Christmas Cupcakes – Bake of the Week

christmas tree cupcakes with a hidden surprise inside

I’ve enjoyed having a play with some Christmas Cupcakes this week. I’d forgotten how time consuming they can be though – and how quickly they get demolished in our house. These are batch 2 – The first lot got eaten before having their pictures taken, when I was out. Cardinal sin in the world of food blogging but amazing that it hasn’t happened before now with 3 kids!

I wanted to make something a little more challenging than ordinary Christmas cupcakes so made secret hidden stars inside of them – I did start with hidden Christmas Trees but didn’t fancy a green inside to my cupcakes and didn’t like that the Christmas design wasn’t really clear enough. I’m quite happy with the stars though – I used one of the kids old star cutters that isn’t that sharp on the edges so reckon that if you used a better cutter, the design would be even sharper.

How to bake a surprise star inside cupcakes

I was set a challenge by the Cake Decorating Store to come up with a Christmas cupcake design. Me being me, couldn’t leave it at just one design – after all, who wants just plain old trees? You must have a Santa too!(Santa cake toppers supplied by the Cake Decorating Store)

santa cupcakes

And so onto how to make the Christmas Tree Cupcakes with a surprise hidden inside.

I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe. Line cupcake trays with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180C.

I took approximately 1/4 of the mix out and coloured it red with gel food colour.

Spread it out on a lined baking tray to a depth of about 5mm and bake at 180C for 3-4 minutes.

how to bake shapes inside cupcakes

AS soon as it comes out of the oven, cut out stars using a cutter. Press 2 stars together for the correct depth.

Spoon 1tsp of the plain cake mix into the bottom of each case then add the star.

Spoon the rest of the plain cake mix around and on top of the stars – make sure the star doesn’t fall over.

Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes.

When cool, spread a thin layer of white frosting over the cupcake. (I used ready made frosting from the Cake Decorating Store)

Roll out a cone of marzipan and stick on top of the cupcake.

marzipan christmas trees

Colour some more frosting a pale green colour, and put in a piping bag. It doesn’t really matter what nozzle you use as long as it is fairly thin with a serrated edge.

Pipe little peaks from the top of the cone down, working evenly and leaving some peaks sticking quite proud.

Sprinkle over with tiny Christmas coloured sugar balls immediately before the frosting sets.

Ta-Dah!

Bake of the Week Round UP

I know I’ve said it before, but I am absolutely gob smacked by how many wonderful bakers take part in Bake of the Week – I am so grateful for each and every one of you. We are almost up to 300 posts on our Pinterest board which is phenomenal. Thank You!

Because there were so many entries over the 2 weeks, I am stretching my own rules and choosing 3 featured bakes.

Olive, tomato & Herb Bread tree

My first is carrying on the Tree theme and is this wonderful Olive, Tomato & Herb Christmas Tree from Tales from the Kitchen Shed. What a fantastic idea for arranging and baking bread. On the blog, there is also a sweet version of this tree. Just wow!

choux cygnets

My next featured bake is from a baker that has 5 bakes entered into this week’s Bake of the Week, ET Speaks From Home – This lady knows how to work hard! Her Choux Cygnets are beautiful and so delicate. I’m also very jealous that she has been baking with Brendan of GNNO fame recently!

And I couldn’t leave this cute Owl Cake out. So simple yet really effective from Green Gourmet Giraffe

owl birthday cake

The linky is now open for your next Bakes of the Week – I’m catching up on all the comments and sharing of the posts at last! Please place the badge somewhere on your post to let people know you are one of the B of the W team. I comment, Pin, Tweet and Share on Google+ all entries. There is no theme, anything that you bake can be included.

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christmas tree cupcakes

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Tractor Cake & Rice Krispie Treats Tutorial

tractorcake

I’ve come out of retirement AGAIN! My brother-in-law was 40 last week so out came the sugarcraft equipment. Since I last did a ‘proper’ cake, our one and only sugarcraft shop in St Helens has closed so it was a bit of a challenge to get the stuff. (Obviously if I was properly organised I would have ordered online!).

My brother-in-law is tractor mad – collects them in fact! My brief from my sister-in-law was pretty specific to the tractor but everything else was left to me – A Ford 7810. I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I was doing his cake and she produced the little ornament (pictured) that was used on his christening cake nearly 40 years ago. So that is why it is there! I’ve forgotten to ask what they thought when they saw it on the board.

tractorCollage

I knew that I wanted the tractor to be edible as the kiddies would be likely to want a bit so I used Rice Krispie Treats. I’m not sure how many UK cake makers use these but I love them. They are so malleable and cheap and easy to make – plus they are a lot more delicious that pure icing. The recipe I use for making RK Treats is:

RICE KRISPIE TREATS:

50g butter
200g Marshmallows (I use really cheap ones that are pink and white so that is why the picture is a little dark)
150g Rice Krispies (any brand)
Oil for covering your hands.

  1. I melt the butter in a large pan and add the marshmallows to it.
  2. Keep stirring REALLY well until melted.
  3. Take off the heat and add the Rice Krispies.
  4. Stir quickly to ensure that the RK are equally covered.

I tend to be a little impatient and want to start modelling before the RK Treats have cooled enough but it is best to wait for 1-2 minutes. Make sure you cover your palms in oil and squeeze together REALLY hard!! I cannot stress how hard you want to get the model.

I allow to set fully in shape and then brush with edible glue before covering with sugar paste. I have never managed yet to get away with only covering once so be prepared for double layers.

how to make models with rice kris pies

Creme Egg Minions – Despicable Me 2

CremeEggMinions

I’ve been having a play this afternoon – The Creme Eggs have been transformed into Minions. The country is going Despicable Me 2 crazy as the film comes out this week. I’ve well and truly jumped on the bandwagon!

one eyed creme egg minion

Its not exactly Creme Egg season so I had to make an appeal on Facebook earlier in the week for supplies. The fabulous Gemma and Joanne came to my rescue and donated the Creme Eggs that they still had in their fridges – Still gobsmacked that people can have chocolate hanging around for so long and not eat it. Wouldn’t you know that yesterday I went to get diesel and there on the counter were hundreds of Creme Eggs on sale?!?

Marzipan Apples Tutorial

I’ve been making apple cakes today (Post to go up tomorrow about them). I could have left them alone and enjoyed them as simply apple cakes that were delicious. Me being me though, resulted in rows of marzipan apples being created for that added interest.

I thought I would post a tutorial of how to make the marzipan apples in case you fancied a go …

Makes 6 marzipan apples:

  • Tangerine sized piece of marzipan (the paler the better as it will hold the colour better)
  • one thin chocolate stick – I used Mikado but Matchmakers do just as well

Instructions

  1. Colour the marzipan pale green – I used Sugar Flair Gooseberry 
  2. Remove a large grape sized blob of marzipan from the main piece and colour this slightly darker.
  3. Divide the main pale gooseberry piece of marzipan into 6 identical sized balls – will be about the size of maltesers. Roll into smooth balls. 
  4. Break the chocolate stick into 6 small sticks – you might not need to use all the stick – enjoy eating the rest. Insert these into the tops of the balls – these are your stalks.
  5. Using the dark gooseberry green piece, divide into 6 small balls. Roll into cone shapes. Using a veining tool, cocktail stick or end of a thin paintbrush make a small indentation about half way – this will flatten the leaves. Attach to the main balls next to the stalks. No glue needed. 
  6. Lightly dust with red dusting colour and Ta-Dah!

Raa Raa The Noisy Lion Cake – Cake of the Week

A totally new cake for me this week (Yay!) and the reason that Cake of the Week is running slightly late – Oops, we were out partying and then out with friends last night (Yep, we have some!)

Anyway, on with the cakes – I have to admit that I had to google Raa Raa the Noisy Lion as I had never heard of it. The eldest girls have moved on from CBeebies and Tara just isn’t interested in TV – weird, I know! Raa Raa seems like a friendly chap but the size of his head gave me cold sweats. Even with a creme egg body, I still struggled to keep him upright but managed to lean him next to the cake.

The colours on the cake matched Ruby’s napkins, tablecloths etc at her party – I was really pleased with the combination. The ‘tree trunk’ was made using a cake pillar and some leaves on wires poked into the middle.

The girls had the most amazing time at the party. Vi bonded with another little girl that she goes swimming with and Millie played Mum with Tara -bonus! And it was held in our close, so we didn’t have far to stagger home. Perfect.

Last week’s Cake of the Week linkup was brilliant – I’m loving exploring the new blogs I’m coming across and the creations out there are wonderful.  Kate from Five F’s gave us a wonderful sounding Lavender Cake – I’ve not used lavender in cake yet but keep intending to after the success of the Lavender Cookies. Lisa showed us her first attempt at a number 13 birthday cake for her son – she really made me laugh at her horror of the tins not having bottoms – we’ve all had the same thoughts, Lisa!

 

Julie from MyLifeandKids amazed me with this fantastic Peppa Pig Cake – I tend to shy away from Building cakes but from seeing this I want to give one a go.

 

 

And then I came across this from Angie at Cakesphotolife – Wow!! Angie says in her post that she is proud of this cake – and so she should be. I really must get to grips with my Giant Cupcake tin but seeing this wonder gives me the jitters. Just fantastic!

Thanks so much everyone who takes part in Cake of the Week, I completely love it that the cake community is so strong and supporting of each other.

 

 

In The Night Garden Cake – Cake of the Week

Of all the characters, I make, Upsy Daisy has got to be one of my least favourites. There’s so much that can go wrong with her (her spikes can break if you just look at them funny) and there’s tons of detail that takes forever. Every time I make one I say, ‘Never again’ … until the next time.

Iggle Piggle is a joy to make in comparison – as long as I remember to make his body a couple of days in advance to dry (which I did this time – no Creme Eggs or Walnut Whips necessary for this one)

So, I guess, what I’m saying is don’t expect many In the Night Garden cakes to be featured here – I’m not saying never, I’m just saying Not Often ;-)

It was a great week for the Cake of the Week linky last week:

We had a delicious looking (and flour free – does that make it gluten free?) chocolate roulade from Cara & Emma came back for a second visit with an intriguing Coconut Milk Layer Cake. Over at the Five F’s, Kate is getting familiar with sugarpaste and finding just how much colouring is needed for vivid colours with this very neat Football Cake (Tip: I always buy my deep coloured sugarpaste ready made – have spent too long mixing reds and blacks).


After posting my Peppa Pig tutorial earlier this week, I was shown an amazing Peppa and Friends cake by @JudeandOllie – I could spend days looking at the amount of detail in this cake. Wonderful!

 

I also want to introduce you to my new apprentice, my daughter Millie. I didn’t know I had an apprentice until yesterday when she brought me her Playdoh rose – Just shows that they watch every little thing that you do!

Link is up as usual – share with us your creations over the next week. Looking forward to seeing them.

How to make a Peppa Pig Cake Topper – Tutorial

I’ve made thousands of Peppa Pig cakes over the years (maybe a teeny exaggeration but not much!) so now it’s your turn. Here’s how to have a go at making your own Peppa Pig Cake Topper using our good old friend, the Walnut Whip (walnut gets removed and eaten!)

Equipment Needed: 1 x Walnut Whip, Red fondant icing, Pale Pink Fondant Icing, 2 small balls of white icing, Just under a malteser size ball of black icing, small rolling pin (or end of a paintbrush), sugar glue, small knife, paintbrush.

  

Step 1: Take Walnut Whip out of packet, Remove Walnut and eat – Take ball of red icing (for approx size needed see pic next to a walnut whip).

 

 

 

Step 2: Roll out red icing and cut a straight edge down one side. Paint around and on top of the walnut whip with the sugar glue.

 

 

 

  

Step 3: Wrap the red paste around the walnut whip and cut the bottom edge with knife to make neat.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Pinch the top edges of the red icing together and cut with scissors or a knife. Flatten to make as neat and flat as possible. This will be covered by the head though so don’t worry too much what it looks like. If it is not going to be eaten you could insert a skewer or cocktail stick to make sure that the head stays on.

 

 

 

Step 5: Roll out the pale pink fondant icing. Use the side edge of your hand to make a tear drop shape with the top end being the fatter end. Press in the thin end to make a slightly flat nose shape. Keep messing about with it until you are happy with the shape. I sometimes like to have my nose facing upwards slightly as if Peppa is looking up.

 

 

Step 6: Use the pointed end of the rolling pin to make eye sockets – go quite deep with these (you will be filling them with white later)

 

 

 

Step 7: Roll two white balls of icing into pointed tear drops and insert into the eye sockets. Only paint the sockets with glue once you are sure they are the right size. Roll 2 very small balls of pink icing (slightly darker then Peppa’s skintone is best) and stick onto the cheeks with sugar glue.

 

 

Step 8: Stick the end of the small rolling pin into Peppa’s nose twice to make the nostrils (Do pigs have nostrils?) If you have a smile tool go under the snout and insert to make a smile – if not, cut a straw into a smile shape and push under the nose (slightly to the side is best) – Your Peppa will now be smiling.

 

 

Step 9: Stick your 2 tiny balls of black icing on top of the white eyes – at an angle is best. Looking straight on always looks a bit strange.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 10: Roll 2 small sausages of pale pink and flatten down halfway with the end of the paintbrush – stick to the top of the head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 11: Roll 2 thin sausages of pink and attach to the cake (My Peppa is sitting on a dark blue puddle) Paint with sugar glue and stick your model on the top.

 

 

Step 12: Your model sitting in place – Nearly done! 2 balls of black with the bottom cut off makes the feet – always best done in situ as I always knock them.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 13: Roll 2 sausage shapes again and attach to the body. Make 4 more teeny weeny sausages and attach Peppa’s fingers. See there’s the smile!

Good Luck – Feel free to show me your homemade Peppas – You can start getting all creative and add bows and flowers on her head too!

Disney Castle Cake with Mickey and Minnie – Cake Of The Week

I wasn’t going to post about this cake. It was a really difficult cake to make – not just because it was massive and Disney characters are really hard to get right but because of what the cake meant. I got asked to make this cake for the 2nd birthday of a little girl who is terminally ill and will be celebrating her last birthday. Doesn’t get much worse than that, does it?

I didn’t know if it was appropriate to write a blog post about the cake and Olivia but when I got to the venue today and met her Mum & Dad, all their wonderful friends and most importantly, Olivia herself, I realised that they wanted today to be as much of a celebration as possible. The room was decorated so wonderfully – loads of balloons, Disney decorations and had such a lovely feel to it. As people were arriving it was clear that the day meant a lot to everyone, there were some gorgeous outfits, hairdos and a feeling of holding everyone up.

There were tears too – not just me, but Olivia’s mum when she saw the cake and I get the feeling that they won’t be the only ones today.

Olivia had a trip to Disney at Christmas so the party was Disney themed with every tiny detail included – There were loads of activities and sweets for the kids.

I wish Olivia, her Mum and her Dad, a special day on Tuesday for her actual birthday and am grateful for the chance to meet such inspiring people and little Olivia, who would crack even the hardest of people. xxx

A Clutch of Handbag Cakes

It is said that every woman loves handbags and shoes and I’m no different. Where I do differ though is that I love my handbags and shoes to be made out of sugar rather than leather.

Some of my favourite commissions have been the selection of handbag cakes that I have done. There has always been the sense of giving me the rough topic and letting me go with the flow.

Sometimes I have been asked to do a favourite colour scheme but most of the time the end result is a complete surprise. What I do like about handbag cakes is that they appeal to such a wide range of ages – I have made handbag cakes for 13 year olds to 50+ year olds.

You can design them to match the favourite brand or make up a complete new style of bag. I can’t imagine handbag cakes ever going out of fashion or me ever getting bored of making them.

Baby in a Rose Christening Cake

With a beautiful name like Isabella Rose, how could I do anything else than a baby in a rose for her Christening Cake?

Isabella’s Mum, Becky sent me the cutest picture to go off for the cake topper – I wanted to do it slightly differently than the sitting baby in a blanket as Isabella is younger than the sitting stage. My brief from Becky was also pink and girly – Yay! If there’s one thing I can do its pink and girly. I decided against the whole cake being pink though in favour of a bit of contrast and am really pleased with the result.

The baby was made from marzipan with a frilly nappy and rose hat – I like her little chunky legs.

I got the nicest text a day later saying the cake was just perfect and when I dropped it off, Isabella’s Mum & Dad even mentioned Cake of the Week!!

I expect everyone is up to their eyes in Christmas preparations but will put the linky up as usual just in case there is anyone who wants to show off their Christmas baking – Can you believe I’ve not even had time to start any Christmas baking yet? I had all these plans for Christmas cakes galore and homemade presents – looks like it might have to wait to another year when the tweenies are a bit bigger.