Friday, May 22, 2015

Buttercream rose wreath

The reason I have never posted any cake decorating tutorials here before is because I really don't consider myself a cake decorator.  I love to make cakes and if it just so happens that I am asked to decorate it a certain way, then I do so.  I tend to keep my decorations very simple.  I don't like over the top, excessive decorations that cannot even be eaten. 

Today I have decided to share a bit of cake decorating because I think this technique is something that any homebaker can try doing - a buttercream rose wreath!  It seems this type of decoration is trending lately.  Quite lovely really.

To start with, you need to pipe lots of buttercream roses, preferably in different sizes. (Actually, you don't have to limit yourself to roses.  A variety of flowers will look even lovelier.)

For the roses pictured above, I used the Swiss meringue buttercream with shortening recipe that I shared here a while back.  If you have tried using this recipe and have had problems with it being too soft for piping, I suggest you use butter and shortening that are not too soft.  The recipe works perfectly for me but you can certainly use whatever buttercream recipe that suits you! 

After piping your roses, set them aside in the fridge to harden while you frost your cake.

My cake is a three-layered 8" cake.  You can, of course, choose to decorate a smaller or larger cake. The larger it is, the more roses you will need.

Pipe a round border around the cake top about 1" in from the edge.  Here I used a piping bag with a coupler but simply snipping off the end of your piping bag will work as well.  This border is where your flowers will rest onto, so make it thick enough.

Once your roses have hardened, position them one by one on top of the border.  Place them at different angles, some facing out, some facing in, some just upright.

Continue positioning the roses, placing the smaller sized ones in gaps, until you have gone around the entire edge.

Now fill the smaller gaps with leaves using green buttercream and a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip 352.  Alternatively, you can also pipe tiny flowers like blossoms, hydraengeas,etc, to cover the gaps.

That looks quite pretty, doesn't it? Not perfect, but just the same, pretty.

Here is my finished cake.  It's actually for a 70th birthday. Peach and fuschia are apparently the celebrant's favourite colours. (My fuschia is a little off, I think, but it will have to do!)

Clean and simple.  Just the way I like it.

Hope you learned something new to try.  Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ube cupcakes

What a long day it was yesterday!  We invited friends over for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.  Naturally, I had to wake up early to start cooking and preparing.  I used up all my grated ube on hand to make puto and totally forgot that a friend had asked me to make ube cupcakes for today (Monday).  So after all our guests had left (which was already late afternoon), I had to make a quick trip to the Asian shop to buy grated ube.

To be honest, I have not made ube cupcakes before.  I told my friend that if she really wanted ube cupcakes, I would have to experiment.  But really, I had no time to experiment at all! It was a risk. I had to make good in one go as I could not afford and had no more extra time for mistakes!

After dinner last night, even if I was already so tired and sleepy, I went ahead and made the cupcakes.  I have been asked many times if the vanilla cupcake recipe I posted here before can be altered to make them ube.  This is my first time to try.  Well, let's see how it went...

How does it look to you?

The cupcake was moist with a tight crumb.  Even if I added a bit more baking powder, I really did not expect it to be the super soft and fluffy type because of the added ube.  Even my ube chiffon cake is a bit more dense (though still soft) than plain chiffon cake.  The cupcake did taste very much like ube though which I guess is the most important thing.  One other thing I especially liked is that the cupcakes were purple all the way through, from the tops, to the sides, to the insides, to the bottoms. No browning whatsoever that is very typical with other ube cupcakes I've seen on the web.

I paired the cupcakes with the usual whipped cream frosting, the same I use for my ube cake.  This is the only kind of frosting I like with ube.  Buttercream with ube doesn't quite work for me personally.

I'm not going to claim that this is the best ube cupcake you can make.  I know it can still be improved somehow.  For now, however, it's worth a try if you are up for some experimenting.  Let me know if you do.

UBE (PURPLE YAM) CUPCAKES (makes about 20)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon ube flavouring
1/4 tsp violet powdered food colour or gel paste
100 grams grated ube
1 cup buttermilk

1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Line muffin trays with baking cups.
2.  In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer,  starting from a low speed gradually increasing to high, cream butter and sugar together until very light in colour and fluffy.  
4.  With mixer turned down to medium-low speed, beat in eggs one at a time.  Add in ube flavouring, violet food colour then the grated ube .
5.  In three additions, alternately add in flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape bowl as needed to ensure that everything is incorporated well.  After the last addition, beat at high speed for the last time for about 45-60 seconds.
6.  Fill each baking cup with the cupcake batter about 3/4 full.
7.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes.  Transfer each cupcake immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make 3/4 recipe of the Whipped Cream frosting here.  Use to frost each cupcake.  If desired, crumble one cupcake and use the crumbs for garnishing.

PS. Hope all of you readers are doing well!  It's been a long time.

For other things UBE: chiffon cake, puto, cake roll.