Macarons: Attempt One.

My macaron obsession has gotten a little out of hand lately. I'm sure my Tumblr followers can tell you that.

I've been wanting to try bake some myself for ages and finally attempted to do so the other day. I used a plain pink macaron recipe from the Woman's Weekly Cupcakes Cheesecakes and Cookies book.

What an epic fail.

I did far too many things wrong so I knew as I was making them that they weren't going to work out well. I didn't even bother making ganache to sandwich them with. They taste alright though!

At least I know what things I did wrong so that I won't make those mistakes on my next attempt! Although I have no idea how to fix the whole colour thing... they just completely lost their colour on the outside while they were in the oven.

Will have to do more research me thinks. More attempts to come!

Cupcakes times four.

A friend of mine, Soph, had a sweet little birthday party at an adorable cafe a few weeks ago and her boyfriend, Si, asked me to make her some birthday cupcakes for it.

On a side note, go check out Soph and Si's amazing photography. If I ever get married they will totally be the photographers and I will absolutely get a stop motion video done by them!

Getting back to the cupcakes...

I had to make 40 of them and I wanted to make four different flavours, just for fun. So to make it easier I decided to make two batches with a vanilla buttercake recipe and two batches with a chocolate cake recipe so that they would be easily adaptable to other flavours.

Lemon Cupcakes

Of course the first one I HAD to make was lemon flavoured - my favourite!

I filled the vanilla buttercake cupcakes with some lemon curd (didn't make that myself cause I was a little too lazy and we already had some awesome lemon curd in the fridge that I use on toast - yum!) using the Wilton's 230 decorating tip.

I topped them off with some lemon cream cheese frosting, coloured with golden yellow colouring gel, in a pretty little swirl. Yum yum!

The black and white cases made them look like bumble bees - now I know what cases to use if I ever make honey cupcakes!

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

These were fairly simple. I just chopped up some white chocolate (cause I failed to find white chocolate chips at my supermarket) and added it to the vanilla buttercake batter, as well as sprinkled a few on top of the batter in the cases before popping them in the oven.

I made some plain buttercream frosting and added in some raspberry essence. I couldn't taste at all while I baked this so I had to rely on my flatmate and boyfriend to tell me what things tasted like. I got my boyfriend to taste the frosting, without telling him what was in it, and he thought it was banana flavoured! Haha, might not use that essence again!

Before piping the frosting on I popped a fresh raspberry on top of the cupcake and piped the frosting (with a round decorating tip) around and over it. Then I topped it off with another raspberry. They looked super cute and I heard that they were really refreshing in/on them because they broke up the sweetness of the cake and frosting.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Mint chocolate chip cupcakes had to be on the list! Mainly because I had the green striped cases... Hehe.

They were super simple to do as well. I just added in some chocolate chips to my plain chocolate cake recipe and popped them in the oven to bake. I considered adding some peppermint essence to the cake but I didn't want the mint flavour to be too overpowering.

I added a bit of peppermint essence to cream cheese frosting, coloured it white so that it didn't have that butter/cream cheese colour and piped it using a round decorating tip. I crunched up some mint Aero bar and popped that on top and they were done!

Chocolate Cupakes (vegan)

I had a feeling that Si and Soph might have some vegan friends in their circle so I thought I better do one cupcake that's vegan friendly, just in case. This one was really simple - I used the plain vegan chocolate cake recipe (link above), with nothing extra.

I made some chocolate buttercream frosting, piped it into a nice little swirl and then grated some dairy free milk chocolate on top just to give it a little something extra.

"They just may have been the best tasting cup cakes ever."
- Sophie Bayly

Happy Swarley Day!

Yesterday was Carly's (my friend and flatmate, also known as Swarley for those How I Met Your Mother fans) 22nd birthday and to keep with our new tradition, I made her a cake! She requested something chocolatey (I think purposely so that I couldn't eat it all up since I'm doing this no chocolate/cocoa diet... Ha!).

I wasn't feeling very inspired at the time so I was just going to do a fairly plain chocolate cake, until I remembered that I had ordered this giant cupcake cake silicone mould and it was ready and waiting for me to use for the first time! I decided not to use the filling insert piece - will have to try that out some other time when I'm feeling more creative!

So that made my decision pretty easy. I used Carly's favourite chocolate cake recipe (found here minus the peppermint essence and chocolate chips). As soon as I started pouring the batter into the moulds I realised that I should have doubled the recipe. There was not enough batter to make the cakes rise up to fill the moulds completely.

Oh well... Now I know for next time!

I was intending on making chocolate buttercream frosting but I thought brown icing was a bit boring, so I made vanilla buttercream frosting, added a little bit of vanilla extract in place of a bit of the milk and then coloured it with Wilton's Teal Colouring Gel.

I put a layer of the frosting on top of the base of the cake and grated some dairy milk chocolate, just for a little something extra on the inside! ... I desperately wanted to eat that chocolate.

I trimmed a bit of the top cake off so that it sat nicely on top of the bottom half, and popped that on.

Having never made a giant cupcake cake before, I was a little unsure about how to put the frosting on to make it look more like a cupcake. I decided to pipe it which didn't turn out so well at all. There was a little too much air in the piping back so it spurted a bit and just came out looking not that great. Luckily I could just use a spatula to get a nice smooth look.

Mr. Spatula to the rescue!

I topped the cake off with some milk chocolate drops and some chocolate sprinkles, and in the end it looked pretty cute! Especially for my first try haha.

Check out that awesome glass bell-jar style cake display I got! I had been hunting for a glass lid for a while to go on Carly's white cake stand but had serious trouble finding just the lids on their own, let alone one that would actually fit on the stand nicely.

This one turned out to be perfect!

Topped the cake off with a single candle. Forgot to actually sing Happy Birthday though... Carly blew it out before I got to that part cause we were trying too hard to get a good photo! Haha!