November 2011

Triple treat

Sunday 27 November 2011 • 8 comments

strawberry cheesecake cupcakes

I love fruits in pastries and cream cheese frosting is my favourite so far so I was very excited to make this. Strawberry cheesecake cupcakes are basically a vanilla cake batter put over chopped strawberries with a cream cheese frosting topped with crushed digestive biscuits. I chopped the strawberries and put them at the bottom of the paper cases then put the batter over it. After a few minutes in the oven the whole kitchen smelt like mmmm...yum(words are no good here)!




I crushed about six digestive biscuits with a fork. The cookbook said i should use a food processor which i don't have and i think it turned out just fine. 

Once they were out and cool enough, i put the cream cheese frosting on them and sprinkled the crushed digestive biscuits on top. 

This has to be my personal favourite of all i've made so far (sorry chocolate but you're now in second place). There are some strawberries and frosting left over so i have no choice but to make another batch later this week. My hands are tied, what else can i do with them?

Thankful II

Thursday 24 November 2011 • 3 comments

You can never say thank you enough. I wasn't expecting to celebrate thanksgiving this year because i never have but i was invited to a thanksgiving dinner by a friend from school and it was assumed that I'd be bringing dessert. It was my pleasure plus i was eager to make something that would turn out right after the red velvet disaster on sunday. After turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, salad and lovely sangria, it was time for dessert and I'm happy to report that it went very well, everyone liked it. So full right now, sitting at home with a cup of tea and a cupcake i grabbed on my way out. Perfect end to a great day. Thanks everyone.

lemon cupcakes

Haven't made lemon cupcakes before but looking at the recipe, its wasn't very different from vanilla cupcakes so i was quite relieved. Lemon zest was the guest star in my kitchen today. It didn't look like it did in the book when i used the grater i had so i used that one to make the cakes and grated some more specially to decorate. They had to be in long strips and it just made me think of the way orange sellers peel them with a knife in Lagos. I have to say, those people have mad skills and they are fast too. It was very funny trying to do it and I'm glad no one was there to laugh at me. I managed to get a few decent strips to decorate with but that lemon suffered. I should be saying I'll get the utensil made just for this task (zester) but i want to try this again. I must get it right!(no i don't plan to sell oranges on the side of the road).

into the cake mix

the zest on top


Sunday 20 November 2011 • 8 comments

Thanksgiving is not a tradition I'm familiar with but I'm feeling very grateful this week for all the people in my life and how lucky i am to have all i do. Sometimes its good to do something special for the ones you love so even if most of the people I'm thankful for can't actually taste these, I made these red velvet cupcakes with them in mind. I'm grateful to my parents for so much, i can't possibly write it all down, to my friends, old and new and my entire family. I'd like to share the recipe with you, whoever is reading this. I hope it goes better for you than it did for me.

red velvet cupcakes 

red velvet cupcakes recipe(from the hummingbird bakery cookbook)
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food coloring (preferably Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 quantity Cream Cheese Frosting
a 12-hole cupcake tray lined with paper cases

Preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F) Gas 3.

Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment(or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food coloring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and colored (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top.

Cream cheese frosting recipe(from the hummingbird bakery cookbook)
300g icing sugar,sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer withe a paddle attachment(or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

This recipe wasn't very successful. In fact it sucked. The only thing that went right was the cream cheese frosting. I had been warned that if the right red food colouring was not used the cupcakes will come out brown and even after spending hours going from store to store and finally finding the 'Dr. Oetker red food colouring' that was recommended by the cookbook, it still came out wrong. Making the cupcakes was like a chemistry exercise. Lots of ingredients I've never baked with before like buttermilk and white wine vinegar all meant to come together just right to create red cupcakes. When the mix was done i kind of already knew it was wrong because it was brown but i finished anyway. The colour paste was so thick and mixing it reminded me of making eba(only Nigerians will know what that is-lol). Also, the mix made more cupcakes than it was meant to so i was able to make crumbles to top them.

Dr. Oetker red food colouring
the colour paste

the mix

all done

If anyone tries to make these red velvet cupcakes or have made them before please leave a comment to let me know how they went and if you find the right red food colouring I'd love to know about it. There will definitely be a rematch with this recipe. I must get it right!

chocolate love

Sunday 13 November 2011 • 10 comments

Another dozen cupcakes and an animation! I'm studying animation and i love to bake so i thought, why not combine the two. It was so much fun! I've done a bit of stop-motion animation before but never with food. It was my digital camera, a pack of maltesers milk chocolate and i this sunday. So i washed my hands and got right into it. I was afraid it will break into bits but luckily i was able to cut the maltesers easily into two neat halves with a knife. After that, i shaved the bottoms of the halves so they could stand then started animating!  There's a piano sitting in the middle of my school and earlier this week a friend of mine, Amber Gao played a piece that was perfect for this project. She had no idea i was recording it but she was nice enough to let me use it when i asked her. Enjoy

chocolate cupcakes

Almost everyone loves chocolate. Why? What about chocolate makes people crave it so much? I'm really not a huge fan of chocolate(yes i know, i must be crazy) but i really enjoyed baking these chocolate cupcakes. Once again the recipe was very easy and the ingredients were flour, sugar, butter, an egg...and cocoa powder. The book recommended green & blacks cocoa powder so i made sure i got that. Mixed it all like the book said i should and put it in the oven. The kitchen smelt great as they baked and there was bowl licking. While they baked, i made the frosting and sniffed some icing sugar. Not intentionally of course, it just flew everywhere while i was mixing it and the air was full of it. 

the mix

everything's bigger in america

Sunday 6 November 2011 • 8 comments

I just moved into a new place a couple of weeks ago so before I actually started baking there were a few things I needed to get. Scale, measuring cups, cupcake tray, cases,... and of course all the ingredients.

'The cupcakes were baked in American-style cupcake cases, which are larger than standard UK cases. For these recipes, please use muffin cases.' from notes in the cookbook.

It was not easy understanding the difference between all the sizes(not just of the cases but of the trays too). At the store there were muffin trays and bun trays(which were way too shallow) but no cupcake trays. Which is American-style? Which is standard UK? Which paper cases fits in what tray? I wasn't sure which one to get. I ended up getting a Non-stick 12 hole muffin tray and cupcake cases that didn't fix in the tray perfectly, but they were the best I could find. Do I have an American-style muffin tray or a UK muffin tray in my kitchen right now? No idea, but I think its the UK muffin tray so that should make good American-style cupcake sizes. All so confusing. Does anyone know anything about all this?

Bigger when it comes to movies(hollywood), food(massive portions), clothes and more variety when it comes to sweet treats like these. Everything is bigger in America, but the prices! The Pound isn't as friendly.

vanilla cupcakes

Today I made the very first set of cupcakes from the book.

from start...

I've made vanilla cupcakes so many times before but quantities in this recipe were different and the way they were made was much easier and quicker than I'd been doing it, and they came out just right. Preparation took roughly 20 minutes and it baked for 20mins in an oven preheated to 170 degrees. I made pink and green vanilla frosting while they baked. Brought them out and when they were cool enough, spooned the vanilla frosting on top and decorated with hundreds and thousands(edible sprinkles). I probably should have added more coloring to the frosting because it came out a bit too pale, but no big deal. 

...to finish

Can't wait to hear what my tasters 
have to say!


introducing the hummingbird bakery cookbook

Friday 4 November 2011 • 2 comments

The hummingbird bakery has four locations across London. Tarek Malouf came up with the idea when he visited America and wondered why he'd never seen a bakery in London which excelled in treats like these.

Sixty recipes! Cupcakes, muffins, pies, brownies, cakes, cookies, cheesecakes. My plan is to make every single one of the recipes in this cookbook. If you've ever seen the movie 'Julie & Julia' you'll know that's what inspired this project. In the movie, Julie Powell gave herself 365 days to complete 524 recipes from a cookbook written by her idol, Julia Child. She took on the challenge with great dedication and thats exactly what I plan to do. Its a way for me to learn so much and improve my skills, plus its fun and tasty...win win win. There is no downside! I'm not giving myself an exact deadline but I can commit to doing one or two recipes a week and seeing how it goes.

My friend Rory and i started 'sweettooth' in 2008 during my undergraduate course and have made and sold thousands of cupcakes, cakes, cookies and so much more. So I've made some of these things before but a lot of them I have never even tasted so it should be lots of fun trying new ingredients and learning new methods, I hope they all come out the way they are meant to and taste good. 

I definitely can't eat everything I make all by myself or there will be trouble so anyone that happens to be in the right place at the right time will get some and constructive criticism is all i ask for in return. Pictures will also be uploaded and I'd appreciate your honest comments.