week nineteen

nine recipes made

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wedding.

Today was the big day. Well, not for me, technically, but my first big cupcake project (besides the blog, obviously) was due today, so it was sort of big for me too! 64 cupcakes (I know, weird number, but I had 16 per batch and I did four). And what do you know, people actually liked them! Three cheers for me, and of course, three cheers for the newlyweds: Jakke and Lies!

So, like mentioned before, I used Wilson's Decorative Icing for the topping, which I colored withWilson's food colorant (Kelly Green) and then iced the cupcakes with decorator bag and a closed star tip.

 which gave about this effect:

After that, I added two of the rolled roses to each of the regular cupcakes and one big rose and a heart to the bride and grooms' cupcakes, and last added some edible hearts by rainbow dust, which were really tiny and cute:

I must say it went a lot easier than I had expected, and I'm really quite pleased with the final result.

At the wedding reception we had a home-made cake tower (with plates and glasses) and the effect was really stunning! I got a lot of compliments on how pretty they looked and how good they were (though I have to admit I thought they were a tad bit too sweet) and overall, I'm really pleased and proud of myself!

And once more, congratulations to the happy couple!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wedding madness, 3.

A quick update!

I'm right on track with all the wedding madness, thank goodness.
The wedding is Tuesday, and right now I have 64 cupcakes, 142
small roses, two big ones and two fondant hearts. I'm doing the
icing on the day itself, Tuesday, so I'll have to work my ass off,
but I'm confident that I'm going to get it all done in time. Plus, my
mom's helping me, so we've got two pair of hands working on it.

Go, go!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Wedding madness, 2.

Thank. God.

Well, let me just give you a bit of the background info on why I'm really, really happy right now.

When I visited the cupcake shop I talked about in my last blog, the owner told me that you should
probably calculate about two hours for each rose you have to make. Since I had about 50 to 70
roses to make, that did not exactly make me happy.

Anyway, I went back today to buy all my stuff (rolling fondant, icing and food colorant, cupcake
shapes, a silicone roller, and a bag and piece to ice the cupcakes) and I decided to give the roses
a try already.

the fondant

It turned out much better than I initially expected. I suppose the owner of the shop
had another type of rose in mind (bigger or more elaborate, maybe) because me and my mom
rolled fifty roses in just half an hour time. They're drying in an egg box right now, and they look
pretty adorable if you ask me! But hey, feel free to be the judge of that yourself.

 the very first rose

the whole lot so far

We've only finished maybe one fourth of the package, if not one fifth, so we'll have a lot more roses than initially expected. So instead of one I'm going to put two or three roses on each cupcake. I think it'll look 
better in the end anyway. On to the next fifty!

Update: It's day two of rose-folding now, and I have 107 roses finished. I need about 33 more, so I should be finished tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wedding madness.

Well, a friend of mine is getting married after being with her guy for years and years - he turned out to be quite the romantic, who'd have guessed? - and she asked her facebook friends if anyone was up for making some desserts for her reception. Obviously I volunteered. I'm not sure if that was a good idea yet, but I figured it was a good opportunity to get some experience, and maybe try my hand at some more elaborate decorating.

She's having about seventy guests so I'm going to try to make between 50 and 70 cupcakes (she'll have more dessert options so she's not counting on me solely - thank God and I've figured out how I want to decorate them. The wedding colors are lime green and wine red, so I'm going to work with those.

About that time, my mom told me about this new cupcake shop in Antwerp, called Mayas. It's one of the only ones we have in Belgium, and the only one close to me, so I was extatic. They have just about everything you need to decorate cupcakes and the owner is very friendly - she gave me some great tips and we had a lovely chat.

If you guys are from Belgium, you should definately check it out. http://mayas.be

My initial idea was butter-creme, but the shop owner told me that butter creme would melt really fast in this kind of weather (I should have figured that out by myself, smart) and that a better option would be icing. They have it already made, so that's really handy, I'd just have to add the food colorant.

So, the idea to use lime-green icing, and then roll some wine-red-ish roses from rolling fondant, to put on top.

My inspiration came from the following, which are just plain adorable.

I'm worrying a little bit about time, since it's already on the 13th of July and I'm going to a music festival until the 5th, but I hope that a week is enough to roll, ice, bake and decorate. I guess I better step it up a bit.


And we're back to cupcakes. I don't know, I think cupcakes have more charm than regular cakes. Plus, it's easier to get rid of them in the end. You can take them with you when you're going somewhere, whereas that's harder when you've got an entire cake. I like mini, better.

Lavender-honey cupcakes.
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.


for the cupcakes:
230g soft butter
230g fine white sugar
230g selfrising flour
4 eggs
1 theespoon vanilla-extracts

for the frosting:
240g fresh cream cheese
300g powdered sugar (filtered)
115g lavender-honey
blue food colorant
2 spoons of dried up lavender

Preheat the oven to 200°C and get about 18 cupcake-shapes ready.

Mix all the ingredients for the cupcakes to a smooth, pale mixture and fill the cupcake forms. Bake them about twenty minutes and let them cool of for five minutes in the oven before taking them out. I actually mixed the lavender - except for a few pieces I saved for on top of the cupcakes - through the cupcake mix.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese with the powdered sugar until it's light and creamy. Mix the lavender honey thruogh it, and add some drops of colorant.

Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting and the rest of the lavender.

I've never tried anything food with flowers in it. In fact, I even googled lavender to double-check that it's really edible - it just doesn't make sense to me (much like the savoury cupcakes before). Did you know how many flowers are edible? Quite a lot, actually. Anyway, I figured it was worth the shot and that I - probably - wouldn't die if lavender turned out to be not-so-edible-after-all.

The taste is very peculiar, but pretty subtile in the cupcakes. The frosting turned out much, much too runny so I didn't end up using it on all the cupcakes (which is quite a waste..) to avoid sticky situations. They turned out alright, nothing too fancy, but original and definately not poisonate. Hey, I'm still alive to type this, right?


Since the last big cake - my first one - turned out pretty good, I wanted to try another one. I did this one in the same week as the last one (my scedual only went wrong AFTER that), but the result was.. well, a little different.

White chocolate and raspberries
from ""500 taarten & cakes" by Fergal Connoly.

140g white chocolate
110g butter
140g fine white sugar
4 large eggs, split
1 teaspoon vanilla-extract
85g flour
35g almonds
200g fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 160°C and get a round cake-shape ready.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it au bain marie. Let it cool for about ten minutes.

Mix the butter and half of the sugar to a smooth, creamy whole and mix the egg yellows through. Stir the vanilla-extract and the melted chocolate through it. Filter the flour in the mix, add the almonds and fold everything through eachother. In a different bowl, mix the eggwhites until they're foamy, then add the rest of the sugar and mix it until it's thick and shiny and you're able to make peeks with it.

Fold the eggwhite through the chocolate mix in small portions.

Bake the whole for about 40 minutes (I think I baked mine for an hour and it still didn't turn out that good, though), until it's risen and golden yellow. Add the raspberries on top.

Like I said, even after an hour, it seemed underbaked. The texture was almost like bread-pudding and I really don't think that was the intention of the recipe. The taste wasn't so bad, but the texture kind of ruined it...


Another much too late reply but hey, I've learned to live with it. I keep wondering how the hell Julie Powell ever made 524 recipes in one year. The woman must not have a life, because the more I think about the task, the more I realize that it's simply crazy. I can't even seem to do 52 cupcakes in a year - how did she manage? Time to read the book, I'd say.

Anyway, even though there's a hugeeee time-frame in between my posts, I actually made this one rather shortly after the previous post. Like I said, I tried my hand at a big cake. I've never made big cakes before and - even though this is the cupcake project - I really wanted to give it a try (and dessert project just didn't sound as catchy). It turned out pretty good, but I'll pick cupcakes over cakes any day, thanks.

Mocha-chocolate cake.
from "500 taarten & cakes" by Fergal Connoly.

250g dark chocolate
170g butter, in cubes
200g fine white sugar
3 large eggs
70g flour
2 spoons of instant coffee, in 2 spoons of boiling water

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Get a shape ready for the cake and grease it.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it together with the butter au bain marie. Let the butter-chocolate
mixture cool of for about five minutes. Mix the sugar through the mixture and add the eggs next. Filter the flour through and, last, add the coffee.

Bake the cake about an hour, the top should be firm but the inside should still be mushy.

 I really liked this cake, actually, it was simple, but the flavour was lovely - the mocha was nice and subtile, not overruling. The inside melts in your mouth, almost like chocolate mousse and in combination with the crispy outside, it's quite tasty. The top of the cake kind of crumbled, so it ended up looking a little weird, but the taste really made up for that.

Next: another big cake!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I'm so behind on updating this blog, and even though THESE were actually made in time (Sunday 16th of May), I'm also behind on making the cupcakes. So, I've decided not to restrict myself this much. Like I said in the beginning, my goal remains the same: 52 cupcakes in a year, which would be the equivallent of one cupcake a week, only, I'm not going to make one a week anymore. I'll make them when I have the time, just as long as I make sure I'm on track with the whole 52 thing. That should work out better, right?

Alright, on to the cupcakes, which, like I said, I made Sunday the 16th.

Chocolate-hazel cupcakes.
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

115g butter
100g pure chocolate-drops
115g fine (white) sugar
4 eggs, split
2 spoons of flour
50g chopped and roasted hazel nuts

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Melt the chocolate and the butter au bain marie (in a pan that's drifting in a pot of boiling water, basically) though (shht) a microwave oven works wonders, too. Stir it so it's nice and smooth and let it cool of afterwards.

Mix the sugar and the egg yellow in a middle large bowl with a handmixer 2-3 minutes until it's a smooth mixture. Stir the chocolate mass, the flour and the hazel nuts through it.

In another bowl, mix the egg whites till it's a solid foam and spoon it through the mixture.

Fill your cupcake shapes and bake them about 20 minutes.

These turned out quite alright taste-wise, though something really strange happened in the baking process. The top of the cupcakes hardened a lot more then the middle (that remained brownie-ish) and the middle set back down after the cupcakes cooled off, which made the top sort of hang over an in between space like a roof. I know.. weird huh. The roof .. thing was very vulnerable, so they looked a lot better when they were fresh out of the oven, but hey, as long as they taste a-okay, I'm one happy camper.

Next time, I'm trying a (big) cake!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Fail. I mean, five.

Coffee-raspberry muffins.
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

2 spoons of boiling water
2 spoons of instant coffee
1 spoon of milk
115g butter, melted
3 spoons of chopped hazelnuts
400g self-rising flour
300g white sugar
1 spoon baking powder
2 scrambled eggs
3 3/4 dl buttermilk
175g fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the coffee in a bowl and pour the hot water on it. Add the milk and the melted butter and stir it through. Let the mixture cool.

In the meanwhile, mix the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder and sugar with a spoon in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix the scrambled eggs with the buttermilk with a handmixer for about 2-3 minutes. (it will foam a little). Stir the cooled coffee-mix through it. Then spoon the flour-mix through and mix well. Add the raspberries and stir gently.

Bake the muffins for twenty minutes - though I baked them a lot longer, more like 30, and they were still not the way they were supposed to be. Even though I sticked my fork in it every few minutes, I can't say they're well done. Hence, fail.

The mixture itself required more bowls and more effort than all the others I did so far. Nothing too challenging, just make sure you have a lot of room and a clear head - you'll have enough ingredients bouncing around in your head to have any other thoughts there, trust me. When it was done, I had quite a lot of the mixture, and it was very runny. I was really scared it would run over in my shapes, or not get any shape at all.

The cupcakes did start to get form after a while, though, so all well that ends well, but they should have baked a lot longer then the recipe said. Even when my fork came out completely clean, it wasn't really the way it was supposed to be. The taste is good, the structure? not so much...

On to the next and hoping for a better outcome, there.

PS. I totally forgot the picture when they were ready.

Friday, April 30, 2010


This is the very first time that I've made salted/savoury muffins. Hoozay! I have to admit, that does sound a little weird. I'm one of those people that just can't imagine salt and muffin or cupcake in the same thing. Imagine it as small vegetable pies. Actually, that still sounds weird...

Anyway, carrying on...

Tomato-basil muffins.
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

2 spoons of finecut basil
300g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
tad of salt
4 scrambled eggs
1 1/4 dl of olive oil
325 ml condenced (thick, none diluted) tomato soup
3 spoons of sundried tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Mix the basil, flour, baking powder and salt with a spoon in a middle large bowl.
In a large bowl, mix the (scrambled) eggs , olive oil, soup and the dried tomatoes (I actually used a little more than three spoons - I guess you can add at will) with a handmixer. Ladle the flour-mixture through it until everything is well mixed.

I added about 100g of roasted and cut pinetree pits to the entire thing - yay for improv.

Put the muffins in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. After about ten minutes, when the muffins had semi-hardened, I added a piece of sundried tomato on the top for decoration. When the baking is done, try to leave them in the oven for another ten minutes or so when it's off and opened a tiny bit, just to make sure they don't collapse if they cool down too fast.

Et voila!

Though they look pretty good and smell even better, I had to admit it took me quite a bit longer to taste these as it would have if they weren't savoury. I'm still not used to the idea, but, eventually, I womanned up and took a bite and - what do you know - they're actually... kinda... really good.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


First, let me just tell you that I'm really pleased! I was always having issues with my paper cupcake shapes, the dough always made them lose their shapes, which make my cupcakes turn out flat and shapeless, plus, there was always the added risk of them running out of the shapes while baking, resulting into a rescue action performed by dear 'ol me. Not really that handy, let me tell you that. So, I started looking for alternatives and ended up in a local cooking store (Suly's), which had these silicone cupcake forms in all kinds of bright and cheery colors. I have to admit, I was a bit sceptic about sticking silicone in my oven (hello, melting danger), but they were supposed to hold temperatures up til 250°C and they were dishwashable. So, I gave it a try, and hot damn - they're brilliant! I've never had cakes shaped this well!

 So, on to the cupcakes!

Chocolate cupcakes with chilipepper.
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

230g of soft butter
230g fine white sugar
175g selfrising flour
4 spoons of cocoa powder (100% cocoa)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
4 eggs (I only used three)
2 teaspoons of grinded chipotlepepper or red chilipowder
100g chocolate drops (pure chocolate)

I actually made them without frosting (it's a buttery sort of frosting and I didn't want them to get bad before they could all be eaten - my family's getting a batch of cupcakes every week, bare with them), but the recipe does include frosting, so if you want to add it, here's the ingredients for that!

300g powdered sugar
45g cocoapowder
3 spoons of tia maria (coffeeliquor, somewhat like Kahlua) 
115g soft butter

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Mix all the ingredients for the cupcakes without the chocolate drops in a big bowl with a handmixer until it's nice and smooth. Then stir the chocolate drops under it.

Put the cupcakes in the oven and bake about 20 minutes.

Like I mentioned, I only used three eggs, instead of two - the substance seemed well enough after two, so it's best if you add them one by one, to check if it doesn't get too fluid. Instead of an extra egg, I did add one or two spoons of non-fat milk (I saw that on tv, har har). Nothing too hard about it, it went pretty smoothly.

For the frosting, just mix all the ingredients with a handmixer or a foodprocessor and put it on the cakes with a spatula or something when the cupcakes are fully cooled down.

I have to say, they turned out pretty good (my mom called them delicious, though I personally wouldn't go that far), the chili isn't overwhelming, on the contrary... if you don't know it's in there, I don't think you'd know. It has a spicy touch to it, but nothing too prevailing.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Numero dos, right on schedual.

from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

115g soft butter
115g fine, white sugar
115g self-rising flour
2 eggs
150 g unsweet applesauce (i used with chunks)
3/4th of a theespoon cinnamon
100g chopped pecannuts (i left these out)
100 g yellow raisins
about half an apple

Preheat the oven on 175°C.
Put thebutter, sugar, flour and the eggs in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a handmixer until it's a smooth and pale mixture. Gently mix the apple sauce, cinnamon, (nuts) and raisins through it. Put in your cupcake forms, put some very thin slices of apple and a tad of sugar on top and bake for approx. 25 min.

Easy as abc, though at the end, the dough appeared to be slightly too much running, so I added a little extra flour on "good feeling". Not too much, because I don't want any of the flavour to get lost, of course. It's best to use rubber forms for these cupcakes, because, like I said, they're pretty runny even when they're in the forms. Mine sort of went all over the place while I was baking them. But... they were saved, and came out pretty decent. I waited ten minutes, took them out of the oven again and only put the apple-slices and the extra sugar on top after that, so they'd firmed up a bit. Not bad, not bad.

I was slightly scared that they wouldn't form well, with the runny..ness, but they came out a pretty golden-brown color, and after letting them cool of for about ten minutes, we (me and my tasting assistant, aka, my mom) had our taste and we approved. They turned out better than the last (banana-honey). Yay.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I may not be as ambituous as Julie Powell once was, but then again, I'm only twenty and I do have a life outside baking. Plus, whereas Julie went through an entire cooking catalogue (bless her, I wouldn't have the guts) I'm not really much of a cook myself. I prefer baking. Mixing, matching and putting the result in the oven where it can bake brown-gold. So... Cupcakes. Or, if I don't get any recipe suggestions from you guys (if anyone is even reading this at all), cupcakes, cakes and pies. Yes, I gladly welcome you all to send me some suggestions in the comments. All recipes are welcome, sweet or spicy, sugary or salty.

Now, on to the first experiment, shall we?

Banana-honey cupcakes. 
from "500 cakejes" by Fergal Connoly.

4 mashed bananas
175g of lightbrown sugar
80g of honey
4 spoons of melted butter
230g flour (self-raising or esp. for baking)
1 theespoon baking powder
a snif of salt (not too much)
150g mashed walnuts (i used hazelnuts instead)

Preheat the oven on 175°C.
Put the bananas, sugar, honey and butter in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a handmixer. Gently mix the baking powder, flour and the salt through it. When everything is well mixed, add the nuts.
Put in your cupcake forms and bake for approx. 20 min (I baked them 30).

Making the dough is pretty easy and I think I got that finished in about fifteen minutes tops. It looks like they're going to be pretty sweet, with all that sugar and honey in there but it has a nice, soft, beige-yellowish color and it already looks delicious in my opinion.

They're looking good so far, though, when I'm writing this, they're still in the oven. Fingers crossed, knock on wood. I've already put them in longer then the recipe says, but the banana seems to be keeping them pretty light colored. Five more minutes!

Et voila, not too bad. I haven't tasted them yet, they're still cooling down and they're still quite soft so I'm still crossing my fingers in hopes of a good result, but they don't look half bad, and that's got to count for something, right?

Edit: tasted and approved. They're pretty good. They're not too rich on taste (the banana and the honey are very very soft and the nuts more or less dominate the cookie) so I put some more honey on top of them at the very end which gives a better, subtle honey taste to the whole thing and brings out the banana better, too.

And that's that.

Countdown: 52 weeks, 1 cupcakes. 

Monday, April 05, 2010

Introducing: the cupcake project.

One year. 52 weeks.

The idea: 

After watching Julie&Julia, the 2009 movie based on the novel with the same name, I've decided to create my own Julie/Julia project. I'm not going to try my hand at 536 recipes (in all honesty, i'm neither skilled nor crazy enough for that challenge), but I'm giving it my own twist. 
52 weeks in a year, 52 different cupcakes to make. 

Sweet, salted, spicy and with a twist, hundreds of options and a lot of determination to start this year-long journey and quite possibly embarass myself if i fail miserably. 

Countdown: 52 weeks, 0 cupcakes.