Tag Archives: Buttercream

Girls’ Night In 2011

My sixth annual Girls Night In was actually an afternoon in this year. The idea is to stay in and donate the money you would have spent on a night out towards the fight against women’s cancers. It’s a cause close to my heart and I’m lucky to have family and friends so willing to contribute. And, of course, it’s a good excuse to get together and have fun! In the past, we’ve had dinner and played a game like Taboo or poker. This year, it was an afternoon of pink treats baked by me and shared between the eight of us.

Two of my guests are gluten-intolerant so I provided a selection of gluten-free treats as part of the spread. My aim with any gluten-free baking is to make something that everyone can enjoy, rather than a poor alternative to desserts with gluten. Sometimes I modify a recipe I have and other times I bake a treat that does not require flour of any kind. It’s easy to modify many recipes by using gluten-free flour mix instead of wheat flour. I’ve had good results with most recipes, especially the Hawaiian carrot cake I made back in July. This pink cake is from the same recipe I used for the rainbow cake in June; however, this time I used gluten-free flour mix and made three layers instead of six. Each layer baked for about 30 minutes. I had no real issues with the gluten-free flour; the taste and texture of the cake were comparable to one with gluten. To assemble the cake, I made a big batch of pink-tinted buttercream frosting. The cake held together well when sliced; popping it in the fridge for just a short while can help the frosting “set” and make it easier to cut.

The other gluten-free treat I baked was pink macarons. Most macaron recipes are gluten-free, as they call for almond meal, icing/confectioner’s sugar and egg whites, so I didn’t have to modify the recipe at all to make it gluten-free friendly. (Check your icing sugar is gluten-free, as the manufacturer may have blended it with something other than corn or tapioca starch.) I tried unsuccessfully to make macarons once before but I’m pleased to say this time went smoothly. Some leftover swiss meringue buttercream between the biscuits was the finishing touch. These were the most popular sweets on the table, I should have made twice as many to keep up with the demand!

The recipe for the chocolate cupcakes was the German chocolate cake recipe from the Baked Explorations cookbook. I used milk chocolate instead of dark and baked 36 cupcakes for about 25 minutes. This is definitely my favourite chocolate cake recipe to date, so expect to see it some more in Katie’s Kitchen. The frosting is swiss meringue buttercream piped on with an open-star tip. Remember to serve the buttercream at room temperature. Sweetapolita has some great tips to help you make this light and fluffy frosting.

My mission every October is to find the special edition pink-and-white M&Ms in stores. Last year I missed out, so this time I started looking early in the month. They are now sold exclusively in IGA stores in Australia, so that makes them a little hard to come across. I called five IGA stores before I found some in stock. Of course, I then raced over and bought a fairly restrained amount of four bags. Thirty cents from each packet goes to the McGrath Foundation. I just love colour-themed M&Ms in general! (I’ve already stocked up on the red and green Christmas packs.)

At the supermarket, I also picked up some tasty berry yoghurt coated rice cakes, as they are gluten-free and most importantly pink. Fresh strawberries, musk sticks, cheese, dip and crackers rounded out the afternoon’s snacks. Each guest went home with a goody bag of chocolates and a mini bottle of body lotion or body wash in sugary-sweet scents. As a result of the afternoon, the Cancer Council will receive a nice-sized donation from my family and me. Thank you to my grandmother, aunties and cousins for their generosity again this year.

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Icing and Frosting

These are my two basic frosting/icing recipes. I don’t usually measure the ingredients but here is a basic method:

Cream Cheese Frosting

 About 400g cream cheese, softened
 4 cups sifted icing sugar mixture
1 cup (about 230g) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

 Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

 Buttercream Frosting

 250g butter, softened
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Icing sugar mixture

 Beat butter with electric mixer until soft and whipped.
 Add vanilla.
 Add sifted icing sugar mixture 1 cup at a time and mix until well combined. Keep adding icing sugar until you get the consistency and taste you like. If it gets a little dry add some milk.

 

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Pink Ribbon Day Fundraiser

Coconut cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting

On November 8th I will be running a 10km fun run to raise money for the Breast Cancer Network Australia. Today is Pink Ribbon Day so at work I organised a fundraiser with proceeds going to the BCNA. I made kitchen sink cookies, coconut cupcakes , vanilla cupcakes and cookie dough truffles. (Info on the truffles coming soon) My co-worker Eve made beautiful orange and almond cupcakes. We sold them for $2 each or 3 for $5 and raised $100. Better yet, my boss is going to match the amount we raised! Thank you to my co-workers for alway supporting my fund-raising efforts.

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More Birthday Cupcakes

Happy birthday Jess, may this one be a happy one!

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Super Bowl XLIII

Brownies with buttercream frosting ‘grass’.

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Koala Cupcakes

Seven poor little un-iced white chocolate mud cupcakes sitting in a container feeling unpretty. What to do? Turn them in to koalas of course! The directions are in the current issue of New Idea magazine, but the basics are grey buttercream frosting, coconut, marshmallows, black jelly beans and brown mini M&Ms.

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Cupcakes gone wrong

Update: I think the problem of the not-right cupcakes was that I was overfilling the cupcake patties. Dilemma solved!

Yes, sometimes baking goes wrong in Katie’s Kitchen. Sometimes, for reasons unknown! My mission was to make gluten-free cupcakes and regular cupcakes for my cupcake-themed 27th birthday party. In attempt one at these gluten-free vanilla cupcakes, I forgot to add the baking powder. I ended up with an un-risen mess of half-baked cupcakes.

In attempt two, all was going well, or so I thought, until I went to get them from the oven and found the cupcakes again were an un-risen mess! I knew I had added all the ingredients this time so I was baffled. I gave up on making gluten-free cupcakes, my gluten-intolerant friend Leonie would have to have store-bought gluten-free chocolate biscuits instead. 

I tried making another batch of the cupcakes, this time with self-raising wheat flour. Still no good! The cupcakes didn’t rise properly and some spilt over the edge of the pan. Off to the store I went to get fresh eggs, baking powder and self-raising flour, with three hours to go until my guests were to arrive.

No more trying to make vanilla cupcakes this time, I went straight to my trusty Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook and made white chocolate cupcakes. Success! No disasters this time, they all rose well. I didn’t halve the ingredients this time, I made the full recipe – and ended up with about 40 cupcakes.

Some of the cakes were used in a cupcake decorating contest at my birthday party, some cupcakes were eaten at my good friend Michelle’s baby shower, and some cupcakes are now iced in pink buttercream frosting, ready to be taken to my co-workers tomorrow.

The aftermath of the cupcake decorating contest at my 27th birthday party

(yes it was a cupcake-themed party)

This is Michelle’s niece stealing the Jaffas and M&Ms from the tops of the white chocolate cupcakes at the baby shower

Pink buttercream frosting on top of the white chocolate cakes for my co-workers.

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St Patrick’s Day Green Velvet Cupcakes

No, I’m not Irish, I just love any excuse to bake! Would you eat green velvet cake?

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Carrot Cupcakes

This is my old faithful carrot cupcake recipe. There is a lot of butter in it, I think it would still work well with less. Sometimes I top them with buttercream frosting, sometimes cream cheese frosting and other times I leave them plain. Walnuts are optional, I didn’t use them this time. The recipe makes 6 Texas-size cupcakes, 12 small cupcakes or 1 cake in a 20cm long loaf tin. They took almost 30 minutes to cook through. I believe the recipe is originally from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, however come across the recipe when I was in high school – in my Food Technology class. I think these won over my now father-in-law a week before I married his son. Thank you cupcakes!

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Carrot Cupcakes

Combine 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and two grated carrots.

Mix in 185gm melted butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.

Stir in 1 cup self-raising flour, 1 cup sultanas (golden raisins) and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts.

Pour into tray – a lined loaf tin, 12-hole cupcake tray or 6-hole Texas size cupcake tray.

Cook for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius for small cupcakes, or 30 minutes for whole cake or large cupcakes. Test with skewer.

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Birthday Cupcakes


White chocolate mud cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

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