Monday, 29 August 2016

Succulent Cup Cakes

These cakes were very easy to make and made to fit with the theme for this event I used my favourite mud cake recipe (recipe below), it is moist, keeps well and can be baked a day or two in advance. For these I made two varieties, chocolate and caramel. The chocolate mud cakes were iced with chocolate frosting and then dipped into Chocolate Ripple biscuits, crushed to look like soil. The caramel mud cakes were iced with white chocolate frosting and then dipped into Butternut Snap biscuits that had been crushed to look like sand. 

A batch of gluten free mud cakes were also made and iced with chocolate ganache and ground hazelnut  for the soil.

How to Make Simple Succulent Cake Decorations

The succulent decorations need to be made in advance to dry out and become firm. I made them a week before but a couple of days would be long enough. 

I used commercial icing/ modelling paste and tinted it with green and a little blue food colouring. A bucket this big makes lots of flowers, one hundred and thirty succulents and some still left. Providing you keep it a plastic bag and in the bucket it will last months.

These are the cutters, the small one is aopproximately four centimetres in diameter and the larger approximately six centimetres. The were quite inexpensive and good investment when I had to make so many succulents. If you only needed a few you could draw out a free hand shape as a pattern and cut around with a knife or scissors.

Ideally, the the equipment for icing should not be used for other cooking, timber boards and rolling pins may absorb fat and this could mark or stain the icing. I use a sheet of templastic or craft plastic to roll the icing. The plastic makes it easy to peel the shapes off. The rolling pin is a plastic cylinder from inside a roll of paper. Baking parchment, moistened on the side that is touching the bench and a small rod or dowel would work just as well.

It is important that the icing does not dry out, keep unused icing in plastic. Break off small amounts of icing and roll out to three mm thickness.

 Stamp out a few shapes, place them under a container to stop them drying out, retool the trimmings into a ball and keep under a container or in a plastic bag until you are ready to make more shapes.

Six petal cutters were used to cut out the shapes. This is the baby succulent, it has one four centimetre shape for the base and another cut in half that is wrapped around the middle bud.

The petals need to be cut, I use scissors making sure to leave the middle uncut
Press / squash the edges of each petal and slightly stretch each one, this makes them slightly larger, thinner and flatter.
Place a small square of baking parchment over the middle
And place in a shallow patty tin.

Make the middle with half a shape and two small cylinders of icing, use the off cuts to make the cylinders.

Cut the petals into the shape as before and slightly flatten. Press the two cylinder shapes together to make the central bud. Moisten the bottom edge of the petal shape and place the bud in the middle.

Wrap the petals evenly around the central bud, stretching them to fit.
Pinch or cut off icing at the back. This will enable the middle section to sit flat. Moisten the middle of the shape in the patty tin and then press the central bud onto the base. Leave the succulent to dry for a few hours or overnight before removing from the patty tin.
You can make them larger and more complex by adding extra layers. 
This one is a combination of the six centimetre shape with the petals stretched out, a four centimetre shape stretched out for the middle row and another four centimetre stretched shape for the inner layer. The centre is three thinner cylinders of icing pushed together.

 Adapt the shapes, sizes and colours to create your own versions of succulents.

Chocolate Mud Cake
( Variations)
1 1/2cup water (375ml)
180 -220g dark chocolate
(large/family size block eg Old Gold or Club)
250g unsalted butter
2 cups castor sugar/brown or mixture of both
2 cups plain flour
1teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla essence or to taste

White Mud Cake – use white chocolate and white sugar
Caramel Mud cake – use white chocolate and brown sugar

Preheat oven to 135C
Place water, chocolate and butter in a large saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add castor sugar. Stir to combine and help sugar start to dissolve. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).
Place the mixture in an electric mixer bowl. Sift flour with bicarb soda. Add to chocolate mixture and beat well.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Place the mixture into cup cake cases or prepared cake tins and bake until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Approximately 40 minutes for the cupcakes and longer for cakes depending on the size of the tin.
Allow to cool in tin on a wire rack.

Chocolate & Sour Cream Frosting
200ml sour cream,
400g chocolate
Melt chocolate on medium heat in microwave or on low heat in small saucepan.
Add sour cream and whisk
Return the chocolate mixture to the refrigerator and allow to cool. The mixture will become thicker.
Beat with electric beaters until thick and glossy
Spread or pipe onto cakes

White Chocolate and Sour Cream Frosting– use white chocolate

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