Saturday, 27 February 2010

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Today was the last Saturday of February, and therefore the last day we had to get to Partridge's and sample a Crumbs and Doilies flavour of the month -salted caramel.

We got there a little later than planned due to me trapping 3 fingers in the door on the way out and then having a girlie moment about it (tears were hurt and still does!) but thankfully they still had a couple of the large salted caramel cupcakes left!

Manny spotted a stall selling some rather tasty looking chocolate goodies, Chez Moi Chez Vous, so we also got one of their chocolate "cupcakes" and then did our usual Partridge's routine - visit the lovely old couple who run the Indian Kitchen stall and get some yummy curry for lunch (I highly recommend this stall!)

We had originally planned to visit the Cupcake Company in Kensington Church Street as well, but the Central Line wasn't working and getting back from Notting Hill (where we ended up) was a pain enough without that - such a shame as we may have spotted Leona Lewis buying cupcakes..whoop-de-do. Also due to a really crap website we weren't even sure if the Cupcake Company were open (is it so difficult to list opening times etc on your site?) so we decided to head home to scoff our bounty with a cuppa!

First, the salted caramel cupcakes. Now I can't make up my mind if I like salted caramel - I like it if it's not too salty - the bacon/salted caramel cupcake we had in New York was wrong in many ways but mainly it was way too salty for my palette and led me to declare "I hate salted caramel" but since eating William Curley's salted caramel chocolates I've gotten a taste for it so was keen to try February's flavour of the month. I'm glad I did - it was gorgeous. Not too salty, but with a slight hint of saltiness in the frosting. The caramel cake was moist and very fresh and the frosting was very moreish. Definitely a winner!

Onto the chocolate "cupcake" from Chez Moi, Chez Vous - first up it really isn't a cupcake. I do wish people would stop calling something a cupcake when it isn't. This was blatantly a brownie in a cupcake case - a very tasty brownie but NOT a cupcake. Also melting a bit of chocolate on top does not frosting make. Manny of course loved it in all its chocolaty goodness, and it was nice, just not a cupcake.

Finally, a reminder that C&D's flavour of the month for March is Hot Toddy;

A spicy cinnamon, lemon and clove infused sponge combined with a delicious Irish whisky buttercream icing. Warming, indulgent and just the thing to see you through the no-doubt dreary British springtime.

Sounds fabulous - I shall be heading down to try one, and have a curry!

Flavours of the month from March-June are now online here.

Friday, 26 February 2010

A pretty place to rest your cupcakes

I've been meaning to blog about this rather fabulous Russian Doll cake stand since first spotting it a few weeks ago and it totally slipped my mind.

Then, last week, cake stands suddenly entered my consciousness again when I was reading a blog about someone's* visit to Bea's of Bloomsbury and I spotted the most gorgeous cake stand ever. Immediately via the wonder that is Twitter I contacted Bea and she sent me a link - it is designed by Tina Tsang and just so lovely and totally perfect for showing off your cupcakes!

Finally, if the rabbit cake stand is a little out of your price range, what about this pretty bird cake stand I spotted and had to share.

*Sorry I can't remember whose blog I was reading when I spotted the post about Bea's! Thank you though :)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

M&S cupcake yummyness

A couple of items in store for Mother's Day including this gorgeous recipe journal (which I'm totally getting for myself) and these cute little cupcake magnets. I'm sure any mother would love to receive them.

Also in store this cute little t shirt - and for every shirt sold £1 goes to the Clic children s cancer charity - and any little girl would look adorable on it! If only they did it in adult sizes!

Monday, 22 February 2010

It's time to meet the muppets...

I've been meaning to post these since I first saw them on Cirencester Cupcake's Twitter - aren't they beautiful! You can read all about them, and see more photos, here.

Louise is definitely one of the most talented cake decorators I've seen and the good news is she's opening a shop in Cirencester so all of you lucky enough to live nearby can visit soon - I wish I lived nearer! I have had a peek at train info to get there and it doesn't seem that difficult so I may be popping over for a visit in the Summer to get my hands on some cupcakes.

You can keep up to date with the shop's progress, and read about/order cupcakes on her website and blog.

Also today on Twitter Louise posted some gorgeous photos of her mother's day cupcakes - I think I may send some to my mum as they're really pretty. You can see them on flickr. Once ordering info etc is online I shall post it on here.

Thanks to Louise for use of her lovely photographs.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Happy Cupcake Dress

I finally got round to catching up on some emails today and was having a quick browse through Shana Logic's latest mail out when I spotted this cute dress designed exclusively for them by Xenos Designs featuring their happy cupcake logo.

So cute!

The Big Swap

Fair Trade Fortnight starts on Monday and if you've not already embraced Fair Trade why not start with The Big Swap. The website lists a vast amount of things you can swap to Fair Trade, from baking goods and cotton to real ale and wines, making it easy to choose Fair Trade instead of your usual :)

The Fairtrade mark is the only independent consumer label that ensures farmers in developing countries receive an agreed and stable price for the crops they grow that covers the cost of sustainable production... so it deserves support. And its so easy - brands like Tate and Lyle and Green and Blacks (my chocolate of choice for baking who have just announced they're going 100% Fair Trade) feature on there, and so do a wealth of other baking ingredients so its easy to make that little change, which won't cost you much but will make a world of difference to someone else.

To celebrate Tate and Lyle have allowed me to share a couple of recipes created by Lily Vanilli for them- if you make them please let me know, and send pics! I might give the Devil's Food cupcakes a go but as readers of my blog know I do not enjoy bacon on my cupcakes!

Lily Vanilli’s Fairtrade Bacon and Banana Cupcakes

4 rashers unsmoked organic back bacon
150g ripe Fairtrade bananas (approx 2 small)
60g Fairtrade honey
100g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
40g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade caster sugar
140g organic plain flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large, free-range organic eggs (at room temperature)
Handful Fairtrade Brazil nuts (toasted & chopped)
1/2 tsp grated Fairtrade nutmeg
1/2 tsp Fairtrade ground cinnamon
12 paper cupcake cases

1. Lay rashers of bacon on a foil lined sheet and place in a cold oven with the temperature set to 200c for approx 20 mins or until crispy. Allow to cool

2. Turn heat down to 180c

3. Mash bananas with honey in a small bowl and set aside

4. Sift together all the dry ingredients into a large bowl - flour, sugar, baking powder, salt

5. Cut butter into small chunks and add to the dry ingredients, blend with an electric mixer on medium speed until evenly incorporated

6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition

7. Mix in the banana/honey mixture, spices and Brazil nuts to taste

8. Spoon into cupcakes cases, filling almost to the top

9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean

10. Remove and leave to cool in the pans for approx 3 mins - then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.


55g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
325g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade icing sugar
1/2 cup (4fl oz) organic double cream
2 tbsp Fairtrade honey

1. Beat the butter until smooth, then add half of the sugar, the double cream and the honey

2. Continue beating, slowly adding the rest of the sugar to achieve a smooth, even texture

3. Ice each cooled cupcake with a thick swirl of frosting and top with strips of cooled bacon and chopped Brazil nuts.

Fairtrade Devil's Food Ale Cupcakes

115g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
45g Divine Fairtrade cocoa
155g Fairtrade ale (Honey Ale)
170g organic plain flour (sifted)
Pinch of salt
2/3 tsp baking soda
225g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade caster sugar
1 large free-range, organic egg (at room temperature)
3 fl oz (3/8 cup) organic buttermilk
12 paper cupcake cases

Preheat the oven to 180c

1. Bring ale to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature

2. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside

3. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixture until very light and fluffy (about 5 mins)

4. Add the egg and beat until just incorporated

5. Beat in the cooled ale/cocoa mixture

6. Add the sifted dry mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts - beginning and ending with the dry and beating after each addition

7. Spoon the batter into a baking tray lined with cupcake cases (2/3 of the way full)

8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean

9. Cool briefly in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.


85g/3 fl oz (3/8 cup) - Fairtrade honey ale
15g Fairtrade cocoa
115g Unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
340g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade icing sugar
1/2 tsp Fairtrade vanilla essence
Small bar Fairtrade chocolate to decorate
Handful toasted Fairtrade Brazil nuts (optional)

1. Boil ale in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Allow to cool completely - transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge if necessary

2. Beat the butter until smooth

3. Add the vanilla, ale/cocoa mixture and half the icing sugar and continue to beat. Gradually add all of the sugar - beating continuously until you reach a consistency you like

4. Spread onto cooled cupcakes and top with shavings of Fairtrade chocolate and Brazil nuts.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Martha's Meringue Cloud Cupcakes

I bought this months edition of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine solely because I wanted the full size photograph of this cloud cupcake to frame and put up in my kitchen. It's one of the prettiest cupcakes I've ever seen (although as Martha says its not really a cupcake, its a meringue, but anyways lets not quibble over semantics);

Light as air, this ethereal dessert takes the cupcake to new heights. In fact, there's no cake here at all: Meringue tinted pink is baked in the familiar cups, split, and filled with raspberry curd, berries, and creme fraiche. Serve them to all who love sweets, and be ready for raves.

You can find a recipe and watch a video of Martha making these (complete with gorgeous Kitchenaid mixers (hint hint I'd like the blue one please!)) on her website.

Thanks to for use of the photographs.

Quick...follow that snail!

This plate by Takae Mizutani and Sons is just so cute and unusual - I love it!

Thanks to Domestic Sluts for pointing me in the direction of Hidden Art Shop.

Monday, 15 February 2010

It's cupcake panda-monium

My lovely hubby pre-ordered me some gorgeous Chinese New Year cupcakes from Bea's of Bloomsbury and collected them today - aren't they just the cutest thing you've ever seen.

We didn't eat the fondant animals (how could I eat a panda!), but the cakes were amazing - light, moist and very flavoursome. What I love about Bea's is the cakes taste home made - which I mean as the highest compliment - they don't taste mass produced at all, but like a little bit of hand made love is in each and every cake!

If you look closely you can see my gorgeous little cupcake sugar shaker and my Twilight Conversation Hearts (the Edward edition - some of which shimmer just like him!!!). I think I'm going to use the Twilight hearts to decorate some cupcakes!

All in all, a wonderful valentines - I even got a cupcake valentines card :)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Wu hu for Bake a Boo

Nearly a year and a half ago I blogged that we were heading to Bake a Boo in a couple of weeks...well on Friday we finally made it.

We ventured out on a very chilly afternoon, on an epic 3 bus journey quest to find it, passing some very interesting kitchen supply stores on the way (I shall be going back along the route again myself to check them out as Manny tires of kitchen equipment shopping). We got off the bus a little early, not realising the C11 stops directly outside it, so after a quick stomp down Mill Lane we found an oasis of pink cupcake cuteness.

It really is one of the cutest little cafes I've ever seen, lots of pink and vintage goodies everywhere and the tablecloths and crockery were gorgeous. I meant to get an espresso just so I could take a pic of their beautiful pink and white espresso cups - which were brought to my attention by another grown woman going into Meg Ryan in Katz's Deli style orgasmic excitement about them - they were that cute!

I fancied something different, and was really hoping for a fudge or Baileys cupcake but neither were available, so I opted for a gluten free lemon, Manny had a chocolate and we both had a much needed hot drink - this and the cosy atmosphere of the cafe soon had us warmed up. The cupcakes were as tasty as they were pretty. Mine was really zesty and fresh, the base was soft and the frosting was melt in your mouth. Manny's chocolate was deemed to be "one of the best I've ever had", so good in fact he ordered a second one and scoffed it!

The cafe had a really cosy atmosphere - lots of people were popping in to pick up orders, mothers and children popping in after school for a cuppa and a cupcake and there was a family at the back celebrating someones 21st.

On the way out I picked up a couple of packets of cupcake cases from their display of goodies to buy and set off back into the cold.

I definitely recommend a trip to Bake a Boo - I'll be back as I have to try the fudge and Bailey's flavours! They offer

Finally, Bake a Boo are offering some very interesting workshops, from knitting to burlesque hair and make up classes, further information can be found here - they all seem to include cakes! I'm very tempted by the knitting class but as it's a bit of a trek from South London I'm not sure as there is a 10am start time!

Friday, 12 February 2010

How long till Easter?

So we've not even had valentines yet and I'm already encouraging you to start buying for your Easter cupcaking!

I spotted these in the new Lakeland mailout and I think they are super cute, especially with the fantastic chick cupcakes in them. Unfortunately they haven't included a recipe for the lovely cupcakes (some decorating tips would be good!) but you could check Hello, Cupcake or Wilton for decorating ideas. I found a couple of cupcake decorating suggestions in my Cupcake Fun book that could be great for these, I doubt I'll buy them though as I already have some happy feet silicone cases.

Available to buy online from Lakeland.

I ♥ cupcakes

This is just gorgeous.

Available from klacustomcreations on Etsy.

Thanks to Kristen's Custom Creations for use of the gorgeous pic.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

As cute as a cupcake

This is such a cute little top from ASOS. If you want it you'd best hurry as it's currently only available in sizes 0-3 months and 24 months.

Pics used with thanks to asos.

Nothing says lovin' like Funfetti

Ann Arbor Dennis came to visit briefly at the weekend and he was upset he couldn't find me Cupcake Pebbles so he brought me some Funfetti Valentines mix instead :) I'm not really a fan of cake mixes (the Sprinkles ones were such a nightmare - again bought by Dennis who always describes it as "the most expensive flour he's ever bought") but I'm a huge fan of the Pilsbury Dough Boy and I've always thought Funfetti looks fabulously cute so I shall be giving them a try. He didn't bring me the frosting (he was worried if he had it in the house before flying here he'd have scoffed the lot like he used to as a kid) but I can easily make some pink frosting and mix some pink sprinkles through them myself.

While nosing around the Pilsbury website I noticed they even do frosting in a tin!

If you'd like to see the Dough Boy in funfetti action click here.

Monday, 8 February 2010

I want to be the girl with the most cake

It looks like the diet is well and truly out the window - the amount of scoffing I did pre and post Holland has made me think I might as well continue to be naughty as (a) its Valentine's soon and I want to eat yummyness and (b) my birthday's in March and that is always a cupcaketastic time of year. Not that I plan to just eat and eat but ...

Anyhoo, on Saturday I decided to pop "up West" and do a bit of shopping. I needed to buy a gift for Ann Arbor Dennis as he's 40 soon and I'm putting together lots of gifts for him as he's always so lovely and brings me such fab cupcake gifts! I also had an ulterior motive for the trip- Pierre Herme, the creme de la creme of macaron makers had opened a concession in my favourite department store, Selfridges - my plan was to pick up a couple of macarons and a cupcake of the month from Lola's to start the valentines taste test early!

When I got to Selfridges I was happy to see that the queue for Pierre's concession was not too long, in fact only two of us queueing, the rest were just standing gawping at the selection or surreptitiously taking pics on their phones. The lovely girl behind the counter went through every flavour with me and I opted for two each for myself and Manny; vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel and strawberry wasabi (the last two we cut in half so we could try a bit each). My macaroons were wrapped and I was given some leaflets about the flavours etc:

Just like Chic, Deja Vu and Avante Garde...'Macaron' is a French word, roll it around your mouth and savour the sound. The taste is even better. ...Your favourite Macaron will not taste the same if mispronounced. ...Please note, it is advised to avoid trying to pronounce the word macaron whilst eating one.

They were divine - much better the Laduree, crisp shells with gorgeous rich soft fillings. YUM! I highly recommend them. Pierre's flagship London store will be opening soon in Knightsbridge but until then you can buy macarons and chocolates in Selfridges. Also and English edition of his book, Macaron, will be out June 2009.

So, back to the cupcakes. After I bought the macarons (which we ate for lunch back home with a cup of tea) I walked the couple of feet to Lola's and was surprised to see free tables at the cafe. I was only planning to get takeaway but I'd been walking round the West End for a while, including the hell on earth that is Primark (Still not sure why I ever go in there..its vile) so I deserved a treat and my weary feet deserved a rest. I opted for a mini peanut butter cupcake to go with my fab coffee as I don't think I've ever had a Lola's peanut butter cupcake. It was ever so pretty, but quite dry - which is normal for peanut butter cupcakes I've found.

Later that night we scoffed the Lola's flavour of the month, pink champagne. The cupcakes were really pretty, with lashings of pink glittery icing - the base was really moist and the frosting - oh my - it was gorgeous! Melt in your mouth yummy and very flavoursome. I wasn't so keen on the truffle on top- it was white chocolate and just tasted a bit sweet for me but Manny loved it (his tooth is sweeter than mine he has no concept of two sweet!).

I think anyone would like a cupcake, or a box of macarons for valentines day so Selfridges really is a one stop valentines shop!

Sorry re the pics of the cupcakes and macarons - I just pointed and shot as I was hungry and wanted to eat - a day in Oxford St followed by a trip on the 453 bus will do that to you!

We all scream for ice cream

Just looking at these makes me want to book a flight to New York NOW!

Available from Cold Stone Creamery - along with their usual ice cream cupcakes.

I want!

Photos used with thanks to Cold Stone Creamery

Thursday, 4 February 2010

I want to Swallow lots of cupcakes

Since I first read about Swallow Bakery a couple of years ago (I can't find the post - damn Blogger and their rubbish search function) I've been meaning to visit Chichester to try their cupcakes, but all this time later I've still not got there. Maybe this year for my birthday I should head there instead of Brighton, as the cakes look lovely and it's always nice to visit new places and try cupcakes.

So the reason for mentioning Swallow again with no real news - while reading the latest issue of Jamie Oliver's magazine I spotted their awesome Swallow Airstream in an article about food at the Womad Festival*. Isn't it adorable, and check out the cupcake on top - I wonder if I could get a cupcake like that and mount it on top of our house?

There is also a recipe for Swallow's red velvet cupcakes in the magazine.

Picture credits - top, Swallow Bakery, middle, Swallow Bakery Facebook site and bottom, Jamie Oliver magazine.
*I have never wanted to go to Womad festival - totally not my kind of music but the food looks AWESOME

Crumbs and Doilies flavour(s) of the month(s)

I've just gotten round to checking out the Crumbs and Doilies website for the first time this month and am rather excited to see that not only have they named February's flavour of the month, but March and April's too!!

February - Salted Caramel
Our salted caramel cupcakes feature a delicious moist caramel sponge topped with a wickedly moreish salted caramel buttercream. A genuine 5-star sugary-salty-sweet knockout of a cupcake.

March -Hot Toddy
A spicy cinnamon, lemon and clove infused sponge combined with a delicious Irish whisky buttercream icing. Warming, indulgent and just the thing to see you through the no-doubt dreary British springtime.

April - Mexican Chilli Chocolate
A devilish combination of dark chocolate and ancho chillies with a hint of cinnamon, vanilla and almonds. Ay carumba!

No pictures of the cakes on their site yet but I bet they'll be very pretty, and tasty, as usual! Rest assured I'll be going each month to try them so as they sound delicious - not sure which I'm more excited about trying! Until then some lovely cupcakes I've enjoyed from Crumbs and Doilies previously :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

♥ Say it with Flour* ♥

Lola's suggest that their Valentines Love box is suitable for a loved one, someone special, colleagues or clients, but they've obviously never worked with colleagues like those the few normal humans (and I include myself in this) have to endure on a daily basis in my office!

However I do agree that they'd be perfect for a loved one or someone special! If you order a box from their online store, or buy one in Selfridges or Harrods they include flavours such as strawberry, red velvet, chocolate marshmallow and February's flavour of the month, pink champagne, which I've had before and loved:

LOLA’s new limited edition Pink Champagne cupcake is the perfect way to say 'I Love You'.
This latest flavour has a sumptuous fluffy cupcake sponge delicately infused with the finest Pink Champagne, topped with a heavenly butter cream icing and finished with a Champagne truffle for an intense chocolate burst.

Finally, their Kiss it Better cupcake (which I had last week and highly recommend) is available until March 29th with 30% of all proceeds going to GOSH to support the Kiss it Better appeal. Also 15% of the retail price of each LOVE box goes to the appeal.

*I've borrowed this slogan from Lola's - I just couldn't resist - it sums up this blog totally! Thanks also to Lola's for use of the photos.

Eten lekker cupcakes in Tilburg

Last week we visited the lovely Dutch town of Tilburg in Holland to see my favourite band in the world, the band I have tattooed on my arm - MANOWAR!

Once I'd booked our tickets, flights and hotel, I got straight onto google and looked for the next most important thing - cupcakes in the vicinity of Tilburg. At first it seemed like we might have to travel to Amsterdam, but then I was told by a fellow blogger that they weren't really worth travelling for and then after a few hours I found Lily's Cupcakes, and was excited to hear from Lily on Twitter that by the time we visited she would be selling her cupcakes in Mugs n Muffins.

As it turned out Mugs n Muffins was about 5 minutes brisk walk from our hotel, and we walked everywhere briskly as it was about -9! When we visited there were only two flavours available - death by chocolate and champagne - so we had one each. I opted for champagne, it was lovely - really moist and the top seemed to be dipped in sparkling sugar syrup as it was gorgeous and sparkly! The frosting was really fresh and flavoursome. Manny's death by chocolate was very aptly named - a total chocolate overload for a chocolate fan! As you can see we scoffed them up!

We visited every day to see if any more flavours were available but alas they only ever had those two, and on the last day none at all so we only tried one Dutch cupcake but given the amount of Bailey's coffee, whipped cream, booze and superb food we had its probably just as well no other flavours were available or I may not have fitted on the plane!

I hope the title of this post reads 'Eating yummy cupcakes in Tilburg' in Dutch as I used google translator - apologies if it says anything else and upsets any Dutch speaker reading this!