Totally Unicorn Cupcakes

I’m really bad at updating this. Sorry. But also, not really that sorry. I mean, I’m doing life shit, you know? Those entire bags of chips aren’t going to eat themselves.

Nah but seriously, I do need to work on posting stuff at least in a relatively timely fashion. This blog entry refers to cakes I made about a month ago. Eep. Anyway, I made some unicorn cupcakes, to coincide with seeing a great band from out of Sydney, Totally Unicorn.

If you’re not familiar with them, they kinda look a bit like this:

Pic credit: themusic.com.au

They also sound a bit like this.

So yeah, have to make adequately fabulous cakes for such a fabulous band. Unicorn cakes are all the rage at the moment, just look up any baking social media account and you’ll see truckloads of unicorn nonsense. It made my job of finding a unicorn horn tutorial pretty easy though, so that’s cool. I made the horns a couple nights in advance, by winding two long bits of fondant around a toothpick, then rolling in glitter, letting it harden slightly, before gently taking the toothpick out and letting them set completely. You can keep the toothpick in, but I wanted things to be edible without worrying about chomping down on tiny wooden sticks of death.

These are just simple vanilla vegan cupcakes with vegan icing. To make the icing rainbow, I separated a batch of icing into 3 bowls, coloured them with different pastel colours (pink, blue and green), before spooning different colours into a single piping bag. A lot of them turned out more green than I liked, so I added more pink and blue for the last few. Easssyyyy. Topped them with a horny horn, and they were good to go!

They went a bit thin and limpy after awhile, so I don’t recommend taking unicorn cakes to a music festival in the hot Australian sun. But still tasty!

 Oh and uh… made a little cheeky cake, for the ladies.

   Hehe.

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Halloween Harry Potter Cakes

It’s Christmas Eve, so I thought I better post what I did for Halloween, haha. My friend Jordan asked me to make cakes for her Harry Potter themed 25th. I had a blast coming up with different cake ideas! Everything was vegan which added that extra level of challenging, but it was worth it. Sorry for the dark photos, I took a lot of them at night time. Many thanks to my friend Gerry for lightening them up so they were somewhat usable!

The centrepiece cake was vanilla with a coconut caramel sauce layer. The icing was a bit sloppy but it kind of works on this cake. I topped with popcorn, pretzels, Oreos, and shards of chocolate bark I made from dark and vegan white chocolate.

I also made sorting hat cakes, and filled with vegan hard candy, so when you bit into the cake coloured candy would spill out, revealing your house! I used fondant for the sorting hats. Really chuffed with how these turned out!

Last but not least, I made pumpkin spice cupcakes, topped with a glace cherry painted in orange dust to look like a miniature pumpkin. I wanted to use glitter but orange glitter was not available. Still, pretty pleased with the result.

I had a blast making these for Jordan and I can’t wait to make more magical cakes in the future!

Rolo Tomassi // Cosmology Cupcakes

Anyone who knows me semi-vaguely knows that I generally prioritise two things in my life: music and baked goods. Being in a position where I can combine the two makes me feel real good! I’ve done a couple music-themed cupcakes now, including Blink 182 cupcakes for my friend’s 23rd birthday, and these cupcakes that I baked for one of my favourite bands, The Dillinger Escape Plan. I think most people can identify with having music that resonates with them, and taking the opportunity to thank/feed my favourite musicians and give something back to them is one of the things that make me honestly happy.

When I heard that Rolo Tomassi were coming back to Australia, I knew I wanted to bake them treats, and I wanted them to be unique to the band. I’ve been a fan of these guys for about seven years now, and they’re not only on my favourite UK label Holy Roar Records, but their US distributor for their latest album is another favourite of mine, Ipecac Records. They’re one of the most hard-working yet super chill bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. The cupcakes are based on their band logo from their 2015 release Grievances, and one of their earlier records Cosmology. I’d been wanting to try make galaxy cupcakes for awhile, so this was a good chance to give it a go! It took a bit of planning to get the effect I wanted, but I think I’ve got it – tutorial will be posted below.

Since some of the members are vegan, I made the cupcakes completely vegan-friendly. I used a basic vanilla recipe for the cakes and frosting, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, a book that Eva had given me for Christmas a few years ago. It is one of my most used cookbooks (if you could tell from going back through my blog), and is just super versatile. I did a bit of a hunt around for black fondant, and found Fondtastic brand (who confirmed through Facebook message that their products are vegan).

To make the logo cupcake toppers, I rolled out the black fondant, cut out circles using a round cookie cutter, and painted the logo on by hand using silver edible paint. The galaxy ones were a bit trickier. To do those, start off with some black fondant, then colour small amounts white fondant using vegan food colouring (I used Wilton gel colouring). Make them the galaxy colour of your choice (I used white, pink and purple).

Tack random small blobs of colour onto your large black fondant ball, then press them in gently. You don’t want to mix the colours too much though, or you’ll just get a grey blobby mess. Then grab a rolling pin and roll it out to get a rough marbled paint effect.

Cut out circles using a round cutter. At this point, I added extra effects by painting blobs of colour using metallic purple paint, spraying and adding various types of glitter, and finally using a brush to fleck white drops of Wilton colouring to make ‘stars’.

The effect is pretty cool, if I do say so myself! I think overall including baking time this took maybe an hour and a half of my time. It’s actually pretty simple, but super impressive if you do it right!

FYI I wouldn’t normally recommend carting cupcakes around to pubs on a rainy night in Melbourne, but I managed to lug these ones around safely! Or safe enough to get into everyone’s bellies, heh heh.

Cookies and Cream Cake Bars

About a month ago it was my friend Jess’s birthday. Jess has recently had her second child, and needless to say with two boys under the age of three it has sounded like a very sleepless experience! I’d been meaning to drop off some meals and stuff to help her out but hadn’t gotten around to it, so by the time her birthday came around I thought it’d be a good idea then to make her and her partner some dinner and cake so they could relax for the night (or as best as you can under those sorts of circumstances).

Lately I’ve been really admiring cake decorating styles that use multiple textures and interesting ways of topping cakes. I recently bought some silicone cake moulds in the shape of bars from Kmart, so decided to try them out and see how they went (also a low-key way of reducing paper waste from cupcake wrappers!). Since Jess is allergic to dairy, I decided to make these completely vegan. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and added some crushed Oreo biscuits (I scraped off the icing from the Oreos and used it in the frosting for the cakes – no wastage!). 

Getting the cakes bars out of the moulds was an interesting experience – I have now learnt that you should let them cool a bit before getting them out so they don’t completely break apart, haha. The frosting is a combination of Nuttelex and icing sugar – I put about a quarter of the mix in a separate bowl and dyed it pink, and mixed crushed Oreo biscuit in the remaining frosting. I then experimented with a couple different piping nozzles to get the different textures, then dusted leftover Oreo dust over the icing, and topped with a mini Oreo (be careful as apparently not all the different Oreo flavours are vegan – I checked the ingredients of the mini ones and they seemed to be okay).

Myself, our friend Ness had afternoon tea with Jess for her birthday and enjoyed scoffing these down – although I think Jess’s two year old may have enjoyed his share of sugar a little too much! Probably a good thing I also dropped off a healthy chickpea tahini salad for dinner, haha.

 

Vegan Vanilla and Peach Curd Cupcakes

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My friend’s daughter Peach turned 4 this week, so I made cupcakes to take to her birthday party! I wanted to play on her name and make peach flavoured cakes, but of course with it being winter here in Australia, peaches aren’t actually in season. I settled for some tinned Australian-grown peaches to make a peach curd 🙂 I also used some peach liqueur made from Balingup here in WA, using local produce. Then I remembered this was supposed to be a children’s party haha, so I also made some plain vanilla cupcakes without the curd.

Making a vegan curd sounds difficult, but it actually is easier to make than regular curd! Without eggs you don’t have to worry about cooking weird fruit-flavoured scrambled eggs! And even though it’s not as rich, without egg or butter to mask the fruit it packs a stronger fruit flavour. It’s basically a semi-solid fruit juice. 🙂 

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Vegan Peach Curd (makes enough curd for 12 cupcakes):

3/4 tin of peaches in juice (with the juice)
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup margarine (I used Nuttelex)
1-2 tbsp super fine cornflour (corn starch/cornmeal)
1 dash peach liqueur (optional)

1. Puree peaches and put over low-medium heat until simmering (don’t let it burn). Add caster sugar until dissolved. Add margarine and and stir until melted and incorporated. Add peach liqueur (if using).
2. Mix some water into cornflour until it makes a liquid, then add cornflour while stirring the peach mix. The liquid peach should firm up and become a consistency similar to regular fruit curd (this will become firmer as well as it cools).

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I baked vanilla cupcakes, took out the centre and filled it with the cooled curd, then topped with vanilla frosting made with margarine, icing sugar, and peach coloured food dye. Overall I’m really happy with the result and especially with the peach curd, gonna do it with a lot of different other fruits I think!

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Squishy curd! Hehe!

Rainbow Cupcakes

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Baking is just a hobby for me, but I’ve been very lucky that friends and family have approached me to make cupcakes for special occassions. I’ve done birthdays, engagements and even a couple of weddings, and it blows my mind sometimes that a rookie like me gets requests for my cakes. Crazy! This time, a friend of mine asked me to make some cupcakes as a thank you gift for the doctors and nurses at Princess Margaret Hospital. Her son J has been very sick the last few months that involved him having to be revived twice and staying in the ICU for several weeks. It sounded like a very scary time and I can’t imagine the stress that she and her partner (and little J) went through!

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To that end, I wanted to make some bright and cheery cupcakes now that J is getting better. This is by no means a new idea, but I’ve always wanted to make these rainbow cupcakes. They’re so simple but so clever! And super cute! The cupcakes themselves are a simple vanilla with blue and white buttercream. The rainbow sour straps were a bonus for me, since as someone who doesn’t eat gelatine, I could eat the leftovers! Haha. I also topped the clouds with a fine silver glitter spray, and sprinkles. Yay!

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I made some extra for mum and dad, plus some to match my leggings 😉

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Canada Day Cupcakes

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This week, my brother left for Canada. It’s only his second time overseas and he’ll be gone for about six months! To send him off, I made some vegan maple flavoured cupcakes for him and his friends to enjoy at his going away party last weekend.

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Unbeknownst to me, my local supermarket chain has discontinued my usual go-to brand of vegan fondant, so in a panic I decided to make my own using glucose syrup, corn flour, icing sugar and gel food colouring. Handmaking fondant was really messy and a bit tedious, so I hope to find a replacement fondant brand soon! It worked okay, just a bit soft. I think next time I will try and chill the fondant a little bit before cutting out any shapes from it, to avoid wilted looking maple leaf toppers.

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I’m not sure if he did it deliberately or if it was a coincidence, but my brother made it to Vancouver just in time for Canada Day! Happy Canada Day, Canadians!