Hot cross cupcakes

30 Mar

Hot cross cupcakes

My second instalment of Easter cupcakes!  Although these ones look really lame compared to the Easter egg cupcakes, they taste SO good!

I used a basic buttercake as the base and added a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon and mixed spice, as well as about half a cup of sultanas and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Hot cross cupcakes

 

I also added a glaze:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

  • Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved
  • Bring to the boil and then boil for 5 minutes
  • Brush on whilst still warm

Hot cross cupcakes

 

The cross is just made from water and icing sugar. No idea how much of each – enough so that it holds it shape…  It needed a large ration of icing sugar to water and I put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds just to soften it up, because the icing sugar wasn’t mixing in.  But without it, it wasn’t firm enough.

Next, I ruined the effect of the glaze by sprinkling some cinnamon sugar over the cupcakes (mixture of cinnamon and caster sugar, to taste).  So it wasn’t nice and shiny, but far out, it totally makes these cakes.  I think they could have been a bit boring without it.

Hot cross cupcakes

Yummehhhh!

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Easter egg cupcakes

23 Mar

Easter egg cupcakes

Om nom, check these babies out!  I started with a basic buttercake and just added about half a cup of cocoa.

Decoration is a swirl of canned Duncan Hines chocolate frosting (which still held its shape in the 32ºC heat today), some Flake and a chocolate speckled egg.

Had a hard time keeping the kids away long enough to get photos of these…

Easter egg cupcakes

 

I used a 1M tip for the first time and I’m pleased with it – I usually use a very large star tip, but now I see why everyone loves the 1M.

Easter egg cupcakes

 

More Easter cupcakes to come next week!

 

 

Mock cream made with Solite

20 Mar

I know I’ve talked about Solite before, but about 90% of hits to this blog came from people doing a web search for Solite, mock cream or a combination of the two.  So I thought I’d make a “proper” post about it and actually provide some information instead of just going on about how much I am in love with it.

  • It is a solid vegetable shortening (but not like Copha) that you keep at room temp
  • It has the consistency of slightly soft butter in its “solid” state
  • You can buy it from cake decorating shops
  • It is very soft, very white and tastes exactly the same as the mock cream you find in 90% of bakeries / hot bread shops
  • You mix it as follows: 20 parts Solite / 15 parts caster sugar / 9 parts water (I therefore usually use 200g Solite / 150g caster sugar / 90ml water)
  • You whip the Solite by itself for a few minutes, then add the sugar; you then add the water in small increments over a period of five minutes and whip until sugar has dissolved
  • If it’s soft enough, you can start with a balloon whisk, otherwise start with the regular beater
  • Increases in volume during whipping
  • Pipes really well
  • Can whip for ages without it becoming overwhipped
  • Hardens in fridge really quickly – you can put a crumb coat on and be doing your finishing layer in 5-10 minutes
  • Holds its shape really well
  • Stays really soft and creamy at room temp – does not dry out (although I keep all my cakes in containers, or at least covered)
  • You can get a Tropical version that holds up better in warmer temperatures (although I have never had a problem with the regular stuff)
  • It is perfectly smooth – there is no grittiness at all if you mix it properly
  • Can use as a frosting or as an alternative to fresh cream

Whipping Solite mock cream Whipping Solite mock cream

Can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, except that I totally love this stuff.  It tastes so good, and I always get good feedback on it.

Here are some examples of how I’ve used it previously:

One Direction rainbow cake
This rainbow birthday cake is all Solite – both the piping and the top, sides and filling

Rainbow cake
This rainbow birthday cake has Solite top, sides and filling (piping is Whip ‘N Ice)

Christmas cupcake
Solite used to decorate this Christmas cupcake, with Wilton Candy Melt piped decorations

Confetti cupcakes
Solite used as frosting on confetti cupcakes

Nutella cream horns
Cream horns filled with Solite

Taste test: Whip ‘N Ice

17 Mar

I saw this stuff at the cake decorating shop a few years ago.  It’s a frozen product that you whip up from its liquid state, and it turns into a buttercream-like frosting.  The chick at the shop told me that it tasted like ice-cream.  That put me off a bit, actually.  Plus it was fifteen bucks for a 1L carton.  Ugh.

Anyway, whilst I was being a total badass and Googling frosting recently, I saw it again and looked further into it.  I found a video on YouTube and thought the whipped product looked pretty good, so I decided to stop being a cheapskate and buy some.

I bought a 1L carton (it had gone up to $15.95, what a gyp) and used the whole lot in one go as there was a pitiful amount after I had only poured half of it in the bowl.  It stayed sludgy for ages, but finally thickened up.  The instructions said to add colour and flavouring after the stiff peak point, but I found that by the time I had gotten to that point and then whipped in the colour, it was overwhipped.  Great.

Anyway, I piped it onto cupcakes for K1 to take to school for her birthday.  Kids and husband said they liked it, but I wasn’t really a huge fan.   It really did have an ice-cream flavour that just didn’t seem right.  It doesn’t crust but the outside seemed to harden into a sort of marshmallowy coating that didn’t taste great.  It has a kind of  heavy, foam-like consistency (not in a nice way).  I used the leftovers to pipe decorations on the full birthday cake – I wouldn’t have ruined a whole cake with it.

I did overwhip it (so it piped badly), but the taste and texture still didn’t appeal to me, so I probably won’t be buying this again.  It does look good, it’s just the taste I’m not a fan of.  I’m disappointed – I thought maybe I’d found a new go-to.  Oh, well.

Birthday cupcakes with Whip 'N Ice
Cupcakes frosted with Whip ‘N Ice

Rainbow cake with Solite and Whip 'N Ice
Cake covered with Solite, with Whip ‘N Ice piped decorations  

Rainbow birthday cake – two ways

16 Mar

Rainbow cake

K1’s 8th birthday sleepover was One Direction and red/black/white themed, so I had planned to make a matching cake – round, chocolate layer cake (tinted black) with white frosting and filling.

However, the sleepover was the day after her actual birthday, so I still had to make a cake for her birthday.  I decided on a rainbow cake because I love how they look.  She suggested a heart shape, and because I only have one round tin, but two heart-shaped ones (I prefer cupcakes…) and I’d be baking six different cakes, I figured hearts were the way to go.  Anyway, I made the six different cakes, then realised that if I just stacked them as they were, plus filling, the end result would be a cake about 8 inches wide but about 15 inches tall – not a good look… so I sliced them in half and just used half of each cake.  It was still pretty tall.  I used Solite as a filling and covering, then changed the colour of some leftover Whip ‘N Ice and piped basic borders and threw some sprinkles on.  Easy.

Here’s the finished product for the birthday cake (it was night-time when we cut it, so I couldn’t get a nice photo of the first slice coming out – everyone just wanted to eat it!):

Rainbow cake with Solite and Whip 'N Ice

Rainbow cake with Solite and Whip 'N Ice

P1180688 (1024x768)
The damage (food styling was not my priority at this point in time…)

Remember I had only used half the rainbow cakes…  I didn’t want to have them hanging around in the freezer so I decided to use them for the party cake as well.  So I went through the whole bloody process again.  I already had a One Direction rice-paper topper, but it was of course round, and didn’t really fit on the heart, but I’ve seen worse cakes so I’m not having a tanty about it.  The kids at the party all ooh-ed and ahh-ed when they saw the rainbow slices come out, and people loved the frosting (all Solite, baby).  Black glitter and white sprinkles tied it all in with the black and white theme – I don’t care that the inside wasn’t black and white, too, since the kids seemed to like it so much.   Again, no photos once it was cut (why do I always seem to cut cakes at night?), but here’s one I managed to grab before it got butchered.

Rainbow cake

I used cheap (73c) vanilla cake mixes because they are quick and easy and I went for quantity over quality… I only used three of them to make the six cakes, so I got two full layer cakes for just $2.19 plus a few dollars worth of Solite, a little milk and 3 eggs – the whole lot would have cost less than ten bucks for both.  Bargainsville.

Yes, they look old-school, but that is the intention… the outside looks plain and boring, but then BAM!  Rainbow cake, mofos!

The cakes that had been in the freezer overnight tasted better, for some reason.  It was amazing.   One of the neighbours said she wants me to make all her cakes from now on, so I wasn’t the only one who thought it was awesome! I may or may not have had the last piece for breakfast.  Om nom nom.

Pink and white birthday cupcakes with Whip ‘N Ice frosting

14 Mar

Birthday cupcakes with Whip 'N Ice

These are the cupcakes I made to send to school for K1’s 8th birthday.

Since I made them after work one night, I had no desire to stuff around making them from scratch, so they are made from a couple of cheapo packets of vanilla cake mix (build a bridge) – half was tinted pink and half was left plain, but I just dolloped them in and didn’t bother marbling them.

Birthday cupcakes with Whip 'N Ice

Frosting is tinted Whip ‘N Ice.

Apparently all the kids loved them.

Birthday cupcakes with Whip 'N Ice

Basic buttercake recipe

8 Mar

This recipe is from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book (see their Chocolate Cake recipe here).  It has always turned out really well and is what I’m referring to if I say I’ve made a buttercake.

Ingredients – for deep 15cm/6″ round,  shallow 20cm/8″ round, 18cm/7″ square (all cook 40-45 mins):

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ingredients (doubled) – for 22-23cm/9″ round or square (cook 50-60 minutes), 20cm/8″ x 30cm/12″ lamington tin (cook 35 mins):

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup milk

Ingredients (trebled) – for 30cm/8″ square (cook 1 hour, 15 mins):

  • 375g butter, softened
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC
  • Grease and flour, or line, the cake tin
  • Cream sugar, butter and vanilla essence until light and fluffy
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  • Fold in flour and milk, in two batches
  • Spread mixture in prepared tin
  • Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean
  • Turn onto wire rack to cool