Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cupcakes - The Weekly Bake Off

This weeks bake off is Cupcakes (pg 52 Mary Berry's 100 cakes and bakes). There are so many amazing cupcakes out there and I am truly impressed with the things people can do with buttercream. I think this is only my second attempt at buttercream. My first being when making Nigella's red velvet cupcakes and the buttercream didn't go so well at all.

One of my friends runs her own cupcake business and hers (as you can imagine seen as she does it every day) are works of art. So I was quite disheartened the first time I tried to manipulate buttercream in to something pretty.

I wasn't at home this weekend I was at a friends (house of man) for their birthday so making cupcakes seemed like an acceptable thing to bake this weekend at his house.... apart from there are no electric whisks, or piping tubes, or cake spatulas. Not a great start.

I have some piping nozzles at home that would have been perfect for cupcakes... But I forgot to take them with me.

I had the cupcakes in the oven easy enough, I did try to hand whisk the batter with the flimsiest whisk ever, but this was proving too hard and I found a hand blender in the cupboard so I thought I would give that a try.

The recipe calls for a deep muffin tin to be used for the mixture which is supposed to make 12 cupcakes. As you can see it does make 12 cupcakes but they are very small cupcakes not the ones we have become accustomed to and what these cases are tailored for.

I bought some butter from Aldi in Manchester city centre thinking I could keep costs low... I have now learnt never to buy cheap butter. It just didn't seem to want to soften! I made the first lot of buttercream by hand... and this took me quite a while, with the never melting butter.

I had a few practice runs but despite making twice as much buttercream as recommended I still couldn't cover all 12 cakes.

Here are the first batch....

Ice cream cupcakes...

Jewelled cupcakes... 

Group shot... 

My friends cupcake- he used the new piping bag I bought on the way, very narrow nozzles that are perhaps better for cake decorating. 

Lonely ice cream cupcake...

I already had a second batch of cupcakes baking in the oven so I decided to make some more buttercream, using Mary's suggestion of adding some cocoa powder to make chocolate buttercream... this did not go so well. By this point I had rummaged around in the cupboards a bit more and found a food processor... so I put all the ingredients in there are began whizzing away... The food processor became quite warm and my butter melted quite a bit and went all greasy and sat in the top. I tried adding more icing sugar.. this didn't work... I tried adding more cocoa... this didn't work. So I snapped a picture and put it on twitter. The responses from twitter was to put milk in it... this didn't work. Put it in the fridge? This just made the grease on top solidify. I added more icing sugar... desperately tried to scrape it on a cupcake...

I don't think anyone is going to eat that cupcake.

Thinking that it was already pretty much destroyed.. I added some more cocoa and icing sugar. What I ended up with in the end is some strange sort of chocolate fondant icing.. I thought what the hell and put it on some of the cakes.

They sort of look like brown bakewell tarts...

The cupcakes have gone down very well in 'house of man'. They were quite fascinated to see a woman baking in their house, and kept asking me questions about why I was doing this and why I was doing that and when could they actually have a cupcake!

Not sure I would use Mary Berry's buttercream recipe again but the cake was nice enough. I will also be glad to get my own baking equipment back when I try this again!


  1. You should win 2 prizes, one for doing so many variations and second one for doing so well in a different kitchen without your equipment. well done :o)

  2. Aw thank you Julie! I think if I have to bake away from home again I will be packing my electric hand whisk! x