Monday, 26 September 2011

{Cupcakes}

Yesterday I went on a Cupcake Masterclass hosted by Naked Bakes and held at Glasgow's Blythswood Square Hotel. I stumbled across the course whilst browsing online for Naked Bakes as I was looking to get a quote for cupcakes for my son's birthday party. I ended up making the cupcakes myself, but was keen to go on the course to perfect my icing techniques. It also seemed like a very good deal so I asked a few friends if they wanted to join me... we had a glass of bubbly on arrival then a 90min cupcake class followed by lunch of sandwiches, tea/coffee & one of the Naked Bakes cakes. We also took away with us a box of 4 cupcakes that we decorated and a goody bag from Lakeland. All for £35 per person.

My decorated cakes

Our teacher, Pauline, shared some tips for the perfect cake and she also shared her Naked Bakes recipe. I have compared this to the recipe that I currently use (from the Magimix recipe book) - and the ingredients are identical! Here it is:

175g Lurpak butter
175g caster sugar
175g Be-Ro self raising flour, sifted
(I also add a teaspoon of baking powder - thanks to my friend Claire for that tip!)
3 medium eggs
5ml vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 deg C.
Mix butter & sugar until well combined.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add flour gradually.
Spoon into cupcake cases half full (no more than 3/4 full).
Place in centre of oven for 17min.

I use a Magimix and put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour & vanilla extract into the mixing bowl together. Process for 7 seconds and then scrap down the sides before mixing for another 3 seconds.

Here are the tips I have taken away from the class:

  • Buy the best quality ingredients you can.
  • Cream the butter first before starting to add other ingredients - you want as much air in the mixture as possible.
  • Sieve the caster sugar.
  • Use cupcake cases that are made of greaseproof paper.
  • Don't open the oven door when cupcakes are cooking.
  • Take the cupcakes out of the tray asap and allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, I normally use equal quantities of butter & icing sugar (big thanks to my friend Kath for sharing her recipe with me) and I add some vanilla extract and a touch of water. The Naked Bakes recipe is slightly different and has more icing sugar compared to butter. The frosting was a lot stiffer than the frosting I have used for cake decorating and I think depending on which technique you choose a slightly stiffer icing might be preferable (for example the more intricate rose petals).

We were taught how to decorate 4 cupcakes using different techniques and I really learnt a lot. Just need to practice now (and try not to eat all the cakes I make!).

It's my plan to make cupcakes for the neighbours as Christmas gifts. I made some cakes for our friends recently and bought some cute red polka dot boxes from The Cake Decorating Company and I plan to use these for my Christmas cakes. From the same shop I also bought matching red baking cups and some red sugar pearls for decorating.

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, red sugar pearls & edible glitter

I think I might get some Santa toppers for my Christmas cupcakes or make my own fondant Christmas trees using a cutter that I bought at the cupcake course.

The next course is Sunday 30th October if anyone local is interested in going along and you will find the details on the Blythswood Square Hotel website.

4 comments:

  1. These are impressive! I'm sure the neighbors are going to love their xmas gifts!

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  2. Thanks for your lovely comment. Made some more cupcakes today...must keep practicing to improve my icing techniques! (Just need to make sure I don't eat them all!).

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  3. They're beautiful! Well done! £35 for all that sounds like a right bargain.

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  4. Thanks cafelula. I definitely thought the course was good value for money as I learnt a lot. I need to keep practicing as my icing wasn't as good this time...it wasn't stiff enough. Practice makes perfect as they say!

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