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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: Week 27, Insect

Recipe: Carrot cupcakes
From: The Australian Women's Weekly "Bake"

The theme for this week's Cookbook Challenge is the most challenging one we've had yet - insect. YES INSECT! I racked my brain the whole week, trying to decide what to make.

In the end, I decided to bake something and decorate it to look like an insect. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes, so I decided to bake carrot cupcakes and make them into ladybirds. I made the carrot cakes on Saturday, doing so in a bit of a rush because we were heading out for dinner. I had an hour to do the baking from start to finish - but fortunately the recipe I chose was, with the help of a food processor, super quick and easy and I threw it together in 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake and.......... forgot to put the eggs in the cake mixture............. Sheesh! It's not even the first time I've left eggs out of a cake - I am a fail baker sometimes. Without the eggs, the cupcakes tasted fine, but they didn't rise very much.

Ladybird cupcakes

Today (Sunday) I did the decorating. It was a very time consuming job - it took me nearly two hours to do six cupcakes! But I think they turned out pretty cute. :) My inspiration for the cupcakes was this image on flickr. Mine weren't as polished, but it was my first time covering cupcakes with fondant (I've only made fondant toppers before - see here and here). If you're interested, here's how I made them:

Ladybird cupcakes

To start with, I iced the cupcakes with a thin layer of lemon buttercream. I had a small amount of left over buttercream in the freezer - just enough for six cupcakes.

Ladybird cupcakes

To colour the fondant, I used red and black gel paste food colouring.

Ladybird cupcakes

I started off with the red fondant - this was for the body. I rolled out the fondant and then cut out circles that were about the same size as the cupcakes.

Ladybird cupcakes

The circles of fondant were placed on top of the buttercream, and then I smoothed it down and around the buttercream with my fingers.

Ladybird cupcakes

To make the black faces, I rolled out black fondant and cut out smaller circles. These circles were cut in half. I wet the back of one of the semi circles, and placed it at the edge of the cupcake.

Ladybird cupcakes

I used my fingers to smooth and pull the straight edge of the black fondant down to the paper case, and cut off the corners that overlapped.

Ladybird cupcakes

After all that, I was on the home stretch! I cut a line down the body, and then pasted on several small dots of black fondant for spots. I also pasted on some eyes and used a circle cutter to cut a smile into the face.

Ladybird cupcakes

And - ta dah! All done! I was very pleased with the result. My biggest problem now is I can't bare to eat them - they're way too cute!

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here

Update: See the round up at My Food Trail.

Ladybird cupcakes

Carrot cupcakes

Adapted from AWW's Bake

Makes 12

1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups (480g) firmly packed coarsely grated carrot
3/4 cup (90g) coarsely chopped roasted almonds (the book recommends pecans, but I only had almonds)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.

In a bowl, combine the oil, eggs, sifted flour, sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the carrot and chopped almonds. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until cooked. Let them stand for about 5 minutes, before placing on a wire rack to cool.

Top with your favourite frosting and to decorate as ladybirds - see above!

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