Friday, January 28, 2011

Choco-banana-nut cupcakes {Recipe}

Chocolate banana walnut cupcakes!  What a mouthful!  And oh so yummy too! :)
I love banana cake and bread but had never tried making either so when I had some bananas left over, I thought it was time to try something new.  I got the main recipe from epicurious but tweaked it a bit as I did not have cinnamon and reduced the sugar as I did not want it so sweet.  I also changed the quantity of nuts and chocolate, and you can add more if you want, depending on how much you like them in your cake.

Recipe for Choco-banana-nut cupcakes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick (about 113g) butter, softened  (I use the salted kind but you can use unsalted butter and add ½ tsp salt)
1/2 cup sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
2 eggs
1  1/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup  bittersweet chocolate chips (or as much as you want. I used Ghirardelli brand, 60% cacao, you can use semi-sweet chocolate too if you like)
1/2 cup walnuts (or more if you like it more nutty), toasted, cooled and chopped coarsely

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift together flour, soda and salt (if using).
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs until blended. 
  4. Beat in bananas, yogurt and vanilla.  (Mixture will look curdled, don’t worry!)
  5. Fold in flour, chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Put into cupcake liners and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool a little before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.

This recipe made 24 cupcakes as I filled the liners halfway with batter but I think, next time, I would fill them up to almost full as they did not rise much.  Let me know how it goes if you try it.

Happy baking! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marbled cupcakes

I decided to do a little baking for a friend who was moving overseas.  And I thought I'd try something a little different - marbled chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.  All you need is a chocolate batter and a vanilla batter.  Then spoon equal amounts of both batters into the cupcake liners and swirl the batter with a toothpick before baking.  Or you can skip the swirl and end up with a two-toned cupcake.  Just as fun!  Add some icing on the top in a lovely swirl and you have some pretty decent and yummy looking cupcakes!  I used a Wilton 1C tip for this swirl (simply because I had just bought it and wanted to try it out) or you can use the usual Wilton 1M or even a 2D for slight variation.

I used the same tip to make a rosette as shown above.  Simply start your icing in the middle of the cupcake and then press and move outwards clockwise.  Stop icing once you've made a round.

Here's what it looks like on the inside.  In this case I didn't swirl the batter so I ended up with a two-toned cupcake.
Pretty cool eh?  And you get the best of both flavours too! Yum!

Happy baking!  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to make a fondant teddy bear {Tutorial}

As promised, here is my way of making a fondant teddy bear.  Now, by all means, it may not be the 'correct way' (is there a correct way?), it's just the way I've decided to do it.  Feel free to adapt and change it as you go along so your bear has it's very own personality.  So let's get started.  Depending on how large or small you want the bear to be, adjust the amount of fondant accordingly.  Just try to make sure that the body parts are in proportion.  This is also my second attempt at making a bear so I'm still learning too.  :)

I've broken it down into 8 pictures and I'll explain along the way.

1.  Make a large tear-drop shape for the bear's body. 

2.  Make a smaller oval shape for the head.

3.  For the legs, start with a tear drop shape and then using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the bottom part of the tear-drop to shape it into a foot.  This is shown in Picture 3 (before and after).

4.  Make longer tear-drop shapes for the arms.

Now that we have the main parts done, it's time to piece teddy together.

5.   Gently stick a piece of spaghetti or a toothpick into the bear's body.  If you're using a toothpick, then please let whoever it is you're giving the bear to know about it.  Otherwise a spaghetti stick would be safer and edible.  Attach the legs with a bit of water from a brush to the bottom of the body.  Attach the arms around the top of the body with some water too.  You can arrange how you want your arms to hang.  Mine are going to hold a heart.
6.  For the head, flatten a small ball of fondant for the snout.  Use 2 tear-drop shapes for the ears.  Attach the ears by poking a small hole into the sides of the head and inserting the ears with a bit of water.  I usually like to flatten them out a bit more once they're attached and make them more oval.  You can also use a ball tool to imprint a small dent into each ear if you like.

7.  Run a stitching tool up the bear's front body, over the top and bottom front of the head and snout.  If you don't have a stitching tool, use a knife to gently run a line or a toothpick to poke holes along like a stitch.  Or you can leave this step out.  I used the broader end of a piping tip as a curve to indent a smile on the snout.  Now gently attach the head to the body with a bit of water, poking it into the toothpick (or spaghetti).

8.  Add final details for the eyes and nose with a bit of black or brown fondant (or even blue, your choice!).  For the nose, roll a piece of fondant in the shape of an oval (or triangle), and for the eyes, two tiny balls of black fondant.  I made the heart by rolling a tear-drop shape then denting the broader part with a toothpick.  Shape it to the way you like it.  I used a couple of heart sprinkles for the bottom of the feet.

And that's it, your bear is complete!  Add your own personality to it by changing colour or size.  Have fun and do let me know how it turns out!  :)  

If you found this tutorial useful, I would appreciate some comments on it.  Thanks!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentine's Day Teddy

Valentine's Day is not too far off and so I decided I would try my hand at making a teddy bear out of fondant.  There are so many types of teddy bears so you can pretty much do anything you want but I was going for something simple and cute.  This little bear would look lovely on a cupcake or on a small cake or even all by itself! :)

He's holding a little ribbon rose, which you can learn to make here.  I'll come up with a tutorial soon on how to make this little cutey.  Stay tuned! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wedding tier cookie and ribbon rose {Tutorial}

I bought some cookie cutters recently and one of them was this multi-tier cake cutter.  I thought it would be perfect as a wedding cookie - but boy, did it take a lot of work just to decorate one so here is my one and only cookie.  Next time, when I have a little more time and patience, I will come up with some other designs.  Another excuse to bake! :)

The blue flowers were made with the smallest flower cutter I had.  I topped the centres of the flowers with some small silver cachous.  The pleats for the fondant were a pain to make so I think I have to figure out how to make them a little neater hmmm.  The rose petals falling over the cake were made by flattening small balls of fondant until they were very thin and then scraping them off the mat carefully with a sharp knife.  They end up curling like loose petals when you do that.

The ribbon roses are very easy to make and I remembered to take some photos of the steps.  So here goes, my first tutorial on how to make a simple ribbon rose.

Step 1:
Roll a ball of fondant in the colour you want into a log.  Then flatten the log into a strip.  It doesn't have to be an even width strip, what's more important is that the strip of fondant is as thin as you can roll it without tearing it when you pick it up. 

Start by curling one end of the fondant strip like this:  (I would use my fingers to pick up the strip and curl it but for the sake of trying to take a photo, I had to lay it on the mat.)

Step 2:
As you curl the fondant with your fingers, add some pleats or bigger folds to it to make it look like the rose petals are opening.

Once again, I would actually be holding the fondant strip and curling it with my fingers but it was rather hard doing that whilst taking the photo so here it is on the mat again. 

Step 3:
Keep curling the fondant around, adding more folds and pleats, until you get the size you want.

Step 4:
Once you're happy with the shape of your rose, pinch and twist the bottom part (the stalk) and carefully cut off the extra fondant.  You should have your first ribbon rose.  :)

Voila!  My first tutorial is complete, and so is your ribbon rose.  That wasn't too bad was it?  Hope this was as helpful for you as it was fun for me to do! :)

If you found this tutorial useful, I would appreciate some comments on it.  Thanks!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fashionable cookies

Happy new year!  I can't believe it's the start of a new year already.  I hope all of you had a good start to 2011!  I was busy with friends over the holidays and did not have time to bake!  So I'm back now with some fashionable cookies to start off the new year.  I recently bought some cookie cutters and one of them was this high heel cutter.

I also bought these stamps which are Holly Products and they are from Set 10 - Flower embroidery.  I used some of these for my fondant designs on the shoes.

They're really easy and fun to work with and you can come up with endless designs.  Here are a few I made:

I also used a stitching tool from PME to outline the stitches for the shoe. Very cool and easy to use!

I overlaid black fondant for the buckle and heel to give it some contrast.  Add a few silver cachous for some bling. :)

Here's another design using one of the stamps I showed you.  I ruffled a black strip of fondant with a toothpick and then folded it up and pinched the corner to get my ruffle.  Add a silver cachous for bling.

I started of this one using one of the stamps and didn't quite liked the design so I just kept stamping over it over and over to get this effect.  Gives it a different type of texture I think.  :)

And finally, I made the rose with a long thin strip of blue fondant, and just curled it around to give it the rose effect.  Lots of fun to do and am really pleased with my new stamps and stitching tool.  :)

What type of baking have you been up to for the start of the year?  I would love to hear from you! :)

Happy baking!