Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pastel Patchwork Cupcakes

Inspired by the rainbow Harrod's cake I ate in London (see previous post), I've returned home to experiment with making a similar design.  I'm loving pastels at the moment which leads to the creation of these pretty cupcakes..pastel patchwork cupcakes.  I simply put a teaspoon of plain vanilla batter, then a spoonful of dyed light pink, dyed light purple, and dyed light blue batter. The result is fun and of course very yummy when topped with buttercream and colourful smarties!

Ingredients for Vanilla Cupcake
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbornate of soda
1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Buttercream, to ice 12
250g unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line a round baking tin. Place butter, sugar and vanilla together and combine on low speed until they are just combined. Add all eggs and, on low speed, beat until well combined. Sift powder, soda and flour and add milk over the mixture and on medium speed bring the batter together until completely smooth.  Separate the batter into 4 separate bowls but ensure there is a slightly higher quantity in one bowl as this will remain a non-dyed batter.  In the other 3 bowls, you will need to place some dye (pink, purple or blue) separately to colour the  batter.  Place a teaspoon of plain batter into a patty case, followed by a teaspoon of each pink batter, purple batter and blue batter and top it off with another teaspoon of plain batter.  At this point you can either use a skewer to swirl the mixture (for a swirly effect) or leave it as is for a more patchwork look which is also my preferred. Once all the patty cases are filled and the batter is used, place cases on a tray and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until golden but by no means golden-brown.  Once cooled, to make icing, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Pipe onto cake generously.  Top with smarties!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Food at Harrods

There is one place that during my stay in London that I found to be a hub of outstanding food. I had been there twice before and only admired the food; but trying the sweet and savouries throughout the extensive Harrods Food Halls was one of the culinary highlights of my 2 month trip!
This photo review sums up my favourites from Harrods that I would highly recommend!

Lola cupcakes at Harrods - make your way to the sweet section where cupcakes and pastries are on display.  Compared to the actual Harrods cakes and cupcakes, the Lola brand cupcakes were incredible. These moist cupcakes were topped with real buttercream and featured interesting flavours like salted popcorn or strawberry and rose custard, as well as the classics such as chocolate, banana, carrot, red velvet and oreo. (2GBP for mini or 3.95GBP for regular)

 Megatruffles at Harrods (Sundae flavour) - even though I had been to Brugge (known for its chocolate) this truffle was one of my favourites! This is "sundae" flavoured; meaning it tastes like a icecream sundae. You must try despite the price! (3-4GBP per truffle)

 Megatruffle at Harrods (Coconut flavour) - if you are going to venture to the chocolate bar and find these mega truffles (which I recommend doing of course), then please, please try the coconut flavour as pictured here. Incredible!

 Asian goodies at Harrods - Amongst the asian delicacies at Harrods, there were my favourite glass noodles with ginger, mushrooms and other veggie goodies. The bonus is these are gluten free and vegetarian! We found this great picnic food as we bought 100g and took it to nearby Hyde Park for a picnic (one tube stop away!)

 "Melt" chocolate bar in the Chocolate section at Harrods - it's true, the chocolates at Harrods are diverse and dazzling; but Melt (a brand of chocolate) was our most favourite. The Harrods branded chocolates are also good, but for someone reason the products at Melt got us drooling each time.  I would recommend the chocolate caramels that strangely taste like a crispy chocolate brownie with fleur du sel, I would equally recommend the Chocolate Mud Pie which is infact a brownie, and also the Wild Pure Dark which are little squares of pure dark chocolate..

 Harrods Rainbow cake - a beautifully presented sponge cake that promises to be light and not too sweet. The slight let down was the icing because I expected buttercream but it was in fact a sort of sweet whipped cream.  Nevertheless, this cake is a fun to eat, its a generous slice and quite moreish (3.95GBP per slice)

Harrods branded chocolates at Harrods - you must try whatever little chocolates in the chocolate bar tempt you; trust me, none will disappoint.  This chocolate pictured here deserves a particularly special's called crunchy peanut butter chocolate. It will be worth the hunt down! It is in the same chocolate cabinet (to the left of the coffee section) that houses Egyptian Cleopatra looking chocolates and various seashells. Drool.

Prestat chocolate in Harrods - these Prestat chocolates taste as good as they look. I love their beautiful packaging and golden filigree name.  Their favourite chocolate of mine were the champagne truffles!

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