I took a phone call on Friday from someone who wanted to order 120 cupcakes for her daughters party. Great, my biggest order if cakes so far, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to make a large amount of beautifully decorated cupcakes to add to my portfolio. Hoping it would give someone looking for wedding cupcakes some extra confidence in my business.
Then she asked if I do egg free cakes? I had never made egg free cakes but had scanned a few articles so I told her that was the case and suggested I could bring tasters for her, she agreed.
Last night once the kids were in bed I started baking, I had been to town to buy some egg replacement powder so my first batch was to be my standard recipe using that instead of eggs. The first batch all sunk as I took them out of the oven! The second batch looked very strange, they didn’t cook very well at all and left a terrible after taste in my mouth. I was not impressed.
I searched google for the ‘standard’ recipe bakers use, only to find that there isn’t one! There’s a few different methods and I couldn’t find one that was professionally recommended.
I turned to The Hairy Bikers whose Victoria Sponge recipe is lovely. Theirs uses golden syrup. The batch came out of the oven looking lots better but tasted incredibly doughy and scone like. I had over beaten them with an electric whisk. I re made them being very careful not to over best them and they turned out a lot better. I also used the following recipe which was my favourite –
6 inch round cake
340g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
100ml sunflower oil
15ml white vinegar
340ml soya milk or 280ml water
few drops of vanilla extract
Line a 6 inch cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat oven to 180°c / gas mark 4.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Measure together the wet ingredients then stir into the dry ingredients. It should be the consistency of a smooth loose batter.
Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a plate then onto a cooling wire so it cools the right way up ( The sponge could break in half if you leave it to cool upside down).
Once cool cut in half and fill with jam and dairy free buttercream. Dust the top with icing sugar.
Using soya milk gives the sponge more flavour but is quite a dense cake. For a lighter sponge use water instead.
I then went on to the chocolate recipes as I had also said if have a go at those. Following a recipe online I boiled up milk, syrup and sugar, stirred in all the ingredients and baked. They tasted horrible! Bitter, too many raising agents so your teeth felt shiny after a bite! Just horrible, so those went in the bin. The next recipe I used came out lots better. Still a bit different tasting but a nice chocolatey after taste.
Here is the recipe for those-
Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 1 hour
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 23x33cm baking tin.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, soda and salt. Add sugar and mix together.
Add oil, water and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Pour into prepared baking tin. Bake for 1 hour or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.
I hope these save someone going through all the alternative like I had to and having throw away almost 2 dozen cupcakes, a true crime!!
Since I started selling my cakes there’s one product that has become incredibly popular and is fast becoming my signature bake. The Giant Cupcake.
They are a bit of a novelty, somewhat of a trend but I LOVE making them! They can be iced like bunch of Roses, decorated with a beautiful flower cascade which looks very classy, decorated with footballs and club logos, I do one that has headphones and an iPod on and mini printed CDs! A great present for an awkward teenage boy or change it to cassette tapes and records for an older man.
The list is endless, they are so much fun and on the inside you get a lovely deep chunk of cake with a layer of buttercream and a good dollop on top too!
I charge from £30 for mine. They sometimes take 6-8 hours depending on the design but are definitely worth it when my clients see this unique and beautiful cake.
It’s a dangerous game following other cake design companies on Facebook but I suppose it’s also essential to keep an eye on the competition. I’ve followed a local lady for a year or so and could give her a certain amount of credit for my decision to go into cake design. Her cakes look fantastic, she’s original and inspiration and works really hard.
I find it very hard to see her amazing designs and not just copy them! After all that’s what a lot of cake design and other design is, people generally do take inspiration from google, books, magazines etc! I do also want to be original though, put my own mark on things and come up with my own ideas.
So I’ve been doing my winter and christmas cupcakes and got a few real stunners when I saw some on my competitors page that just looked fab. Very torn I decided to steal her design and changed it very slightly. I think they finish my box off perfectly and I’m sure she has no idea who I am so fingers crossed she’ll never know and I’ll sell lots of my (and her) beautiful cupcakes!
So is it a cop out to steal someone’s ideas or is it complimentary to be inspired by someone else’s designs?
At 1.00am this morning I finally started packing my baking equipment away, wondering whether I would sell all the delicious cupcakes I had lovingly made and decorated over the last 8 hours.
I set up my little table at a local business with a couple of hundred employees. It actually looked really good, not too amateur considering it was only my second ever bake sale. I laid out my mini christmas cakes, set up my cake stands arranging all my pretty wintery and christmassy cupcakes just right, then waited.
Throughout the day there was an almost constant flow of people, I used the opportunity to explain to people that I was local, all cakes used free range eggs and quality ingredients and tried to show people my other cakes and cupcakes that they could order in the future.
Although I talked to loads of people and handed out lots of fliers, I didn’t manage to sell loads of cupcakes and only sold 1 mini christmas cake!
It was worth doing but I think next time I would only take a small amount of cakes and just talk to people about ordering them.
It’s always a risk with perishable products, I now have a boot full of freshly baked, beautiful cupcakes! Tomorrow I’ll mainly be cold calling local businesses! Its all good marketing anyway.
I was recently asked to make a chocolate cigarello cake for a friend for Christmas. She wanted me to make the most chocolatey cake I possibly could, everything chocolate with more chocolate on the top! I bought a box of chocolate Cigarellos (chocolate straws that surround the cake) not realising that they are £25 for 97 sticks!! The cake would’ve ended up costing my friend around £75 and she wasn’t looking to pay that much so I was left with a box of very expensive chocolate sticks to utilise.
Luckily it was my lovely fiances birthday this week and he loves chocolate. So his bday cake looked like this-
Moist very chocolatey sponge with milk and dark chocolate chips.
Filled with and covered in double chocolate buttercream with a bar of milk chocolate and a bar of 70% cocoa solids chocolate in.
Surrounded by very expensive chocolate cigarellos, all 97 of them.
With 2 cadburys flakes crumbled on top.
Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate fondant roses and Milk Chocolate fondant covering the board.
Half a box of Cadburys Roses Chocolates piled on top!!!!
Yes, he is a very lucky man!
I think I can safely say this has to be The Most Chocolatey Cake in the world!
We are still eating leftovers, it tastes even better heated up with cold cream melting on the top, although I really need to get to the gym now.
A friend of mind was having a tea party for her mothers birthday, she wanted some lovely cupcakes to finish off the table. Her favourite cake is a Victoria sponge so I decided to do some with jam centres, some with strawberry flavoured buttercream and some choc chip just because chocolate is always good.
For the decoration I was quite tempted to go for Alice in Wonderland and do them all a bit crazy but it was to be quite a traditional party so I decided against it. Instead I thought I’d try to decorate some tiny tea cups and tea pots and try to make an icing tablecloth. I also wanted to practise doing some different flowers with my new plungers.
The cups were very fiddly, before painting they didn’t look great but it’s amazing what a bit of paint can do! The gold rims really finish them off I think. For the strawberry buttercream I used a couple of drops of strawberry flavouring but you can use jam, I always think pink things should taste like strawberry!
The client and her mum were very happy and the tea party table looked great with them in the centre.
The only problem I had with making them was the fragility of the flowers and table cloths once dry. I’ve bought some Tylo powder as I think if I add a bit to the icing it might make them stronger and less likely to crack, we will see!
The rose looking ones are done using a Wilton 127 nozzle, I will put a tutorial on next time I do one, its easy once you get the hang of it. I used pearl luster spray to finish them off, I love luster spray and use it on most things!
My latest commission was these fab Juicy Couture Cupcakes for a friends 16th Birthday. I’m a bit out of the loop of coolness so wasn’t sure what Juicy Couture looked like. After browsing through designs on google I decided on the black and white stripe one, mainly because it was a good excuse to use my mini rose nozzle. I’m impressed with the finish of the rose, I initially made them from fondant but thought I needed to use my mini rose nozzle to get my monies worth! With the left over fondant roses and a mix of vanilla buttercream and surplus strawberry buttercream I quickly knocked up the swirly ones and finished them with mini silver dragees, for a last minute way to use all my ingredients I think they look fab! Isn’t that the way with baking, sometimes the accidental designs are the best! What do you think –