Sunday, 30 May 2010

Quince cake

Before making this cake I had two experiences of quince: firstly, as something the Owl and the Pussycat ate by the light of the moon (with runcible spoons, what else?) and, secondly, as that sticky paste/thick jam you get served on a cheeseboard.

I hadn’t planned to bake with quince but when browsing the stalls in
Borough Market I spotted the lovely big round yellow fruits – looking very much like pregnant apples – and bought them on the spur of the moment, worrying about finding a recipe afterwards.

My next step was to look online for quince cake recipes.
There weren’t that many in truth. Lots of recipes for paste, few for cake. As with everything in life, Amazon showed me the way – would you believe it sells a cookbook devoted to quince? Silly as it sounds (and trust me, I know it sounds silly) I felt like I had to do right by my beautiful quince so ordered the book. This method of cooking the quince comes from it...I’ve teamed it with a buttery, sweet pound cake-esque recipe.

If I had to sum up quince I’d say:


gorgeous aroma, like tropical apples

beautiful colour when cooked

lovely delicate flavour and texture

good score in a game of Scrabble


difficult to peel and cut keeping all fingers intact. It is a brute to cut – hard and dense in texture

needs a bit of love and care – in this recipe you have to poach the quince for 2.5 hours before you can even start making the cake

Here are the quince just about to start their 2 ½ poaching marathon:

Here they are at the end of the poaching time; their colour and aroma was just divine!

The texture was akin to pear, but the taste was tropical apple.
We were all big fans. Quince and me may only just have met but I see this as the start of a beautiful friendship....if friendship is the right word where one of the ‘friends’ is always eaten by the other!


For the quince:

500ml water
150g caster sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick – about 6cm long
3 medium quince – peeled, cored and cut into wedges (about 12 wedges per quince)

For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g caster sugar (this isn’t a typo!!!)
4 eggs
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150ml double cream
2 tablespoons of the poaching syrup you cooked the quince in.


Start by preparing the quince – this can be done up to 3 days ahead of making the cake.

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to a simmer over a low heat.

Cover the pan and simmer for 2-2 ½ hours or until the quince turns a deep red colour.
Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

Cool to room temperature and then chill until cold.
Cover and chill until needed – the quince will keep for up to 3 days.

Now make the cake: Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.
While the butter and sugar is creaming, drain the chilled fruit through a sieve (retain the poaching syrup) and pat dry with paper towels.
Beat in the eggs one at a time (to the butter and sugar) and beat to ensure they are well incorporated.
Add half of the flour along with the baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla.
Add half of the cream and beat until combined.

Beat in the remaining flour, followed by the remaining cream and the 2 tablespoons of poaching syrup.

Fold the quince into the batter and spoon into the prepared cake tin – I retained some of the prettier slices to place on top of the batter; I also cut some of the bigger chunks through as I didn’t want them to sink in the cake.

Bake for approximately 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took nearer 1 ½ hours. If the top starts to brown too much, cover loosely with foil.
Leave to cool on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to handle, then turn the cake out and leave to cool completely.

Serve with a cup of tea – nothing else is needed!

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


No-Bake vanilla and strawberry cheesecake

English strawberries are just too lovely at the moment to resist and they make a perfect topping for this simple cheesecake.

This cheesecake could not be easier to make – it doesn’t require any cooking, only contains 7 ingredients and barely takes 20 minutes from start to refrigerator!

Of course, you can use any fruit for the topping. I loved the way that half the strawberries are kept whole and the other half turned into a lovely thick coulis.

The CCB (Caked Crusader’s Brother) declared that this was the cheesecake he’d been waiting for me to make.
After all my attempts, I’ve finally found the cheesecake he’s been wanting for years! He has now said that he needs to find something else to nag about......


For the cheesecake:

250g digestive biscuits (personally, I prefer hobnobs for a cheesecake base but I bowed to family pressure)
100g unsalted butter
1 vanilla pod
600g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
100g icing sugar
284ml double cream

For the topping:

400g strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
25g icing sugar
1 teaspoon water


Place the ring from a 20cm round springform tin on the plate you’ll server the cheesecake from. Wrap the ring in either clingfilm or greaseproof paper to ensure that you can free the cheesecake easily.

Break the biscuits into crumbs – either in a food processor or with the bag and rolling pin method (i.e. place biscuits in a bag. Secure end. Bash with rolling pin)

If using the food processor method add the butter to the crumbs and pulse it until the butter is distributed. If using the bag method, melt the butter and stir in.

Use the crumbs to line the base of the cheesecake. Press them down onto the plate but not so hard that you create biscuity concrete!

Refrigerate while making the cheesecake.

Slice the vanilla pod in half and remove the seeds.

Place seeds in a bowl along with the cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until smooth and well combined.

Pour in the cream and beat until the mixture is completely combined.

Spoon over the biscuit base and level.

Leave to set overnight in the refrigerator.

To make the topping puree half the strawberries along with the icing sugar and water.

Sieve this mixture to remove the seeds.

Add the remaining halved strawberries to the top of the cheesecake and, when ready to serve, pour over the coulis/puree.

Remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 30 minutes (depending on your weather conditions!) before you wish to serve and remove the ring from the edge.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Monday, 24 May 2010

Iron Cupcake London – Challenge XI: CELEBRATION

Our eleventh challenge to be held on Monday 7th June marks our first birthday. I know! Where has the time gone?

The theme is therefore CELEBRATION! Bake any cupcake you wish as long as it’s suitable for a celebration.

All challenge details (times, venue location, requirements etc) can be found here.

Bakers - please let me know if you intend to enter and which contest (i.e. amateur or pro) you are entering.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Labbit sponge birthday cake

Another birthday, this time Mr CC – it’s my last family birthday until September! I anticipate that I need to do some explaining as most of you won’t be au fait with Labbits.
Also, I think I should remind you that I am not a skilled cake decorator – so please be kind!

Frank Kozik is a respected modern artist, initially most famous for poster art. He created a range of street tough rabbits called Smorkin’ Labbits who are always smoking and doing naughty things (naughty even by rabbit standards!). Mr CC and I aren’t really into that range but love the Pride Labbits, who are far more genteel and sensitive. Here’s the family we’ve acquired thus far (I have no doubt there will be more):

When I asked Mr CC what sort of birthday cake he’d like he replied, “a Labbit cake”. I’m not sure whether he was serious or not but I took him at his word and have created one...well, a Frankenstein equivalent of one!

The cake is all Victoria sponge; I used an easter egg tin for the body and sculpted cupcakes for the legs, ears and tail.

As I needed a white frosting I had to look further afield than my usual default of swiss meringue buttercream. I chose seven minute frosting – my favourite thing in the recipe was that, under the heading, it said “ready in 10 minutes”. This is my first experience of seven minute frosting and I like it – it’s sweet and sticky and easy to work with. My big gripe is that nowhere did it warn me that you have to really use it the same day. I lovingly frosted Mr CC’s cake the night before and found it didn’t keep – it starts disintegrating (a bit like shaving foam) giving the cake an odd look. Luckily (for me) I took most of my photos the evening I frosted the cake; unluckily (for Mr CC) he didn’t see the cake until the next day.

Here’s something you don’t see in a kitchen every day – a Labbit ‘tache hanging out to dry!
I painted a rice paper template with melted chocolate. Making a washing line of string between my kitchen cabinets I did wonder if this could be pinpointed as the official moment that I “lost it”!

I doubled the quantity of sponge set out below to make cupcake size sponges to use for paws, ears and tail.
The leftover ones I simply cut in half and sandwiched with jam to make mini Victoria sponge sandwiches.

Happy birthday Mr CC!


For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
80ml milk
300g self raising flour

To sandwich the cakes: raspberry jam

For the seven minute frosting(make the day you will be serving the cake):
2 egg whites
300g caster sugar
5 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Grease the tin you are using with butter; this quantity will make a deep 20cm round cake or two 20cm round layers for a sandwich cake.

Start by making the sponge: Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.

Beat in the eggs gradually, add some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Beat in the milk.

Stir in the flour until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Another good sign is if the sponge is just pulling away from the edge of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Sandwich the cakes together with the jam.

Now make the frosting – only make this on the day you wish to serve the cake as it doesn’t keep all that well: place all the ingredients except for the vanilla in a bowl.

Set this bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until the icing makes firm peaks – this is meant to take 7 minutes (hence the name) but mine took 10.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

Continue to whisk until the frosting is thick enough to spread.

Spread over cake as desired.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Double chocolate cheesemoussecake

Another week in May, another birthday – this time it’s the Caked Crusader’s Brother (CCB) who, in his subtle way, made it quite clear that he wanted a chocolate cheesecake.

I feel like I let him down a bit as this definitely wasn’t a purebred cheesecake; it had a mousse-like texture but the unmistakable tang of a good cheesecake. For texture, I added some chocolate chips but these are optional. It would make a good dessert as it was rich but also light in texture.

The base uses chocolate digestives and I remain adamant that hobnobs make a better base, but the CCB was most insistent that I use digestives as he likes the hint of saltiness they provide.

I know I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll repeat myself – there really is no need to melt the butter when you add it to the biscuit crumb base. If you put the biscuits and cold butter into the food processor at the same time you get a lovely smooth base and none of the greasy hot butter seeping out into your fridge! I find it makes the base a nice consistency.

The cheesemoussecake has chocolate chips in it, but also marbling provided by a rich dark chocolate ganache. You can see the different colours in these slices:

This wasn’t the easiest cake to fact I had a bit of a disaster. I’m not the world’s most confident cake cutter anyway so something like this makes me go to pieces somewhat. I include the following picture; the slice was cut by the CCB and he returned from the kitchen with – it must be said – a rather smug expression, extra proud that he’d kept it upright on the plate!

Happy birthday CCB!


For the base:
125g chocolate digestives - I used milk chocolate
75g unsalted butter

For the filling:
4 gelatine leaves
60ml milk
500g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
250ml double cream, plus 2 tablespoons extra
150g dark or milk chocolate – I used Green and Blacks milk chocolate which is 34% cocoa content and like a halfway house between dark and milk
100g chocolate chips – use dark, milk or white. I used milk
100g dark or white chocolate – if you make a dark chocolate cheesecake use white for this as it provides the marbling; because I made a milk chocolate cheesecake I went for dark

To decorate: chocolate decorations of your choice


Use a 20cm round pastry ring (make sure it’s quite deep) or remove the base from a 20cm springform deep baking tin and use that. Place it on your serving plate and line the sides with a ring of baking paper.

Start by making the base: place the biscuits and butter into a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. Alternatively, melt the butter and break the biscuits by placing them in a bag and crushing with a rolling pin. Tip the crumbs into a bowl and stir in the butter.
Press the crumb mixture onto your plate ensuring that you press it right up to the edge of the pastry ring.


Now make the cheesecake: place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until they soften.
Place the milk in a saucepan and heat until nearly at boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat and, when you’ve squeezed all the water out of the gelatine leaves, whisk them into the hot milk until dissolved. Put to one side.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks until smooth.

Beat in the cream.

Beat in the melted 150g chocolate and gelatine mixture.

Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until at the soft peak stage.

Fold the egg whites into the cheese/chocolate mixture.

Pour into the prepared pastry ring and level out over the biscuit base. Put back in the fridge.

Melt the 100g of chocolate and stir in the double cream.

Retrieve the cheesecake from the fridge and spoon the melted chocolate in a pile on the middle of the cheesecake. Using a skewer swirl it into the cheesecake so that you get a marble/feathering effect. This is why it’s best to use a contrasting colour chocolate.

Refrigerate overnight and, before serving decorate as desired.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Friday, 14 May 2010

Iron Cupcake London Challenge X – Fruit

Our tenth challenge was all about fruit; we didn’t care if it was fresh, dried, tinned, flesh, juice, flavour, extract, or anything - if it contained a particle of fruit it was in! We mooted long and hard about whether coconut qualified for a fruit – we decided it was because it’s not a nut and it certainly isn’t a vegetable, and supermarkets place it in the fruit section.

I can't help but imagine Michael Caine (a la Zulu era) looking at these photos and saying, "cupcakes, farsands of 'em":

The standard, as always, was stunning and our 25 amateur entries and 7 professional entries amounted to a veritable banquet of fruity cupcake goodness.

Bakers making last minute adjustments:

We have a first in an Iron Cupcake London post – a situations vacant advert! If you are interested in a cupcake and baking related job make sure you check out the write up for Mellissa’s cupcake. Unlike other recruitment consultants, I shan’t be charging a fee should I find Mellissa some staff! Here's Mellissa on the right; if you're lucky, she could be your future boss!

In what Max (my nephew, who greets most of you at the entrance and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Iron Cupcake London entries past and present) terms “Iron Cupcake Spirit” (ICS) we tasted all the entries, even if we don’t usually like the flavours involved. I love ICS as it challenges my prejudices and makes me discover the joys of flavours I thought I didn’t like!
All attendees take eating and judging very seriously...and rightly so!

Here are our winners on the night:

Winner (Amateur)– Kelly’s Watermelon cupcakes

So much to appreciate here!
Kelly’s light vanilla sponge was tinged red and she included chocolate chips so that it looked just like a piece of watermelon; it also included melon pudding. The frosting was also amazing - Kelly brought watermelon syrup back from the States and it had such an intense fruitiness to it that kept piling flavour into your mouth. I have to confess that I was delighted Kelly won because, aside from her awesome cupcakes, she is our only baker who has entered every Iron Cupcake London competition – tenth time lucky! Well done Kelly on these masterpieces in cupcake form!

Runner up (Amateur) – Andrea’s Cinnamon peach cupcakes

Andrea’s combination of cinnamon and peach was new to me and it worked so well that I wondered why it wasn’t used more often. Her light and airy cinnamon sponge contained cinnamon and peach compote that was delicate and delicious; the frosting was cinnamon cream cheese. The peach was subtle and came through after the cinnamon – very delicious indeed!

Winner (Professional)– Eloise’s Tayberry ripple cupcakes

Eloise is our most decorated Iron Cupcake London baker and, if my memory serves me correctly, this is her FOURTH title! Tayberry tastes like a cross between blackberry and raspberry and has a novel, yet at the same time familiar, taste. The lovely vanilla sponge was topped with the fruity swirl frosting that was light and whipped. Ying, one of my trusty helpers and co-eaters oohed and ahhed over the beautiful lilac/purple hue of the cake. A deserved winner as it was as tasty as it was stunning.

Runner up (Professional) – Kerry’s St Clements cupcakes

Kerry’s lemon drizzle cake was topped with an orange cream cheese frosting. The sugary crust of the cake provided some lovely texture and the cream cheese frosting worked particularly well with the zingy citrus flavours. This cupcake was very refreshing to eat and it’s always nice to see a classic flavour combination grab the votes!

Here’s a run down of all the amateur entries:

Gem’s chocolate and coconut cupcakes

Gem put together one of my favourite flavour combinations here – it had that creamy coconut taste of a Bounty bar. The coconut buttercream has to be one of the best buttercreams I’ve ever tasted and, luckily, Gem piled it high. Subtle hint: Gem, if you wish to share the recipe I will be eternally grateful!

Fiona’s Blueberry and earl grey cupcakes

Fiona’s earl grey and blueberry combination was delicate and flavoursome – the early grey was in both the sponge and buttercream, the blueberries were only in the sponge. The fragrance of the earl grey hit first then the fruitiness came through. I found this an imaginative and beautiful combination. The lustrous little roses topping each cupcake completed the look perfectly – I loved the girliness of these cakes.

Charlotte’s Strawberry cheesecake cupcakes

Charlotte created an ‘inverted cheesecake’ here, practically a cheesecake tatin (humour me!). The sweet strawberries were on the bottom, topped with rich cheesecake with the biscuit ‘base’ on top! Having it upside down did alter the way the flavour hit and I found it a great success.

Tamara’s Strawberries and cream cupcakes

Tamara’s chocolate sponge was topped with strawberries and cream with a dusting of chocolate flake. The cocoa hit came first then the palate cleansing fruit and cream. Max, my co-eater, turned to me and said “these are gorgeous”. I can’t add anything to that!

Gill’s Lemon meringue cupcakes

Gill went for a classic combination – sponge base, lemon curd and meringue topping. Her crisp meringue made a lovely crunch sound when you pushed your fork into it and the lemon wasn’t too sour, nor too sweet. A masterclass in a classic dessert!

Kirsten’s Gooseberry and elderflower cupcakes

Kirsten put so much work into these beautiful cupcakes. The sponge was gooseberry and elderflower and contained gooseberry curd (which was divine – why don’t we see gooseberry curd as often as lemon curd?) and her delicate little shortbread biscuit sat above a gorgeous swirl of frosting. The flavour was light and refreshing and it was like eating summer in a cupcake!

Shereen’s Lime and margarita cupcakes

Shereen’s cupcakes were like eating a cocktail i.e. very, very good! Her lime sponge was zingy and fruity and topped with a margarita frosting; it was so clever as you got the hit of lime, then the kick of salt and then – whoosh – in came the tequila! Packed with flavour.

Ann’s Sticky toffee cupcakes

As a self-diagnosed ‘stickytoffee addict’ I couldn’t wait to tuck into
Ann’s stunning looking cupcakes…and they didn’t disappoint! The rich toffee sponge managed to be both sticky and light and the whipped frosting was the sort of thing I will find myself dreaming about in hungry moments! And for any of you asking the question I was asked several times on the night, the answer is “dates”.

Ankhelitza’s Black forest cupcakes

Ankhelitza, ably assisted by her lovely mum, brought us these beautiful creamy cupcakes. The chocolate sponge contained little pockets of sticky morello cherries and this was teamed with kirsch cream filling and a vanilla cream topping. I, for one, certainly appreciated how generous Ankhelitza was with the cream!

Jack’s Apple, blackcurrant and clotted cream cupcakes

Jack’s cupcakes were heavenly and you could taste all three flavours. I loved the addition of clotted cream; I’ve baked using double cream before but never clotted and it was amazing – so rich and satisfying. The blackcurrant frosting was intense and I just loved the overall taste of the cupcake.

Kathryn’s Raspberry delight cupcakes

Kathryn used raspberry in both her sponge and her white chocolate cheesecake frosting. NB. If you have just read the words “white chocolate cheesecake frosting” without drooling, feel ashamed…very ashamed! The frosting was incredibly smooth and retained the sharp edge of the cheese which worked very well with the raspberry.

Elizabeth’s Creamy St Clements cupcakes

I was so pleased Elizabeth managed to enter – she was up from Wales visiting friends and, having followed the event on line, was finally able to take part. Lucky us! The orange sponge had a limoncello centre and the orange and lemon “cream cheese” frosting was tangy and flavourful. I say “cream cheese” because Elizabeth’s entry was vegan.

Rosalyn’s Sticky toffee cupcakes

Rosalyn’s light and succulent sticky toffee sponge was topped with a salted caramel buttercream. It was a wonderful combination as the saltiness cut through the richness and danced around your mouth. Rosalyn judged the salt perfectly and it gave a classic a modern twist – very clever!

Pippa’s “He’s Peachy Keen” cupcakes

Pippa’s peach sponge was topped with mascarpone icing and strawberries. The whole taste was light and fresh and this cupcake scored Max’s second “gorgeous” of the night! I was particularly impressed with the mascarpone icing – it was very clean tasting and effective; I can see it working well with all fruits.

Araminta’s “Lemon poppy star” cupcakes

First off, let’s all “ahhhh” at the pretty star shape of Araminta’s cupcakes! I really liked the balance Araminta got into her lemon – it was tangy and citrus but not at all sharp. The crunchy poppy seeds added lovely texture. This was a classic combination executed perfectly; as Ying, my co-eater said “these are pure tasting and effective”!

Mara’s Rainbow sherbert cupcakes

Mara’s cupcakes reminded me of my youth spent guzzling fruity sherbet (in truth, there would also be an adulthood spent guzzling fruity sherbet if I knew where to buy it!) The orange, raspberry and lime flavours really packed a punch, the lime being the standout flavour, and the sponge was coloured three ways to match the frosting rainbow.

Alix’s “Waterloo Sunset” cupcakes

Alix’s vegan cupcake comprised of a peach and rosewater sponge filled with “drunken” peach compote and a rose and peach frosting. These had a heady, exotic flavour and the two elements remained distinct whilst complimenting each other. This cupcake was an eye opener for me as I’m not usually mad on rosewater but I thought these were beautiful (in taste and look!) – also, kudos for name-checking a Kinks song!

Kerryn’s Passionfruit coulis cream cupcakes

Kerryn made a little sponge sandwich of her cupcake tapping into that other trendy item of baked goods: the whoopee pie. The passionfruit sponge was sandwiched by cream and passionfruit coulis and the top sponge had a generous sprinkling of coconut. The tropical taste worked very well with the cream and soft sponge….and bonus points if you noticed that Kerryn served each one on a tiny doily!

Rosella’s Lemon and lime cupcakes

Rosella teamed her lemon sponge with a tangy lime frosting and the flavours were clean and fresh in your mouth. Special mention has to go to the beautiful sugarpaste butterflies Rosella made; the angle of the wings and the dusting of glitter made them look very special indeed.

Kyra’s Rhubarb and ginger cupcakes

Kyra went for a classic combination and it worked so well. The rhubarb hit first with it’s acidic tang and then the warmth of the ginger slowly came through and built in your mouth. I loved the simple swirl of frosting and the tiny pieced of rhubarb on top.

Shelley’s Black forest cupcakes

Our defending champion created a wonderful black forest with cocoa rich chocolate sponge, black cherry preserve, fresh cream, chocolate flakes and black cherries. The richness of the sponge and the lightness of the cream was divine and the cherry flavour came through after leaving a lovely fruitiness in your mouth.

Shelley’s Key lime cupcakes

I’m a big fan of Shelley’s cupcakes and particularly love the way she always makes at least two flavours! Her second offering was this perfect looking key lime cupcake. The lime and almond sponge was absolutely dreamy – so moist and flavoursome and the light lime frosting tasted as wonderful as it looked.

Carlo’s Rhubarb cupcakes

Carlo struck me as an extremely modest chap – when I asked him if he was entering our professional or amateur competition he replied, “very amateur”, but as you will see from the photo that’s not the case! Carlo left the rhubarb tart and I like the acidic zing that gives to a cake. His light and frothy meringue topping perfectly partnered the sharp fruit.

So, that’s all the amateur entries (I always feel bad calling them ‘amateur’ when the quality, skill and talent is so awesome)…now let’s look at what the professionals served up….

Shaz’s Lemon and vanilla cupcakes

Shaz’s ethos is to produce healthier baked goods. That means less fat, salt and sugar but without compromising on flavour. These lemon and vanilla cupcakes were topped with either glazed pomegranate seeds or blueberries. The textures were incredibly light and the fruit tasted fresh and…I’m going to say it….healthy!

Mellissa’s Strawberry dream cupcakes

Mellissa is not only a previous ICL winner, but she is also
Ms Cupcake (you can find her at Greenwich Market) and has appeared on TV spreading her message that vegan cupcakes needn’t compromise on taste or texture! . In fact, she’s so successful at spreading the word (I guess people are more willing to listen when you’re offering them amazing cupcakes!) that she’s inundated with work and needs help. Mellissa is looking for part time (at the moment – who knows where it might lead?) paid help. Anyone with a talent for baking can apply via her website (or email directly: . The work isn’t limited to cupcakes but all baking – cakes, brownies, biscuits etc.
Ok job advert over….this cupcake was intensely strawberry. It contained both dried and fresh strawberry in the sponge and then strawberry jam between the sponge and vanilla strawberry frosting. I love the two tone effect in the buttercream.

Chris’s Pina colada cupcakes

Chris works under the name of Lily Bean Cakes and can be found under that name on facebook. Her pineapple and coconut sponge was basted with a pineapple and rum syrup and topped with coconut buttercream. Need I point out how heavenly this was? The flavours were sweet and tropical and the rum a subtle background flavour. The simple dried pineapple decoration alongside the pretty flower was perfect. Loved it!

Janelle’s Sticky date cupcakes

Janelle works under the name of Jamoisie Sweet she explained that it’s a combination of Jamaican and Aussie! Her vegan cupcakes are available from Greenwich Market. The sticky date sponge was ultra moist and had a pleasing smoky quality to it that added real depth of flavour.

Janelle’s Lemon cupcakes

Janelle’s second entry of the night was this dinky lemon cupcake. The flavour was intense – so tangy and fresh. The tiny flower decorations were adorable and finished off the cute look.

That concludes the entries for our tenth challenge; I’m sure several will have caught your eye. Once again, I have to comment on the sheer quality and imagination of our bakers – every month it’s like walking into the world’s greatest cupcake parlour and being allowed to eat EVERYTHING!

As always I’d like to thank all the bakers for taking the time to enter, and all the eaters for coming along and helping us pick the winner. I leave you with our four worthy winners:

Special thanks to my awesome team of helpers who make the event run so smoothly on the night: Paul, Dave, Tina, Ying and Max – thanks. I couldn’t do it without you.

All photos are the property of Dave Shipman and are reproduced here with his kind permission. If you wish to use any of his photos please can you email me first for permission – thanks.
Hope to see you all again on Monday 7 June for our first birthday; the theme is CELEBRATION!