The Foolproof Cake/Cupcake Recipe

Hello Hummers!

As some of you may already know, I have a go-to recipe when it comes to making cakes.

This recipe ensures I have a delicious vanilla cake that is moist and decadent.  The key ingredient that allows it to retain its moisture is the white chocolate ganache.  The ganache is subtle in flavour and doesn’t overpower your cake – but it will give it the moisture that a butter cake just cannot compete with.

This is particularly great when decorating with fondant icing!

You can use this for cupcake or for a cake. I find this usually gives me enough for 24 cupcakes or a 20cm round cake.

Give it a go and if you have any problems or if you have any questions, just leave a comment or send me an email.

In the meantime, keep on baking xx

Cupcake Decorating Class
Cupcakes made with this recipe – so many ways to decorate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla & White Chocolate Cake/Cupcake Recipe

Reproduced from recipe provided by James St Cooking School

Ingredients:

  • 250g Butter (soft)
  • 150g White Chocolate
  • 2 cups Castor Sugar
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1+1/3 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1+1/3 Cups Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I use the Queen Vanilla Bean Paste featured in the “Let’s start with the basics” post.)
  • 2 Eggs (lightly beaten)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160° (150° fan forced).  Prepare your cupcake trays or cake tins.  (I’ll be showing you how to prepare your cake pans later).
  2. Sift flours (self raising and plain) into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Fill a saucepan to 1/3 full with water and bring to a gentle simmer.  Place your butter and white chocolate in a heatproof bowl above this, ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the simmering water.  Stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate have melted.
  4. Add castor sugar and milk to the chocolate mixture, mixing gently with a hand whisk over gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Remove the bowl from heat and add to sifted flours.  Mix with a hand whisk and ensure no lumps of flour remain.
  6. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  7. For cupcakes:  Transfer mix to a jug with a spout to fill cupcake cases.
  8. Fill cake tin or cupcake cases to 2/3 full.
  9. Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Cooking times will vary greatly depending on the size and depth of the cake you’re baking.  Test after approximately 20 minutes for cupcakes and 1 hour 20 minutes for 20cm cake.
  10. Leave large cakes to cool completely in their tin.  Leave cupcakes in tin for 5 minutes, then remove from tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Tips & Tricks:

  • Leave your butter out overnight or at least a few hours before using it.
  • Once the butter and chocolate have melted, then add your sugar and then the milk last.  If you think the bowl is overheating, take it off the pan and put it back if necessary.  Your “ganache” will be very runny once you add the milk, that’s normal for this recipe.
  • For a cake, I like to check it every 30 minutes (because I’m paranoid!)

 

Let’s start with the basics

Happy Friday, Hummers!

Before we get into the fun stuff, I need to make sure you understand what all the basic equipment is for and why you need it.  I believe baking is an exact science and you need to measure everything precisely.

This post is just for your cake needs and if I put up a recipe that requires any other equipment or anything unusual, I’ll let you know as we go!

So without further ado – your basic equipment:

Basic Utensils

  • Measuring Cups – I bought mine from Kmart, they’re collapsible too for easy storage. You can buy measuring cups from supermarkets, discount stores, homeware stores – anywhere!
  • Measuring Spoons – again mine are from Kmart, also available from pretty much anywhere.
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Whisk
  • Silicone Spatula – again mine is from Kmart (sensing a pattern?) I have to say this spatula is amazing.  It cost me a few dollars and works wonders with scraping down bowls and mixing.
  • Small Offset Spatula – I actually bought this off ebay.  You can find it online or in cake decorating stores like, Cakes Around Town in Darra.
From left to right - Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Wooden Spoon, Whisk, Silicone Spatula and Small Offset Spatula
From left to right – Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoons, Wooden Spoon, Whisk, Silicone Spatula and Small Offset Spatula

 

The Mixer

You can either use a Stand Alone Mixer like the one I have or use electric beaters – which is what I used when I first started out.

I love my Kenwood and while we all secretly dream of a KitchenAid, I have no complaints about my big red machine :)

My Big Red Kenwood Patissier Stand Alone Mixer
My Big Red Kenwood Patissier Stand Alone Mixer

 

Other Basic Items

  • Measuring Jug – to measure all your liquids.  I got mine from Coles or Woolworths.
  • Glass Bowl – you need this to melt chocolate/make ganache.  I got mine from Coles or Woolworths.
  • Sieve – I use this to sift flour, icing sugar etc.  I got mine from Kmart I’m pretty sure!
From left to right: Pyrex Measuring Jug, Glass Bowl, Sieve

 

Basic Trays/Pans

  • Cupcake Tray – I got mine from Taste in New Farm.  You can get it at Kmart, Coles, Woolworths – anywhere really.
  • 20 cm Round Cake Pan – I got this from Taste too.  Again, you can get this from pretty much anywhere.
From left to right:  Cupcake Tray and 20cm Round Cake Pan
From left to right: Cupcake Tray and 20cm Round Cake Pan

 

Basic Piping Tips

  • Wilton 6B –  I bought this from Taste, but you just need an open star piping tip, it doesn’t necessarily need to be this one.  Same goes for the rest of the tips. I like this one because it gives you a great swirl on cupcakes.
  • Wilton 4B – a smaller version of the 6B, it’s great for piping stars with buttercream and basic decorative work.
  • 2A - I bought this from Cakes Around Town in Darra – a specialist cake shop.  Again, any open tip will do.
From left to right:  Wilton 6B Piping Tip, Wilton 4B Piping Tip and a 2A Piping Tip
From left to right: Wilton 6B Piping Tip, Wilton 4B Piping Tip and a 2A Piping Tip

 

Icing Bags

  • Cake Boss Disposable Icing Bags 30 cm – I got this from David Jones.  Unless you’re getting serious about icing, I wouldn’t suggest buying these.  You can just use a sandwich bag or a ziplock bag to begin with and go from there.
Cake Boss 30cm Disposable Icing Bags
Cake Boss 30cm Disposable Icing Bags

 

Vanilla, Vanilla and More Vanilla

  • Queen Organic Vanilla Bean Paste – I use this in my go to cake recipe, but it is a lot more expensive than the imitation vanilla. Up to you!
  • Queen Imitation Vanilla Flavouring – I use this for icing or for butter cakes when I’m not too fussed on the quality of the vanilla.  If you’re starting out, just use this one.  No point in spending loads of money on stuff you won’t use.
  • Queen Vanilla Bean Pods – I mainly use these for making my own custard, but you could use them in cakes.  Again, very expensive.
From left to right:  Queen Organic Vanilla Bean Paste, Queen Imitation Vanilla Essence Flavouring, Queen Vanilla Bean Pods
From left to right: Queen Organic Vanilla Bean Paste, Queen Imitation Vanilla Essence Flavouring, Queen Vanilla Bean Pods

Queen Food Colouring

This is some of the Queen Food Colouring Range  – available from the supermarket. I only use these for colouring cake batter or sometimes, buttercream.  It is the cheapest alternative for food colouring but it can make your icing too runny if you use too much – so be careful with it.  Again if you’re just starting out, start with these.

Some of the Queen Food Colouring Range
Some of the Queen Food Colouring Range

 

Wilton Gel Colouring

This is some of the Wilton Gel Colouring Range. The Wilton range gives you a more even spread of colour when you add it to icing, whether that’s butter cream or fondant.  It is a lot more expensive than the Queen range, so if you’re looking for better colouring, try this.

Some of the Wilton Gel Colouring Range
Some of the Wilton Gel Colouring Range

 

That’s enough for one day I think!  I hope I haven’t overloaded you already!

If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you or just email me at ashanthi@thehummingoven.com

Next week, I’ll start putting up recipes and get into the fun stuff!

Keep on baking :)

Ashanthi xx

Welcome to The Humming Oven

Hi there!

Welcome to The Humming Oven. This is my first post and hopefully, not my last!

A little about me – my name is Ashanthi and I’m a cake/baking enthusiast, social justice activist and solicitor, among other things. I decided it was time to start a baking blog where I could share my experiences and improve upon my craft and hopefully help you improve yours!

So why did I start this blog?

When I bake, I find my zone of contentment – my zen. I love to bake and I love to decorate cakes, it brings me joy, and I want to share that joy with other people and help them to create their own works of art. I think there’s always a way to make something easier and hopefully that’s what I can do for you!

What is The Humming Oven about?

The Humming Oven is about my adventures and exploits in the baking and cooking world.  I’ll catalogue my failures and successes and tell you how you can avoid pitfalls.  I’ll share my inspiration and my works and hopefully it will inspire you to get baking!

My philosophy is that you should have a healthy balance in all aspects of your life and there is of course a place for fitness and diet in my life, but there is also a place for cake!  When you decide to indulge every now and again, I hope that my blog inspires you to create something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy – from all that sugar!

To give you some idea of where I started and where I’m at now – here are some photos:

Where I started:

The first cupcakes I ever decorated in 2009!
The first cupcakes I ever decorated in 2009!
The slightly improved decoration of cupcakes
The slightly improved decoration of cupcakes
A four layer ribbon cake with a dodgy icing job
A four layer ribbon cake with a dodgy icing job

What I can do now:

My first fondant cake!
My first fondant cake!

Peppa Pig Cake

My 2nd fondant cake
My 2nd fondant cake
The perfect swirl!  It took me ages to get this right :)
The perfect swirl! It took me ages to get this right :)
A lot of fun - but ended up being a bit dry.  The first time I made this cake it tasted delicious but looked like a mess.
A lot of fun – but ended up being a bit dry. The first time I made this cake it tasted delicious but looked like a mess.

 

If I can do it, so can you.  Here’s to the start of something sweet  :)