Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Welcome to the New Site Design!

As you may have already seen, Cupcakes, Cake and Passion has had a little revamp!

(cue a celebratory sable biscuit and a cup of tea!

The layout is clean, clear and much more easier to read with some simple yet bright colours. There maybe some tweaks and changes over the coming weeks. If you lovely readers don't already know about the blog improvement survey, then what are you waiting for?
Basically, I want to know what you ladies and gents want to see from the blog. Whether its more cooking recipes or reviews, I really would like to know to improve your reading experience. 
So please take less than 5 minutes to take the survey to make this blog more smexier, tastier, yummier and fabulous-ier!

Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 25 April 2014

100 Happy Days Challenge-Complete (Round-up of funny pictures)

On the 5th of January I set myself the 100 Happy Days Challenge and on the 15th of April I managed to complete that challenge! All the details are here

However, it wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. There were often days when I had a really crappy day and I thought that it wasn't worth posting any pictures up, however, I always found something to be happy and grateful about. I was often a little late when posting pictures up, but I don't feel that I necessarily failed the challenge. Even if I did, I continued and noticed that in the 100 happy days:

  • I found that I was more cheery. 
  • It was easier to get out of a bad mood, if I was in one.
  • My battery on my phone drained quickly because I took more photos then I normally do. 
  • Even the most ridiculous things made me more optimistic.
  • I realised that I'm very lucky to have the life I have and have wonderful people in it. 
  • I take a lot of pictures of food...
So here's the run-down of the best photos:

Winner of Cutest Text Message: Day 9! Thanks Lucy for this! Miss you too.

Winner of Most Happy Promoting of a Society: Day 12. Don't Becky and I look great with our purple SFOCP T-shirts?

Winner of Most Tipsy Person is Day 17! Afternoon cocktails did this to me. 

Greatest Moonch Award goes to: Day 19. Hannah I owe you a Crunchie!
Cutest Picture Award goes to: Day 34. Rob is quite the minon artist isn't he?
 Most Ridiculous Selfie goes is awarded to Day 74. MOVING ON QUICKLY!

Most Disney Related Picture goes to: Day 86 because memorising the "Let It Go" and watching the film isn't enough!

Blurriest Coffee  picture goes to Day 3! Lauren we need to do coffee more often. Just not as blurry. 

Messed up thing in a tree award goes to Day 29. The picture says it all.  

Best drawing on coffee belongs to Day 32. Harvey looks epic on this latte :)

Cutest couple (bleh) moment goes to Day 33. Couple moment... MOVING ON!!! 

Most MESSED up poem ever written definitely goes to Day 47. Rapidly moving on....

Most Lovable Panda award goes Day 49. Socks + Pandas= Warm Feet!

Most Irish Photo goes to Day 70. Irish guy wearing an Irish tie, thank goodness this isn't a regular thing.
 Bestest Cake Ever Award goes to Day 96! This good design and great taste

Best bubble tea photo goes to Day 83. Miss you Sof! We'll need to moonch our way through China-Town again!

If you enjoyed looking at these pictures check out the album on the Facebook page. Want to start your own Happy Day Challenge? Enlist yourself here. Email me to tell me how you got on. 
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Red Velvet Cake with Blue Lace Butterfies

"Remember, Sofia has no idea about this birthday meal. Keep it quiet! So I'm thinking red velvet cake?" I read the message that my friend sent and was like: "Yessss!! Cake commission!!"
This particular cake was for a good friend who I've made birthday cakes for in the past.   

Red velvet is one of those cakes that has that luxury feel, and it wouldn't be the same without a white icing but trying to incorporate blue, (which is Sofia's favourite colour) was tough. But after a great deal of thinking, inspiration came in from an insect form. 

I was waiting for the bus when a butterfly flew past me and as I got home I was reading my cookery books for inspiration and a royal icing tutorial jumped out at me and guess what? It featured butterflies. Clearly a sign right? Or maybe just an odd coincidence? Whatever the case, the end result was worth the extra effort. 

I was very please how this cake turned out. Not because it was tasty and super sugary (because that's what you need after a heavy meal...), but more because my best friends was thrilled with the cake. 

I hope that we made your birthday really special Sofia.

These delicate butterflies are just that, DELICATE! Make extra because there will be causalities but there worth the effort in the end as they look so pretty. You have to leave these to dry overnight, so do these before you bake the cake. 

Recipe: Lace Butterflies (Adapted from Divine Cupcakes by Tamara Jane)

·       1 egg white
·       Ice blue colouring paste
·       300g icing sugar
·       ½ teaspoon lemon juice

·       Electric mixer/hand-held electric whisk
·       Sieve
·       Bowl x 1
·       Baking paper
·       Foil
·       Paper
·       Pencil/pen
·       Edible glitter in pink
·       Disposable piping bag
·       Scissors

Step 1. Beat the egg white
1.    Beat the egg white with an electric mixer until foamy.
2.    Add the icing sugar gradually beating well after each addition.
Step 3. Colour the icing
3.    Icing is ready when peaks appear and holds shape. Beat in lemon juice and food colouring. 
Step 4. Trace a butterfly template
4.    Trace a butterfly template (use a simple one as a complex template will be tricky) onto paper and place the baking paper on top.
Step 5. Fill the piping bag
5.    Fill the bag with royal icing and cut the point off the bag so there is a 1mm diameter.
Step 6. Pipe the thin line to create the butterfly
6.    Pipe a thin line over the template. Once finish sprinkle with edible glitter and allow to dry overnight.
Step 7. Place on decorated cake 
7.    Peel off the paper and use to decorate the cake by placing around the sides of the cake.
8.    With the remaining icing pipe your message on top of the cake.

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake
·       75g unsalted butter, softened (plus a little extra for greasing)
·       300g caster sugar
·       2 eggs, beaten
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       225g plain flour
·       3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
·       1 ½ teaspoon red food colour paste
·       125ml buttermilk
·       1 tablespoon white vinegar

·       Wilton Tasty Fill cake pan
·       Electric mixer/hand-held electric whisk
·       Sieve
·       Bowl x 2
·       Tablespoon
·       Teaspoon

1.    Pre heat the oven to 180c/350c/ Gas mark 4. Grease and flour cake tins.
Step 2. Sift all dry ingredients together

2.    For the cake, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a separate bowl. Stir in the food colour paste into buttermilk.
3.    Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the creamed mixture. Stir in the vinegar, mixing well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins, dividing it evenly. Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until firm to touch. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Recipe: Bulk Vanilla Buttercream frosting (Adapted from Divine Cupcakes by Tamara Jane)
·       200g unsalted butter, softened
·       125ml milk
·       1 tablespoon vanilla extract
·       2kg icing sugar, sifted
·       Electric mixer/hand-held electric whisk
·       Sieve
·       Bowl x 1
        Palette knife
       Optional piping bag fitted with a nozzle
1.Using a large mixer, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar and beat for 3 minutes or until light a fluffy.
Step 3. Beat until spreadable
3. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until it is a spreadable consistency.
Step 4. Spread  the buttercream into the middle of the cake.
4. Once the cakes are completely cooled you can start putting some of the buttercream into the middle of the cake. 
5. Spread the rest of the buttercream over the top and sides of the cake using a palette knife ensuring it is as smooth as you can get it. 
6. If you have any leftover buttercream (depends on how thick you like it on your cake), you can place some in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to swirl around the edges. 

Its not as hard as it looks and is worth the effort and the smile on peoples faces when they see a 3-D cake.

Bake On! Penny x

Monday, 14 April 2014

Simnel Cake aka Easter Fruit Cake

I know what some of readers are thinking:

  • "Where have you been?"
  • "What on earth have you been doing to not publish on this blog?!"
  • "Where did I put my sandwich?"

Well in order:

  • In classrooms, at work or eating.
  • In the world of revision and university coursework. Its not a good holiday destination. 
  • I most likely ate your sandwich because of all the revision and travelling I've been up to. 

I've been darting back and forth to London, to celebrate my friends birthday and my own birthday as well. I've also been doing revision for the ridiculously hard last year of university. So excuse my blogging absence for the next few weeks. There will be some pictures, tweets and the occasional facebook update but until the exams are completely over! Woo!! So onto this weeks recipe post:

(PS there is a serious lack of pictures-This is due to me not being at my home computer. My bad! UPDATE: pictures have been added) 
Its nearly Easter again, where chocolate officially is on the menu. As much as stuffing your face with chocolate is possibly the best thing in the world, its sometimes best to step away from the cocoa. 
Instead why not try and bake this fruity alternative to chocolate?

This traditional light fruit decorated with marzipan. This Easter cake originated in the UK, which is served at the end of Lent. At times the marzipan balls (make your own jokes) are toasted using a blowtorch. There are 12 marzipan balls to represent the 12 apostles and Jesus minus Judas. 

Recipe: Simnel Cake

·       75g sultanas
·       185g currents
·       75g glace cherries (chopped)
·       75g mix peel
·       75g steam ginger (finely chopped)
·       2 lemon zested and juiced
·       1 orange zested and juiced
·       165g strong flour, sieved
·       2 tsp ground cinnamon, sieved
·       2 tsp ground nutmeg, sieved
·       1 tsp ground ginger, sieved
·       30g ground almonds
·       130g light brown sugar
·       130g soft unsalted butter
·       2 eggs
·       1 egg yolk
·       pinch of salt
·       (A little bit of milk, if necessary)
·       Marzipan 
·      Food Colouring (optional to colour the marzipan)


·       Chopping board
·       Large knife
·       Grater or zester 
·       Bowl
·       Small Bowl
·       Electric hand held whisk/spatula
·       7 inch cake tin lined with silicone paper
·       Sieve
·      Fork
·       Rolling pin
·       Flower cutters/bunny cutters/ other Easter decorating cutters

1.Combine all the flour, spices and ground almonds in a bowl.
2.Beat the eggs and the egg yolk in a small bowl with a fork.

3.Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and

  fluffy. Beat the eggs slightly and add gradually to creamed mix.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula and mix until just combined.
5. Fold in fruits, zests and orange and lemon juice. (Add milk if needed to dropping consistency.)
6.Bake at 300f/150c/Gas Mark 2 for 45 minutes in the lined cake tin. Insert a cake skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean then its done. 

  7. Once the cake is completely cool cut in half.
Step 8. Cut a circle of marzipan for the middle layer
Step 8.Middle layer
  8. Roll out marzipan and cut into a circle that's large enough to cover one layer of the cake.
Step 9. Make indents for decoration
  9. Roll out another circle of marzipan and make small indents
around the edges. This is for the top of the cake. 
  10. Decorate as desired: Bunnies, chicks and flowers are excellent! I made flowers using coloured marzipan
Have a fab Easter! 

Bake On! Penny x
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