Monday, 19 September 2011

Cupcake course review

Just wanted to tell you about a Cupcake workshop that I recently went on, run by The Gourmet Cupcake Company. It was an excellent day, which went by like a flash. The class lasted from 10-4 so you get plenty of time for cupcake and decoration fun.

There were only 6 people in the class, so small enough to chat to classmates but also get any support you might need. And you are given recipe sheets to take away with you, for both the cupcake and the icing. Plus a certificate to say you have completed the course :)

The class starts with a group effort to make 12 vanilla cupcakes each, you get a choice wide choice of cupcake case colours. You must choose wisely as you want your icing and decorations to match!

I had several revelations while making the cupcakes, through being shown techniques to making batches of uniform! Including using digital scales - so handy that I bought myself a set after class to weigh everything and makes the recipe much more precise. We also weighed the amount of mixture put into each cupcake case - its all about consistency, which I hadn't worried about until now.

Next we  discovered how to make decorations with sugar florist paste, how to colour the paste, how to cut shapes out. We were shown how to make lots of different thing, but being a group of women most of us choose pretty flowers and butterflies for our cupcakes :)

After the lunch break we moved on to making roses with ready to roll icing with a cup of tea and a homemade cupcake - prefect.

Next... the icing on the cake! Two kinds of icing at that. Buttercream, which seems to be everyone's favourite. I choose pale pink buttercream to go with my green cupcake cases and dark pink roses. And poured fondant icing was white to go with my black cupcake cases with yellow stars and daisies.

Altogether an awesome day and I hope my cupcakes will be much better in the future, more practicing required!   

I choose to do the course in Shoreditch as its close to home which makes normal cupcakes, but the course in Chelmsford dietary requirements can be catered for.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Fudgy Chocolate-Oat Cookies

They aren't the prettiest of cookies but they make up for that and then some in taste and texture! 

The Ingredients
Gluten free oats 175g
Rice flour 180g
Ground almonds 30g
Cocoa powder 50g
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
300g xylitol
200ml non-dairy milk
200ml sunflower oil
2 tablespoon flaxseed
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
75g cocoa nibs

Makes 24-30

The Method

Preheat oven to 180oC.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.

In another bowl, mix together the xylitol, flax seeds, nondairy milk with electric whisk until smooth. Then add oil, vanilla, almond extract, glycerine and use electric whisk again until well mixed.

Fold in half of the dry mixture into the sugar mixture until well incorporated before mixing in the rest dry mixture. Fold in the chocolate nibs and mix a little more until everything is well incorporated and evenly distributed.

Each cookie is a generous tablespoon full, dropped onto the baking trays a couple of inches apart. Leaving them as mounds of dough gives you the fudginess, flattening the dough will make them crisper. 


Bake for 10-12 minutes, let them cool for a few minutes on the baking trays before moving a wire rack.

If kept in a air tight container they will last for about a week, but be warned they are homely and moorish!

This recipe was adapted from 'Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar'.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cranberry & macadamia flapjacks

So happy to have discovered that I can eat flapjacks - such comfort food! 

The Ingredients
200g unsalted organic butter (or olive oil spread)
200g xylitol
200g honey
400g oats
50g cranberries & macadamia nuts

The Equipment
Large saucepan
The usual spoons
22 inch cake tin
Greaseproof paper

The Method
Preheat the oven 180oC.

Line the cake tin with the greaseproof paper.

Put the butter, xyliltol and honey in saucepan, heat and stir occasionally until the butter melted and the sugar is dissolved. Add the oats, fruit and nuts then mix well.

Transfer oat mix to cake tin, spread evenly, smooth with the back of a clean spoon to a thickness of 2cm.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle.

Cool and cut into squares. 

A round flapjack isn't the traditional shape, but I haven't got a square tin yet :)