Cupcakes part 2

Now I just have a few more pictures to finish up on the cupcake theme..

I had an interesting order from Justyna’s friend Aleks, who asked me if I could make 20 cupcakes with Nepalese flags on, for a charity event.  I had no idea what the Nepalese flag looked like, so after asking her about different images I had seen on a Google search, I decided to do half of the cupcakes with the shaped flags I had seen, and half with the colours and motifs, but just cut into circles to fit on top of the cupcakes.

Victoria Sponge Blog - nepal 3

Nepalese flag cupcakes

I had massively underestimated how long it would take to make the tiny motifs!  Including my practice ones, I had made over 50 of them, and think they were a suitable representation of the actual flag!

Nepal Flag

Nepalese flag

Nepal Flag 2

Nepalese flag

 

 

Afterwards Aleks sent me a lovely email telling me how pleased she was with the cupcakes, and what a success the event was, which was great news.

 

 

 

 

Although I spend a lot of my time baking for orders, I still like to bake for family occasions when I get the time, and a BBQ with James’ family seemed a great opportunity to bake and to make some cute animal cupcakes for his cousin’s young daughters.  I wanted animals they could easily identify, and was impressed that they could recognise them all from my attempts!  My only slight disappointment was that I didn’t give the panda larger black circles around his eyes, but I thought the cupcakes looked pretty cute!

Victoria Sponge Blog - aminal cupcakes

Animal cupcakes

I also made a variety of other cupcakes, some of them with these cute cupcake cases and picks!

Victoria Sponge Blog - yummy cupcake

Yummy!

Victoria Sponge Blog - eat me cupcake

Eat me!

 

To finish this post I have another new idea to share.  I had been wanting to try this for sometime, and it seemed perfect for my mum’s birthday, partly because I was also decorating a wedding cake that weekend, so that was going to require the majority of my time.  Knowing that my mum loves hydrangeas, I decided to try out making a cupcake bouquet of blue hydrangeas!  I had tried a new cupcake recipe, but didn’t really like the results – it was for shortcake cupcakes, which I discovered I don’t really like!!  And as they were shortcake cupcakes, the texture was a bit crumbly, and I wasn’t confident that they would hold very well when assembled into the bouquet.  So, I went back to my original sponge recipe, and made as many hydrangea flowers as I could in one evening!  After a night to dry, I used petal powder to colour the flowers, and decorated each cupcake before making them into the bouquet.  I then just added the final touches with some green tissue paper, and was really pleased with the end result!  I was delighted when I arrived at my mums, and she thought it was a real plant!!

Flower Bouquet - victoria-sponge BLOG

Cupcake bouquet of blue hydrangeas

Cupcakes!

Now I am soooo behind with my blog that I have a huge list of things I’d like to share with you & have found it hard deciding where to start!  I have finally decided to write about several batches of cupcakes that I have made, as I haven’t written much on cupcakes before, but think I have so much to share I might have to split it into two posts! ☺
My biggest cupcake customer so far is my colleague & friend Justyna.  Justyna contacted me late last year to ask for some cupcakes for her husband Darryl’s birthday.  As Darryl is a West Ham fan, Justyna asked me to incorporate their logo and colours into the cupcakes, and I found a website selling all sorts of great cupcake toppers, including West Ham ones.  I made 30 chocolate cupcakes, and I found a yummy sounding recipe for a frosting that I thought would be suitable for colouring… The topping was as delicious as I had hoped – the addition of whipped cream & white chocolate really made this topping tasty. So for the first batch of 12, I ordered 12 West Ham edible icing cupcake toppers and placed these on top of a generous swirl of frosting.

West Ham Cupcakes

West Ham cupcakes with printed toppers

The next 12 cupcakes were topped with dual-colour icing in the West Ham colours. It took me quite a while to get the colours right, but I was pretty pleased with the results as it was the first time I attempted to colour frosting, and the first time I used my dual-icing kit! The remaining 6 cupcakes were topped with claret frosting on three, and blue frosting on the final three.

Victoria Sponge Blog - West Ham cupcakes 2

West Ham cupcakes

Justyna did a wonderful job setting the table for Darryl’s celebrations, and the colour scheme looked great!

It was then great to hear from Justyna with another order for May, for her daughter Maja’s birthday. We discussed colours & ideas, and I enjoyed having a bit of a free-reign to incorporate these ideas how I wanted to as I went along the decorating process… This time I made 12 vanilla & 12 chocolate cupcakes, and used a new buttercream recipe to make frosting for most of them.. I coloured the frosting pink & piped some large swirls, and used a variety of flowers and butterflies to decorate them.  Six of the cupcakes also had handmade flags with the names of Maja and her friends.

Cupcakes 2 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Pink cupcakes with flowers, butterflies and name flags

I also tried out something new with these cupcakes – chocolate transfers!  I picked up some sheets of various designs at the Cake International show at ExCel, and after watching the demo, thought they were a very quick & easy way to create some really stunning patterns on fondant for cupcake toppers.  However, they didn’t seem to work as well for me as they did during the demos!  I found they needed a lot more heating than the instructions said, which made the fondant very soft and easily lead to smudging of the designs if I wasn’t very careful.  It also meant I had to wait for the fondant to set a little again before I could move them onto the cupcakes.  However, after adding the yellow butterflies, I thought they looked great & was really pleased with them.

Cupcakes 3 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Cupcakes with chocolate transfers

The next birthday Justyna asked me to bake for was for her step-sons 18th.  As Justyna wanted the cupcakes to be a surprise for him, she didn’t want to ask him for ideas and so I made a suggestion of something I had seen on Pinterest – cupcake burgers! When I saw these I thought they looked great, and Justyna agreed, so I made 6 of these alongside 6 chocolate cupcakes with flat tops and stamped fondant on.  In all honesty, I had seen these stamps in the local cake shop and was looking for an excuse to buy them!! The set seemed a little expensive when I first considered buying it, but after thinking about all the possibilities it could be used for, I decided it was a worthwhile investment!  I was able to stamp the 6 cupcakes with a variety of things including ‘Happy 18th’, ‘You’re 18′ and ’18th birthday’, so each cupcake could be different.

Cupcakes 1 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Cupcakes with stamped fondant toppers

The burgers took a lot longer to do, but I had so much fun making them.  I had baked them on the Saturday, and left James in bed Sunday morning as I went down early to start the decoration.  As this was something new, I baked 6 extra cupcakes so I had plenty to practice with, and after each try I ran upstairs with a cupcake on a tiny cupcake stand and excitedly showed James and told him how I had improved on the previous one!! After 4 practice runs I was really happy with how it looked, and so the final test was the taste test!  Although there were several different bits of fondant icing in the ‘burger bun’, each layer was thin so not overpowering, and the ‘burger’ itself was chocolate buttercream and I thought it all tasted absolutely delicious!!  So, I hurried back down to set up a small production line, completing each layer of the cupcake burger in sequence, until all 6 were just as I wanted them.

Burger Cupcakes 3 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Hamburger cupcakes

Burger Cupcakes 2 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Hamburger cupcakes with fondant fillings and chocolate buttercream burger!

As James had been celebrating his birthday Saturday night (with several jäger bombs!!) I knew he’d be happy if I left him in peace in bed for a while longer, so I decided to try out a few other ideas too….
For a while I had been wanting to try out ‘ice cream’ cupcakes – and inspired by the success of the burger cupcakes, I baked chocolate sponge into ice cream cones and decorated them to look like chocolate ice creams!

Ice Cream Cakes 1 - victoria-sponge BLOG

‘Ice cream’ cakes baked into ice cream cones

Again I used the delicious chocolate buttercream and piped this on top to look like swirls of ice cream, and decorated them with sprinkles.  I thought they looked lovely, and as I only had two, I gave them them to two of my ‘tasters’ to give me feedback!  They both really enjoyed them, and agreed this is something I should offer to make for customers as they thought they would be popular, but I will need to figure out an easy (an inexpensive) way to transport them upright to customers…

However, my next order soon came in and was for Liverpool FC themed cupcakes from Justyna! This was for her sons 14th birthday, and again I used 12 football fondant toppers, and piped another 12 with dual-colour toppings in Liverpool colours.  The final cupcakes were stamped with messages similar to the 18th birthday cupcakes I made for her last order.  As this was a very hot weekend, I think this contributed to the fondant toppers getting a little soggy and not keeping their shape as discs sitting on top of the frosting, so I did a little research and found a better method for next time to solve this problem.

Liverpool Cupcakes 3 - victoria-sponge BLOG

Liverpool cupcakes

Here you can see how, for my next order, I made circular fondant discs to sit on top of the frosting, and I was able to place the edible printed toppers on to this, and this did work in preventing the toppers getting soggy.

Victoria Sponge Blog - Liverpool with discs

Placing the toppers on fondant discs

I was asked to make this last batch of Liverpool themed cupcakes by my manager at work, Emma, for her husband’s birthday.  As I was baking these, I decided to make some others to takes to work for the rest of my team.  I made extra vanilla sponge cupcakes and decorated some of them with coloured buttercream icing and fondant butterflies, and these were very popular.

Victoria Sponge Blog - Cupcake 1

Cupcake topped with two-tone pink and cream buttercream with a fondant butterfly

I wanted to try something new with the others, and loved the idea of cupcakes with popcorn on the top!  These were vanilla cupcakes which had a sugar syrup glaze brushed over them whilst still warm, with a fresh cream topping on which the popcorn sat.  Unfortunately, piling the popcorn on top made them a little messy looking, but I loved the flavour so didn’t mind!  I popped the popcorn, and while it was still warm, I drizzled a home-made toffee sauce over it, which was deliciously sticky!!

Victoria Sponge Blog - popcorn cupcake

Popcorn topped cupcakes with a sticky toffee sauce

I followed a recipe, but it made far too much popcorn, so I took this to work too and suggested to some friends they might like it, and they loved it and eat the whole tub!!  Yet there were some people who were reluctant to try the popcorn cupcakes as they thought it was an odd combination or they didn’t particularly like popcorn, which I found surprising as I thought everyone loved popcorn!  But the majority of my ‘tasters’ loved them and gave me really nice feedback!