Sunday, 29 June 2014

Home Made Funfetti Cake

My Momma was an amazing cook.  As an adult with 2 children of my own now, I marvel at the dedication and time she took to prepare our meals each day.  Every day was an elaborate family style spread.  A main course with several sides to choose from.  Neighborhood kids would linger close to supper time in hopes of an invite to join our table.  And it was ready each day at 5:30 like clock work as soon as my Dad got home from work.  Yes my Momma was an amazing cook, but she was not a baker.  We only had cakes on our Birthdays and then it was a Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake with frosting from the tub.  And we loved it.

So maybe that's why even today I'm not totally opposed to the box cake mix.  Let's face it, there are a few out there that are actually quite special.  And one of my favorites is Funfetti. I set myself the challenge to see if I could come up with a homemade recipe to rival the Funfetti box mix and I think I have. 
480g all purpose flour
460g caster sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 1 teaspoon salt
250g unsalted butter room temperature.
4 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300ml whole milk
Confetti Sprinkles

Sugar Syrup:
50ml water
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 175C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt several times.  Add to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix well.  Cut butter into chunks and add a little bit at a time.  Mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and add the vanilla to the eggs.  Whisk together.

Add the egg vanilla mixture a very little bit at a time to the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Add the milk and beat for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Remove from mixer and add the confetti sprinkles, as many as you like.  Gently fold into the mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Pour into prepared cake tin and bake.

Cupcakes are ready in approximately 20 minutes.

Cakes approximately 30 minutes, but test to make sure it is done before removing. 

While baking make the sugar syrup.  Combine water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

Once the cake is out of the oven let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.  Then take a skewer and poke holes all over the cake.  Pour over with the syrup mixture then leave cake to cool completely.  

It was such a pretty cake I couldn't bring myself to lash it in Buttercream, so I trimmed the sides and served it naked with a bit of icing on top.  

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes

Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 24 cupcakes) 

For the frosting
200g full-fat cream cheese
200g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

For the sponge
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
Punnet of raspberries, plus extra for decoration
For the sugar syrup
150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
150g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 175C / gas mark 4
To make the frosting
Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.  Place the butter, icing sugar and lemon zest in a separate bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, to the butter mixture and mix at medium-high speed until the frosting is combined.  Chill until set.  

To make the cupcakes
Place the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy.  Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly pour into the butter mixture while whisking quickly.  If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 2 - 3 tablespoons of the flour.  This will rebind the batter.  Once all the egg has been incorporated into the butter mixture, sift the flour and stir until the batter is just combined.  This ensures the sponges stay light and fluffy.
Using a piping bag or tablespoon, place the batter into the cupcake cases until two-thirds full.  Drop 2 or 3 raspberries into each cupcake.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, depending on your oven.  The cupcakes are cooked when the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch.  If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge, it should come out clean.    
To make the sugar syrup
While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the sugar syrup for soaking.  Place the lemon juice and caster sugar into a saucepan and bring to boil.  Simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved.  Set aside to cool down slightly.  

Once the cupcakes are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven.  Using a pastry brush, soak the tops of the cupcakes with sugar syrup while they are still warm; this allows the syrup to be absorbed faster.  Remove the cupcakes from the trays and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
To decorate
Prepare a plastic piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.  Fill with the chilled frosting.  Pipe a swirl of frosting on to each cupcake, and top with a raspberry.