This week I'm embracing the rural-ness of where I live - Wiltshire - and I'm very excited to be involved in an Open Farm Sunday at the fab local Gable End Farm, in Grittenham, Chippenham (not far at all from Royal Wootton Bassett). So to begin the embracing, I got some eggs - laid by their lovely flock of free range hens.
I decided to make a batch of honey flavoured cupcakes (another lovely local product from the farm as there's a beehive too!) so I'm sharing my cupcake recipe and also a step-by-step on how to make your own farm animal themed decorations. Great fun to do on a rainy weekend with the kids! But this weekend be sure to find your local farm to explore, I can't wait to meet the baby piglets and kittens, squeee!
Follow the standard cupcake recipe but simply add a tablespoon of honey into the mix for 12 cupcakes. Top tip - if you want the honey to run off the spoon easily, simply dip the spoon into hot water first ;)
Once your cupcakes are done, buttercream is needed. Follow the standard recipe but for the beehives it's best to add a bit of yellow food colouring. For the other cupcake designs, plain regular buttercream definitely does the job!
To get the beehive effect, you'll need a piping nozzle with a small circular hole. Unfortunately I couldn't photograph the piping stage as my hands were full, and I'm not going to lie - there's likely to be a bit of practise needed.
First, spread some plain buttercream over the cupcake top. Then pipe a mound of buttercream onto the middle of the cupcake. Carefully pipe a string of icing around the mound, in a spiral shape and then lift off when you reach the top. Voila - beehive!
The bees can be made in advance so I tend to make them a day or so before the cakes are baked so it's quick & easy to finish off the cakes.
Simply roll a ball of yellow fondant icing for the bee 'body', and attach some smaller balls of white fondant which can be flattened to form wings. Then make some edible paint with some black food colouring and clear alcohol (vodka is best, although water would be possible as an alternative). The alcohol evaporates once you've painted with it and doesn't affect the icing in the way water does.
Next up I'll show you how to make some kitty cat cupcake decorations. They're purrfect (couldn't resist) for any cat lovers, young or old.
Start by cutting out the general shapes from black fondant icing. A medium circle for the head, and small triangles for the ears.
Then cut some small triangles from pink fondant. To attach the shapes, simply dab the back with a tiny amount of water and place together.
Make a thin sausage of green fondant, and cut into small slices, which are then rolled into balls. Then flatten them and position them as cats eyes.
Finally, paint the eyes with a mix of black food colouring and clear alcohol (or water). Set them aside to dry and they'll be ready to top off your cupcakes.
These decorations can be made in advance as they should keep for up to 6 months. I tend to make them just a day or so before they're needed - otherwise my entire house would be full of cake decorations (although living in a Hansel & Gretel style house wouldn't be the 'worst' thing to put up with).
So for my Swindon readers, there will be a selection of farm animal themed cupcakes at Gable End Farm's Open Farm Sunday on 7th June all made using her local free range eggs (and I highly recommend them!).
If you do give these a go and make them at home, I would LOVE to see your photos! Feel free to comment below, or email me your pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org