Cupcake Catch Up

I noticed recently that a few cakes have slipped through the record keeping net so there are no recipes for you today – just cakey pictures for your voyeuristic pleasure.

passion fruit curd

This pot of deliciousness just had to be bought.  It led to the creation of…

orange cake with passion fruit curd centre

…these – orange sponge cake with a passion fruit curd centre, topped with fresh orange Italian meringue buttercream and finished with a drizzle of passion fruit and orange glaze.

passion fruit curd centre in an orange sponge

Gorgeous, golden, passion fruit curd in the centre of an orange sponge cupcake.

I’ve seen a few recipes for strawberry meringues using artificial strawberry flavourings, and one or two using freeze dried strawberries, but prefer to use fresh ingredients where possible; in the end I decided to do some experimenting using fresh strawberry purée for both flavour and colour (click on pics for full descriptions).

They tasted absolutely  divine but my word were they ever a faff to get baked!.

Basically I didn’t fully account for the extra moisture added by the fresh strawberries (albeit a mega reduced purée), took them out too soon and consequently had to spend hours in a cycle of reheating the oven, cooking the meringues for a few minutes, turning off the oven, letting everything cool, checking, reheating the oven…

This was not an ideal method of cooking them and resulted in slightly weepy meringues, BUT it truly was worth the effort in terms of taste.  The freshness of the strawberry flavour was exceptional and the light strawberry chocolate cream used in the ‘regular’ ones was a sublime compliment.  Having said that, the whipped white chocolate vanilla ganache in the cookie ones was pretty damned fabulous too!

So…more experimentation…longer initial cooking time…

Choc on choc on choc

Choc on choc on choc: chocolate fudge cupcake topped with milk chocolate buttercream under dark chocolate poured ganache. Decorated with whipped milk chocolate ganache, hand crafted marbled chocolate shards, dark chocolate shavings and a dark chocolate rolo.

Surely enough chocolate to satisfy even the most die-hard chocolate addict?!

Lemon Raspberry Ripple

Dreaming of summer with lemon raspberry ripple cupcakes: lemon sponge rippled through with fresh raspberry purée, topped with a swirl of fresh raspberry and white chocolate mousse, finished with a fresh, juicy raspberry.

Strawberry cupcakes with whipped strawberry chocolate ganache

Still bringing on the summer vibe with strawberry chocolate cupcakes: strawberry sponge with fluffy, whipped strawberry chocolate ganache, topped off with a chocolate dipped strawberry.

coffee with double choc

Coffee sponge cupcakes with a silky double chocolate topping (milk & white) of whipped ganache.

Ok, I think that’s the cupcakes all caught up now…there’s a couple of celebration cakes still to post but I’ll do those separately.

Goodness…I’ve just made myself very hungry…I’m off to see if Barn’s left anything in the cake tin…don’t know what you’re going to do…  😉

x

Chocolate & Orange Drip Cake

Chocolate orange drip cake

Drip cakes truly burst into the celebration scene last year and are set to be one of the bigger cake trends of 2016…so I thought I’d better get to grips with them.

Over the top decorations

I love this style of cake – there’s a cartoony visual appeal to the dripping ganache, and the over-the-top, pile it on approach to the decorations is so much fun.

choc orange and gold drip cake

Multi layers of sponge cake covered with chocolate Italian meringue buttercream and drip effect chocolate ganache; finished with orange chocolate cigarellos, gold tinted rolos, mini chocolate orange segments, orange, red and gold sprinkles, hand crafted chocolate shards and hand made chocolate lollipops

Inside

Inside we have alternating layers of chocolate and orange flavoured sponge, sandwiched together with orange curd and chocolate Italian meringue buttercream.

Choc orange drip cake

This was my first effort at a drip cake (which requires more skill than would be immediately apparent) and I’m quite  pleased with how it turned out – not 100% happy with it, but not ashamed either!

I’m really pleased with how my buttercream finish is improving and am now full of knowledge that will make the overall finish of the cake so much better next time around.  All in all, a good cake experience.

There most definitely will be a next time around for this type of cake; imagine it in multi colours for a kid’s party…or in pastels and tiered for a bridal shower…or…well, let’s just say it’s a very versatile cake style 🙂

What do you all think?  Do you like it?

x

Chocolate Pistachio Meringues

chocolate & pistachio

These crispy, chewy little treats are filled with gently whipped chocolate pistachio ganache and are just divine; the saltiness of the nuts and the bitterness of the dark chocolate create the perfect foil for the sweetness of the meringue.  A little effort is required but I promise it’s worth it!

Recipe makes enough ganache to fill 12 mini meringues

Ingredients

You will need 24 baked chewy centre mini meringue shells (little bite sized ones look fantastic); I’ve included the ingredients below but to avoid repetition will direct you to the recipe for chewy centred meringues for the method…sorry if this means you’re flip-flopping between pages.

For the Meringue
4 large egg whites
A small pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

(For meringue method, see here)

For the ganache
100g good quality dark chocolate
50g (yes, by weight!) double cream
A small handful of finely chopped salted pistachio nuts

For decoration
50g good quality dark chocolate
A sprinkling of finely chopped salted pistachio nuts

Music

If you’ve not already spotted it, the method for making the meringues is here; what follows is how to make the filling:

chocolateChop 100g chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl.

chocolate and creamWarm the cream and pour over the top.  The cream doesn’t need to boil, or even simmer – just a bit hotter than is comfortable for your (clean) finger is fine.

melted chocolate and creamLeave to sit for a minute or two then mix until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth glossy mixture.

If the cream cools before the chocolate has fully melted, put the bowl over a pan of hot water and continue to mix until everything’s lump free.

Allow to cool for several hours – it needs to be at room temperature to whip.

Colour comparisonBeat until texture and colour become lighter (see helpful picture with ‘before’ ganache at the top of the beaters and ‘after’ at the bottom) .  Go as fluffy as you wish but don’t go too far – once you reach a milk chocolate colour you should stop.  I stopped a bit before that because I wanted to.

fold in crushed pistachiosFold in the small handful of chopped pistachios.

chocolate & pistachio ganache fillingCarefully pipe a layer of ganache onto a meringue shell then gently place another shell on top, creating a sandwich.  Use a slight twisting motion to set the tops onto the ganache – don’t push or your meringue shells will collapse!

Place on a rack.

chcolate & pistachio meringuesMelt the remaining 50g chocolate and drizzle over the meringue sandwiches.

Sprinkle with remaining chopped pistachios and leave to set.

Try not to eat them all.  At once.

😉

x