22 October 2009

Supposedly Gooey Caramel Cupcakes

OK, so the other day I was asked if I'd ever made gooey caramel centred cupcakes.

It sounded so good, I had to try.

And I have an excuse, tomorrow I've been invited to attend an open house shopping day, cupcakes in tow of course ... which should be fun, it's a new experience for me.

So, I had my camera at hand, so you could follow the process with me.

From the title, I guess you'll gather that they didn't quite work out as they should have, but let me tell you they do still taste divine, so all is not lost!

After a little Google search, I found these.
So this is the holy grail - this is what I was going for. And just in case you don't follow that link, this is the image they lured me in with.

Gorgeous - right?

I even Googled the kind of caramel sweets they used before I went and bought a South African equivalent!

Anyway, it also made me realise I haven't shared my cupcake recipe with you. So here it is.

Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson)
125 grams unsalted butter (I use Rama margarine for Baking)
125 grams castor sugar
125 grams self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I'm sure she says extract, but it's expensive!!!)
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Put everything in the food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed.

Yup. Everything.

Then spoon into your cupcake pan - lined with cupcake papers.

I make 24 at a time and so I just double up the recipe. Works perfectly.

So, for the caramel centred cupcakes, all you're supposedly meant to do is press a caramel into the centre of each cupcake before baking.
Like this.

A little aside here - see how the last three cupcakes don't have caramels? I'm sure there were 24 in the box ... clearly I am so bust!!!

Then, this is what they looked like when they came out of the oven. No pretty square shaped whole in the top.

Anyway, I was still holding out hope that the gooey centre would be yummy.

I couldn't wait ... of course.

So I dusted one with icing sugar.

So pretty.

And then took a big old bite ...

It really was yummy - but I don't think that's where the caramel is supposed to be.

Never mind, I think we'll call these chewy caramel bottom cupcakes.

I'm sure that'll be fine!

Have a good weekend
Keep reading

21 October 2009

Icing Innovation

When I made cupcakes for the first Vintage Fair, I went to town.
There were four different tea infusions, champagne and then three liqueur infusions, as well as vanilla butterfly cupcakes for the kiddies.
That was a lot to keep on top of and required a lot of organisation!

So this week, I wanted to go back to basics somewhat.

What I mean is - chocolate and vanilla - was all I had energy for!

But, I did go to town when it came to the icing.
And that was so much fun ... and honestly, so easy.

First, you have to bravely spend time in the chocolate aisle in the supermarket - and pick out some favourites.

I went with Oreo cookies, Crunchies and Peppermint Crisps.

With my best friend, the food processor, we blended each separately, then stored them in a Tupperware.

I made a huge batch of butter icing, and then split that into three, adding to the prepared chocolate and cookie crumbles ...

The icing then took on the flavours of the chocolate, and even the colour to some degree - ok, I added some green food colouring to really differentiate the peppermint crisp ones!

And once I'd piped on the icing, I sprinkled a little of the crumbled topping over them so that I was sure I knew which was which.

Of course a little gold dust goes a long way too.

These ones were Peppermint Crisp flavour - obviously.


And Oreo Cookies - so pretty.

For the purists, I did keep some plain chocolate

and vanilla.

Oh yes - and for those who were watching their waste lines (although to be fair, there weren't many - when it comes to cupcakes it seems part of the indulgence is the guilt of consumption!) I made a fat free option.

Not completely fat free, as they still had sugar and eggs in them, but fat free in that there was no butter, margarine or oil added at all. All you do is substitute the margarine with apple sauce.
And there it is - guilt free at just 2.5 Weight Watchers points each.

I hate to think how many points are in the other ones.
So I won't.
I'll just enjoy them.
Hope you do too.

Which one would you pick?

Keep reading ...

14 October 2009

Cakes and cupcakes meet local wire artist ...

One of the other things that has kept me busy in the lead up to the Vintage Fair, is a range of cupcake and cake stands that I have developed with a local wire artist here in Cape Town.

I know it's slightly off topic from baking and all things yummy, but it is related!

I've been surfing the net for a while now - all things related to cake decorating, weddings, packaging, events, recipes, chefs, food bloggers and of course all the various suppliers, stockists and retailers all over the world - from the UK and US, to Denmark and Australia.

I could spend hours on these sites - it's so interesting to me how different the offerings are in different countries.

There are amazing images of cupcake stands, many by a retailer called Wilton, who we don't get in South Africa.

Here's an image to give you an idea:

My local baking shop has a number of imported products from Wilton, but this makes them sooooo expensive.

And then something dawned on me - we have incredible local crafters in SA, many of whom dedicate themselves to doing wire craft work. In this age of environmental consciousness - why import things from the US, when we have the materials and the skills right here on our doorstep. Never mind the carbon footprint, we have high unemployment here and to my mind we should be supporting our local crafters first and foremost and keep these kinds of opportunities home grown.

I got in touch with contacts at a local non-profit organisation called Wola Nani who do amazing work to improve the quality of life for people living with HIV & AIDS

And they in turn put me in touch with Zola Hector Senteni, a wire artist they had worked with previously.

Doesn't he look happy?

We had a meeting about my ideas and I showed him a number of images - he was so excited to have a new project, and of course the prospect of an additional income stream to him, was too good to pass up. He got stuck in right away.

Zola is incredibly talented -
he exhibited as one of 17 crafters at the Decorex exhibition in 2005.
He also travelled to Munich in 2006 to produce a wire art installation to showcase South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

He's an amazing man, and I'm very happy to be working with him.

He has produced a fantastic cupcake stand for me - and the three tiers even come apart so that they can be flat packed, for easier storage.

Here it is with no stock.

And here it was on our stall at the Vintage Fair.

Don't you think it's beautiful?

This one I spray painted cream.

Here's a close up.

With the Vintage Fair in mind, I also asked him to produce a cake stand for me - with old style French trimmings, which I just adore.

Here it is in pink ...

I hope you like them as much as I do?

And if you do, let me know - we would be very happy to fill your order!

Have a great week - keep reading!

I've been a busy lady!

Which is why you haven't heard from me in a while!

On Sunday, 11 October, we held our first stall at the Vintage Fair, which was great fun and I'm pleased to say, a roaring success!

It will be held every Sunday, from 10-4 at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, in Cape Town, sunny South Africa!

I have been so busy in preparation for the fair, with so many different aspects to address, i's to dot and t's to cross - I'm sure you understand.

So, as you've no doubt been aware of my extended absence, I thought I'd share some of what I've been up to in the last few weeks.

Since we left off with the idea of Champagne cupcakes - you'll remember them I'm sure?

This was when I trialed them for the first time?

And this was what they looked like, ready for the kitchen tea (or hen do) ...

And here's what they looked like on the table at the Harbour House restaurant - how gorgeous is that? Only in Cape Town!

I thought I'd let you see what I did for the Vintage Fair on Sunday:

These ones you know already.

Earl Grey Tea

Ceylon Tea

Rooibos Tea

Green Tea

And Champagne again - of course!

And the new delights were ....

Firstly one for the kiddies ...

Old fashioned, butterfly cupcakes

Pimm's - I loved this one ...


and the favourite of the day (but maybe it was just because there was SO much icing on this one!

Tia Maria!

And here's what they looked like altogether - too good to eat? Never!

This weekend's menu for the Vintage Fair is going to be all about Chocolate - be sure to check out some awesome images next week!

Keep reading!