Friday, August 28, 2015

Caramel Mud Cupcakes for Cupcake Day for the RSPCA

My second cupcakes for Cupcake Day for the RSPCA were caramel mud cupcakes.  I made these according to Donna Hay's recipe, which is online here

The only tip that I have is to make sure you work fast with the frosting, because it sets quickly.

I topped the frosting with paw prints made of chocolate chips and larger chocolate melts, in keeping with the animal theme.

We had an amazing response to our Cupcake Day, raising over $1,000. 

Here's a pic of our behind the scenes team putting the cupcake display together, ready for sale:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

EwE - Mulled Cider Sweet Potatoes

For this week's Eating with Ellie, Peggy chose Mulled Cider Sweet Potatoes.  This dish comprised steamed sweet potato that was mashed and flavoured with apple cider.

Although apples and potatoes on first glance go together, I found the combination of sweet potato and apple cider a little odd.  It was OK, but not really my type of thing.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WWDH - Pumpkin, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Gratin

My choice for Wednesday with Donna Hay this week was Donna' Pumpkin, Caramelized Onion, and Feta Gratin, from the June/July 2015 edition of Donna Hay magazine.

I really enjoyed this dish.  It doesn't look particularly attractive, but it is full of flavour from pumpkin, feta and caramelized onions and with welcome crunch from almonds.  I would definitely make this again.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

TWD - Bubble Eclairs

For Tuesdays with Dorie this week, our assignment was Bubble Eclairs.  These are choux pastries piped or spooned into three cojoined blobs and filled with whatever takes your fancy.
I tried Dorie's suggestion of using a mini icecream scoop to shape the puffs, but after two eclairs, it clogged up and did nothing, so I went back to a teaspoon - so much less hassle, although not quite as even. I used the egg wash on top of the exclairs to help give them a nice golden colour.

For ease, I filled my bubble eclairs with whipped cream and simply dusted them with icing sugar - sometimes, simplicity is best.  I started trying to pipe the cream in, but found the bumpy shape did not facilitate this well, so I went back to cutting them in half before filing them with cream.

To see what creations the other Dorie bakers came up with, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lemon Cupcakes for Cupcake Day for the RSPCA

Last Monday, 17 August, we held a Cupcake Day for the RSPCA at our work.  We had an overwhelming response from cupcake bakers and buyers alike, and we also received a donation from the business.  In all, we raised over $1,000 for the RSPCA - it surpassed my expectations, and I was so proud of our business for making this fabulous contribution to a very worthy cause.

I made 32 cupcakes all up (knowing that we were likely to have a lot more coming in from the other bakers) in three different flavours and designs.  I learned from last time I participated in the RSPCA Cupcake Day that if I wanted to make animal cupcakes, I should not make them too fussy, because it takes too long when you are doing a large batch.

My first cupcake flavour was lemon.  I chose Martha Stewart's recipe for lemon cupcakes from her cupcake book, which is also published online here.  I made sure that they tasted lemony by rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar before using it in the cake batter - this tends to make the lemon flavour more pronounced than just mixing in the zest.

To decorate my cupcakes, I chose Primrose Bakery's buttercream but flavoured it with lemon juice instead of vanilla and coloured it yellow.  I piped the icing on using a grass tip to resemble feathers.  The eyes are mini M&Ms, and the beak is an orange M&M upended on its side. I got this idea from Johanna's post here.

Stay tuned for more RSPCA Cupcake Day recipes.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chocolate Mud Cake for Swee's Dad's 70th Birthday

It was Swee's Dad's 70th birthday celebration yesterday.  Swee asked me if I would be willing to bake her dad a cake just like the one I baked for her birthday, decorated with flowers.  Of course I said yes, and Swee and I chose the fondant together.

The recipe for the cake and the ganache are in this post on Swee's cake.

I like a step by step photo post, so here goes.   This is the cake cooling on the rack:

and the same cake covered with ganache, this time made with Lindt intense peppermint chocolate as Swee wanted a mint flavour in the cake:

and fields:

of flowers:

Put it all together and you get a decorated cake:

Here it is again, in close-up:

and don't you just love the bright yellow blossoms against the duck egg blue backdrop:

Happy birthday to Swee's Dad!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

WIAFK (CB) - Salsa Cruda with Horseradish and Avocado Mousse

Our Weekend in a French Kitchen (CafĂ© Boulud) recipe this week is Salsa Cruda with Horseradish and Avocado Mousse - say what?  Yep, that was my reaction too.  I went from that to dismay when I read the recipe - it did not sound like my kind of thing at all.

However, as the whole point of being in a group is to try things that I would never try on my own, I made the recipe - and I was pleasantly surprised.  Sure, I subbed mustard for horseradish.  Sure, I left out all of the herbs except mint (simply because I did not have them).  Yeah, my mousse is not as mousse-like as it should be because I made a serve for one, which my food processor could not register, and yes, I skipped the garnishes.   However, never in a million years did I think I would enjoy a tomato, scallion, cucumber, radish and chilli salad - but I did.

I may not make it again (don't get too hasty), but this dish pleasantly surprised me, especially when the vegetables were mixed with the avocado mousse.

To see what the other WIAFK (CB) cooks, thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Weekend in a French Kitchen website.