Friday, 11 February 2011

Cupcakes in Amsterdam!

Well hello!

I just thought I'd share with you a little trip to Amsterdam for a friend's 40th birthday.

Before I left I Googled 'cupcakes amsterdam' and didn'g get much back other than a few reports that they were hard to come by because of the ingredients not being readily available?? Within a few hours of walking the streets I had eaten 3 cupcakes, 1 slice of apple pie, half a slice of carrot cake and half a cookie... we were getting a bit 'caked out' so decided to share the last two!

Just 10 minutes after dropping our bags at the hotel we found this little place where I indulged in a coconut cupcake. The cake was actually chocolate while the creamy white frosting was very coconut-y and had more coconut sprinkled on top. I was disappointed with the cake, much too dry, but the frosting was lovely and I could have eaten more!

Next stop was Winkel! We had read about this amazing apple pie they did so had to check it out... This was a totally unassuming place with a load of crammed in chairs, benches at the bar and little corners stuffed with more chairs and tables. Everyone seemed to share space just to get a seat... I loved it!!  Looking at the menu there was no apple pie listed so had we not read about it we might never have got to try it.

The only place I had read about was De Drie Graefjes where 'Dan the cookie man' (a native American using American recipes) prepared pastries, cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and cupcakes.  So we sat down in the lunchroom and had fresh mint tea and a delicious carrot cake. This is where the cookie bit comes in, on the side of my tea you see a mini cookie. The cake was lovely and moist, one of the best carrot cakes I've ever tried. On leaving we checked out the bakery next door and I bought 2 cupcakes to go! A Vanilla and a Black Bottom. The vanilla was good, not amazing, but good. The frosting on this was a bit tasteless so I didn't finish it. The Black Bottom however was amazing.... I loved the frosting which I think had mascarpone in it. This one I finished and I could definitely have eaten some more of that delicious frosting.

Before leaving we wanted to visit the Eastern Docklands and in particular the Lloyd Hotel, a revamped 1920's building.  A lot of the orginal features of the building have been reused and mixed with newer features from some top Dutch designers. I know where I want to stay next time we visit.... We decided to have something a little more substantial as our flight home was a few hours away. We picked the tomato and basil soup with a bowl of chips and mayonnaise! We weren't disappointed!!  Just as we were tucking in the staff started to appear with plates of morsels for the bar... apparently at 5pm everyday they bring out a selection of tapas. If only I'd known this first, I would have waited to eat!

A couple of hours later we were back home eating toast and drinking tea!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Recipe test - Vanessa Kimbell's Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes

I always like trying new recipes and experimenting with different flavours so when I volunteered to be a recipe tester for Vanessa and she asked me to try her Chocolate Chilli cupcakes, I happily obliged! It's a flavour I've been meaning to do as I think the combination of a quality bitter dark chocolate and the bite of chilli is a match made in heaven...

Vanessa stopped work to follow her dream of writing a cookery book. The book is called 'Prepped!: Gorgeous Food without the Slog - a Multi-tasking Masterpiece for Time-short Foodies' and you can read about her ups and downs on her blog

The recipe was very easy to follow, ingredients easily obtained, utensils and bowls already in my cupboards - I know I make cupcakes all the time so this is easy for me to say, but really, everything I used to make the recipe I'm sure you'd have in your cupboards too!

Yummy beetroot! Don't let this put you off if you're not a fan, the taste doesn't stand out but what you do get is a lovely moist cake. I always use Green & Black's cocoa powder, it has a higher cocoa content than most other brands so gives a denser flavour. Vanessa recommended I use Farrington's Rapeseed Oil as this was the only item not already in my cupboard.

The egg, oil and beetroot mixture... what's not to love about it? It's pink!!!

A lovely glossy chocolate mixture ready to go in the oven

23 minutes later, 18 glorious chocolate cupcakes cooling on the side

I love opening a bar of chocolate. I feel like I'm in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I'm looking for that winning Golden ticket.... I haven't found one yet but I'll continue to search!

Ganache ingredients - dark chocolate, unsalted butter and double cream

Cutting the top off the cupcakes so they can be filled with the Chocolate Ganache

Look how lovely it is.
The good thing about baking for yourself is that you get to lick the spoons!!!

The finished cupcake!

The verdict - lovely moist intensely dark chocolate cake followed by the warmth of the chilli at the back, just the right amount of heat.
I was really pleased with how they turned out and will definitely make them again. If you want to have a go at making them you'll just have to go out and buy the book when it's launched in May!

Until next time...

Julie x

The BIGGEST cake I have made so far, and more.....

I've had a pretty busy couple of weeks, not just with cupcakes but also planning events and projects for this year.  I met with Jo at My Vintage Day to talk about some plans we've been working on, I'll update you on those in a separate post. For now, I will just share with you the latest cucpakes and cakes I have created;

Christening cupcakes for Lana

No! It's not a spelling mistake... Drum Kit cake for 'Rocx'

This is the biggest cake I have made - it was two tiers, chocolate and vanilla cakes, decorated to a hunting theme with hand painted pheasant on the top. It would have easily fed over 120 people!

Some 'cheesy' (get it??? yeah, not funny, I know!) cupcakes for a keen photographer

Loved how these turned out - Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom cupcakes for a lucky birthday girl

Some very grown-up handbags & shoes for Elizabeth's 12th birthday

more photos on flickr (follow the link on the right)

I will also be posting later about a recipe I tested today for Vanessa Kimbell's book 'Prepped'

ta-ta for now!

Julie x

Valentine's Giant Cupcake Bouquet!

Show your Valentine some BIG love with a BIG cupcake.....

Pictured below is a Giant Vanilla Cupcake with pink vanilla buttercream in the centre and topped with red rose buttercream swirls, beautifully wrapped and tied with a satin ribbon. You can choose from Vanilla, Chocolate or Red Velvet.

Available for Valentine's weekend for £25 plus delivery

I will also be offering boxes of 6 red rose swirl cupcakes in the flavour of your choice for £10 (plus delivery).

If you would like to order please email or call 07944 009779

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Back in the Angelina Cupcake kitchen!

Happy New Year one and all, hope 2011 is going to be a great one!

This year has started with me back in my apron on 1st January making some cute as ever Hello Kitty cupcakes for Ruby

Spiderman cupcakes for Callum - loved how these turned out!

A HUGE England Rugby cake! I used the Wilton football tin for this and when I baked the first half thought 'this will never feed 15, too small' so baked the other half to make a whole rugby ball! Reckon this one would have fed at least 30!!! Oh well, you can never be disappointed having too much cake, I say!

I can't help but make Whoopies at the moment too, I'm loving them. These were salty caramel with caramel marshmallow frosting and a drizzle of dark chocolate... melt in the mouth!!

Next on my list to try is a recipe posted by Natalie at Bake and Destroy for these scrummy Chocolate dipped Banana Caramel whoopies, don't they look fab!!


Well, that's me for now, off to bake a Giant Cupcake.... wish me luck, it's my first!!!

Julie x

2010... what a fabulous year!!

Now that 2010 has drawn to a close and we start the countdown to Valentines, our summer holidays...  and maybe even next Christmas, I thought I'd just look back over this last year and reflect on where I have been!

February saw my first interview on BBC Radio Northampton with John Griff, these were some of the cupcakes I took in for him to sample

With the launch of the Twilight saga movies I had a lot of requests for Twilight themed cupcakes; these were based on the book covers

I also joined together with the Evergreen Gallery in Daventry for a special open night, these cupcakes were based on the works of the artist Clinton Banbury


March saw pretty flowers for Mother's Day and Baileys and Guinness cupcakes for St Patrick's
I was priviliged to work with some fabulous couples to create their perfect wedding towers


And finally... the highlight of the year for me was winning my award for Best Local Product in the Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2010/2011. And if you haven't seen the picture before, here's me accepting the award from Sophie Grigson and Jason Atherton

A very proud moment!

I'll be back soon...

Julie x

PS. you can see more of my pictures here