Friday, 16 August 2013

Chocolate Caramel (Mars Bar) Cake

When my brother was at boarding school (years and years ago) they all had a choice of birthday cake that the cook would make for them. He would always choose the Mars Bar cake - chocolate cake with chocolate sprinkles around the outside and a layer of caramel on top etc. I still remember him telling us about it at the time. The boys clearly thought it was brilliant and a highlight when either themselves or their classmates had a birthday and they could all enjoy this culinary delight.

This week I had yet another birthday celebration with my friends and the birthday girl loves caramel so this seemed like a good time to experiment with my own interpretation of a Mars bar cake. It was a chocolate sponge cake with caramel filling, covered in chocolate buttercream, with slices of Mars bar around the bottom and crushed Mars bar on top with caramel drizzled over. When I was decorating the cake, I was in my own little world and it was only when I finished that I had a sudden realisation that it might in fact be inedibly sweet. Luckily (with small pieces) it was delicious and sweet but without being too sickly - phew!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

New Facebook Page!

My blog now has its own Facebook page! Make sure you 'LIKE' the page to receive updates of blog posts and other fun cake and bake related treats!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Colourful Cupcakes

Keen to try the marble cake effect with different colours, I took advantage of a quiet girls' night in to celebrate a friend's birthday to experiment with colourful cupcakes!

I made my usual cupcake batter and then divided it into 5 different bowls. I added a different colouring to each bowl - purple, green, blue, yellow and red. I use food colouring paste rather than the liquid colouring you find in the supermarket - it gives a more intense colour without changing the consistency of the mixture.

Having put a teaspoon of each coloured mixture into each cupcake case, I then used a little cocktail stick to mix the colours a bit so that it wasn't just individual blobs of each colour.

In the end, I think I probably could have mixed the different colours in a bit more (I think I was worried a similar thing would happen to when I over-swirled the Marble Chocolate Cake) but the cakes were certainly colourful ... and the birthday girl enjoyed them!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Hoegaarden and Orange Cupcakes

Seeing as my first post was about gin and tonic cupcakes, I decided to continue with the alcoholic theme (I promise my posts won't all be about alcoholic cake!) ...

Living in Belgium, it would be unthinkable to not include beer in my cooking at some point. I recently had friends over for a beer and cheese evening so this seemed like the perfect occasion to test out beer cupcakes. I found a recipe for 'white beer cupcakes' - in Belgium the obvious choice was to use Hoegaarden. I altered the recipe slightly so here is my version:


For cakes:
170g unsalted butter 
300g sugar
310g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tsp orange zest
240 ml Hoegaarden (white beer)
60ml milk

For buttercream:
140g butter
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk (depending on desired consistency)
1 tsp orange zest


  • Pre-heat oven at 190º and line your cupcake tray.
  • In a large bowl beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Then add the sugar to the butter and beat until it's light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs individually, beating after each.
  • In a measuring cup, mix the Hoegaarden beer and milk. 
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. 
  • Slowly add a bit of the beer/milk liquid into the rest of the cake mixture, followed by some flour so that the mixture does not curdle. Continue to alternate these, ensuring it is all mixed in before adding the next element. End on the flour mixture.
  • Fill cupcake cases about 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes at 190º until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream:
  • Beat the butter until creamy and light in colour.
  • Add the icing sugar and orange zest.
  • Depending on how you want to apply the icing, you can add 1-2 tbsp milk to change the consistency - if you are wanting to pipe the buttercream, you will want it more stiff so that it holds its shape.
Finally, on top of the buttercream I sprinkled some citrus sugar that I had in the cupboard. But you could also decorate them with some extra orange zest or a small slice of fresh orange.

I couldn't really taste the Hoegaarden itself (I wouldn't have been able to put my finger on the exact ingredients if I had been blind-testing them) but the beer certainly made the cupcakes very light and moist and the orange zest gave a deliciously refreshing citrus hit. They went down amazingly - many said they were the tastiest cupcakes they had ever tasted ... so definitely a recipe to be repeated!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Gin and Tonic Cupcakes

A couple of days ago I experimented with gin and tonic cupcakes. My official excuse was that a friend (who himself loves G&T) was having a house party (not that I really needed an excuse to turn one of my favourite alcoholic beverages into a cupcake)!

Anyway, I looked up a few recipes for inspiration but the first batch I made were a disaster - totally the wrong consistency - ended up all dry and cracked. So I changed my approach ... I used my normal basic cupcake recipe but instead of vanilla I added tonic water and lime zest. When the cupcakes were hot out of the oven, I used a skewer to put little holes in the top of the cakes and then brushed them with gin. I let the gin soak in and then brushed again ... and again ... and again.

I wanted white icing so instead of a usual buttercream, I used part Crisco (vegetable shortening), part cream cheese, with icing sugar and of course the compulsory gin and lime zest.

The cupcakes were a total success at the party!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A selection of my cakes and bakes so far ...

Chilli-chocolate cake suitcase with a vanilla cake (with mango and passionfruit filling) globe
(Indian themed flavours)

'Baby-friendly' banana cake decorated with fresh berries for a 1st birthday party (no sugar and no dairy) together with the cake for the adults! 

'Baby-friendly' banana cake decorated with fresh berries for a 1st birthday party 
(no sugar and no dairy)


'Sophie the Giraffe' and friends 


 Fondant polar bears

Movie themed 

Christmas gingerbread house (before I finished decorating the front of the house)!

 Rudolph the Reindeer cake pops

Super Mario ! 

Halloween cupcakes

4 layer caramel chocolate cake - (layers: vanilla, caramel, choco-caramel, chocolate) with caramel buttercream between each cake layer. Topped off with white chocolate piping and mini champagne bottle candles.

  Cake replica of a unique guitar

Personalised Liverpool football shirt

 A simple cake to celebrate Easter

Gumpaste Christian Louboutin shoe

Christian Louboutin cake shoebox and gumpaste shoe

 For a keen runner

 Baby shower

Because sometimes we all need a rainbow and sparkling unicorn in our lives!

Chinese farewell cake 

 Housewarming cupcakes

Halloween pumpkin cake