A few years ago I received an absolutely incredible birthday present from a good friend of mine which was a cupcake decorating class at The Make Lounge. The Make Lounge is situated in Angel and runs a variety of creative workshops for beginners to craft experts and lovers. I went along solo and although there were a group of friends celebrating a hen evening, I didn’t feel left out at all as everyone was so friendly and happy to be there. With crisps, chocolate and plenty of wine it was bound to be a fun filled evening and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The instructor was Louise Hill, absolutely lovely and running her own business in cake sculpting, she had bags full of tips and advice from the best butter to use when baking (apparently the unsalted Waitrose own brand!) to where to buy your edible glitter for the cupcakes (from the Make Lounge of course!)
The cakes were already prepared so the 2 hour workshop was learning how to do the piping on the cakes as well as creating roses out of marzipan, however Louise did provide the recipe which was good news for us as the cakes were absolutely delicious. She made both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and I use the recipe repeatedly as it is such a winner.
I hadn’t baked these cupcakesin some time, due to lack of birthdays recently or events where I could pass them off and not end up eating them myself, however it just so happened to be one of the girls’ last days at work last week so I decided I would do some baking as a leaving treat. The recipe makes 24 cakes and after following the recipe and making 24 for my birthday I decided to reduce it slightly to make 18 this time. I’ve kept the recipe here to make 24 but if you do want to reduce it simply divide it to create your required amount.
100g unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
380ml boiling water
350g plain flour
4tsp baking powder
1tsp salt 224g good quality unsalted butter at room temperature
400g granulated sugar
4x large free range eggs
3tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 165/170 degrees. Place 24 cupcake cases in your cupcake tray.
4) Using a hand mixer, mix the butter on a medium setting for a full 3 minutes, scraping the sides a few times. Set a timer to ensure you mix for the full 3 minutes. 5) While still mixing, gradually add the sugar over about one minute. Continue to mix for 4 more minutes. The mixture should become very light and fluffy (as you can see below-looks just like a cloud!) 6) Now add the vanilla extract and mix well. 7) Next add the eggs, one egg at a time, mixing well in between 8) Sieve the flour into your mixture and mix until just incorporated. 9) Now add the cocoa mixture, mixing until just incorporated, no more. 10) Fill each cupcake case about 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes until cooked. 11) Check that the cupcakes are cooked by sticking a skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean the cakes are ready to come out of the oven. If it is not clean, leave the cakes in for a further 3 minutes. Time for the buttercream!! Ingredients:
250g good quality unsalted butter at room temperature
450g icing sugar sieved
1tsp good quality vanilla extract
2) Whisk together at a low speed progressing to a medium speed once the ingredients have been incorporated together (I mixed my ingredients together for 30 seconds first without turning the electric whisk on)
3) Add the final half of the icing suagr and mix for a further 4 minutes. Set a timer on your stopwatch to keep watch. 4) Put the mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle and slowly squeeze the piping bag starting on the outside rim of the cake and create a circle. Continue this inwards created a spiral shape on the cupcake. Unfortunately my buttercream was just that bit too runny which made it harder to get the perfect finesse for the top however this just means I’ll have to bake them again! When I do them again I will definitely buy some edible glitter to scatter over the cakes as well as they give them that extra sparkle!
Unfortunately after six years The Make Lounge is now closing but if you go onto their website http://blog.themakelounge.com/ it links you to some other fantastic places ranging from cafes to warehouses which run fun and creative workshops too.
I went home after my cake decorating class with 6 beautifully decorated cupcakes, 3 vanilla, 3 chocolate and was very proud to show them off. With some more practice and some better piping equipment I’m sure I’ll get them up to the same standard that I managed in the class next time.