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

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Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Showstopper

three tier round and square cake with autumn leaves flower and gold soft pearl decoration gluten free lemon drizzle recipe

So the Great British Bake Off is over for another – Wednesday nights won’t be the same again! I was really pleased that Nadiya won though, she was my favourite going into the final and really excelled with her 3 bakes. A very worth winner and so humble too. Was anyone not crying in that final scene??

I wanted to pull out all the stops for my final bake for the Great Bloggers Bake-Off, and loved the idea of a three-tiered classic British cake. I asked Rob what he’d like and lemon drizzle was the answer – can’t say no to that!

This gluten-free lemon cake really vamps up the lemon, and is deliciously easy to make and moist when done. It’s very well complemented by the lemon curd filling (keep reading), but works just as well as a standalone cake, without any filling or frosting. And it’s one of those great bakes where you can’t even tell it’s gluten free!

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
(makes 1 each of 8 inch round, 7 inch square and 4 inch round cakes. Halve the recipe to make one 8 inch round cake)

300g butter
300g caster or granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
50g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
20ml milk or warm water

Lemon Drizzle
100 ml lemon juice (approx. juice of 2 large lemons, I used bottled for this)
150g caster or granulated sugar

Method
– beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– add the almonds, and beat in the eggs, one at a time
– add the lemon juice, zest and milk and beat again until smooth
– sieve in the flour and baking powder, and gently fold in until all combined
– split between 3 greased, lined tins – a 4-inch round, a 6-inch round, and an 8-inch round
– bake at 180 degrees C until the cakes are springy to touch and starting to come away from the sides of the tine. If you’re not sure then check with an inserted skewer, which should come out clean.
Each cake will need a different amount of time. Check first after around 20 minutes to see if the first is done, if not give another 5 minutes. The middle will take around 30-35 minutes, and the larger around 45 minutes. The time is very dependent on your oven and tin so keep an eye on them! Once you’ve taken the smaller one out, check the other two at least every 10 minutes, if not more often.
– Prepare the lemon drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for 20-30 second until all the sugar is dissolved
– Once each cake is removed from the oven, prick small holes all over the top with a skewer or cocktail stick, and generously spoon over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

gluten free lemon cake easy recipe three tier showstopper

I took a great tip from Nadiya on the show and popped the cakes in the freezer once cool, (wrapped in baking paper) for an hour or so before slicing in half and levelling the tops. It really did make it much easier – no cracking and much less crumbs.

Whilst the cakes were cooling and freezing I made the lemon curd – as this did take quite some time to cool as well. I used Delia’s recipe as a starter – but halved it (3 jars of lemon curd seemed a bit excessive!), and upped the cornflour to give a thicker set that would hold in the cakes. Maybe a bit of a blonde moment but I’d never realised that lemon curd was made mostly of eggs! I would say though that it is really easy to make and waaay better than shop-bought stuff, I’d highly recommend trying it!

Lemon curd

Grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons
3 medium eggs
175g golden caster sugar
100g butter
20g cornflour

Method
– in a large saucepan, beat together the eggs then add the remaining ingredients
– put on a medium heat and whisk continuously for 7 – 8 minutes until it starts to thicken. At this stage cook for another minute, before transferring to a bowl to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools as well.

homemade lemon curd easy recipe from delia for cake filling

As the curd was cooling I went onto the next step. Nadiya had made marshmallow fondant look and sound so easy (“I make it all the time…!”), so I thought I’d give it a go. Well I’ll be honest. I’d like to meet Nadiya and introduce her to ready-to-roll fondant. It’ll save hours and countless amounts of kitchen cleaning!

Needless to say my attempt was rather less than successful. The online methods I read in advance made it sound relatively easy, however completely failed to mention that it is the stickiest substance ever made by man. Seriously, super glue has nothing on this stuff!

marshmallow fondant kitchenaid disaster sticky hands

The other downside about marshmallow fondant is that it uses a lot of icing sugar. Add that to the sugar in the marshmallows and you’re practically bouncing off the walls with every bite! I’d put in as much sugar as the recipe recommended and it was still nowhere near a fondant consistency, I was struggling to see how this would ever roll out. Additionally I was starting to run out of time – it was nearing midnight and I wanted to get the cake assembled at least that night! So I improvised and turned it into a marshmallow frosting – with the simple addition of a little more water and lemon juice. The good thing about this frosting is that it keeps well (in a sealed container), and if it starts to harden up before you’ve used it all, it can easily be ‘melted’ back down again by popping in the microwave.

Another grumble about these marshmallow icings is that I found it rather tricky to locate all-white marshmallows in the UK shops. I went to a good 5 or 6 big high street retailers / supermarkets, and was just about to give up when I found what I needed in The Range. Really though, does anyone know why they come in pink and white in the first place?!

Marshmallow frosting
(sufficient to cover 3 cakes as made above)

200g (white) marshmallows
400g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water, plus additional as needed

Method
– put the marshmallows, lemon juice and water in a large bowl. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the marshmallows are fully melted to a smooth paste
– add the icing sugar and beat well to a smooth consistency (no lumps)
– the consistency should be thin enough to spread, but thick enough to hold its shape without dripping (hold the spoon upside down over the bowl to check). If it’s too thick, add a little more water and beat again, if it’s too thin, add a little more icing sugar. Once ready use straight away, or keep in the fridge in a sealed container until you need to use. Microwave to melt back to a spreadable consistency on removing from the fridge.

With the lemon curd filling and marshmallow frosting finally ready the cakes could be assembled. I layered up with lemon curd in the centre of each tier, and marshmallow frosting between the tiers and all round the sides. After refrigerating for half an hour to set the first layer, I added a second layer of marshmallow frosting to ensure a good thick coating.

luscious lemon curd homemade generous filling inside gluten free drizzle cake spreading marshmallow frosting onto tiered showstopper cake greatbloggersbakeoff

As the weather in the UK has recently taken a turn for the chillier, I decided to theme the decorations with an autumnal twist. To go with this rustic look I dimpled the frosting all over to give a more weathered effect.

textured effect stipling on marshmallow frosting tiered lemon cake

The leaf and flower decorations I made from coloured (normal) fondant – no more marshmallow icings for me! I may be blowing my own trumpet but I love how these marbled autumn leaves turned out. They were really simple to make too – I started with some green, yellow, orange, red and brown fondant, and mixed together in varying proportions, rolling out while they were only part combined. I used a leaf plunger cutter to get the veined and pronged leaves.

ombre marbled fondant icing autumn leaves for cake decoration

The marshmallow frosting stayed quite sticky so it was easy to attach the decorations the next day. Starting with some yellow flowers (a nod to the lemony inside), I arranged the leaves in an ombre graduating colour pattern down the cake. To finish – what showstopper is complete without a little sparkle – gold soft pearls around the base, in the flower centres and amongst the leaves.

gold soft pearl edging decoration around cake base

Fondant leaves and flowers with gold soft pearls decoration on autumn showstopper cake

Despite my various doubts (and wanting to give up!) in making this cake, I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Everything came together perfectly in the end and I’ll be honest – it tasted amazing! The homemade lemon curd had such a great zing, I want to put this in all my cakes going forward 🙂 I’m less enamoured with the marshmallow frosting – it really does taste just like marshmallows, which personally I’m not a fan of on a cake. I’ll stick with buttercream and ready-to-roll fondant from now, thank-you-very-much.

gbbo lemon drizzle gluten free showstopper three tier autumn decoration cake recipe autumn leaves decoration

The inside of the cake had a perfect wow as well – not to brag but look at those layers!

gluten free lemon drizzle three tier cake with homemade curd and marshmallow frosting moist recipe

lemon layer cake three tier showstopper with flower gluten free homemade lemon curd marshmallow frosting

Although I’ve not been able to participate every week this year, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Great Bloggers Bake Off again. As always massive thanks to Jenny for being an amazing organiser. Please click the banner below to visit her blog and for more information on the bloggers bake-off.

Mummy Mishaps

Ombre Flowers Gluten Free Wedding Cake

ombre flowers cascade tiered wedding cake white pink orange

Last month, in celebration of mine and Rob’s upcoming nuptials, the lovely ladies of Derby Clandestine Cake Club held a wedding and hen-party themed meet-up in my honour! You can read the full details by clicking here.

For obvious reasons (hello planning busy-ness, no more stress needed!) I’m not making our actual wedding cake, so used this an ideal opportunity to try out a bridal design of my own. Inspired by the recent Gluten-Free baking course I took, I combined and adapted a few recipes from various sources to make a gluten free fruit cake for the two layers.

Gluten Free Wedding Fruit Cake
500g dried fruit (I used a mix of dried apples, apricots, bananas, raisins and mixed peel, but anything would work)
250g light brown or golden caster sugar
250g butter
4 medium eggs
100ml milk
200g gluten free flour
75g ground almonds
2 tbsp cocoa (not essential, but adds a lovely richness)
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

– chop the dried fruit into small pieces if needed (around 5mm maximum is best), and mix together with the ground almonds
– beat together the sugar, butter, eggs, milk, flour, cocoa and baking powered
– add the dried fruit and mix until just combined
– pour into greased, lined tins, sizes as needed. I used a deep 7 inch round for the base, and 3 inch round for the top
– cover with foil (to stop the top doming) and bake at 150 degrees until an inserted skewer comes out clean. The length of time needed in the oven will depend on the size of the tins you use. My 3 inch cake took around 30-40 minutes, the 7 inch around 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
– remove from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

dried fruit for gluten free cake recipe banana apples apricots raisins baking gluten free fruit wedding cakes foil top tip to stop dome gluten free wedding cake two tiers recipe easy

For my cakes I used a marzipan layer to give a smoother finish for the white fondant. It’s not at all necessary though, you could use jam or even buttercream. The two cakes need around 500g of marzipan, and 500g of white fondant, to generously cover both.

marzipan on gluten free wedding fruit cake easy recipe

white fondant iced two tier wedding cake fruit gluten free recipe

Once the cakes were covered and stacked it was onto the flower decorations. I’ll be the first to admit that I may have got a little carried away here! I started doing them one evening, a bit more the next night, and so on, the final count was over 500!! I started with two colours of gel icing sugar – an orange and a pink, and mixed varying amounts of these into small quantities of white fondant to create the full spectrum of ombre flowers, from dark to light.

ombre fondant flowers for wedding cake white pink peach orange ombre sugarpaste fondant icing flowers hand cut for wedding cake decoration orange pink peach white pastel

I stuck them on the cake using a little plain white icing dabbed on with a cocktail stick, and starting with the palest flowers at the top, I started sticking and curving round the cake, all the way to the brightest orange and pink at the bottom.

white and pastel peach orange pink cascade of ombre flowers on wedding cake orange and pink wedding cake fondant flowers cascade ombre flowers cascade fondant icing on tiered wedding cake spring and summer ideas

The finished cake – a little wonky depending on the angle you look at it from (not a pro wedding cake maker by far!) – but I was really pleased with it.

cascade of ombre flowers two tiered wedding cake white pink orange peach gluten free recipe for clandestine cake club pink and orange cascade ombre flowers wedding cake on white icing

Of course we had a great time at cake club devouring all the wedding and hen cakes – who doesn’t love to sit and chat over a good cup of tea and huge slice of cake?

My cake turned out really well inside too – you really couldn’t tell it was gluten free, so would be perfect to serve to any wedding guest.

gluten free wedding fruit cake slice with marzipan white fondant icing and ombre spring brights flowers

As for our actual wedding cake… you’ll just have to watch this space. Not long now!

Marshall Amp Stack Cake

marshall amp stack birthday cake guitar lover ideas

Last week was Rob’s birthday, and as I was going away with work I wanted to leave him a big sticky cake to devour. He asked if I’d make him a Marshall amp stack, to follow up where his Guitar Cake left off a few years ago. After my initial bewilderment, a quick Google image search later and it was an enthusiastic yes! Two square cakes? Simples 🙂

I started off by making two rectangular cakes – one in a larger long tray, cut into 3 and stacked to make the base cake, and one in a smaller, thinner square, which I cut in 2 for the smaller top cake.

chocolate sheet cake tray bake layers for birthday

Chocolate cake simply calls out for chocolate icing, so I filled and crumb-coated both cakes with a sticky buttercream.

chocolate buttercream crumb-coated square cakes for birthday

Leaving the cakes in the fridge to cool and harden, I set about making the front pieces for the amps. Starting with a base of black fondant, I used a blunt straight edge to mark out the grid of the mesh, before using some white piped icing to line the edges and add the iconic ‘Marshall’ script in the centre.

marshall amp speaker front fondant icing with piped details black and white

For the top section I used a similar approach, adding a strip of cream fondant (white chocolate flavour!) with some added ‘buttons’.

marshall amp front buttons and piped logo made from icing

marshall amp front made out of fondant icing hand piped

Leaving the fondant pieces to set overnight, I covered both cakes in black fondant, adding a matching handle onto the smaller one.

black fondant covered birthday cake marshall amps leather look handle

Assembling the cakes was just a small matter of sticking the front pieces onto each cake, before stacking one on top of the other. Easier said than done when the front pieces of fondant started to crack!
A little gentle persuasion and sticking later, the cake was ready!

marshall amps small and large stack birthday cake hand piped details marshall amp stack black and white music lover birthday cake homemade marshall small amp with buttons and handle recreated in cake fondant icing marsh

And as no birthday is complete without them – an added inferno of candles to finish.

marshall amp stack birthday cake lit with candles

Inside the cake was deliciously sticky, with chocolate oozing from the layers! The birthday boy certainly was happy, as was I – it was a fun cake to make and even more so to eat 🙂

gooey chocolate cake food porn inside of birthday cake homemade

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

Despicable Me Minion Birthday Cake

despicable me minion birthday cake homemade silver goggles blue fabric effect overalls

Another year, another birthday for Rob, complete with epic cake!

This year he requested a minion – and of course I was only too happy to oblige. We are big Despicable Me fans and I’d been wanting to create one of these yellow cuties for a while.

For a bit of a change, I wanted to use a flavoured Madeira cake for the centre. I cannot rave enough about Paul Hollywood’s Coconut Madeira cake. Not only was it super easy to make (who doesn’t love a one-bowl recipe), but it came out so moist and light. Absolutely delicious!

madeira coconut cake paul hollywood recipe easy moist

I combined it with a lime buttercream, made using Sugar and Crumbs key lime icing sugar. More on this to come as it was a perfect combination between sweet and tangy, and a perfect compliment to the coconut cake.

On to the decoration – once the cake was shaped the fondant work was relatively easy. I covered the top half in a bright yellow, and the bottom in a rich blue. There was only a small overlap between the two as I didn’t want the fondant to be too thick for people to eat! The hands and feet were covered in some chocolate fondant dyed black, and pressed into shape.

minion birthday cake step by step yellow and denim blue fondant overalls

To finish the overalls, I created a mottled effect, using gel food colouring and a painbrush, to give a more realistic denim / fabric appearance. And of course the all important ‘Gru’ logo – painted on with some black food colouring.

minion birthday cake fabric effect overalls painted fondant icing gru logo in black

And the key feature – those all important goggles. I used white fondant for both the goggle rim and eyes, painting the rim with silver edible shimmer before adding to the cake.

despicable me birthday cake minion face goggles eyes silver edible paint

Of course – what minion would be complete without that cheeky smile! Did someone say ‘bottom’?!

minion from despicable me birthday cake face and cheeky smile silver

The finished cake – I was really pleased and especially so as it was all made in one night.

minion two eyed birthday cake from despicable me silver goggles blue overalls gru logo

No birthday cake is complete without candles…

minion birthday cake with candles

… and Rob was of course delighted!

happy rob with minion birthday cake

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