Category Archives: Cirencester Cupcakes

Festive Baking

It is the season for excess especially in terms of eating lots of sweet things and this year for me as been no exception. I have made two Christmas Cakes. One for myself and my family and one for some friends. I made my first Christmas Cake last year but did not blog about it as I used Delia’s kit from Waitrose. This year I have made and decorated both cakes completely all by myself.  I used Delia’s recipe which is here and used the techniques I learnt at the cake course I went to at the start of the year to cover the cake. The decorations for both cakes and some of the icing/marzipan was kindly supplied by Dr Oetker.

This Christmas, I have also been busy making cupcakes. I made some vanilla and mince pie cupcakes for a family gathering we had this week. To make the mince pie cupcakes, I added some mincemeat and extra spices to the usual cupcake mix and added some brandy into the buttercream. The idea was inspired by my friend and Cupcake Queen of the Cotswold’s, Louise of Cirencester Cupcakes. My family loved them and I will be making them again soon.

That’s it for my Christmas baking. Please let me know in the comments what you have been making and add links if you have done a post about it. I am always looking to try something new for next Christmas.

I will be back soon with my New Year resolutions post, a cookbook review of the year and a new monthly blogging challenge for everyone. Hope you have a great party tonight, whatever you are doing.

Happy New Year! :-)

Review Of The Year 2010

2010 was my first full year of blogging so its seems right that I should look back and reflect on what an amazing year it has been.

In January, I did my first Fresh From The Oven Challenge, making Chocolate Buns. This formed part of my New Year’s resolution’s to be more adventurous in baking and make more bread. I also made cottage pie and did my first ever guest post on Nora’s blog.

In February, I made Valentine’s Cupcakes (that looked like boobies!) for English Mum’s Best Valentine Cupcake competition.  I reviewed my first cookbook, Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients and Nora did a guest post on the blog.

Image by Wendy from Peters Yard

In March, I celebrated completing my first year of blogging. The first meeting of the Midlands Food Bloggers was held at Loaf’s HQ in Birmingham, where we cooked pizza’s and tasted Peters Yard’s Crispbreads and Brock Hall Farm’s Goats Cheese for the first time. I went to my first Cupcake workshop at Kiss Me Cupcakes and I hosted my first Fresh From The Oven challenge, Kringel

.

In April, I entered and won the Easter Cake Bake and made cupcakes for the Mad Hatter’s Shropshire Tweet Up. Helen did a guest post on the blog and I made croissants for the first and last time!

May started by making the ultimate spring time brunch and a crumble. Pizza Napoletana was the Fresh From The Oven challenge.

In June, Jo’s Kitchen was invited by Miele to do the Masterchef Invention Test at the BBC Summer Good Food Show. Marie and I took on a Giant Cupcake Challenge and I went on an archaeological dig and left my blog in the care of Gary, Linda, Louise and Charlene.

In July, I made my favourite childhood dinner of Fish Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Parsley Sauce. I entered my second English Mum’s Big Bake Off and held a competition to win a Masterchef Apron.

In August, I made a sweet version of Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup with Mat Follas’s help and went on a foodie trip to Ludlow visiting the Ludlow Food Centre and Ludlow itself. Brioche was this month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge.

September was a busy month so I only made some cupcakes and garlic and basil focaccia.

In October, I made some spooky Halloween cakes for English Mum’s Autumn Bake Off, went to my first 24 Carrots Farmers Market and attended the second Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up.

In November, I made Coca-Cola Marinated Steak, with Wedges and Cool Beans, and I went to Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London. I also reviewed the Findus Fresher Taste range of ready meals.

In December, I was invited back to the BBC Good Food Show Winter by Miele. I took part in two cookalongs and met lots of fantastic producers. I went to the new Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring, Birmingham. I learnt how to make pasta for the first time at Loaf and shared my Christmas wishlist with you. Finally, for a late seasonal treat, I shared my Mincemeat Flapjacks recipe.

Overall, 2010 was an amazing year. I met so many fantastic people, ate lovely meals, made lots of new recipes and I was lucky enough to review some great products. I cannot wait to see what 2011 will bring. Thank you to all my readers for being along with me for the ride. I hope you will stay with me for 2011. I hope you all have a great night tonight, whatever you are doing. I will see you early in 2011 with my New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year! :-)

National Cupcake Week 2010

As this week is National Cupcake Week (13th-19th September), I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some of the cupcakes I have made recently. I have not had much time for baking so I have only made two lots of cupcakes for family gatherings and celebrations.

The ones above are Aston Villa Football Club Cupcakes for my godson Joshua’s 8th Birthday. I brought some claret food colouring off ebay and with my official football colour monitor, Stuart made the cupcakes. Stuart is also a Villa fan so he took much more interest in these cupcakes than any other I have made.

These sunshine yellow cupcakes were made for my Nan’s Birthday BBQ in July. I was inspired to decorate yellow with flying saucer toppers after attending the Cirencester Cupcakes decorating class. I have loved flying saucers since I was a child and I like the texture change they give against the soft cupcake. The others were decorated with blue glitter sprinkles. I used a vanilla cupcake base and vanilla buttercream icing for these and the Aston Villa ones. I believe that with cupcakes simple is best.

What cupcakes have you been making? Have you done anything special for National Cupcake Week? What is your favourite way to decorate cupcakes?

Happy Cooking! :-)

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Cirencester Cupcakes Decorating Class

I am sure that you all know by now, that I love cupcakes and have been trying to improve my skills in making and decorating them. Therefore, I jumped at the opportunity when Louise invited me to her new shop in Cirencester to learn how to decorate the cupcakes in more detail.

Cirencester Cupcakes was set up in 2009 by Louise (on Twitter: @Happy_Food) and she originally worked from her home supplying cupcakes. However, by 2010 her business was expanding so much she moved to a shop in Swan Yard, Cirencester and this is where the decorating class took place. I have known Louise for a while now, through Twitter and the wonderful world of food blogging. Her personal blog is here and the cupcakes have their own blog here. Louise is also in joint command of the Midlands Food Bloggers group with me on the UK Food Bloggers Association and Facebook.

The decorating class took place on a Sunday morning in the shop. I was joined by Maria and Cara (on Twitter: @CaraLaw) for the decorating class. Cara has a fantastic food blog, please check it out here. Louise started by telling us a little of history about how she started baking and how the shop came about. We then moved onto our first decorating technique which was Glacé Icing. This is something I have always had problems with, but with Louise’s help, all three of us cracked it quite easily. It turns out that there is a perfect pouring consistency for Glacé Icing which is shown in the video below.

Next we learnt how to decorate the cupcakes with Royal Icing and how to colour the icing correctly in right shade of whatever colour you want. Louise also showed us how stick the Royal Icing to the cupcake using buttercream and a small palette knife. The video below shows you how to prepare the cupcake for placing the Royal Icing on top of the buttercream and how then to build the cupcake icing up if the buttercream is to be the only icing on top of the cupcake. After learning how to do this, we had a bit of a play with embossers to put decorations into the icing. We then used edible lustre spray (spray paint) to enhance the embossed effect in the Royal Icing.

The final part of the session was to learn how to pipe buttercream on to the cupcakes. I already knew how to do this, due to my other cupcakes class with Kiss Me Cupcakes but more practice always makes perfect. Louise showed us a handy trick of putting the piping bag into a pint glass (I knew they would be useful for baking for something!) to allow you to put the icing in easier and not get you or the piping bag covered in excess icing. The video below shows Louise demonstrating how to pipe onto a cupcake. We then were left to play with all the sprinkles and sparkly things to decorate our other three cupcakes. We were all talking and having so much fun, that the session ran over by an hour. It didn’t matter though, we loved it!

Once we were all finished, we posed for photographs with our lovingly made and decorated cupcakes and then we went left to enjoy the rest of our already fabulous Sunday and eat our beautifully decorated cupcakes.

Thanks to Louise, Maria and Cara for a fantastic day! :-)

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