Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Daring Bakers October 2010 Challenge: Go Nuts for Doughtnuts!

Donuts or doughnuts or whatever you call ...... The soft fluffy mouthfuls of pure indulgence. That was our October challenge and it was totally loved by me (and my husband!)

Before I continue, I must apologise for the photography. I've left my camera 300 miles away :( and my phone's camera is not my best friend! But I can assure you the best of pictures will still not do justice to the taste of these fabulous doughnuts.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I had made both baked and fried doughnuts once before so I knew I would be making yeast doughnuts deep-fried!

After reading loads of comments on the DB forum, I knew this would make quite a substantial amount of doughnuts and there was no way I was going to make any amount of doughnuts without weighting out the right moment.

Then guess what happened?? The right time never came!! Can you believe it?! All the times I had people over or went somewhere, it was either unplanned or with very short notice. And these babies cannot be rushed - with a time allowance for two risings, there was no way I could pull these out in a flash. So I made them yesterday (in a rush) and luckily Mr WWW was at home with a friend of his.

They went down a treat, I could tell when I saw that the plate was empty in no time! Who can resist the warm, soft, cinnamon-sugared doughnuts? No one, me thinks!

I did devise a plan to accomodate the whole amount of dough. I divided the dough into two bowls before the first rise and read somewhere that you could keep it in the fridge like that for upto 3 days. So I put one bowl of dough into the fridge and left other bowl to rise.

I had decided on doing the ring doughnuts with cinnamon-sugar and also round doughnuts filled with homemade creme patisserie and a chocolate glaze. They were both sooooo goooood!

I hadn't actually let the glaze set before I took the photo and I didnt have any dark chocolate at home (gasp!) to create the 'boston cream doughnut' look but I'm sure you get my drift ;-)

The second bowl of dough in the fridge? Well, I'll be pulling it out tomorrow morning to take along with me to the toddler group we go to. It's nice to share.....

I really enjoyed this challenge and I'm glad I have now found a doughnut recipe that I like. Thank you Lori for a great challenge xx

Check out how all my fellow Daring Bakers did here

Monday, 25 October 2010

Occasion cakes

A very hectic past fortnight for me but a very enjoyable one as it involved me making three cakes!! :-)

The first one being the cake above. It was nearing the time of my dear friends birthday and I knew she lurved marzipan. I needed the cake to be just as sophisticated as my friends! ;-) Thats when I thought about doing this chic monochrome cake as I was sure it would be loved by all who were gonna be at the get-together. I wasn't wrong.....

It was a deeelicious 3-layer vanilla sponge filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream, covered with marzipan and fondant. Made with love and loved by all..... x

And then in the space of 3 weeks, I made "Chocolate obsession" three times. I totally enjoyed making it even if it is time-consuming. I like to think of it as a labour of love! Only type of labour work to do, me thinks ;-)

They're all slightly different from each other and that is why they are exclusive. The first one is surrounded with tempered dark chocolate panels and chocolate strawberries. The second cake is tempered milk chocolate panels with chocolate strawberries, handmade chocolates and a chocolate stiletto in the centre. And the last one is same as the above ones but with a good sprinking of chocolate balls.

They are all made of a very chocolatey chocolate cake, filled with either mascarpone cream and chopped strawberries, or chocolate ganache. Varieties are endless and depends on the recipient.

Take care xx

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes!

Rainbow cupcakes to brighten up any mood. Don't you think?!

I've been wanting to make these for a while, they're even on my "to-bake" list, sitting there patiently waiting to be striked off. But as always, I couldn't justify making them without any reason/occasion (although it was veeery tempting!) 

Then came the occasion - my 3yr old daughter's friend's (as well as them being family friends) birthday. I decided the night before that this was the time for rainbow cupcakes to make their debut. And a 3yr old girl is the perfect recipient, especially as I had some fifi cupcake toppers left from my daughter's birthday cake.

The cake was my favourite vanilla cupcake and the frosting was the utterly gorgeous vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream which you're probably bored of hearing the praises of! But I cant help it, it's sooo good! :-)

I had to put extra cases on all the cupcakes just before I boxed them up. I got some colourful cases from my local supermarket but they were terrible! Some of them started coming off at the cooling stage and had totally got soaked with the batter (Note to self: always make sure cases state they are greaseproof).

I sent 9 cupcakes off to the birthday girl, which means I had 3 cupcakes left for my two girls... ok, ok, for me! Well, don't want them to have a sugar rush now! :-)

But I couldn't be that cruel so I did halve one for them to have after their lunch. My 3yr old loved it, she loves rainbows. And my 1yr old...well, she just squished it between her hands and rubbed it on her face. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture because I was doing a mad dash to make sure she didn't get it all over her hair but it was a funny sight.

Yes, I know, I did six colours instead of the seven. I think the six colours did fine to represent a rainbow even though Indigo was missing. They were so fun to make and will definately be a hit with kids of all ages, even 20-something year olds like me!

The above picture didn't come out brilliantly but at least you can see the rainbow colours contrasting with the sharp white fluffy 'cloud' frosting. So fun and truly yum-yum!

I think I'll be making these again for my daughter's 2nd birthday in January - hmmmm..... [lightbulb over head] I might even possibly have a colourful rainbow themed birthday with a layered rainbow cake and rainbow cupcakes as favours. Just a thought, got a few months to mull it over.

Enjoy the recipes below, beautiful people xxx

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Carrot Cupcakes...mmmm....

Hands up people who do don't like carrot cake??

I think it is safe to assume that there are more people that like carrot cake, than people who don't! The moist bite you take, packed full of utter scrumptiousness. With a different flavour hitting your taste buds with every bite, tell me - who can resist??!!

I love carrot cakes, whether its as layer cakes or cupcakes. It kinda gives me a cosy, warm, hearty feeling, especially with having autumn crept up on us so fast!  And do you know one of the best things about this cake? It tastes even better the next day and the next!! (but don't leave it for too long or there might not be any left for you!)

OK, there are actually two good things about it - the second being that it can be more or less done in one bowl. Adding and stirring the dry ingredients together and then mixing in all the wet ingredients and voila! More or less :-)

One of my favourite cakes is carrot cake and I've had a few recipes that have been very trusty to me. My favourite recipe is the one from Erin from Good Eats n Sweet Treats, who got it from Pastry Queen. Erin starts the blog post saying "The Best Carrot Cake EVER." Now that really did catch my attention and it totally does live up to it's title!

This recipe is a pure delight, with tastes of pineapple (which adds to the cake's moistness), coconut cream, nutmeg and cinnamon. And the proportion of the spices is just right!

Both my girls love this carrot cupcake, not that I need much persuasion when it comes to making them! :-)  I used the cream cheese frosting that I have previously posted but this time with orange zest and 1 tbsp of orange juice - it was gorgeous!

Which one is best looking? I just cant decide!!
 Your comments would be very appreciated! 
The recipe below is for a carrot cake but you can easily adapt it to make cupcakes (will make about 36 cupcakes). I baked them for 15-18 minutes.