Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Halloween Cupcakes...

I woke up this morning with that nagging feeling that I had to do something today.  Then I remembered mid-morning that I was asked to take some cupcakes to a friend's Halloween party in the afternoon - yikes!

So, I quickly baked up a batch of easy vanilla cupcakes and then took a look at what I had lying around to decorate with.  A little bit of white fondant, a little bit of gumpaste and a bar of chocolate.  Hmmmmmm....

I settled on a couple of ideas.  Pumpkins, and a scary, but cute "BOO!"

The little pumpkins were so simple to make.  All I did was tint the white fondant orange, then roll tablespoons of it into balls.   Then using the blunt edge of a sharp knife, I made the lines down the sides.  Lastly, I took whole cloves and pushed them, "star-side" down, into the top of the pumpkin.  I made seven of them and they took me about ten minutes to model.

I made a big batch of vanilla buttercream and tinted half orange.  Actually, I made quite an important discovery today on the the buttercream front.  I made an all-butter buttercream with a little milk, but the consistency was wrong - gritty, too sweet and quite dull to look at.  So I added two tablespoons of vegetable fat (crisco, kremelta, copha) and it became incredibly glossy and a beautiful texture.  Usually I avoid half crisco/ half butter buttercreams as they are notoriously hard to tint properly and also can give you a slight aftertaste from the crisco.  However, this time, the addition of a small amount of vege fat made such a huge difference -but not to the taste.

Anyway, 'scuse my tangent.  The little pumpkins are sitting on a bed of grated milk chocolate (would have used dark if I'd had it).  I eschewed piping today, because of time constraints, so the icing went on with a bread knife - so much quicker and not as much cleaning up.

The BOO lettering was made from gumpaste tinted black and cut out using my gumpaste cutters (which you can see in this post).  I pulled the "O's" slightly to elongate them - they just seemed slightly scarier that way!

The key to being successful with your gumpaste/ fondant cutters is to roll out the gumpaste very thin and to use vegetable fat on both the cutter and a little smoothed onto the surface of the gumpaste with your finger. Have a toothpick at the ready to remove the centres of letters as well.  Using a small off-set spatula is a great way to transfer the letters to your drying surface, and for a drying surface baking paper works well, just make sure that its on a very flat surface.

Do you and your family celebrate Halloween?  If, so I'd love to hear about your traditions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Tiny Kindness Project...

Something a little bit different today.

I have been thinking about this idea a lot lately, and finally after a really good, encouraging conversation with my brother, have put it into action.

I have created a Facebook page where people can share about the effect of very small kindnesses on their lives, whether they are the giver or the receiver, or even a bystander.

My hope is that people will be encouraged by reading stories of small acts of daily kindness in their newsfeed, and will be inspired to start thinking deliberately about what they can do to join in.  I have always really believed in the accumulative affect of small acts.

So if you'd like to be a part of this you can click on the link below to be taken to the Facebook page.  Please feel free to share this idea around if you think it worthy.

Tiny Kindness Facebook page:


Right,  back to preparing some Autumn crafts :)

LM x
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