Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Cupcake a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

This post has been long overdue! I went on holiday a week or so ago but the run up to the holiday was pretty hectic with replacement classes (again) for my cake decorating course, getting last minute things sorted and trying not to pack half the house with me. I just don't get this packing light business. I try... and somehow I always fail. At least I never run out of clothes to wear! : )

A good friend came to me a couple of months back to make some cupcakes for the opening of a women's clinic and natural birthing centre in Gangnam. This friend of mine also got me the "What's New Cupcake?" book by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson which has so many fabulous ideas. Let's just say that she helps fuel my passion for new designs, so I was more than happy to oblige.

We decided on a flower theme to coincide with the name of the clinic and some vibrant colours to brighten things up. To personalise it a bit more I made some cupcake toppers with the clinic's logo on it. Next we had to choose the flavours. Another friend got me the cookbook from my favourite London bakery, The Hummingbird Bakery so we went through that and as she likes hazelnute spread, she choose half the cupcakes to be Hazelnut and Chocolate cupcakes (with Nutella filling). For the 2nd batch of cupcakes, we went with something light and fruity, Lemon Cupcakes with fresh lemon curd filling.

Here they are waiting to be eaten

My friend told me that doctor and the guests didn't expect the cupcakes, it was a yummy surprise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Bundt Pan Survived the Uncaking Without a Scratch

The long title says it all really!  I have never got a cake out so easily before.  I turned it upside down over the cooling rack and felt the weight come off.  I sloooowly (dreaded to see the cakes broke in half) moved the cake pan away and saw 4 beautifully formed cakes.  They were so pretty.  I didn't take a picture as I was too busy ooohing over it and then cutting one of them open to try. Hee hee!

I used a Banana Sour Cream Loaf recipe from a baking book that my friend, Sharon posted to me by White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark called "The Perfect Finish".  It was meant for a 9" x 5" loaf pan but I had all these ripe bananas that were begging to be made into a cake and I wanted to try out the Bundt pans so...

The original baking time was 1 hr 20min and I reduced it to 50min and it was nicely browned.  Because I was putting my daughter to sleep, I wasn't able to check it earlier (first time trying a recipe and all that) but I feel that it could have come out 5 - 10 minutes earlier.  I will post the recipe here soon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pam and the Bundt Pan

My MIL gave me a cast iron bundt quartet pan with 4 moulds from Nordicware many moons ago.  I've been meaning to use it but with all the cupcake and caking baking, it was hard to get motivated to bake more cake.  My husband and I are a bit 'caked out' from the leftovers from my cupcakes and cake orders as well as the cakes from my cake decorating classes.  However, my daughter seems quite happy with cake, cake and more cake.  At least someone in my family is benefiting from my passion.

I realise now that the only way to grease a bundt pan properly is with an oil spray like Pam but I wasn't about to pay through my nose for the imported stuff so I have trusted my silicone brush and some flour I threw on top of the pan.  I hope I am not going to have to use a knife to scrape the cake off it.  It would be a shame if I get scratch marks on the pan.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Make a Customised Cake Board

First of all I am going to apologise for the lack of pictures accompanying this tutorial. I know it's always more helpful with pictures but this time I didn't know that I was going to post about it until it was done. Doh! If I make it again and have my camera handy, this post will be more colourful.

You start off with wrapping the cake board in a wrapping paper of your choice. Wrapping paper will be a good enough thickness to cover whatever colours are on your cake board. Be sure to put (paste) glue on top of the cake board before you wrap it, not just glue the ends down. This is to ensure that when you poke the holes (later) for the toothpicks, the paper doesn't come away from the board.

Next, measure out how many cupcake liners you plan to place on the board. I was making it for 36 mini cupcakes so, or me it was 6 down and 6 across so after placing one row, I use a marker to dot where the centre of the liner ought to be. Remember, the paper liners will be narrower at the rim after you put them in the baking tray, so you might want to make the spacing between the cupcakes narrower if you don't want a gap between them.

After you mark the centre, take a small phillips screwdriver and poke holes into the marked spot making sure you don't push too hard into the board and end up making a hole in your table as well. Next get your hot glue gun and a box of toothpicks out. Measure the toothpick so that the top of the toothpick after the bottom is inserted into the cake board, does not stick up beyond the top of the liner. Put a small drop of glue on the blunt end of the toothpick then insert it into the hole. Do the same for the rest of the marks and at the end of it you have a mini version of the Viet Cong's death trap as seen in Rambo.

When the cupcakes have been frosted, gently push them onto the toothpicks. Simple and beautiful.