Fast Cupcakes and Lemon Drizzle

I made these cupcakes yesterday for another birthday at work. I learnt another valuable lesson with these ones - take not of the colour of your cupcakes cases otherwise you end up with fast food coloured cupcakes unintentionally. They still looked fairly cute, but after spending 18 months of my life working for McDonald's I'd rather keep all of my baking treats away from any association.

Little McD's

Secondly I made a lemon drizzle cake. I tried the Hummingbird Bakery recipe this time and also used a round tin, mainly because its easier to trasnprot, but I actually prefer it that way.

Happy Baking x

Mo'vember - Round Two

This was the second batch of Mo'vember cupcakes which in my opinion kicked arse over the last batch. First thing I made was a batch of gingerbread mustaches which were later decorated in pretty colours by my housemates.

Baking weekend for the Mo'Bro's

Second batch was some butter biscuits which I doubled up with some jam in the middle. These were/are my favourite type of cookies. Back in my hometown in Australia I use to love going to the bakery to get these biscuits. They always had pink icing and hundreds and thousands, so I re-created this.. Mo'vember style.

Jammy goodness

Next up were the cupcakes. A lady at work who has been very supportive of my baking, however is unable to eat wheat products, so I thought I would make my low-fat gluten free cupcakes. I use to make these all the time earlier this year as they always ended up being so light and fluffy, despite the main ingredients of ground almond, rice flour and courgettes. In the middle I put strawberry jam, which likes to find its way to the bottom no matter what I try. For the icing I really wanted to try out some of my new piping tubes and i'd never made royal icing before so I thought i'd give it a go. I tends to dry hard and crack so next time I will put some glycerine in it, but with just a hint of pink they looked delightful.

Low-fat Gluten Free cupcakes
so much pretty

The next batch of cupcakes were just normal batter, however since I'm a ginger 'nut' I decided to make this batch ginger, with crushed up ginger biscuit in the bottom, and some also sprinkled on top. The ginger went well with some simple cream cheese icing. It ended up being like mini cheesecake cupcake... sooo delish.
I had smashing these biscuits to made them into the base

bake it in a cake style


Before the day was out I decided to make one more batch of cupcakes. I used the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook recipe for chocolate cupcakes and chocolate icing. I don't know what they do with their mixture or how big their cases are, but its a big stretch to make 12 cupcakes like the recipe says... I think I squeezed out about 8.
all boxed up and ready to go

At the end of the two days I ended up raising £80 in total which I thought was amazing as we even had left overs. Thanks to all who supported/donated/decorated/ate my baked treats, your support was very much appreciated.

Happy Baking x

A little film of our baking team... 

Mo'vember - Round One

If you didn't already know it was Mo'vember, then your probably thinking there is a sudden fashion trend of dirty mo's about the place.

Mo'vember was started in Australia and has spread across the world as a fun way for people to raise money for Prostate Cancer Research. Most guys I know use it as an excuse for that one month of the year that its okay to have the dirty mo. I don't mind them, so maybe they will catch on for others months of the year too...mmm Johnny anyone?

Since I don't have any moustache growing skills, I thought I'd use my baking skills and bake cake for the cause. I ended up backing for two separate occasions and I will update on my next post how much I raised. This is just to show my first few batches that were taken into work to fundraise money on the office quiz night. Cupcakes were just simple vanilla with butter cream icing.

I decided to decorate the cupcakes with simple chocolate and cookies, however cutting a Oreo in half seemed to be a two man job. Please see our short instuctional video.

I was very happy to raise a total of £60 for the night and the social committee pledged to match whatever I raised.. so just waiting for the cheque in the mail!

All my cupcakes - not my best as they got a little squashed

Happy Baking x

Red Velvet Cupcakes and some Lemon winners too...

These are the two dozen cupcakes Julie at my work ordered from me for the office to share for her birthday. She let me choose whatever flavour I wished to make and so I decided to test some more recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

I decided to have another go at the Red Velvet cupcakes. I think they were my first post if I recall from the start of summer. We ate those cupcakes on the top of Primrose Hill where we sat for at least 8 hours in the sun... best summer Sunday ever, IMO! I have to say these cupcakes whilst they look stunning with their rich red bases and contrasting white cream cheese icing, they just don't do it for me, but others love them, so I'm sure I will make them again.

my housemate trying to take an 'arty' shot

Little Red

Good Ratio of icing to cake ... I think anyway!
nom.. my afternoon tea at work

The other batch I decided to make is always a winner, Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing. And I was right, they were a winner!

Happy Birthday Julie!

Little Lemon.. small but delish
All boxed up and read to go..
 Happy Baking everyone else x

Bake it in a Cake - The Laura's Way

There is this amazing website which is dedicated to some interesting cupcake combinations. Its called Back It in a Cake. Its very exciting to walk through a supermarket and think about what you can put inside a cake. We tried this with a bit of our left over mixture from various cupcakes over the past few weeks, this is how it went.

This first one is a digestive biscuit crushed into a chocolate cupcake.  

I like sprinkles.. and lots of them

Digestive Goodness

 The second one we didn't get a great photo of the inside as we were tired and just wanted to smash them in our face - literally! But this one was made from left over vanilla cake, with a Lindt ball in the middle (which clearly sank to the bottom) and left over peanut butter on the top.

Last minute photo on the iphone before smashing in our faces
Peanut butter and Lindt ball awesomeness

Happy Baking x

Fan Cakes of the Peanut Butter kind....

The last few weeks for me have been amazing, along with having to make some hard decisions. Hummingbird Bakery was looking for new bakers for their various stores, and I thought there was no harm in applying. All I had to showcase my baking skills was my blog, and being a home baker I didn't think I would have even the slightest chance. So I was very excited when the following day I was called up to be offered a trial at one of their stores. Apparently a few people had seen my blog within their offices, and apparently even the head of Hummingbird Bakery! I was completely blown away and extremely flattered to be contacted; and had I only been 5 years younger, I would have jumped straight in.

Unfortunately, after a few years of living in London, I'm in a place that I'm not to keen to give up right now, and the balance of having a good job enabling me to fund my hobby/obsession is where I want to be. In saying that, the other reason I turned it down is, being the slight control-'freak' that I am, I want to bake my way and I can't quite do that within the constraints of a full time baking job.
Shortly after making my decision, I received an order which made me more confident that turning the job down was the right decision. The order was for 50 cupcakes for Cloud Control's gig at the Lexington. This order made me realise that there were other parts of my life I would have to give up, including going to numerous gigs, and that was something I just couldn't pass up. Also the fact I could do my baking and take it to the gig opened up a whole new realm.

The order of 50 cupcakes was a bit of a challenge, mainly transportation, and I couldn't have gotten a worse day to transport them. The weather decided that gale force wind and rain was perfect for the occasion. Thankfully we made it to the venue between breaks in the torrential rain.

My housemate LK helped me out on this order and she baked her chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing recipe again. They were just as good the second time around. We also went with a chocolate base with chocolate icing. The chocolate icing from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is to die for, and resembles mousse on a cake... nom. The remaining cupcakes were lemon with cream cheese. I know these always go down a treat, so I baked two batches.

We had a lot of fun making these over two nights and we thought we'd video a bit of it to share... LK bakes the best when she has her fox hat on...

The whole night was the best I've had in awhile, even getting to bed at 3 am on a school night didn't seem to bother me.

Thanks for the shout out guys - this is our shout out to you.

The Laura's

x Happy Baking

PS. check out their blog... you'll love it too

Flagged and ready to go
LauraK's chocolate with caramel 
biscuit on the bottom and peanut butter icing
Lemon with cream cheese
Chocolate with chocolate mousse icing
Beanz trying to steal 
all the lemon cupcakes
Even with the sign up people still were 
hesitant to eat them, in the end yelling..
'Have a cupcake they are FREE' worked well
The cupcake merch table
a excited fan with a flag
LK was a little excited about 
Cloud Control about to come on stage

An Afternoon Tea fit for Cloud Control

My housemate Laura and I have been very excited about the return of one of our favourite Australian bands Cloud Control. They have been here now for 2 weeks and we have seen them play twice already and will see them another 3 times before the month is out - dedicated fans if you ask me.

They were kind enough to have us over on their first night in their swish London Pad in Hoxton and we were treated to amazing home made pizza's which went down well with some red wine and ciders.

To return the favour we invited them over to The Villas for some Saturday Afternoon Tea, and they arrived in true band style with a handful of extras, but they were all very lovely and there was plenty of cakes and tea to go round the 10 or so people.

LK and I both baked goods for the afternoon, we started off with my lemon drizzle cake which was deliciously lemony moist. As soon as they were ready the scones came straight out of the oven and onto their plates and were eaten with plain old whipped cream with icing sugar and a selection of jams and marmalade, including one of my personal favourites ginger and rhubarb.

As LK had to work that day, she didn't have a lot of time to prepare, however she got home and whipped up some to die for chocolate cupcakes with a caramel crunch biscuit on the bottom and peanut butter icing. I can't even to begin to describe how good they were.

I would say a successful afternoon tea all round.

Happy Baking x

PS. I have pictures on the way, however since I used a guest photographer I haven't got the pictures just yet... Ulrich??

Chocolate Orange Madness

This cake I have been looking forward to making for months. I have two clashes of flavour that I absolutely love. One is chocolate and peppermint and the other if chocolate and orange (or Jaffa).  

Today occasion was for a happy and sad reason. It was a combined cake for my friend at work whose birthday was last week, however today was his last day at our work. He is a lover of chocolate and orange so I found my excuse to make this amazing cake.  

As much as I had been researching different recipes for months and finally decided on one recipe from BBC Good Food (that site is my cooking and baking heaven). However it wasn't until I was actually on the train home with my baking supplies that I actually read the recipe. It was a little more involved that I thought, including boiling the orange for half and hour and blitzing it in the food processor. I still have not learnt from my earlier failed baking attempts of READING THE RECIPE.  

Anyway, it took a little longer than I expected to make, but when I'm baking time seems irrelevant - except the actual cooking times of course. The smell of chocolate and orange wafting out of the oven when it was ready was amazing. I know I use amazing a lot - but it was! I say delish a lot as well, but I stole that of my sister who is an actual chef and I figure if she uses it as a professional then I can use it too.
I like baking this cake as there was a few elements I had never done before, ie the boiling of the orange and also I had never made chocolate ganache icing before, so simple by so delish! 

I hope my work mate (ex-work mate now) enjoyed it and I wish him well in his new 'more exciting' job.

Happy Baking x 

on nom nom GIANT COOKIE

At my work we seem to have an influx of sweets and chocolates that the Underwriters bring from various countries they have traveled too. Many would envy the travel they get to do, whisking off to Paris, jumping the pond to NYC, except me who would rather stay in the office and pick up their sometimes incoherent emails from their blackberry's. I'm weird I know, but its not as glamorous as it appears to be. Most of them have families and spending nights in random hotels and motels and having to meet and greet a selection of people just doesn't appeal to me, plus how would I get any baking down.

One girl in our office however has a slight addiction to Toblerone, so most of the time our biscuits and sweets cupboard is constantly overloaded with them. So when another two large bars of Toblerone arrived, only shortly after a bag of the mini's was devoured, I nicked them away that night and showed up with some very large Toblerone Cookies the next day.

I think I might just nick them more often, the cookies were delish! 

Happy Baking x