Preparing for Mother’s Day

So, this Sunday is Mother’s Day… {It should really be celebrated everyday, but hey, I guess ONE day off a year is enough for us mommies..!}
My ideal day would be something like this:
I would sleep in until about 9am {that will still leave the rest of the day to be pampered AND I get an extra 3 hours of sleep, ideally in a swanky boutique hotel…}
The boys will pop in for some cuddles and perhaps a gift or 2… {And obviously there will be cake and coffee involved.}
I will then take a leisurely bath and get dressed to go and have a champagne brunch on a vineyard {or a spa, or even better, a spa at a vineyard!} with my own dear mom. The men in our lives may join us for brunch.
Yes, I think that sounds fantastic! We could end the day with a movie or dinner at a really nice restaurant…
Aah yes…
Oh well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Anyways, as I’m contemplating Mother’s Day, here are a few sweet treats that will be great with that morning coffee or whatever you might have planned:

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I’m also planning some delicious new cupcakes and a few more cakes…
More to follow later this week.
So, what is your ideal Mother’s Day, if you’re a mom, or how will you be treating yours?
X

Nutty carrot & cream cheese cake

Carrot cake is such an understated and unpretentious cake – but done right and it is a magnificent and heavenly treat. It should be light and fluffy, yet ‘solid’, filled with crunchy pecan nuts and layers of cream cheese frrrrosting…

It’s also a cake that I’ve never made before – yes I love to eat it, it’s one of my all-time faves, I’ve just never made it.
So, I decided to make it a few weeks ago for our dinner guests – we had so many carrots from the garden and it seemed the perfect time to give it a go! I used a recipe from my all-time Domestic-Goddess-Hero – the one and only, Martha Stewart. {Ha – you thought I was going to say Nigella..! Nope, I love her too, but Martha will always be the best!}

The cake was to-die-for, BUT I somehow tried to remove one layer from the baking tin too soon and ended up with a bit of a lopsided cake…

So… I made another batch! This time round, I made a small cake and 10 cupcakes. {I was planning on making cupcakes for my husband, decorated especially for his Xterra triathlon event, so I just decided to make carrot cupcakes instead.}

The result – 10 yummy scrummy carrot cupcakes, topped with cream cheese frosting and finished off with fondant icing with the Xterra logo and some fun pics:

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The cake also came out really well – perfect size for a small family – enrobed in deliciously rich and fluffy cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans:

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You will need:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda {bicarbonate of soda}
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
340g butter, at room temp, plus extra for the pans
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
450g grated carrots {8-10 medium carrots}
2 cups pecan nuts {1 cup finely chopped for the batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for the outside of the cake}

Start off by pre-heating the oven to 175C and preparing your pans:
Butter, line with baking paper and butter again {only the bottoms} 3x 23cm cake pans; OR if you want some cupcakes too, prepare 2x 15cm cake pans and 10x cupcake cases.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg – set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars in a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla, water and carrots – mix well.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and then the pecans.
Make sure everything is well incorporated and divide between pans.
If you are making the large cake with 3 layers, bake for approx 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the smaller, 2 layer cake, bake for approx 45 minutes {until toothpick comes out clean}.
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes.

For the frosting:
250g butter, at room temp
250g cream cheese, at room temp
3 cups icing sugar

Mix together until light and fluffy.

To assemble:
Using a serrated knife, carefully trim the rounded top off one of the cakes. Use that one on the bottom and spread a decent layer of frosting on top. Place the other layer on top and cover the top and sides of the entire cake with frosting. Cover the sides of the cake with the rest of the pecans.

If you’re making cupcakes, you can either just pipe the frosting on as you normally would, or, to make a fondant outer, first spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the cupcake, then cover with fondant and decorate as you want.

Enjoy! X

10th Birthday Monster Cupcakes

This weekend was quite a busy one – with last-minute Christmas cake orders, a tenth-birthday cupcake order, as well as a few social events! Thank goodness for long-weekends, right?
I received a request for birthday cupcakes for a boy turning ten – the cupcakes had to be strawberry flavour, so at first I was a bit stumped as to how to make these strawberry cupcakes boyish… I scoured the internet for recipe and theme ideas and eventually I decided on monster-themed strawberry cupcakes. {I know my son loves monsters!}
I created two types of monsters – one a strawberry monster {my own creation} and the other just a generic monster {quite like the Monster Inc fellas – thanks Pinterest!} to adorn these yummy strawberry cupcakes.
These scrummy cupcakes are oh-so-moist and fluffy, with swirls of strawberry coulis inside and a strawberry butter icing. {Yum!}

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{To order cakes or cupcakes, send me an e-mail to pinkpoppadom@gmail.com}

Lemon curd cupcake

Our precious little hen has been laying her butt off to supply us with her golden-delicious eggs! {she would lay one every second day}

I had to save up a few days’ worth to be able to make something and before I knew it, I had half a dozen. What to do..?

I made lemon curd and cupcakes with a lemon curd icing.

For the cupcakes:

115g butter

115g castor sugar

115g self-raising flour

2 eggs {freshly laid is best!}

1 tbs milk

Beat together the sugar & butter until nice and fluffy.  Lightly beat the eggs and slowly add to the sugar & butter mixture until well incorporated.  Sift the flour and fold into the butter mixture. Gently fold in the milk until you have a smooth & silky consistency.

Spoon into cupcake papers in a cupcake tin and bake at 180C for 15 minutes until cooked and a toothpick comes out clean. {makes 12 cupcakes}

For the lemon curd:

3 small free range eggs {freshly laid of course!}

100g sugar

2 tbs butter

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk together the eggs, sugar & lemon juice in a heatproof bowl and cook over a pot of boiling water {double boiler} while constantly stirring. When the mixture has thickened quite a bit, remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Place in a jar and refrigerate. {makes about 200ml}

For the lemon curd icing:

Mix icing sugar with lemon curd, add a little butter and a splash of milk – mix well to create a smooth icing. {sorry, but I just don’t always keep track of quantities – just go with the flow until you have the desired result!}

Pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes and top with more lemon curd.

Enjoy! X

Lemon curd cupcake image

Teatime Cupcakes

I just love cupcakes – I mean, who doesn’t?!

‘Life’s better with a cupcake’ and ‘Keep calm and have a cupcake’ are two great cupcake quotes – I have no idea who originally said it, but it’s so true! My best days are all started with a cupcake (or cake) and a cup of good filter coffee. What can be better! Ok, it’s not the most nutritious or healthy of breakfasts, but as long as you follow it with a hearty bowl of fruit or some boiled eggs, you’re good to go!

These cupcakes are scone-inspired, with a dollop of jam (I used chunky apricot) and whipped cream (sweetened with a teensy bit of vanilla castor sugar).

2 cups of flour

2/3 cups of castor sugar

2 tsp baking powder

125g butter

2 eggs

1/2 a cup of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all together – yes, all at once! Don’t you just love it?! Spoon into cupcake cases in a cupcake baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 180C.

This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes.

Enjoy! X

Tea time cupcakes