes with a couple of layers of chocolate. Leaving the first layer to set for about a minute, before spooning on the second, gave it just that little time to set and create the ripple effect. And to finish – a cherry on top!

black forest chocolate and cherry flavoured cupcakes with dark chocolate icing and fresh fruit

The finished cupcakes, simple but very yummy! And the taste? Well the cherry flavour is subtly sweet against the rich chocolate. All in all a great easy twist on a standard cherry cupcake. I look forward to trying more of the Sugar and Crumbs range soon!

dark chocolate and cherry black forest cupcakes flavoured cocoa powder from sugar and crumbs review

Disclaimer – the products in this post were provided by Sugar and Crumbs for review. However all opinions are entirely my own.

Festive Fairy Light Cupcakes

christmas fairy lights festive cupcake ideas cake decorating fondant icing on white buttercream base silver edile ink metallic decoration

Happy New Year readers! The last of my Christmas posts, I promise. Now that we’re into January it’s nearly time for the tree to be packed away for another 11 months (well, 10 1/2, if I can get away with it!). But before the festivities finish completely I wanted to share these cupcakes that I made as a Christmas present at the start of last week.

My inspiration came from this brilliant silicon mould, that came as a free gift with the Christmas issue of My Cake Decorating Magazine.

christmas fairy light silicon mould for fondant cake decorating small medium and large

As you can see it had 3 different sizes of fairy light, and I honestly wasn’t sure if they would pop out in one piece, my previous experience with silicon moulds and fondant icing has been somewhat mixed to say the least!

Nevertheless I was very pleasantly surprised when they all came out really well. The key I found was to start with quite a dry fondant, fill up the mould, use a knife to scrape off any excess, and leave to air-dry for about 5 minutes (I found this worked quite well in between making the cupcakes themselves, and clearing up afterward!). The flexibility of the silicon meant it could be completely bent around itself to pop each little light out. I made all the lights from bright colours of fondant, and left them to air dry for about an hour before using, so the colours wouldn’t run into the buttercream.

multicoloured fondant icing fairy lights pressed from silicon mould my cake decorating christmas baking

During one of my many rounds of Christmas shopping, I accidentally stumbled across this lovely little present for me – a metallic silver edible ink pen from Rainbow Dust. It’s called a Click-Twist Brush, I’d not heard of these before but was obviously eager to try. I found it really easy to use as you can click out as much or as little ink as you need to get the desired effect.

rainbow dust metallic dark silver click twist edible ink brush review and use in christmas cake decorating

It took a couple of layers to build up the brilliant silver on the fairy light ‘sockets’, but I’m sure you’ll agree the effect was absolutely fantastic:

red yellow and green fairy lights made from fondant icing with silver edible ink decoration

Using a plain white buttercream I stuck the fairy lights onto the cupcakes in my planned patterns, and again used the silver pen to dot on a silver ‘wire’, connecting the lights up.

rainbow fairy lights christmas cupcake fondant pressed from silicon mould finished with silver edible ink

A final spritz of silver shimmer and light dusting of edible glitter later (if you can’t at Christmas, when can you…?) …

christmas fairy light cupcake red and blue with silver edible ink wire finished with silver shimmer spray

The finished festive fairy lights! A Christmas cupcake treat 🙂

fairy light fondant decorated cupcakes yellow purple red blue christmas gift ideas