Since the start of The Great British Bake Off series 5, I have noticed a flurry of bloggers posting recipes and pictures of some of their best bakes under the title ‘The Great Blogger Bake Off’. Now from what I gather this doesn’t seem to be a competition, just a way to get involved in the hype surrounding our favourite TV baking show, and as a fan myself, I wanted to join in!
Here are some cupcakes I baked and decorated last year for the annual Let’s Bake magazine. I realise this was a long time ago (and my kitchen has certainly seen a lot of baking action since then) but next month issue 4 of Let’s Bake hits the shops and this is a gentle reminder to pick up Creativity magazine to receive your free copy inside!
First things first, you do not need to be a pro to be able to cake decorate! These were the first cakes I ever decorated and were a change from my usual repertoire of swirled buttercream and icing-sugar topped cupcakes. I used a circular cookie cutter to cut discs of sugar paste (the soft white icing that many shop-bought cakes are covered in) and used these to cover the top of each cupcake. The secret to perfectly iced cakes is to cut the top off the cake after baking to level out the surface.
I modelled the decorations by hand (which is actually far easier than it looks) using a set of modelling tools and a modelling mat. If you want to take your cake decorating to the next level these are a worthwhile addition to your baking kit. I won’t bore you with all the how-to’s of modelling with sugar paste as YouTube has a host of videos explaining the art, so you’re just going to have to trust me how easy it really is! Piping is a little harder to master but with a bit of practice you’ll get there.
Amazon is a great place to buy cake-making equipment on the cheap and don’t be afraid to colour blocks of supermarket-bought white sugar paste using colouring pastes – it’s far cheaper than buying ready-coloured sugar paste. Check out Wilton’s range of colours if you want to get creative.