1. So, heads up!

    I know I promised you the recipe to my most recent cupcakes, but - I have also moved to London and started film school during this last week! Regular blogging may take a back seat until I have my own internet connection sorted and am less crazy-busy. I am so so excited to show you literally everything I have bought from Whole Foods, and to get up to date on all my photos. I don’t even care if I’m the only person remotely concerned with this.

    Back soon!


  2. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken.

    [Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, 1991]

    Number two in my line of Disney-inspired cupcakes (see Mulan here); Belle has always been my favourite princess so I was super excited for this one! I wanted to use flavours that drew on French patisserie - pricey vanilla paste for a rich flavour, hella salted caramel, and this light-as-air whipped frosting with a homemade hazelnut praline paste folded in.

    The idea for the frosting comes from a Filbert Gateau in Great Cakes by Carol Walter; that one uses a Swiss buttercream (the sort that uses egg whites and comes out super silky; for the record, while I love how they look, Swiss buttercreams always taste kind of like bath foam to me). Instead I used a cooked flour frosting and used full fat coconut milk to boost the richness and make it vegan; you don’t taste the coconut at all in the finished cake. Hooboy I could eat this frosting by the spoonful.

    I have very strong feelings about the stained glass window sequence at the start of Beauty and the Beast, so the sheet of hazelnut praline was a little nod to that - it didn’t really come out as a sheet so much as a clump, but whatevs). The rose petals are, of course, a reference to the enchanted rose in the story, so I had to paint them with edible gold. These flavours were killer together, so I was super happy that they also came out looking just as I’d imagined.

    Recipe to come!


  3. you monsters are people.


  4. Mulan-inspired cupcakes; black sesame cake, hidden lemon curd centre, and white tea infused frosting.

    Okay, so I promised a recipe for the Mulan cupcakes from the other day; while I talked a lot about my decisions and the reasons for them in the that post, now you get the practical stuff. Although Sprinkle Bakes was my flavour inspiration, I knew that I could make a vegan version using black sesame paste, since it’s essentially the same as any other nut butter and nut butters are brilliantly versatile in egg-free baking. So - don’t go haring after that recipe to grind a more complicated black sesame paste, just use pure black tahini. You can see the type I used above: Carley’s raw organic.

    For the cakes:

    180ml (3/4c.) soy milk
    2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    80ml (1/3c.) black sesame tahini
    80ml (1/3c.) vegetable oil
    140g (2/3c.) caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    150g (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp) plain flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1/4 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a cupcake tray with liners. Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and just leave to sit for a little while - it’ll thicken up and go lumpy. Tadaa, you made vegan buttermilk!

    In one bowl, mix the tahini, oil, sugar and vanilla, then slowly add the soy milk mixture. In a second bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix in just until blended. At this point you’ll be like, “Wow! I made… grey… goo?? Um????” but trust me, you’re doing okay. Divide as equally as you can between 12 cupcake cases.

    Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

    For the lemon curd: I used this recipe. If you’re not vegan, you can use a store-bought version.

    For the frosting:

    150g (3/4c.) caster sugar
    50g (1/3c.) plain flour
    200ml (3/4c. + 2 Tbsp) soy milk
    170g (3/4c.) coconut oil, very soft
    6 white tea bags (more for a stronger flavour)

    In a saucepan or in the microwave, heat the soy milk until scalding, then leave the tea bags to steep in it. I let them sit for about 15-20 minutes, but you can go a bit longer if you’d prefer. Strain the bags out as thoroughly as you can afterwards (I use chopsticks to squeeze out teabags! This is possibly a pro tip, or possibly an insight into my scummy habits) and top up the liquid level with more soy milk if necessary

    In a saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together, then whisk in the milk. Over a medium heat, bring to the boil and allow to thicken - this will probably take 10-15 minutes, you don’t have to whisk constantly but just every few minutes. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment), and just beat the hell out of it til it cools down.

    Re: your coconut oil! If it is even a little bit too hard, you will get little lumps that make your frosting incredibly hard to pipe. Ask me how I know. Second time around, I added it when it was almost completely melted and let it harden up as part of the frosting. Anyway, add the coconut oil and mix until fully incorporated - put it in the fridge for 10 minute intervals between beatings for the texture to stiffen up. Now you can add food colouring or a flavour extract if you prefer (I used a few drops of earl grey extract - enough to draw out the light floral flavour I’d already infused the milk with)

    To assemble:

    When cupcakes are fully cooled, cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with lemon curd.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a “lid” and place on top of the filled divot.

    Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes - this is a good video if you’re new to flower piping; the tutorial is for roses, but I used a smaller sized petal tip to create some sort of super ambiguous blossom. Uh, flowers are not my calling.



  5. The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

    [Disney’s Mulan, 1998]

    I’ve been planning a line of elegant Disney Princess-inspired cupcakes for ages now, and it’s taken this long to make something I’m happy with. The black sesame and lemon combo is from Sprinkle Bakes, but I knew I would want it to be vegan; the tea-infused frosting took several attempts to get right (I tried infusing the butter in a basic buttercream, then a sub-par flour frosting with soya spread, then a fabulous flour frosting which involved coconut oil and brewing the tea in scalded soy milk). I’ve also made it with jasmine tea, but used white tea here.

    The vegan lemon curd is from here, but I added extra lemon zest cause I generally like a sharp lemon flavour - in retrospect this was too sharp with the fairly delicate cake and frosting, and I’d tone it down in the future. The cake itself is a smoky, adult flavour that I really enjoyed, and the tahini here has the dual effect of both flavour and moisture, for a really nicely textured cake (still good on Day 3, by the way, which most vegan cakes would not be).

    I put so much thought into the composition of this cake, oh my god, I wish someone would pay me money for this. I wanted Chinese flavours with the black sesame and white tea, and a brighter filling to show how Mulan’s true self is ‘concealed’ both at home and in the army. The flower piping is a callback to the metaphor of the flower in adversity, and Mulan’s conversation with her father about the blossom:

    'My, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one's late. But I'll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.'

    Recipe to come!


  6. buttface cat wants to do nothing but pose and headbutt my knees.



  8. Homemade Daim Bars.

    So, I got a sugar thermometer for Christmas. You may have heard; by which I mean that I may have told you for some totally valid reason, or that you may have witnessed me singing magnificent arias about it and skipping around my kitchen tempering every bit of chocolate I can get my goddamn hands on. It’s super shiny. I’m delighted.

    I’m also on a sweets-and-chocolate kick thanks in part to watching Shitsuren Chocolatier, a Japanese drama about a broken-hearted chocolate maker. I am pretending to watch it for the narrative. I’m really watching it for the chocolate closeups, and Kiko Mizuhara’s face.

    While I’m figuring out how to make ripoff versions of every chocolate bar I’ve ever eaten, I’m going to start here. These are Daim bars - although I now realise that they are essentially almond praline, never mind - and they’re super quick and easy to make (although you do, of course, need the sugar thermometer). They’re also as goddamn addictive as freaking crack cocaine, and I have eaten the best part of a whole tin of them in like, two days. I have daim bar in my mouth right now. I’m not even sorry.

    Adapted from here.

    100g (3.5oz) blanched almonds
    100g (3.5oz) vegan margarine
    240g (1 1/4c.) white sugar
    50ml (3 Tbsp) golden or corn syrup
    150g (5oz) vegan chocolate

    In a food processor, chop the almonds very finely. You could finely chop them by hand, or buy pre-ground almonds, but I think you’d lose a lot of texture with the latter.

    In a thick-bottomed saucepan, mix the sugar, margarine and syrup, and allow them to melt together. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble until your thermometer reads 150C - you don’t need to stir this while it’s caramelising, but if it looks or smells like it’s sticking you can just swirl the pan around a little. Once it reaches 150C and is a medium brown, remove the pan from the heat to add the chopped almonds, then bring it back to 145-150C again.

    Pour onto a sheet of baking parchment or silicone paper and allow to spread out a little. You’ll wanna move fast cause it’ll be super hot at first but cool fairly quickly. When it’s just tacky in texture you can mark out where you plan to cut - which I did, but to be honest you can break the whole thing into shards when it’s chilled later and it’s just as cute.

    Melt the chocolate and pour over the top of the praline. Smooth with a flat knife or offset spatula, and allow to set in the fridge overnight. I dusted mine with edible gold glitter because I am out of control, but sadly it didn’t show up in the photos very well. So good.


  9. no posts this week while i’m super busy with work!; see you next monday for something new ^__^


  10. Guess who’s been eating like a slob and is delighted about it? Thiiiis girl~. Pictured: Millionaire’s Shortbread Cupcake (vanilla cake, caramel filling, chocolate & vanilla frosting and a square of millionaire’s shortbread), and a Gingerbread Latte with two teeny gingerbread men. This is the happiest I’ve ever been.