Monday, July 19, 2010

White Jaffa Cupcakes - Putting my Planet Cake skills to use!

        After attending the Planet Cake Decorating Course and coming home with a bag of leftover fondant, I knew I had to at least try out some of what I'd learnt and use up the fondant before it spoilt and became rock hard. I thought I'd decorate some cupcakes this time as there was no real occasion for a large cake and I don't think I had enough fondant to recreate what I did in the class.

        I need to make my cupcakes in order to decorate them, I was originally going to make just a plain buttercake with white chocolate ganache but decided I should at least put in a little effort and make a nice cupcake while I was at it, aftter constantly going backwards and forwards flipping through my books I still hadn't decided on a cupcake flavour. Then I had an idea of just doing a chocolate jaffa cupcake, simple but yet interesting with a citrus kick.
        So I set about buying my cream and butter etc assuming I had plenty of chocolate melts at home. Upon inspecting the cupboards I barely had enough dark chocolate melts to even make a ganache let alone a batch of cupcakes. I had plenty of white chocolate melts though, enough for ganache AND cupcakes. At first I thought the chocolate jaffa idea was out the window, "what am I going to do with this orange?" I thought to myself, "Oooh white chocolate jaffa!".

        I used the white chocolate cake recipe from the Planet Cake book which I had used before, this time though with the addition of the juice of an orange and the zest. I found the cake to be a little dry last time so didn't alter the ingredients to accomodate the extra liquid. (I did possibly overbake last time as it was a HUGE cake).

        The recipe yields for approximately 48 small cupcakes (plus or minus a few) though the first lot that were baked were not quite as full so they didn't dome up as I imagined them too.

        My gorgeous little white chocolate and orange cupcakes or "White Chocolate Jaffa".

        I also made a matching ganache for the cupcakes using the zest and juice from the same orange, I actually made this first so that it would set while I made the cupcakes, once it was flavoured to my liking I used the rest of the orange for the cake batter.

The ganache has set ready for spreading/covering the cupcakes.

        There are two stages in getting the cupcake to a smooth finish. With the soft ganache I cover the cupcakes and get the surface as smooth as I can - at this stage it won't be perfectly smooth and flat yet. I let the cupcakes dry and set and then dipping my palate knife into hot water I run it over the cupcakes to smooth out all the little bumps and uneven surfaces. You can see the difference in the photo above. I still need practice doing this.

        It really is tiring work ganaching all the cupcakes, I cover about 2 dozen cupcakes and then soften the ganache in the microwave and just dip the rest of the cupcakes in for more of a 'glazing' effect.

        Here's a cupcake cut up for sampling, the cake is spongey and moist and the citrus comes through well but is not overpowering. I quite like the combination. The cupcakes are left overnight to set so that the ganache is hard and forms a protective cover for the cake.

        I've gone out and bought some tools to help me decorate my little babies. The fondant as I said is leftover from my Planet Cake course so didn't really have any option in colouring. There is more green than ivory which means that my cupcakes will have a green base and I use the ivory fondant for the 'decorations'.

        So I roll out my icing and use a round cutter to cut out the tops for my cupcakes. The cupcakes are brushed in an apricot syrup before they are covered with the icing. I use my smoother/buffer to press down the icing and smooth out the surface, not quite perfect as you can see. If the ganache underneath has any lumps or bumps it will show through the icing, as you can see my ganaching skills still need improving.

         I use two designs from the Planet Cake book, try and copy the one that I learnt in the class and the other designs are what I could do with the cutters I had. The first design is a dragon fly, I actually had a go at doing this while at the Taste of Sydney festival at the Planet Cake stand.

Pretty little dragonflies.

        The next one is a bow design, these are all the pieces needed to make it.

The two parts of the bow ready to be attached to the cupcake.

        I thought they looked a little odd, then realised I got the proportion all wrong, little cupcakes with oversized bows.

        This is pretty boring here, four leaf clover? I just used the heart cutter and cut out four hearts and attached them as shown. I have seen this done before though.

        Next I try and copy the 'exploding' design which I learnt. Being such a tiny cupcake I wasn't sure if it would work. This is step one, it's the contrasting colour which you want to be seen 'inside'.

Step two, looks a little rude here somehow =D.

        Step 3. I think I put too much syrup which has made the icing all sticky and wet which in turn made it hard to get the design right. The one far right I think was the best one.

My 'exploding' cupcake.

        Just playing around with fondant here, was hoping for a two toned spiral of some sort and this is what I got.

        My butterflies, I think it was a four petal flower cutter which I then cut in half and rolled a small long piece for the body.

Simplicity, just some flower cupcakes.

        So here's my tray of a dozen home made and decorated cupcakes. I spent about 2 hours in the kitchen (just decorating) which my mum thought was ridiculous. For a first go I think I didn't do too badly. Makes me appreciate the people who do it for a living though I really can't justify paying the price for one of these but for looks wise and if you want to impress they probably are worth it. I gave these decorated ones away to my cousin and my friend Di for their birthdays, perfect birthday presents don't you think?
        I also gave some to my other cousins. My uncle was impressed with them asking me if I was thinking of going into it professionally or something because everytime I send over a box of goodies I keep outdoing myself.. He said they looked really good and the cupcakes were fantastic and most importantly moist, the best work I've done so far. Now this uncle is probably my hugest critic ever (used to own a huge baking business too), so getting two thumbs up from him is pretty amazing. I don't think I will persue this type of cake decorating but you never know =). 


chocolatesuze said...

i <3 the butterflies and the dragonflies!

Anonymous said...

Lovely cupcakes and OMG! my favourite jaffa favour! Love your cupcake decos. Brilliant!

Maria said...

Good job Angie!I never have the patience for the fiddly stuff :)

Anh said...

your cupcakes deco skills are soo great. Love love them :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Well done Angie! You did a great job recreating them at home! :D

Here Comes The Aeroplane said...

But what did they taste like? ;)

Richard Elliot said...

They look amazing!!! I especially like the exploding cup cake.

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Very cool looking cakes. You have put in so much effort and all the little decorations look great.

penny aka jeroxie said...

how cute! I wish I could be as creative as you.

OohLookBel said...

You are so good, putting your Planet Cake skills to use - I did the course years ago and still haven't rolled a single piece of fondant :( Your designs are really delightful, too!

Ladybird said...

Lovely cupcakes :) Using fondant is so much fun.. you can let your creative side loose!

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said...

Gorgous decorations - so very professional! I don't think spending all that time decorating is ridiculous - just appeals to that inner kid with playdo right?

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Suze: Yeah I think they're my faves too =)

Hi Ellie: Thanks! =)

Hi Maria: Thanks! Oh I don't really have that much patience but I thought that I need to learn, especially when it comes to decorating/food presentation

Hi Anh: Aww thanks hehe I do need more practice

Hi Lorraine: Thanks! The next challenge will be to recreate the exploding cake as it is!

Hi Rachel: Lol erm they tasted like orange flavoured white chocolate mudcake? =p

Hi Richard: Thanks! Yeah the 'explosion' is quite cool, will attempt it in original size again I think

Hi Mark: Thanks! It was worth the 2 hours hunched over the kitchen bench =D

Hi Penny: Thanks! Hehe I don't think I was as creative as I wanted to, I'm creative in other areas but struggle to be creative in food.

Hi Belle: Thanks, well for the price you pay for one of those courses I can't let it it go to waste!

Hi Ladybird: Lol I wouldn't call fondant fun... =D

Hi Forager: Thanks! Lol ohhhh playdo yes the rolling and moulding and sculpting... nice way to put it!

Jen said...

Haha, well done, your exploding cupcake is way too awesome!

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

loving the dragonfly design! fantastic cupcakes angie!

Olive said...

Hi Angie!

your cupcakes are so cute, I love the flavors too.. white chocolate and orange, I'm going to try it! :)

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Jen: Thanks! =) Will have to do the 'explosion' again some day in normal size.

Hi Amy: Yeah the dragonfly is pretty awesome and so simple to do. Thanks =)

Hi Olive: Thanks! Hope it turns out for you.