A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

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As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

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Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

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During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

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Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

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Not bad huh?

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Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

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Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Super Moist Banana Cupcakes with salted caramel.

Who doesn't like cupcakes? I have yet to meet a person you doesn't. Especially if the cupcake is topped with a delicious, rich and smooth icing and filled with a salty caramel goodness.

I was lucky enough to receive a jar of gooey salted caramel homemade by my good friend, Thanh. And what good why to use it up? I used it as a filling in my banana cupcakes. Bananas and caramel are a match made in heaven.

I got the recipe for the cupcakes from one of my women's weekly baking books. As for the salted caramel, I have never actually made them before so you will be able to google the recipe or have a very good friend make it for you :)

Banana cupcake recipe:
  • 90g softened butter
  • 100g firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2/3 cup mashed overripe bananas
  • 80g sour cream
  • 2 tbs milk
  1. Preheat the overn to180degC (160degC fanforced) and line a 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and the rest of the ingredients. Divide mixture between the cases.
  4. Bake for about 20 mins. Turn cakes onto wire racks to cool.
  5. When cooled, slice the cupcakes horizontally and fill with your favourite filling. Pipe the top with the cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

 

Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:

  • 30g softened butter
  • 80g softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar.
  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy
  2. Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar. Mix until well blended and smooth.

 

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Cupcake Central Masterclass

I was very lucky to have been one of the food bloggers invited to do a Cupcake Masterclass at Cupcake Central.

Cupcake Central is owned and managed by Sheryl and Tin. It’s a dream Sheryl has been envisioning ever since the day she had her first bite of a famous cupcake sold in New York. Sheryl’s determination on getting the right cupcake recipe was a long and hard road but with trial and error, she was able to find the perfect recipe that has made their little cupcake shop grow into a thriving business.

Their first store was opened in 2010 in Hawthorn and only a short 10 months later, they opened their second store in Melbourne Central. The idea behind cupcake central is that all cupcakes are baked fresh every morning using only the best ingredients. They bake up to 400 cupcakes a day and on a busy day, they can easily double that.  They truly believe in the “quality over quantity” philosophy.

When we arrived for the workshop, Sheryl greeted us and gave us the history, then it was straight into the workshop.  Sheryl and the pastry chefs were very friendly and helpful.  They shared tips on how to achieve a light and airy cupcake and how to decorate and how to pipe frosting. There was a competition on which group had the best decorated cupcakes judged by Tin, but since my group didn’t win, I won’t mention that part :p

We were showed how they make the cupcake batter.

The baked cupcakes ready to be frosted.

After being shown how to roll out fondant and how to pipe frosting, we all got stuck in and started decorating our own cupcakes.

My finished cupcakes.

And this is how they meant to look like.

Thank you so much Sheryl and Tin for letting us all loose in your workshop and sharing some tips on how to make your famous cupcakes. Thank you Thanh for organising such a fun (and tasty) event and for modelling the apron for me so I can take a photo :)

I hope you go and try out their cupcakes. They are amazing.

Cupcake Central on Urbanspoon

Level 2, Dining Hall,

Melbourne Central

Melbourne

 

Shop 7, 672 Glenferrie Road

Hawthorn

http://www.cupcakecentral.com.au/

 

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Double Chocolate Blueberry Cupcake

Theme 10: Blue

Cookbook:  Australian Women’s Weekly, Cupcakes

Recipe: Double chocolate Blueberry Cake

I love cupcakes.  I especially love baking them and sharing them with family.  I chose to make this recipe for the blue theme.  The original recipe calls for raspberries but I think any berry can be used.

As usual, I changed the recipe slightly.  Not too much though as baking requires exact measurements.  I think the addition of any fruit to a cake batter makes it moist so be creative and add any fruit you like.  Just be sure to add the same quantity as the recipe.

  • 60g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 125ml water
  • 90g butter, softened
  • 220g firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 40g almond meal
  • 100g frozen blueberries (or any berry you like)
  1. Preheat oven to 170degC.  Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  2. Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan, stir over low heat until smooth
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined
  4. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and almond meal. Then add the warm chocolate mixture.  Fold in blueberries
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measurement, divide mixture among cases and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
  6. Decorate with dollops of whipped cream and extra blueberries.
Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Easter Creme Egg Cupcakes

 

Easter is coming up.  Every year I tell myself, I’m going to bake this and cook that. Every year, I have the same excuse on why I didn’t. I ran out of time.  I made an effort this year.  I wanted to make something that resembled the Chocolate Creme Eggs you can buy at the supermarket.  I think you all know which one I’m talking about.  I’m not a big fan of those as it is way too sweet for me.  Hubby loves them though, so I was inspired to replicate it whilst giving it my own twist.
My version is a double chocolate mud cupcake filled with whipped cream and kalamansi curd.  I had left over kalamansi curd in the fridge but you can make lemon or orange curd.  You can make everything from scratch or you can buy good cupcakes and decorate them yourself.  If you want, you can also use lemon curd from a jar to make these beauties for a quick treat for your Easter table.
I am quite happy at the way these Easter sweet treats turned out that I have entered them in a competition run by Ellie over at the Kitchen Wench blog.

Double chocolate mud cupcake:
60g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
160ml water
90g soften butter
220g brown sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour, sifted
2 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
40g almond meal

To decorate:
100ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
1/4 quantity of kalamansi curd (get the recipe here)

1.  Preheat oven to 170degC (150degC fanforced).  Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
2.  Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until smooth
3.  Beat butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy
4.  Stir in sifted flour and cocoa, almond meal and warm chocolate mixture.  Divide evenly among cases.
5.  Bake large cakes about 35 minutes or smaller ones about 25 minutes.
6.  Let cool on a wire rack
7.  To decorate, using a knife, mark a circle at the top of each cupcake.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out the cake within the circle.  Make sure you take out any cake crumbs.
8.  Dollop some of the whipped cream into the hole
9.  Drop a small portion of the kalamansi curd in the middle and smooth it out.

Happy Easter.
Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Quezo Chiffon Mini Cupcakes (Filipino Chiffon Cake with Cheese)

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I was flicking through some of my Filipino food magazines that I collected when I went back a few years ago and I saw this.  I’ve been wanting to make this cake since I first saw it years ago.  Even my friend, Hilda, made an Indonesian version of this cake for me a few times.  So I decided to make it for the Cooking The Books lunch I hosted at my house.
Now you might think that cheese does not belong on top of a cupcake.  But I have to tell you, this works.  The salty cheese goes really well with the sweetness of the cupcake.  It also gives the cake a different texture. I urge you to try this.  You will be surprised.

cupacakes
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs of self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 egg, separated
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 oil
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbs sugar

butter icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

For topping, Edam cheese, grated (or if you have it, quezo de bola)

1.  Preheat the oven to 180degC and line 12 hole mini muffin pan.
2.  Place in a large bowl, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.  Using a whisk, stir until there are no lumps.  Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, water, vanilla and oil.  Blend till smooth.
3.  In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peak form.  Gradually add the 2 tbs of sugar and continue beating till stiff.
4.  Fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture then gently fold in the rest.  Do not over mix the batter.
5.  Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 full and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
6.  Make the butter icing but combining the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix till light and fluffy
7.  Once the cupcakes are cooled, spread the butter icing on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Halloween Cupcakes

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This is the first year I have actually made anything for Halloween.  My 4 year old got really excited about Halloween for the first time this year.  Even though Halloween isn’t big here in Australia yet, children are starting to get into the holiday.  Deanna dressed up as witch tonight when we went over to my parents place for our weekly Sunday night dinner. 
So here it is, my Halloween cupcakes.  It’s chocolate cupcakes with body parts and marshmallow ghosts.  It was Deanna’s idea to make these, so she helped me decorate them.
  • 100g good quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml milk
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 115g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • * Chocolate glaze *
  • 210g (1 1/3 cups) pure icing sugar
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 180c. Line 12 medium (80ml / 1/3cup) muffin pans with large paper cases or use non-stick muffin pans.
  2. Place the chocolate, milk and cocoa in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Whisk constantly over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm.
  3. Meanwhile, use electric beaters to beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition until well combined.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Use a metal spoon to fold in the flour, in 2 batches, until well combined.
  5. Half fill each muffin pan with the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centres of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pans.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate glaze, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a medium heatproof bowl or the top of a double saucepan. Add the water and mix to a firm paste. Place over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and stir for 2-3 minutes or until warm and runny.
  7. Remove the cakes from the pans and use a small pallet knife to spread the warm glaze over the top of each. Set aside for 15minutes for the glaze to set before serving.
  8. Decorate with gummy body parts and marshmallow ghosts.

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie