While my hands haven’t been too bad from the neuropathy this last week, I’ve managed to do a little bit of baking. Baking cakes always reminds me of when I used to help my Mum to bake cakes for all her friends for when they popped in for a cup of tea. I’d always be the one to lick the spoon with the sweet sticky vanilla sponge mix on it after she had spooned it’s loveliness into the decades old muffin tin that she had inherited from my nan, the other queen of cakes.
I was in my element mixing up batches of cake mix from scratch, none of this packet stuff as it’s far too easy and I love creating things when I’m able. But I couldn’t have done any of it without my brand new Linea baking items or my rubber based mixing bowls available from House of Fraser.
The bowls are a must if you have any kind of disability with your hands. When I’m mixing batter, or any kind of mix with my push action whisk, I need bowls that don’t move, or I find myself chasing it around the work surface. The Linea Metal Nested Mixing Bowls are spot on for what I need. They don’t have an arced rubber bottom as some mixing bowls have as they don’t sit well enough for me, but they have a flat rubber bottom which makes it so easy to push against the worktop. I can’t hold a bowl and mix because my hands spasm, but these made it really, really easy for me. They’re the kind of bowls that if my Nan had still been with us, I’d have bought for her to use as they’re disabled friendly.
First up, I made up a batch of lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing. I made some regular sized ones, but also some little bite sized ones using the cutest mini baking tin I’d seen. Non stick and ideal to add onto a little pop stick for a bite size treat. Some I baked in the silicon cake cakes and others right there in the tin. They cooked within about 10 mins and just fall straight out of the tin if you turn it over, so make sure you tip them into a bowl rather than on the cooling tray, as I tried that and lost a few.
To ice them I used the fabulous little Linea Cupcake Decorating Kit which doubles as a cake box. I adore the way it snaps shut and has a hinge at the back, so storing any cupcakes in it we didn’t eat meant they would stay super fresh. The only thing that went wrong with the kit was the fact that the icing bag wasn’t strong enough as I managed to put my fingernail through it when squeezing the icing out. Once we swapped the nozzles and adapter over to one of my disposable icing bags, we were well away.
It gave me the bug to bake again and again though which has not been great for the waistline. I then went on to bake coffee cupcakes which since I used the silicone cupcake cases from the decorating kit, cooked in such a short time I nearly burnt them so you have to be aware of that when using silicone. So Andy had to grab the double oven gloves and rescue them for me.
Problem is with baking though, I get bitten by the bug and have to carry on, so we’ve had lemon, coffee, vanilla and finally the most amazing chocolate brownie cake with chocolate and hazelnut fudge topping.
Now if you want to make a nice chocolate “icing” for a cake but don’t have any chocolate powder/cocoa/cacao powder left then you can choose to do this instead:
Chocolate and Hazelnut Icing
- 120g butter, softened
- 120g icing sugar
- 200g Nutella® or Diablo No Sugar Added Chocolate Spread
Soften the butter, spoon in the chocolate spread, cream together, then slowly add the icing sugar until stiff. You can then stick that in a piping bag and pipe it on top of your cupcakes, or just smooth it over the top of your chocolate brownie cake. Yum.
What do you love to bake and have you got any favourite buttercream recipes??