under the sea cupcakes.

So it’s another baking post…

…honestly I will get around to doing something about fitness soon, in fact thanks to one of my housemates, I’ve got one planned!

But back to the blog in hand; this time it’s under the sea cupcakes, I baked them as a birthday present and the inspiration came from this image, I couldn’t find the source of the image, so I thought why not have a go and make my own version – and what’s even better is that these are a very easy cupcake to make, it’s more about the decoration; the actual cupcake it’s very technical at all…in fact I think they’re the easiest I’ve ever made, and even the decoration is simple!

under the sea

under the sea cupcakes

The cake batter is an all-in-one type mix made in a food processor (if you don’t have one just throw all the ingredients in together and use a hand mixer).

So once again this cupcake recipe can be broken down into elements, three this time: the cake, the chocolate butter icing and the decoration. Firstly let’s start with the chocolate cupcake mixture and it’s from the Great British Bake Off: How to Bake book , although I’ve adapted it to suit our needs here, removing the orange elements from the recipe and adding cocoa to boost the chocolately flavour.

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Ingredients (makes 24)

250g (90z) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

480g (1lb 1oz) self raising flour

560g (1lb 4oz) caster sugar

50g (2oz) cocoa powder

160g (5 1/2oz) unsalted butter

480ml (16fl oz) milk

4 large eggs at room temperature

Method

  1. First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 180˚C (Gas mark 4 / 350˚F).
  2. Put the flour, cocoa powder and sugar into the processor and blitz together under combined.
  3. Add the butter and blitz once more under you have a sandy texture.
  4. In a separate jug quickly beat the egg and milk together (the processor will do the rest in a second!)
  5. With the processor switched on pour the egg mixture down the spout of the processor until it’s all combined into the batter.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and when it has a smooth glossy finish to it, pour it into the batter mix and blitz until well combined.
  7. Divide the batter amongst the cupcake cases, (I find using an ice cream scoop makes this easier to get the cake batter dived equally amongst all the cases). I bake two times twelve totalling twenty-four cupcakes; make sure that you don’t bake them all at once, and all your cupcakes are on the same height in the oven, so that you get an even rise from all of the cupcakes.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, you’ll know they’re done when inserted a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool completely before moving on.
Leave to cool completely

Leave the cupcakes to cool completely before moving on, why not give them a nice view of some sunflowers whilst they do?

Chocolate Butter Icing

This is a slight variation on the butter icing we used in the coconut cupcakes, but the basic principals are the same, we’ve replaced coconut essence with vanilla, and introduced cocoa powder and an extra spoonful of milk to account for the extra dry ingredients. I used two quantities of this mixture to ice my twenty-four cupcakes, it’ just depends on how liberal you are with the icing!

Ingredients

110g (4oz) unsalted butter

450g (1lb) icing sugar

85g (3oz) cocoa powder

4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

  1. Beat the butter in a bowl until it is very soft, then add the salt and vanilla essence and beat together
  2. Add about a quarter of the icing sugar and beat into the butter mixture until it’s fully combined.
  3. Add a spoonful of the milk and then follow with more of the dry ingredients.
  4. Repeat this until all of the cocoa and icing sugar is combined in the mixture
  5. Beat this until light and fluffy. It should be a nice rich chocolatey flavour.

Decorating

As for piping these, well I’m still learning, but I found it easier this time. I employed two different techniques; the full swirl (for the seaweed ones) and also just a ring around the outside with a small blob in the middle (to stick the other decorations on).

I bought some handy disposable piping bags from a local department store, they make life so much easier when it comes to icing, and cleaning up! Amazon has lots of these to offer, they’re relatively inexpensive too.

I use a tall glass to aid in the filling of the piping bag, pulling it over the top of the glass and then just spooning enough of the icing to fill the bag half way, and then squeeze it down to the bottom, moving it around to get any air bubbles out of the mixture. Twist the top and apply pressure with one hand and guiding it with the other. Here’s another quick tip, put your cupcake that you’re icing on a tea towel, that stops the icing pulling the cupcake around in a circle as you try to ice it.

As for the rest of the decorations, well I was running out of time and I cheated a little, buying the sugar flower paste and sugar paste that I needed for this. I bought the white cake covering, or sugar paste, from ASDA and it was £2 for a 1kg, which is just about as cheap as it’d cost to make from scratch. (I normally do make it from scratch, so I’ll go through how to make it in another blog, but for now here’s an excellent website that actually learnt from in making sugarpaste for the first time.) I did colour it using paste colours that I’ve collected over the past year or so. Just breaking off the right amount and using a cocktail stick slowing adding bits of colour and kneading it into the icing. As for shaping them into the right shapes, well I wasn’t really too sure how to do it, so I just went for it. So sorry that I don’t have step by step photos of exactly what to do here. But, so long as your hands are clean, it’s just like making play dough models!

The seaweed however I can lend you some tips on how to make them. I mentioned earlier that I bought sugar flower paste, I think this is what they call “gum paste” in America. But it’s normally used to model flowers with, and my skills are far less superior to those that can make sugar flowers. However the great thing about this icing is that it’s pliable when warm, then if you let it air dry it sets solid and hard, which makes it perfect for what I wanted to do here. You can buy all different sorts of this icing, however I bought it pre-coloured as it’s quite a foreign material for me I didn’t want to over complicate it this time.

How to roll sugar paste seaweed

Roll out the sugar paste to approx. 1-2mm thick. The good thing about this stuff is that it’s quite dry so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or surface, but it’s also quite sturdy, so it’ll let you roll it out nice and thin without it breaking apart.

Cut a thin triangle of the sugar paste, place one finger about 5mm from the top and twist the bottom.

If it’s a tall enough triangle repeat this to get a couple of twists in it. Place this carefully on a plate and repeat. When you’ve got a fair few place them into the fridge to set before decorating the cakes with them. Then just set them in the swirled cupcakes, randomly so it looks as natural as possible. I interwove the strands of seaweed for a more realistic look.

And one final thing I tried out this time; I’ve never used a cupcake box before, but after this bake I can so recommend in investing in one or two. They’re disposable, made from corrugated card, but can be reused then recycled and again pretty inexpensive. It made transporting them far easier than previous efforts! Here’s another link for the one’s I bought.

under the sea cupcakes

So there you have it, under the sea cupcakes! I hope you enjoyed this post and are perhaps inspired to give it a try. For my next post I think I’m going to challenge myself, I’m thinking cinnamon swirls/buns, similar to cinnabons….oh and yeah a fitness post…that’ll come soon enough too!

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