I've been too busy with baking these days I don't even realize I've baked a lot of them. It's the fun of producing and decorating that takes away the fancy of eating them. Well, mostly I baked for other people, so I didn't get to enjoy it myself.
This baking marathon has started with weekly baking to fill in the cake tins for my family, and recently is moving to a further step as to make a contribution to the pre-school's fund-raising gala, and then finished with my mother-in-law's birthday cake and whatnot last weekend.
Moving on closer to the end of November, there is my mother-in-law's birthday coming. She requested to have 'butter and flour' birthday cake, given that I always bake gluten-free goodies. Why not, I thought. So I baked two batches of mud cakes, sandwiched with dark chocolate ganache, and thought of decorating it as a purse cake for her.
I watched Paul Bradford's purse cake tutorial on You Tube and learned how to decorate it from there. Yes, I'm self-taught. I like learning and doing on my own pace and time. It wasn't disappointing, don't you think? I just keep the design simple. I was so happy to see Mum was thrilled and loved the cake as well.
On that very day, I also contributed a plate of gluten-free chocolate brownie cupcakes, iced with chocolate ganache, and gluten-free vanilla bean paste cupcakes, iced with buttercream that I piped on the cupcakes to resemble hydrangeas.
I'm sending Hydrangea Cupcakes to Mairi (www.toastnz.com) who is hosting Sweet New Zealand (http://www.toast-nz.com/2013/10/sweet-new-zealand.html) this month. Sweet NZ was initiated by Alessandra Zecchini (http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.co.nz) as a monthly sweet event of a Kiwi food bloggers.
The vanilla cupcakes can be viewed on Donna Hay's website here (http://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/sweets/cakes/vanilla-cakes-with-raspberries-and-cream) only that I substitute the wheat flour to gluten-free flour and use vanilla bean paste, since I ran out of vanilla essence. For buttercream, I use my own buttercream recipe. To achieve hydrangea flower resemblance, I coloured half of the buttercream blue and the other half stays white. Using Wilton 2D tip attached in a piping bag, spoon the blue buttercream into the bag, push the buttercream to the side of the bag to make a hole for the white buttercream. Then, spoon the white buttercream into the middle of the piping bag, where you've created a hole. Press to let some buttercream out, then use the next one to pipe on top of the cupcakes. It will create two-tone buttercream flowers, just pipe all around the top of the cupcakes closely one flower to the other. You'll amazed how pretty your cupcakes will be looking. Have fun!