Friday, 3 December 2010

cupcake club: the event

So, to some pictures from the cupcake club meet itself.


Unfortunately marred by the tube strike, the turnout was pretty tight but everyone who came along was lovely - there was Anne from I heart Cupcakes and Manny, Kelly from An American Cupcake in London and Marcus, who came along bearing extremely delicious brandy snaps and also very kindly bought me a pint of Blue Moon.

We ate cakes, we talked about the Walking Dead and moaned about TFL and afterwards I felt like I never wanted to eat a cake again (I soon recovered from that).

Firstly Kelly made both mulled wine and gingerbread cupcakes, aside from the sweet gingerbread men the cakes were delish. Even Mr LROC liked them and he only likes fruit cake. Anne's caramel and Bailey's cakes with a soft centre and Quality Street on the top were amazing and just the thing for a pre-Christmas get together. Also, suitably festive were her sprout cakes which won a prize for most novel cake at Cupcake Camp. Although tasting much more like a carrot cake and the cake itself being delicious, I couldn't shake the knowledge that I was eating sprouts, but well worth a try.

On that note it will be fab to meet up again, and hopefully some more cake bloggers too.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

cupcake club: the prep

When I heard that Kelly, from An American Cupcake in London, was throwing a pre-Christmas cupcake club I was eager to go along. After all, what could be more fun than sharing a few cakes with fellow bloggers but there was one stipulation on the invite - to bring along 12 cupcakes.

Now, I'd seen Kelly's baking recipes and tutorials on her blog and knew that nothing that I could do would look anywhere near as good, nor be as imaginative as her recipes so I stuck to a classic that I'd made before. Generally I'm more of a sampler, and less of a baker but I attacked these with gusto.

Pretty much the main cookbook I use is the classic Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and this was the recipe for their black bottom cupcakes - a dense chocolate base with a big splodge of cheesecake and chocolate in the centre, covered in a cream cheese frosting.

The ingredients - in lieu of choc chips in Tesco Express (other supermarkets are available) I picked Cadbury's buttons which actually worked out quite well.

The actual recipe can be found on the Guardian website here.
The main base mix uses oil and vinegar, which makes it dense and moist.
The cheesecake mix is a blend of sugar, one egg, cream cheese and vanilla essence which bakes into a New York style cheesecake. I added the buttons directly into this mix.
The chocolate mix was spooned into the cases, and the cheesecake mix on top. Ideally the cheesecake mix should be slightly thicker so instead of spreading out across the top they sit in a little well.
Once baked.
I tried to pipe on the cream cheese frosting so they looked fancy but it just spead back out into an amorphous blob. Oh well, to eat I really liked the soft consistency but maybe I need to just spread it on and dust with cocoa next time.

I also attempted salted caramel cupcakes too; remembering I had an unused can of dulce de leche from my failed try at salted caramel macarons and inspired by a whoopee pie purchased earlier that day from the Sunday Up-Market at Brick Lane. I made a fairly standard white cake base and substituted some of the milk in the recipe for the caramel and added a little more than the usual pinch of salt. For the icing I mixed the left over caramel with icing sugar, hoping to have something stiff enough to keep the piped shapes that I wanted so much - the mix became so stiff that it broke my electric whisk but as soon I piped onto the cakes, again it flattened into nothing. They were also not particularly salty.

I think, considering my current loved for salted caramels and chocs of all varieties there's plenty of mileage in this idea - I just need to work on the execution.

Now only If I'd tried to make some notes on that whoopee pie....
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