Sunday, 21 November 2010

Children in Need Cakes for School

Making cupcakes for my children's school's Children in Need event is not something I would usually do. Cupcake making is relatively new to me, and only came about from a day of boredom when I decided all I wanted to do that day was learn to make cupcakes, and it's something I've been having fun doing since then.

I'm not niave about my skills and at this moment in time there was no way I'd even attempt to make something like these from Nicola at Small Things Iced.

I ordered some Pudsey cake toppers from Ebay, and some Pudsey Cake cases from Lakeland.

Pudsey Cake Toppers

Pudsey Fairy Cake Cases

Knowing that 8884 (my name for what I have since discovered is pound cake, or in my cases 1/2 pound cake) yields 12+ muffin sized cakes, I decided to make one batch, since my Pudsey cases were clearly fairy cake sized. I was inform by Shannon (my daughter) that I was expected to make 36 cupcakes. No problem, by judging it right I reckoned on getting 36 fairy cakes out of 8884. The only problem was the toppers I'd ordered were a pack of 24. So I'd make some yellow butter-cream, and found some multi-coloured sprinkles in my cupboard. Pudsey has multi-coloured spots on his bandage, so there's my link in. Only the toppers didn't arrive on time, and actually still haven't arrived as I type (but it is Sunday, so not really expecting them today). But that was ok, I had the sprinkles. Back to the fairy cakes. 8884 yielded 54 fairy cakes!

Fairy Cake Batter

Filled Muffin Pan

Cooked Fairy Cakes

I was happy with them, I had intended to not fill them to the very top anyway, since I wanted space for frosting.

Now the internet is a vast place and I was still searching for the perfect buttercream recipe, and I found this one from kelly75 over on The British Sugarcraft Guild forum.

Cupcake Buttercream

3 Tbsp plain flour
4 fl. oz /120mls milk (semi-skimmed gives the best result, skimmed is fine too!)
4 oz butter (I use unsalted)
4 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Sir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of thick custard), strain into a small bowl in case any lumps remain, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, using the beater attachment (k-beater on a Kenwood, or equivalent), cream the butter and sugar together as you would for a cake. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the flavouring and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes (use the beater attachment, not the whisk), until light and fluffy (don't worry if it curdles initially when you add the milk, it will re-combine!).

So I thought I'd give it a go, doubling it since I had so many to frost. The flour/milk combination looked disgusting, and resembled glue rather than thick custard. However it was beautiful, really smooth and no running colour. Here comes the but, but it was not very thick and I knew before I even started that it's shape wouldn't hold when piped. And it didn't.

Nozzle 30 didn't do the trick

Neither did nozzle 7

Nozzle 320 didn't work either

All Spatula'd

With Sprinkles

So I smoothed the buttercream with a spatula and sprinkled. I think they look cute. Just the right size for young 'uns. I once read that cupcakes were mearly a vehicle for frosting, and these certainly were that.

Tadaa! Pudsey Fairy Cakes

I do want to try this buttercream again, but doubling the sugar, just to see if it's a typo, since most recipes for nuttercream call for 1:2 ratio of butter:sugar. I've been reading about a lot, especially over at Cake Central forums. My frosting is still a bugbear and I'm going to continue in my search for my own 'Go To' frosting recipe. I have my cake one, my never fail 8884, and on this journey will no doubt find a few more.

Stick with me, I'm having a blast!

1 comment:

  1. My favorite Buttercream frosting comes from this site:

    I've used it many times for home & semi-professional use. Has worked perfectly since the first time I tried it. I've used it both with & without the meringue powder. I also use it under fondant on my cakes. I have never used the butter flavoring it calls for. Yummy.



    Buttercream Icing Recipe I

    This icing is used for icing cakes and cookies as well as for borders and art work on cakes. It also makes a good tasting filling between layers of the cake and under a Fondant Icing.

    You can make roses, but the drying time is 3 or more days depending on the humidity.

    2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
    2 cups Crisco shortening
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon butter flavoring (Wilton’s makes the best flavored version)
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Wilton’s Clear Vanilla)
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    2 pounds powdered (confectioners') cane sugar, divided*
    1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional but the texture will be smoother)**
    Water or milk as necessary (I usually add about 2 tablespoons but you may need more or less depending on the humidity in your neighborhood)

    * 2 pounds unsifted powdered sugar = about 8 to 9 cups.

    ** You can purchase meringue powder at your local grocery store under the brand name of Just Whites.

    In the electric mixer, combine butter, Crisco shortening, and salt together to incorporate, about 5 minutes on low.

    Add butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix together well. Add about 1 pound (4 to 4 1/2 cups) powdered sugar and the meringue powder; mix until incorporated.

    Add the remaining powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time, and mix until you get the consistency you want. You may not need to use all the powdered sugar.

    Add a little water or milk, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary to thin the frosting. Blend well on low for several minutes.

    Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. NOTE: Buttercream Icing will last for weeks as long as it is well sealed.

    Makes about 3 1/2 pounds of Buttercream Icing.