Sunday, 24 January 2010

Carrot Cupcakes with a mascapone and orange frosting

If you're going to make sure you have your five a day, you may as well do it in style...stick it in a cake!

The cupcake recipe is from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson and the frosting is by Jamie Oliver ( I wasn't keen on the frosting that was meant to be partnered with the cake)!

For the cupcakes

100g light muscovado sugar
175ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
225g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
zest of 1 orange ( the recipe stated the zest of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 an orange, but I didn't have a lemon)
150g carrots, grated
100g walnuts, chopped ( I held back 6 to cut in half for decoration)

For the frosting

115g mascarpone cheese
225g cream cheese
85g icing sugar
Sifted juice and zest of 1 orange

Mix together the sunflower oil and sugar, then mix in one egg at a time. Add the flour, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon, salt and zest and mix well.Then fold in the grated carrot and chopped walnuts.
Spoon into 12 muffin cases and place in the oven at 200 c for approximately 20 minutes. ( I have a fan assisted oven and they took 17 mins, so just keep an eye on them or they will turn out too dry).

Whilst these are baking in the oven, you can prepare the frosting. Mix all of the frosting ingredients into a bowl until well combined and then place in the fridge, until ready to top your cooled cupcakes ( I do this because I have found this stiffens the topping, enabling you to pipe it onto your cupcakes).

I am just about to tuck into mine with a latte....yum yum!!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Introducing the Ladies

As we know these dark nights don't leave me bursting with energy for crafting after a hard days work, so I have decided tonight to introduce you to a few of my favourite lady vocalists. Some might say this music is a little depressing.But I like to say it's beautiful emotional music...Maybe I  do like to wallow in a little sadness every now and again....No harm though eh!?

 Now for some reason I cannot cut and paste the videos on youtube, so if you can be bothered you will have to have a listen on youtube's website!

Now bare with me....I know in my head what I mean, but I'm unable to write it down on paper screen! So please excuse my descriptions of these musicians.

First in line are 'Oh Laura', a Swedish band ( they are named after the mystery girl from David Lynch's series 'Twin Peaks'). Fronted by husky voiced Frida Ohrn ( I am guessing this is what you sing like on 40 cigs a day!). Her stories are of  lost love and heartache........just the stuff to listen to on these wintery days.
youtube- 'Oh Laura' - track name- 'Release me'.

Secondly, Michelle Featherstone is an English singer / songwriting now living in Hollywood. My favourite song from her is 'Coffee and Cigarettes', where she sings about quiting her bad habits coffee and cigarettes, not realising that the bad habit is her boyfriend! Not one if your feeling a little low or you also have a horrid boyfriend!
She has a beautiful voice set against a back drop of emotional and vunerable lyrics. You can only get this album as a download....tut tut...I am a lover of hardcopies be it cd or vinyl so this is darned annoying!!

Lastly ( for now). Cat Power is one to add to the 'cool' collection. I can  remember watching Chan Marshall at  Reading festival many moons ago. She has a beautiful voice, with wonderful lyrics to her name and yet it took her about 10 minutes to get going after stumbling though the first song over and over again, it was painful to watch as her nerves took hold. However once she got going  it was truly worth the wait. 'The Greatest' is an album to hold onto with your heart.

How could I forget the wonderful Laura Marling, who looks as delicate and fragile as the songs she sings. With lyrics like ''I will never love a man because love and pain go hand in hand'' is what you get from this young lady. 'Alas I cannot swim' is her debut album and there are two more to come in 2010 and she has even hit her twenties yet! Folk at it's best.

I do hope that you manage to find time to check out at least one of these talented ladies. They would be a good friend to keep on the shelf!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sugarpaste supplies

If you are wanting to use sugarpaste,these are a few websites that stock the bits and bobs you might need.

Cakescookiesandcraftsshop - They stock regalice ( I used this to make the little turtles), it can also be used to cover cakes.They have lovely edible lustre dusts, cutters and these extremey cute cake wrappers. Although not cheap at 12 wrappers for £4.99 ( nice for something special though), they are the cheapest I have seen so far online :)

Cakecraftshop is another site for sugarpaste and lustre dusts. has some great bits including these....

And if you can't be bothered to make the roses you can buy these ( from Squires)........

Rose Tutorial

This is for the two lovely ladies coco rose textiles and auntie's cakes who requested a rose tutorial.
Normally when I make these, I have no problems, try and make them to photograph and they flunk! Anyway I will put these photos on here, but I intend to do another one as I don't think I have made it clear enough with the angles of the shots!
Anyway here goes.....

I have made these from sugarpaste, but I believe they can be made from fondant and marzipan.

Start by rolling out your sugarpaste into a sausage shape. Depending on what size rose you want ....the bigger the sausage, the bigger the rose! Mine are about 10cm / 4 inches long.
Once you have rolled out  your sausage, cut into 9 pieces. Eight equal sized pieces and one longer piece (as above).

Roll the equal sized pieces into balls and the longer piece into a little sausage ( as above).

You now need to shape the balls into your petal shapes. I use a small board that has a plastic layer to squash them between, but you can place the pieces between two pieces of cellophane.That will do the job!
Push down onto the sugarpaste balls and squash them into petal shapes.Flatten the little sausage out into a sausage shape.Press a little harder on one edge of all of the petals, this will be the top of the petal. Do not make the petals too thin, otherwise you will find them hard to work with.

Take the little sausage piece (above) ,this is the inner petal. Curl as above with the thinnest part at the top.

Place the first petal shape on the outside of the inner petal (make sure that the left side sticks to the inner petal).

Take the second petal and place this just inside the first petal, so it overlaps ( as above). Again where it touches, make sure it sticks on the edge.

Now place the third petal inside the second petal.

The forth petal overlaps inside the third petal. Continue until you have overlapped all eight petals inside one another.

You can then shape the petals by holding the base of the rose and gently pulling the petals outwards to look more like a rose.

It took me quite a few times before I could make these, so have patience!

 Once finished, if the base is not flat, just cut with a pair of scissors and reshape with your fingers,.

As I said, I will try this week to make another one with better photographs.
They make a great decoration on any cake, just bear in mind that if you place them onto a buttercream icing, after a while they start to go soggy and don't look so pretty. I found this out when I made someone farewell cakes, took the lid of and they were stuck to the lid and melted.....sniff sniff!!

My sugarpaste is a little dry which is why my rose petals have cracks along the edge, they shouldn't be like this (tut tut). Also I add Tylo powder to my sugarpaste to make it a little tougher, although not essential.
Kids seem to love the taste of sugarpaste, but it's not for me!

I hope you have fun making them, that's if you can understand my instructions?!!!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Tea and Cake

These winter days seem to make me sleep a lot more than usual, ( those that know me, wouldn't think it possible for me to sleep more than my usual quota)!
This darn sleepiness prevents me from doing what I enjoy, don't get me wrong I love snoozing, but sometimes I wish I was more energetic! So on Saturday I decided that the hubby and I were going to go for a long walk on Sunday, to energise us.... after stuffing a cooked breakfast (you need to stay warm in these freezing conditions)!
I therefore decided that if we were going to walk we would need a lovely treat after all the hard work! So I made a Victoria sponge (I weighed out the eggs and did an equal amount of flour, butter and sugar, plus a little vanilla essence...that old school recipe always seems to come out nice and light and fluffy).
There's nothing like a cup of tea and a piece of cake to come home to after a long walk.Funny thing is, not long after we got back, I fell asleep on the sofa!! I can't win!!

Anyway the little cup cake stand was my secret santa gift, someone made me very happy indeed with that little cutie.I believe you can get them from Dotcomgiftshop.
The flowers and bow I made at the weekend with sugar paste, although the colours in the photo's are a little off due to it not being natural light, Come back summer time!
Anyway time for bed (arrrrrr).

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Fabric rehab

I was lucky enough to receive 'Sew' by Cath Kidston for xmas and although I haven't made anything from it yet,I have promised myself that I will tackle a task or two. Just like I have promised myself to use up the cloths that I have treated myself to on my goodies shelf!!
I digress...The reason I was speaking of the book is because she mentions in her 'handy websites' at the back of the book a site called Fabric Rehab.
The cloths above are just a few from a wonderful collection...I already have my eye on a bundle or two!