On Saturday I will be baking cupcakes for a colleague as she won a charity auction and bid for a set of my cupcakes. It was all in aid of ByteNight – the IT industry’s sleep out night in aid of Action for Children. I want to make some cupcakes with a festive theme and have been doing lots of research on fun Christmas cake and cupcake decorations and cupcake cases so I thought I would share these with you. Look out for my post on Christmas cupcakes at the weekend!
As I mentioned in my post last week, there are lots of fun things you can do which are an alternative to the traditional Christmas cake and here is one of them. On Sunday night, I tried out the Marks and Spencer Christmas tree baking mould and it worked out very well! It doesn’t give any instructions on what volume of cake mixture to make so I experimented and here are my tips! The mould isn’t as big as it looks so I used Delia’s classic Victoria sponge recipe with cocoa powder for two 7 inch cake tins. This was the right amount of mixture. It’s a classic 4oz recipe – self raising flour, marg, caster sugar, tsp of baking powder, 2 large free range eggs. To change it from a Victoria sponge cake recipe I added 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and don’t add any vanilla essence. For the icing I used 15g of butter, 2 tbsp of water, 125g of icing sugar and 50g of melted dark Bournville chocolate. This was enough icing for the whole cake. And the verdict? Personally, I thought the sponge needed to be more chocolatey so I would recommend making the sponge with dark melted chocolate rather than cocoa powder (this is the method my Gran uses). The icing was sweet and chocolatey so that seemed to hit the spot. I then added mini smarties for the baubles or you could use ‘dragees’ which are little silver baubles. You can them here from the Cakes, Cookies & Crafts website. And if you want tinsel you could use edible glitter! Oh and if you want to bake mini Christmas tree cakes, M&S have a mould for that too! This is a great one to make with and for the kids and you can personalise it any way you want!
Last week I made these scary chocolate cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book for Halloween. I doubled the quantity making 18 cupcakes (they make 9 rather than 12 in a batch). I had run out of caster sugar so used golden sugar which went well. One batch of the vanilla frosting (250g of icing sugar) is enough to ice all the cupcakes. Split the icing into two bowls and add some cocoa powder. I added red and yellow food colouring to the vanilla icing. I was hoping for orange icing but without any orange food colouring I was struggling! It ended up being a deep pink instead. Next up came some scary eyeballs and pumpkins wrapped in foil, sold by Marks and Spencer.
The cupcakes went down very well with my taste testers and I particularly liked the eyeball ones in the end! I did find this cool baking website – Cakes, Cookies and Craft Shop in the process which sells great cupcake decorations. I thought their Halloween selection was fun, I just didn’t have time to order them before Halloween!