Category Archives: cupcakes

Creatures & Flowers Cupcake Class with Holly Bell

For those of you who watched the second series of Great British Bake Off will be familiar with finalist Holly Bell. I was a fan of hers from the first episode because she’s local to me, has a similar obsession with Bakewells and (according to insistent family & friends) we are very similar look wise and mannerisms. Yes, I’ve also been known to get the tape measure out while baking, don’t judge me. I’m a perfectionist.

Holly has recently started cupcake and bread making courses at the lovely Bridge 67 Cookery School in Smeeton Westerby near Market Harborough. She invited me along to try the course. The cookery school is based in cute little house on the farm with the kitchen downstairs and the dining room upstairs. It almost felt like we were in someone’s house. I liked that the ovens were (rather nice) domestic ovens proving if you could cook it there we would be able to cook it at home.

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A Surprise Delivery

Nearly every family or friend parties I’ve been to recently have been surprise parties. A good friend’s 30th back in September, a great uncle’s 90th last weekend and a cousin’s baby shower yesterday. Family & friends reading this just remember although I have a significant birthday coming up I don’t like surprises as it means I’m not given the opportunity to go clothes shopping for the event! Before yesterday I hadn’t been to a Baby Shower so wasn’t quite sure what to expect but decided I couldn’t go wrong if I turned up with cake and this was a perfect opportunity to try out a cake I’d seen in Planet Cake.

I was given a copy of Planet Cake at Christmas and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I love the way it is set out and the designs that feature in it. I’m not a total beginner in cake making and decorating but wanted a bit of professional guidance and have found this book perfect for that. I like that this book tells you the exact quantities of icing you’ll need. Something before I wouldn’t have had a clue about. The tip about using piping nozzles for marking the icing, in this case the eyes and mouth, was brilliant. Why I hadn’t thought about that myself I don’t know.

I first set about colouring the icing. I  love colouring icing as in an odd way I find it quite therapeutic. Though I need a bit of practice with getting a light skin tone, this one turned out a slightly more Germolene pink, but I counteracted this by making the little hats on the cake a stronger colour. I’ve learnt my lesson in the past about letting the icing settle before using it as the colours intensify. Last time I used fondant I used a generic brand from the local cake decorating shop and found it dried out really quickly and putting me off working with fondant for a bit. This time I used a block of Silver Spoon ready to roll icing and found it really easy to colour and good to use. Even though it was a warm day when decorating these cakes the icing didn’t dry out at all.

To decorate these cakes I just used a cutter that would provide a circle big enough to cover the top of the cake, No. 2 round decorating tip, couple of cocktail sticks, pallet knife and small piece of kitchen roll. I don’t own the ball tool they recommend to make the ear indentations so just used a piece of kitchen roll wrapped around a cocktail stick. The fondant was secured in place with a small amount of buttercream. I also put a blob of raspberry jam in the cake that seemed to work well. Just a note, these cakes are fairy cake sized unlike the cupcake ones featured in the book to the quantities below are for the fairy cake sized ones.

I think they have a slight Pocoyo element to them and who can argue with the amazing Pocoyo!

Baby Shower Fairy Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
Adapted from Planet Cake

100g caster sugar

100g butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g self-raising flour

raspberry jam

120g butter cream (40g  unsalted butter beaten with 80g icing sugar)

250g skin coloured fondant

100g blue fondant

100g pink fondant

Black colouring icing pen (you could use a small amount of black fondant instead)

small amount of cornflour mixed with red petal dust

1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.

2) In a bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled add a small amount of the flour. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3) Carefully fold in the flour.

4) Fill each liner 2/3 with cake mix. Dollop a tsp of jam on the cake batter just before the cakes go in the oven.

5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool completely before icing.

6) In a bowl beat together the butter, icing sugar and lime juice until light and fluffy. Spread a small amount of the buttercream on top of each cake.

7) Roll out the skin coloured icing until around 3mm thick. Cut out rounds and smooth on to the top of the cakes. Then mark the eyes and mouth then using a small amount of water attach the nose and ears.

8 ) Roll out the blue/pink icing and using the same round cutter cut out rounds. Cut these circles in half then cut a 5mm edge off the semicircle (this will be the ridge on the hat). Stick the semicircle on the head using a small amount of water then attach the rim. Use a cocktail stick along the rim to give the detail.

9) Using a small amount of cornflour and red petal dust mixed together, brush on the cheeks to give babies a rosy glow.

Royal Wedding Mr Whippy Cakes

When deciding what to do for a Royal Weddings bake I wanted to combine my desire to bake something a bit kitsch and the fact that the Royal Wedding means we get a Bank Holiday. What’s the activity Brits stereotypically do on a Bank Holiday, apart from catching up with the DIY and watching Sound of Music? Head to the coast, no matter the weather, and eat Mr Whippys on a wind-whipped beach.

The last made I made Ice Cream Cupcakes was for my Birthday a few years back. Now I own a Wilton1M tip I decided to give these cakes another go. I’m still getting there with my piping technique. What you can’t see is the gaps at the back between the cone and the icing! By the time I make them again at the end of the month I’ll be better. I need to keep remembering to hold the tip at a 90° angle to the cake. Thank you to the people who have also given me the tip to add a small amount of milk to get the buttercream smoother when being piped. I think I got a bit overenthusiastic when beating the butter and sugar.

The best types of colours I find are the gel/paste colours as they don’t water down the icing and allow you to get the intense colours. The colour also intensifies once the icing is left to rest so be aware of this when your mixing it. Since I took the photos for this blog 2 hours ago the colours on the cakes are now very much vivid! The best tips I can give for the buttercream is to please use butter (products like Stork, Trex etc taste awful in buttercream) and whip it more that you think you need to. The more you whip it the whiter and fluffier it will become but don’t go too mad or, as you can see in the photos, while you have super fluffy icing the bubbles in the buttercream give rougher edges.

So what are you making and baking for the Royal Wedding?

Royal Wedding Mr Whippy Cakes
Makes 8-10 cakes

For the cakes
125g plain flour

125g caster sugar

125g softened butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 tsp baking powder

8 flat bottomed ice cream cones

for the icing
120g unsalted butter, softened

240g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

red & blue food colouring

2 Flakes, cut in 1/4

1) Preheat the oven to 180oc. Beat together the sugar, butter and eggs, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

2) Line up the cones on a baking sheet. It does make it slightly easier if you put the cones in the cups of a bun pan or individual silicone cupcake liners.

3) Fill up the cones about 2/3 with cake mix. Don’t overfill or they erupt over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 min, or until they are golden and pass the skewer test. Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.

4) Once the cakes have cooled beat together the butter and vanilla extract then gradually add the icing sugar. Beat until desired consistency. Split the icing in ¼. Colour one ¼ blue, another red and the remaining icing stays white. Spoon into a piping bag. You can either put all the icing in the bag together (like above) or make 4 individual piping bags and put them inside a bigger bag. Pipe the swirls on the cakes. Decorate with a flake. Leave for a few hours to allow the icing to set.

Percy Pig Cakes

Sometimes I have these mad ideas. Why not take something that I love and transform it in to cake form. If you didn’t know, Percy Pigs are fabulous jelly sweets available from Marks & Spencer. The biggest fan I know of Percy Pigs is Cam. Don’t come between him and his beloved Percy Pigs. I’m sure I’m not the only one to spot they have subtly changed the taste of these recently. They used to be raspberry flavoured, but now also have the addition of grape. While playing around with flavour combinations for the cakes I found out that raspberry liqueur topped up with grape juice makes a cocktail that tastes unsurprisingly like Percy Pigs. Ironically Percy Pigs do contain pigs in the form of gelatin so not veggie friendly in the slightest. Don’t waste money on Percy Pig imposters, sorry Eric the Elephant, nothing is the same as these glorious porcine confectionary.

Now I confess, I don’t really like cupcakes or those styled cakes as I often find them too sweet. While I enjoy making and styling them I don’t particularly enjoy eating them. I’d much rather a slice of banana bread or carrot cake. Now if only I could make these type of cakes prettier and more presentable. I made a batch of these experimental cakes a few weeks back and while I wasn’t totally happy with the icing I made, they still went down well. Take it from me, don’t try to put grape juice in the buttercream. It still tastes fine, but gives a slightly odd texture to the icing. Stick to grape flavouring (if you can find it)

Percy Pig Cakes
makes 12 fairycake sized cakes

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp raspberry extract/powder (raspberry liqueur will also work) or 1/2 tsp grape extract.

Packet of Percy Pigs

Buttercream icing

90g unsalted butter

180g icing sugar

Raspberry extract (again raspberry liqueur will also work)

1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.

2) In a bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled. Mix in the vanilla & raspberry extract.

3) Carefully fold in the flour.

4) Fill each liner 2/3 with cake mix.

5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool before icing.

6) In a bowl beat together the butter, icing sugar and raspberry extract until light and fluffy. Pipe icing onto cakes.

7) Place a Percy Pig on top of each cake.

Introducing my Little Helpers.

Although I teach children how to cook as a day job I don’t have children of my own so while at a family party to celebrate Guy Fawkes night I recruited two little helpers in the form of Cam and Immy to help me road test some Silver Spoon products including black food colouring (used on my Black Velvet Beetle Cakes), writing icing, chocolate letters, coloured coco beans and sugar strands.

Let me introduce my two new helpers:

Cam (aged 6) loves: Percy Pigs, hates: lamb

Immy (aged 10) loves: swimming, hates: onions

I made the chocolate fairy cakes and basic buttercream before hand then the Little Helpers had free rein to try the different ingredients and decorate them how they liked. As that night was the family bonfire party from early on Cam decided he wanted his cakes to look like bonfires, of which he did a superb job and Immy’s were inspired by fireworks. Cam was very much drawn to the edible glitters (from Cake Decor) in my cake decorating box and christened them Cake Makeup. One thing I did realise when processing these photos is that my camera hates taking photos of items with edible glitter on them, it just doesn’t know where to focus and leaves the pictures blurred. Apologies to Immy & Cam as these are the best pictures I got.

Cam’s verdict:

I really liked the chocolate letters they were tasty, but I couldn’t spell all my words because lots of letters were broken. The coloured coco beans were my favourite.

Unfortunately lots of the chocolate letters were broken when they arrived with me or the letters broke when being taken out of the packet. I think the packaging could really be improved to stop breakages. There also seemed to be a distinct lack of common letters and soon ran out of useable letters.

Immy’s verdict:

The writing icing is really hard to use and Jules had to help us. When the icing did come out of the tube it was difficult to control where it was going and getting it to stick. I liked the coloured coco beans the best, they are like mini smarties!

I have since found tips on how to make the writing icing easier to use.

Along with cake making they carved some pumpkins and made Guys to go on the fire. Family tradition states that I’m in charge of the mulled wine/cider and Hubs chief firework lighter as it satisfies the pyromanic in him. After watching the display we all come back inside for a big family dinner. This year’s dinner was a delicious slow roasted lamb with roasted vegetables accompanied with Beyerskloof Pinotage then followed by a cheeseboard and sticky toffee pudding. Perfect meal for Bonfire Night if you ask me.

Cam & Im are now my official testers for food related to products aimed at children and have said how they would love to try more things. Be warned Cam & Immy give Gregg Wallace & John Torrode a run for their money.

Black Velvet Beetle Cakes

We don’t celebrate Halloween as such in our household. Well we don’t trick or treat or encourage trick or treaters, but I do use it as an opportunity to take something and give it a gruesome twist. Last year was a Sweeney Todd Pie to accompany my Mrs Lovatt costume. This year as inspired by a copy of A Zombie Ate My Cupcake the publishers kindly sent me I used the instructions in the book on how to make black beetles and designed a cake around it. I used marzipan to make the beetles as I had some left from a cake decorating job. In amongst the marzipan beetles modelled on cockroaches and scarab beetles there is one little beetle with friendly eyes. This was the first beetle I made but decided the cakes would be too cute if he was on all of them.

Why have I called them Black Velvet cakes? well given Red Velvet cakes are essentially chocolate cakes with a bucketful of red food colouring (I duck as cake spatulas are hurled at me from Red Velvet Cake enthusiasts) added I decided to christen these Black Velvet cakes because they are simply chocolate cakes with black food colouring added to darken the colour. Weirdly although I used my usual chocolate cake recipe they tasted more chocolatey with the addition of the black food colouring. I’m sure this is purely psychological because the colouring makes the cakes look richer. I’ll admit cocked up slightly with the icing. My own fault for not adding the icing sugar gradually. I added too much icing sugar and it turned almost in to a paste, but I was able to spread it on to the cakes without too many problems. Thankfully in this case the icing was acting more like a glue and would be hidden under the edible dirt.

Gross fact: black marzipan when accidentally rolled the wrong way looks suspiciously like mouse/rat/bat droppings. While this could have given the cakes a rather disturbing twist I didn’t think the recipients of the cakes, Hubs’ workmates, would appreciate it or ever ask me to bake for them again! I’ve entered these cakes to English Mum’s Big Autumn Bakeoff.

Black Velvet Beetle Cakes

makes 12 fairycake sized cakes

80g self-raising flour

20g cocoa powder

100g caster sugar

100g butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

black food colouring

Topping

90g unsalted butter

150g icing sugar

1 tbsp cocoa powder

black food colouring

100g marzipan

edible lustre dust (I used antique gold and snowflake)

70g oreos, just the biscuits minus the cream filling

1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.

2) In a bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3) Fill each liner 2/3 with cake mix. Bake for 15-20 min until risen and pass the cocktail stick test.

4) While the cakes are cooling make the beetles. First knead black food colouring into the marzipan until evenly coloured. Pinch off a Malteser sized piece of marzipan and roll into a rugby ball shape. Place on a piece of clingfilm and gently press to flatten. Shape into a beetle shape. Mark the head and wings using a teaspoon. Add additional detail with a knife and cocktail stick. Brush lightly with lustre dust. Roll six mini sausages out of the marzipan about 1.5 cm long. Attach two of the legs near the head and the other four to the rear. Leave on the clingfilm to dry for  few hours.

5) In a bowl beat together the butter, then gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa until light and fluffy. Slowly add the black food colouring until you have the desired colour. Adding a small amount of red dye can help it stop looking like something you may concrete bricks together with. Using a pallet knife use nearly all of the buttercream to coat the cakes.

6) In a blender blitz the Oreo biscuits (or similar chocolate biscuit) then coat the cakes with this edible dirt. Pat down slightly to help it stick.

7) Place a small blob of buttercream on the bottom of the beetle then stick on to the cake. It helps keep the beetle on the cake if you mould it slightly to the shape of the cake.

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes

To counteract the unsummery weather we’ve had recently I wanted to inject some sun into the kitchen. Lemon is one of my favourite ingredients in both sweet and savory cooking and decided to play around with my fête fairy cakes recipe. This time I swapped the custard powder for cornflour as I didn’t want the vanilla to dominate, but still wanted to have the light fluffyness that both custard powder and cornflour give to a cake.

For baking these I used individual silicone cake cups and they are slightly bigger than traditional fairy cake cases, but not as big as cupcakes. To be honest these cases and a spatula are the only piece of silicone bakeware I would recommend. In my experience the other type of silicone bakeware just don’t work, are a pain to transfer to the oven, nearly always still stick, don’t keep their heat well, which inturn doesn’t bake the food as well. For every other type of baking I stick to traditional metal pans.

I wanted to use the mini jelly lemon/orange slices I had seen for sale somewhere recently, but could I find them when I wanted them? nope. I remember when we used to get these fruit slices in our stocking at Christmas I deemed them as the height of sophisticaion. My perception of sophistication has changed somewhat since then. Instead of decorating them with the elusive lemon slices decided to decorate them with some of the lemon zest.

One of the first things given to me from my Mum for my kitchen was a citrus zester. At first I thought “what on earth would I do with a zester”, but I can honestly say it is one of the best gadgets I own. Rather than the fine zest a grater produces it produces long ribbons of zest which is ideal for decorating. Plus I have less chance of adding part of my finger to the dish than I would with a Microplane. For a loaf version of this cake try Tara’s Lemon Drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes
Makes 12

140g unsalted butter, softened
140g vanilla sugar (you can use normal caster)
3 eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cornflour
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
100g icing sugar, sifted

1) Preheat oven to 190oc. Arrange cake cases in fairy cake tin. Beat together butter and vanilla sugar then one by one beat in the eggs.

2) Into the bowl sift flour and cornflour then fold into the batter until ingredients are well combined. Stir in lemon zest. Half fill each cake case with the batter.

3) Bake for 15 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

4) Beat together icing sugar, lemon juice and boiling water until you have a smooth icing. Using a teaspoon drizzle the icing over the cakes then leave to set.

Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes

It’s that time of year again when I break up for the summer holiday and celebrate my birthday. As Hubby & I have known each other for 9 years he knows exactly what I like. With the KitchenAid for my birthday last year and the trip to River Cottage for Christmas he outdid himself yet again this year with an iPhone for me. I’ve been talking about buying myself one for ages, but have been saving up. For my birthday I also got some beautiful flowers, lovely set of new saucepans (after the handles fell off my old ones), microplane grater, Lothian raspberry vodka from Demijohn and some other lovely foodie gifts. What you can’t see in the photo above was that 3rd Birthday was the birthday I got a Fisher Price kitchen set for my birthday, a sign of things to come?

To celebrate my birthday we had a BBQ, something of which has come a bit of a tradition. Thankfully the rain held off and in amongst the various vegetables and raised beds we had a barbecued shoulder of hogget (sourced from a smallholding friend) along with some tomato focaccia, roasted new potatoes, beetroot hummus and salad.

For after the BBQ I made a peach melba jelly and also wanted a nostalgic cake. When I saw the Ice Cream Cupcakes on Mums Who Bake a few weeks back I knew they would be perfect. As a child I can remember how much I loved the marshmallow filled ice cream cones that were a treat and any trip to the seaside was incomplete without a Mr Whippy. As strawberries often featured in my childhood birthday cakes I wanted to add the pulp from the last few strawberries from the garden into the icing.

One thing about traditional cupcakes is that I’m not a big fan of buttercream as I find it too sweet, so decided to try a cream cheese frosting. Well, I have to say I’m converted to cream cheese icing. Although it doesn’t last as long as buttercream and it isn’t as stiff, it’s not as sweet as buttercream and absolutely delicious. I could quite happily just eat the icing! I really enjoyed my making these cakes and I’m going to try and do more swirly icing on cakes now I’ve found an icing I like. Still need a bit more practice with the icing bag and I’m going to try and see if I can find bigger icing nozzles as the shops here have quite a limited selection.

One thing I did learn from this is don’t overfill the ice cream cone or it will dramatically burst and dribble cake mix down the cone.

Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes
Makes 8-10

For the cakes
125g plain flour
125g vanilla sugar (or caster sugar)
125g softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp baking powder
8 flat bottomed ice cream cones

For the icing
240g cream cheese, cold from the fridge (it has to be the full fat version or it won’t work)
80g softened butter
150g – 190g icing sugar (to taste)
the pulp of a few mashed strawberries
3 full sized flakes cut into 1/4

1) Preheat the oven to 180oc. Beat together the sugar, butter and eggs, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

2) Line up the cones on a baking sheet. It does make it slightly easier if you put the cones in the cups of a bun pan.

3) Fill up the cones about 2/3 with cake mix. Don’t overfill or they go everywhere! Bake in the oven for 15 min, or until they are golden and pass the skewer test. Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.

4) Once the cakes have cooled beat together the butter and cream cheese then mix in the sieved icing sugar to taste. Fold in the strawberries then pipe onto the the cakes. Decorate with a flake.

5) If you want the icing to be a bit firmer, chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Fête Fairy Cakes

Today is fête day, but with storm clouds rumbling outside and showers of hail I’m seriously thinking it is going to be called off. Like all good fêtes we have a cake stall. As I’m renowned for my general cake geekiness I thought I should contribute to the cake stall. No nipping off to Tescos and trying to pass their cakes off as mine, for me!

I decided to make something that I haven’t made in years. While cupcakes have been à la mode for the last few years I wanted to go English Old School and go for the cupcake’s daintier, less ostentatious cousin – the humble fairy cake. Until I made this batch I had forgotten how much smaller the fairy cake is compared to a cupcake.

As I’m not a huge fan of icing at the best of times, though I love the look of big cupcake swirls, I wanted to use a thinner icing that could be brightly coloured with ease. This icing acts more like self-levelling concrete and hides all the cake imperfections and also can hide a cake if it hasn’t risen as much as you hope. Frankly I wanted another excuse to play around with my new food dyes.

I found the animal decorations in the back of my baking cupboard. Hubby bought them when we attempted chocolate covered apples, but thankfully I found hundreds and thousands before we made them; and yes these sugar animals were still in date. Hopefully the cakes sell well and make some money.

There is a secret ingredient, well not so secret as I’m about to tell you, that goes into these cakes; and it’s custard powder. The custard powder does 2 things. It makes the cakes fluffier as well as flavouring the sponge. Hubby tasted one of the cakes last night and spotted the subtle custard taste. I don’t really use custard powder for making custard, I prefer proper custard or a tin of ambrosia (yes I know, but there is something very comforting about it!) and use it in baking more. If you have any custard powder you can use cornflour to help keep the cakes fluffy. Of course cornflour alone won’t flavour the cakes so add some vanilla extract.

This recipe is based on a Good Food recipee, though I have altered the method and icing.

The storm is getting worse…I wonder if these cakes will end up on the staffroom coffee table tomorrow instead.

Fairy Cakes
makes around 20

140g unsalted butter, softened
140g vanilla caster sugar (you can use normal caster)
3 eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g custard powder

for icing
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp boiling water
food dye (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 190oc. Arrange cake cases in fairy cake tin. Beat together butter and sugar then one by one beat in the eggs.

2) Stir in flour and custard powder until ingredients are well combined. Half fill each fairy case with the batter. Don’t over fill or you won’t have room for the icing to puddle.

3) Bake for 15 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

4) Beat together icing sugar, lemon juice and boiling water until you have a smooth icing. Colour with dyes if wanted. Using a teaspoon slowly pour the icing on top of the cakes. You can guide the icing somewhat as to where you want it to go. Once you have finished icing, cover with sprinkles and leave for the icing to set.

The Fizzy Drink Cupcake Experiment

The 6 week holiday boredom has truly set in. So much so that my science geek side has emerged and I decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen. Proof I have officially lost the plot. This was all inspired by Cakespy’s cake challenges and various recipes on Craftster.

After seeing Nigella’s recipe for Coca-Coca cupcakes it got me wondering… Which fizzy drink makes the best cake?. Rather than the usual cola I decided to pick some truly British fizzy drinks – Tizer, Vimto (my personal favorite), Irn-Bru and Dandelion & Burdock.

I hasten to add this blog entry should also be entitled “How to make ugly cupcakes”. The last time I made cakes looking so decidedly dodgy was when I was 8.

Method

I used the Nigella’s coca-cola cake recipe but omitted the cocoa. To make enough for 4 sets of cakes, I doubled the recipe, then divided the cake mix by 4 before adding the various fizzy drink/butter mix. The icing was simply 110g of icing sugar for each flavour of cake mixed with 90ml of the fizzy drink.

I used paper cases as various recipes around the internet suggested that the cakes can go very sticky.

To make it a fair test all cakes were cooked for the same part of the oven for exactly the same amount of time. At the end of the 15 min all had passed the “skewer test”

Results

Resulted in an *cough* interesting mix of cakes some of which I certainly will not replicate again! Others however, with a bit of tweaking, could make good cakes.

Dandelion & Burdock

This drink makes me reminisce my childhood. The taste is unlike any other fizzy drink out there. In terms of cake baking it produced a fluffy well risen cake and you could certainly taste the D&B in both the cake and icing. The D&B tinted the cake and icing nicely.

Irn-Bru

Irn-Bru is one of those kind of drinks that you haven’t a clue what it is meant to tastes like, but it’s delicious especially with a bag of open chips from the chippy. It is also the unofficial national drink of Scotland. I didn’t realise until I did this experiment that Irn-Bru has caffeine & quinine in it. Why you need quinine in Scotland is another question for another day.

Considering the amount of artificial flavours and colours in Irn-Bru it produced a so-so cake. Only a very slight colour change in the icing and cake. It just tasted sweet rather than Irn-Bruish. Not as fluffy as the D&B cake. It also had a slightly greasy texture.

Vimto

Vimto is my favourite fizzy drink of all time, it is also great in the cordial format. Never drunk it much as a child as I was always made to believe it was expensive! It made cakes with a pleasing purple hue and noticeable Vimto taste, however was almost verging on being too sweet. Like the D&B cake with a bit of tweaking it could make a nice cake. Didn’t rise as well as D&B.

Tizer

Although they look like quaint little Bakewell Tarts , they turned out to be a bitter disappointment…where do I start. They have to be one of the worst cakes I have ever tasted. Cakes shouldn’t have a chewy texture! Although they had passed the skewer test after cooking, they looked promising…until about a minute later when they just collapsed leaving a lovely crater for the icing to pool in. They also leached a load of grease while cooking. Euch. There was no change in colour of the cake or icing. Interestingly Tizer was the only drink that I experimented with that said “No artificial colours, sugars or flavourings” so I wonder if this had something to do with it.

The said cakes are now infusing the compost heap.

Conclusion

Dandelion & Burdock makes the best cake, as for Tizer, never again unless you want a chewy greasy mess.

Things I learnt while cooking the cakes:

* When the little old man in the Newsagents questions why you are buying so many crazy coloured fizzy drinks, don’t admit to the fact you’ve lost the plot and want to cook cakes with them.

* I have a innate ability to make as much mess as possible while cooking. Cake mix down the washing machine? KitchinAid covered in cake mix? You name it, I can get cake mix on it.

* Cupcake cases are not a universal size, I must have picked up tiny ones and ended up with double the amount of cakes I had originally intended.

* The cake mixture is incredibly watery and it is easier to pour it from a jug rather than trying to spoon it in…yes I did try spooning it.

* Hubby does have the ability to be honest when it comes to my baking. I don’t blame him as I thought the same!

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