April 29, 2012
When I first saw these cute double decker cookies on Bake at 350, I instantly fell in love with the idea which gives you two cookies all in one! It was perfect for me as a beginner in cookie decorating which I have only started recently. These are nice and simple cookies topped with royal icing and decorated with dots to give it a cute look. As you can see, my cookies are quite untidy and not as good as those on Bake at 350 but I am learning and improving more on my cookie decorating skills as I bake up more batches of cookies. They tasted light, sweet and beautiful for morning or afternoon tea and was especially delicious when paired with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
I used Sweet Sugarbelle's recipe for perfect sugar cookies again but unfortunately for me, I over-browned some of them and was able to rescue other batches that resulted in quite a lot of crumbs. The royal icing recipe from Joy of Baking was successful the last time I used it so I adapted it by adding more icing sugar to follow the 10 second icing rule which Sweetopia uses. You can also follow other rules some cookie decorators prefer like the 20 second rule from Sweet Sugarbelle but go with what you are the most comfortable with. I also think that using the same icing for both outlining and flooding suits me because I don't have many piping bags on hand and is convienient as well.
I decided to make two colours and was torn between the colour choices of electric green, sky blue, electric pink and violet. Sky blue and electric pink were my favourites and I ended up liking the blue cookies (because they looked better) instead of the pink. Some of the dots on the cookies are raised because I did not work fast enough to make sure that they layed flat like those on the blue cookies. And my piping skills still need to improve a lot. Practice makes perfect so be prepared to see more cookies on this blog!
Perfect sugar cookie recipe from Sugarbelle.
Makes about 24 cookies.
227 grams unsalted butter
175 grams icing or confectioner's sugar
1 egg at room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
400-425 grams of plain or all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 204 degrees celcius (400 degrees farenheit) and beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla to the mixture and mix until combined.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add this to the mixture a little at a time until incorporated.
3. Roll out the dough with some flour to dust on hand to a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with mini hearts and stars cutters (the same ones I used in the homemade candies) and cloud or flower cutters and place them on a baking tray lined with baking/parchment paper.
4. Bake the cookies for 7 to 8 minutes until dry but not brown.
Royal icing recipe from Joy of Baking.
2 large egg whites (60 grams)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
3 cups or 330 grams of icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
Sky blue and pink food gel colouring
1. Beat egg whites and lemon juice in a bowl of an electric mixer until combined.
2. Add the icing sugar and mix on a low speed until combined and smooth. (Depending on your preference for the consistency of flood icing or for bordering, you can use the 10 second rule which is when you drag a knife through the center of the icing, it should come back together completely in 10 seconds). Mix in more icing sugar if it is too thin or add a little water if it is too thick until the desired consistency.
3. Tint the icing with blue and pink or your favourite colours and mix well.
To decorate the cookies,
1. Fill your piping bags with royal icing and border the cloud cookies with blue and pink icing. Fill the cookies with plain or white icing (go to this tutorial from Sweet Sugarbelle for help with outlining and flooding) and add coloured dots to the white icing while working quickly before they set.
2. Ice the hearts and stars with coloured icing and leave to dry overnight.
3. Stick the hearts and stars to the cloud cookies with a little royal icing and set aside about 30 minutes to an hour to set.
April 15, 2012
Pair soft and not-too-sweet marshmallow with a beautifully light and chocolatey cupcake and you have a wonderful yet playful treat! Actually, it is marshmallow fondant that tops these super cute cupcakes. After trying one and getting a lot of positive feedback from my friends, I declared them as one of the best creations I have ever made...not to mention amazingly delicious and simple to make. I made these to take with me to a park I was going with my friends and I desired to make something colourful and pretty like the homemade candy hearts and stars I made a while ago.
The inspiration of this idea came from flicking through the 'Cupcakes by Colour' book by the Australian Women's Weekly. This book is the first place where I look for decorating cupcake ideas. One particular cupcake that caught my eye looked similar to this but was just blue and white stars so I adapted this idea to make more colourful and attractive cupcakes with the addition of hearts. Then applying marshmallow fondant to the cupcake instead of traditional fondant as suggested just made sense and it fit into my plan perfectly.
It worked so well when matched with the perfect chocolate cupcake I found from Glorious Treats. I also had my eye on the marshmallow fondant Bakingdom used for her cakes until I finally got my hands on a packet of vanilla marshmallows. That's when I really started to get creative with the help of the marshmallow fondant recipe by Clockwork Lemon. I got my four gel colours out and added a little to each portion of fondant that I divided by weighing (I love my kitchen scales). Then I cut out hearts and stars (the same cutters I used for the candies) from each coloured dough, replacing the cut-out shapes into the cut out pieces of dough.
The instructions also stated that you should slather some buttercream icing or ganache on top of the cupcake to adhere the fondant but I didn't think that was necessary as the cupcakes were already sticky on the top which helped the fondant to stay in its place. These cupcakes were gone in a flash and everyone loved them. I am already being asked to make another batch of these cupcakes so I highly recommend that you to try out these treats soon!
Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes recipe by Glorious Treats
Makes about 24-27 cupcakes
2 cups of sugar
1 and 3/4 cups of plain or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of boiling water
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and line muffin trays with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Add sugar and salt and stir until combined.
3. Stir in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat for one minute or until incorporated.
4. Add the boiling water to the mixture and mix together thoroughly until it is a shiny thin batter.
5. Fill the cupcake liners with the batter until 2/3 full.
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 22-24 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre is clean.
7. Remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow them to cool completely on a wired rack before topping them with marshmallow fondant.
Marshmallow fondant by Clockwork Lemon
Makes just enough to decorate about 20 cupcakes.
250 g packet of vanilla marshmallows (or any other flavour of your choice)
Icing or confectioner's sugar (the amount can vary so make sure you have an entire bag on hand)
Food gel or colouring
1. Put the marshmallows in a large microwavable bowl and sprinkle teaspoons of water to make them a little moist.
2. Microwave the marshmallows for ten seconds at a time, stirring with a greased wooden spoon until it has melted and puffed up enough to be sticky (for me it was about a minute in the microwave).
3. Start adding the icing sugar to the marshmallow mixture and stir, adding more each time until it becomes a soft and fluffy dough. Grease your hands if it becomes too sticky and transfer the mixture to a icing-floured bench. Keep adding icing sugar while kneading until it is stiff enough to roll out but be careful not to add too much icing sugar. If it is too stiff and breaks easily, add butter or stick it in the microwave for about 2 seconds.
4. Portion the finished fondant dough by weighing the whole piece and dividing that by 4 (it depends how many colours you desire). Roll out the dough briefly and add a little food colouring in the middle. Start kneading and wear plastic gloves if you don't want your hands coloured until the colour is distributed evenly, making sure that the other pieces of dough are wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
5. Roll out each piece of coloured fondant to about 5 mm thick or a little less. Cut out shapes with your tiny cutters (about 3 cm in diameter) slightly close together. Put these shapes in a zip lock bag while you do the rest. Alternate the shapes and place them in the cut out holes of all of the coloured portions of fondant. Roll it again to ensure the shapes are in place.
6. Cut out rounds of fondant from each colour with a 7 cm round cookie cutter (or a similar size that fits the cupcakes) and carefully place each piece on top of the cupcakes, pressing them slightly in place.
April 14, 2012
I used David Lebovitz's Devil's Food Cake again, just like many other bakers who declared the cake as their favourite chocolate cake. I also tried experimenting with the recipe by increasing it 50% so I could create another layer of cake. It was still as delicious with a moist chocolatey crumb but maybe my measurements were a little wrong as one layer had a small part that was undercooked and dense. I think next time I should just stick with the original recipe. But if your adventurous like me, you could try it out and see if the results are as good as the original.
I was actually going to decorate the sides of the cake with chocolate trees made out of melted chocolate. But when I tried piping it, it turned out to be a disaster. The hot melted chocolate (I did not want to cool down otherwise it would have set) burnt my hand a bit and oozed from the piping bag everywhere onto the baking paper. So, after an unsuccessful attempt at making a baking paper piping bag, I gave up and decided to leave the cake nice and white on the outside. I didn't bother to pipe decorations either because I was too tired after the mishaps.
Devil's Food Cake from David Lebovitz
Makes a two (or three) layer 8 inch cake.
9 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 cup of cake flour (you can make this by replacing three tablespoons of plain flour with cornflour/starch)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
115 grams (1 stick/4 ounces) of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup of water or coffee
1/2 cup of milk
For the recipe and instructions of the Perfect buttercream frosting, click here.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and grease and line 8 inch cake pans (I used two pans).
2. In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the water (or coffee) and the milk and set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, making sure that it is mixed in properly.
5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add all of the wet ingredients (milk and water). Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
4. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. You can do this by weighing (use a kitchen scale for this to weigh the whole mixture then divide it by two or three).
5. Bake the cake layers for about 25 minutes and check with a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake if it comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cool completely on a wired rack before frosting or decorating.
April 1, 2012
This is the most incredible frosting out of all buttercreams, even the meringue-based ones. I don't say this often but this frosting deserves every kind of praise! I am usually on the search to find the BEST frosting for my cakes and along the way I have found some to be too sweet, too grainy, too buttery or just plain ugly. This one is just perfect, a perfect amount of everything. It’s so good that I could eat it straight from the bowl. Although I have found the one, I'm still always keeping an eye out for new recipes and trying out other buttercreams. For now, let's talk about this magical frosting.
The secret ingredient to this is flour and cornflour. When I first found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe, I doubt that it would work to turn into an amazing buttercream. But after hearing from others how delicious this frosting is, I had to try it! And boy was I wrong. I was surprised how silky smooth it was when I first tasted it and declared it my go-to frosting straight away. You seriously can't go wrong with this. Well, that is if you follow the instructions properly and resist the temptation of taking shortcuts.
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
Makes about 4 cups of frosting, enough for a 2 or 3 layer 8 inch cake.
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar (not powdered sugar)
1 and 1/2 cups of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or paste
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of plain or all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of cornflour or cornstarch
226 grams or 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
*226 grams or 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
*Note that adding use cream cheese to this frosting is optional, and is just as delicious without it.
1. In a bowl, combine flour, cornflour, sugar and salt (also add 1/4 cup of cocoa to it if you want a chocolate version).
Whisk in milk slowly until incorporated and smooth.
2. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Cook it over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, whisking continuously until it boils and becomes very, very thick, like this...
|The colour of the mixture depends on the type of sugar you use. I used brown sugar so it is slightly brown in colour.|
3. Remove from heat, then transfer the mixture to another bowl and leave it to cool to room temperature. You can also put the bowl over an ice bath or put it in the fridge to cool quickly. Just make sure to warm it up to room temperature so that it is not either cold or warm.
4. Beat the mixture with a stand mixer along with vanilla on a low speed for about 30 seconds.
Slowly add pieces of butter, one at a time and tablespoons of the cream cheese (if using) until it is combined and smooth for about 2 minutes.
Keep whipping on a medium-high speed for 5 minutes and it will turn into a smooth and delicate frosting. (Mix in 113 grams of cooled, melted chocolate at this stage if you want to make the chocolate version).
After a few minutes of whipping, it should look light and fluffy like this...
5. Put the frosting in the fridge to firm it up a bit or leave it on the bench for about 1 hour. Use this frosting straight away.
Then slather the icing on top of your favourite cake, cupcake or anything else and be prepared to taste the pure awesomeness of this frosting!