Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge

Angel Cupcake_Naomi Longworth_compressed2To celebrate the third anniversary of Cake Takes the Biscuit, I decided to invent my own cupcake and enter the Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge to boot. I started researching my ideas for American home-style baking whilst on a recent trip to Australia. My American friend out there talked about her childhood memories of angel food cake, a super light fluffy cake made with egg whites. So I set upon creating Angel Cupcake – a light and fluffy vanilla sponge, reminiscent of angel food cake, with a lemon curd frosting to symbolise luscious Californian lemons and topped with a sprinkle of strawberries, one of America’s most important fruits.

After three nights of baking perfecting the sponge recipe, making lemon curd and trying out different backgrounds for the photograph, I finally managed to submit Angel Cupcake to the Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge with two mins to spare. Look out next week for the full list of ingredients and method so you can try out the recipe yourself! My colleagues and friends thought the cupcake was a hit because it was super light and the lemon curd frosting was delicious. So glad it was worth all the long hours of baking!

Angel Cupcake by Naomi Longworth

Afternoon tea review: Dean Street Town House Hotel

Afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse Hotel by Naomi Longworth

Yesterday I went for afternoon tea at the Dean Street Town House Hotel for my friend’s birthday. It’s a great location for a winter afternoon tea as the low lighting and cosy furnishings are perfect for hiding away on a cold winter’s day. They were incredibly busy and we had to wait for our reserved table so we were offered a free glass of champagne at the bar which cheered us up. We were then seated at a big table by the window on low green armchairs and comfy cushions. We did have to wait quite a while before our order was taken and the afternoon tea came a lot later than our teas and coffees. However, the food was very good – the sandwiches were very fresh and tasty – egg and cucumber which was subtle and delicious, ham and mustard – again very tasty and the mustard wasn’t too overpowering and smoked salmon and cream cheese. As you can see, we gobbled the sandwiches down before I remembered to take a photo! We opted for one afternoon tea between the two of us which costs £16.75. Depending on how hungry you are, this is about the right size but you probably need to order another set of sandwiches as you only get three sarnies each time.

We then started on the plate of fancies – a cake with thin layers of choc sponge and choc coating – it tasted divine, a lemon macaron which was zingy and had the right amount of crunch and chew and then a fairy cake with cream piped on top which was average and not as adventurous. Finally, we tucked into scones which were very fresh and slightly warm, followed by homemade strawberry and raspberry jam and clotted cream. It tasted delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d recommend the afternoon tea but the service was slow so bear that in mind.

Angry Birds Cupcakes

Angry Birds Cupcakes for the Cake takes the biscuit blog

My boyfriend sends me lots of links to cool cakes he sees on the web and hints at which cakes he’d like for his birthday. I knew an Angry Birds cake was on the list after he sent me the Playable Angry Birds Cake video and this clever modelled one. I’m not all that experienced at modelling so didn’t think I’d be able to do the birds justice. In the end I came up with the idea of cupcake toppers but found there are very few items of Angry Birds merchandise out there at the moment. I bought these off eBay and they’re very reasonably priced and were delivered quickly. I made vanilla sponge cupcakes with piped buttercream (Cakes4Fun recipe) and then added the toppers. I found the pigs came out the best because the printing of that topper was the most accurate colour wise. I then bought some happy birthday candles and was set! Note to self though, don’t walk with those happy bday candles – the wicks are really short and they fizzle out in seconds!

Raspberry courting cake recipe review

2 tier cake adapted from Good Food magazineOn this cold snowy night, I thought it would be nice to hark back to a summer recipe. This is a raspberry courting cake which I made in August and tasted absolutely delicious. My sister-in-law adapted the recipe from the July issue of the Good Food magazine – it’s a three layer cake but as we didn’t have three sandwich tins, we scaled down the recipe to make it a simple two layer cake. The magazine had some interesting history about this particular cake – it’s a Lancashire cake made by ladies for their young (betrothed) men – see the Food Dictionary’s definition here. It’s usually prepared with fresh cream and strawberries but I liked Good Food’s interpretation with raspberries and mascarpone! I did make this for a young man but not one I’m betrothed to! My five year old nephew declared that he didn’t want a chocolate birthday cake this year, so my niece and I baked him this beauty instead!

Here’s the adapted sponge recipe:
Use 8 inch cake tins
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
4 medium free range eggs (beaten)
200g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the filling, use a 250g tub of mascarpone or a smaller tub if you can find one
50g of icing sugar and some to dust the top of the cake
175g raspberries
1tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

Treat this as a Victoria sponge cake with a different filling. Cream the sugar and butter, add the eggs one by one, then fold in the sieved flour and baking powder plus pinch of salt. Combine it as little as possible so the sponge turns out nice and light. Bake for 25-30mins in the oven – Fan 160/Oven 180/Gas mark 4. Once baked, let the cake cool. In the meantime, mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and lemon zest. Spread a generous layer of mascarpone on the top of one of the cake halves. Place the raspberries all over. Then stack the second cake half on top. Finish off with a dusting of icing sugar! This is a simple cake to bake and a refreshing alternative to Victoria sponge. Being a Lancashire lass myself this is a cake close to my heart…

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