19 March 2013

Cupcake Monday!

I may have mentioned before that I have my own little baking company. I bake cakes and cupcakes in my kitchen at home and deliver them to homes and offices or wherever they're desired. And I love it!

Today I had thirteen boxes to knock up comprising of cupcakes, brownies, cheesecake brownies and sticky toffee squares. Probably my biggest order to date! Although it didn't take the longest time - the large bespoke cakes (such as the Phineas & Ferb cake I made recently) can take a couple of days whereas today my working day was 6am until 3pm.

I've always enjoyed baking.  As a kid, every Saturday I would flick through the pages of my Mum's cookbooks to find a recipe that we could tackle.  I guess I lost the urge to bake for a few years when my career and going out got in the way!

I used to work in the city as an insurance broker and there I stayed for almost 12 years. Although I enjoyed most of my years there - many lovely client lunches were had - it was not a job that I felt came naturally to me and Alex inspired me to pursue an alternative route.

So I waved goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the city and said hello to the stress and pressure of Leiths School of Food and Wine!

Here I am on my first day (probably why I'm still smiling...)

It was the hardest thing I've probably ever done but I learned a lot and it set me up nicely to launch my company just over a year ago.

As well as cake delivery, I occasionally have my own cake stall over at a couple of our local markets which always goes down really well. 

Today was my favourite kind of cake order - a nice variation! The cupcakes required were a mix of five different flavours - chocolate fudge, banoffee, carrot, red velvet and pina colada.

My recipes are usually either adapted from one of my many cookbooks or created myself through trial and error. It took me quite a long time to find a basic cupcake recipe that I didn't have any problems with - some were too dense, some domed in the oven too much - that kind of thing.  But once I had the recipe nailed that got great feedback from my cake guinea pigs, it was fun to create all sorts of different flavours to add to my menu.

I love making the cocktail cupcakes - you can really play around with the amount of fruit juice and alcohol you add as well as have a lot of fun with the decoration!

These are the little cheesecake brownies squares - made using my usual squidgy brownie recipe as the base and my delicious creamy cheesecake topping.  They have been a real hit and can be made in all sorts of flavours.

It was a very busy day that happily went without any kitchen malfunctions or recipe disasters (and trust me, I've had a few!)

Here they are, ready to be labelled and prepared for delivery!

Baking is so popular right now. I think the Great British Bake-off has helped to ignite people's interest a little more too. Cakes make people happy and are totally yummy but also many of them are so simple to make.

Fancy giving my Pina Colada Cupcakes a bash?  Look no further.

You will need:
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
165ml whole milk
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 tbsp white rum
1 tbsp pineapple juice

For the Frosting:
150g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp white rum
1 tbsp pineapple juice

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C or 170C for a fan assisted oven like mine.  Line your cupcake tin with your cases of choice.  
  2. Beat the softened butter, sugar, sifted flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until they form a breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Place eggs, vanilla, coconut milk, pineapple juice, rum and milk in a jug and mix well by hand.  Add 3/4 to the dry ingredients, mix in on a low speed until combined then scrape down the bowl.  Add the rest of the milk and beat on medium speed until smooth. 
  4. Divide the batter between the cases until 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are firm when lightly pressed, remove from the oven and onto wire rack.
  5. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cupcakes with a little more rum.
  6. Put the butter in the microwave for a few seconds to soften, then place in a bowl with half the icing sugar and combine. Add the remaining icing sugar with the white rum, vanilla and pineapple juice. Mix until it is a soft and smooth consistency. Add a little warm milk or icing sugar if you need to.
  7. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake. 
  8. And voila!  Decorate with a cocktail umbrella, a piece of pineapple or a cherry and enjoy!

If you are in the London area and would like some cakes (let's face it, who doesn't?) please feel free to contact me at cocktailsandcaroline@yahoo.co.uk and I'll give you the details on how to order!

  And if you are a bit of a baker in the making too, send me a link, I'd love to    
  have a nosy!


  1. Ooh cocktail cupcakes are such a good idea! I'm going to have to persuade my housemates to try the Pina Colada ones with me - love the umbrellas in the top too!

  2. Hi Bella! The cocktail cupcakes are really tasty and great for parties or girlie get togethers. I make mojito and Bailey's ones too, yum! Let me know how you get on if you give it a go :)

  3. I wish I had a friend like you who baked for a living! I would happily eat my way through all your test creations :)

    Everything you make looks amazing. I love the little carrot ones! :)

  4. Thank you! When I'm baking them it's so hard to resist polishing off all the left-overs (although I might lick the bowl now and again...!) x

  5. Wow, I love your blog! thanks for the recipe!

  6. Thank you! If you make them let me know how you get on :) x

  7. Wow. I absolutely love this!
    You are basically doing my dream! I'm hoping to make cupcakes and possibly open a bakery when I'm older. Your bakes look incredible!
    Can I ask which piping bag nozzle you use on the Pina Colada and Carrot cupcakes? It looks incredible!

    1. Fantastic! Go for it! It is lovely being able to do what you love for a living (I haven't always though...12 years in insurance!).

      Yes, it's the Wilton 1M nozzle

      Happy baking!



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