Archive | April, 2012

Cupcake Workshop

22 Apr


Big sis Cakes and I learnt how to decorate cupcakes today, thanks to the lovely Gill at The Cupcake Workshop. But first things first. A lovely cup of tea of course.

Then down to business. First we learnt to make butterflies, daisies, roses and bows using sugar paste.


Don’t they look professional?


All that hard work left us gasping. Time for more refreshments methinks.


And then back on with the grafting…


Filling the cupcakes with a secret surprise…


Keep those hands steady sis, nice buttercream rose icing!


Add your sugar paste decorations, and there you have it, fantastic looking cupcakes. Too good to eat really!


But don’t worry, we did manage to eat a couple. Forced them down, you know…

Bake Off

20 Apr

Momofuku cake

Mr Cakes and I will officially become Mr & Mrs Cakes very soon. As in, we’re getting hitched, tying the knot, getting married, you know!

Now, I won’t might not be baking anything for the big day, but our chums will be. We’re having a good old fashioned Bake Off, and I can’t help finding inspiration everywhere.

If I was baking, I might have to try the above Momofuku milk bar cake. How cool does he look? He comes from the Kitchen Heal Soul blog.

I also really really really want to try a proper rainbow cake. Like this fella…

Rainbow cake

Thanks Martha!

But how could I resist trying to impress the judges with a batch of smoochy lip covered cake pops? These come from the always wonderful Rhubarb & Rose

Lipstick pops

Maybe someone will invite me to take part in a bake off soon. Until then I’ll have to content myself with scoffing our guests offerings on the big day. It’s a hard life…

Hoxton Cross Buns, again

6 Apr

hot cross buns

It’s Easter weekend, which means time for some hot cross buns, of course. Now, I’m not talking about the sweaty, flabby, grey offerings you get in packages of four at the supermarket. I’m talking fresh from the oven, crispy fruit on the top, spicy glazed Shoreditch Bake style hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns are actually quite simple, and although they contain yeast and are really a bread rather than a cake, they only require 10 seconds (yes, 10 seconds folks) of kneading. Last year I had a bad recipe, and produced a batch of rock cakes (literally). But with the right recipe you’re guaranteed a dozen light & airy goodies! This year’s recipe is courtesy of Dan Lepard and can be found in last week’s guardian.

yeast and cider

fruit and strongbow

cream and spices

warm fruit and cream

So all you have to do is mix some yeast, cider & flour together and leave to bubble. Gently warm eggs, cream, honey & spices. GENTLY now. Do not make scrambled eggs at this point. It’s very easy to make scrambled eggs, but don’t. It’s annoying and you’ll have to start again…

Mix the warm stuff with the yeast stuff and some dried fruit, and then some flour and you’ve got hot cross bun dough.

bun dough before proving

bun dough after proving

raw buns

cold cross buns

Prove the dough for an hour, it gets bigger! Shape into balls and leave to rise again. Pipe on crosses (flour, oil and water) and bake til golden. These buns are pretty good, but the icing on the cake is, well, the icing. A bit of spicy syrup brushed on the top just makes these heavenly.

Dan Lepards Hot Cross Buns

Traditionally, hot cross buns should be eaten on Good Friday, which is when these beauties were made – and devoured, but I’m sure no one will mind if you’re a day or two late. Yummy yummy yummy buns

Shoreditch Bakes

1 Apr

Pitfield cakes

There’s a lot of baking going on in Shoreditch. No joke, I know it’s April Fools, but tis true. One of the newest kids on the block is Pitfield London, on Pitfield street. I cycle past every day and have to try very very very hard not to crash on the way. If you’ve seen their window display of massive, delicious looking meringues you’ll know why. Have a look at these bad boys!

cherry tart pitfield london

Big sis (she of jam, relish, and marmalade fame) was in town this weekend, and as a couple of cake aficionados, we had to go and test the Pitfield wares. A cherry almond flan type cake (above) for big sis, and a beautiful hunk of carrot cake for me (below). Carrot cake is my favourite type of cake, and is the acid test for any establishment. This one didn’t disappoint – moist, spicy with plenty of sweet cream cheese icing. Win!

carrot cake pitfield london

Of course where else do you take big sis when in town than London Fields Lido? We had to justify a second cakey stop of the weekend somehow. I racked up an hour with the gang at the Red Top Swim class, and big sis swam a kilometre too. Hurrah, we definitely deserved a stop at the home of the whoopie pie – Violet Cakes on Wilton Way.

Sunny London Fields Lido

It was difficult to choose just one cake – Violet has so many treats to choose from. Pistachio and rose whoopies, ginger molasses cake, red velvet cupcakes, choc chip cookies (and there is so so much more). Help! We began by treating ourselves to a cinnamon bun each washed down with the finest flat white. Breakfast fodder, if you will. A rhubarb cupcake to take away? Don’t mind if I do…big sis opted for the chocolate version, with salted caramel frosting.

Violet cakes cinnamon bun

Nice one sis, come back soon!