Saturday, 30 June 2012

Blue Velvet Cupcakes & Graduation

Yesterday was so much fun to spend with faces that I have spent the past 2 years growing up with and loving. I've met some of the nicest people in my life and I'm so grateful of everything that has happened. That's why although graduation is a little sad, it was also so much fun to celebrate with people that are now so important in your life! And what better way to celebrate than making cupcakes...

I made Blue Velvet Cupcakes which was a spin on the classic red velvet. This is because everyone in my boarding house absolutely loves red velvet, and our house colour is blue. What's not to love? They were such tasty little velvety blue goodness.

I adapted this recipe from One Particular Kitchen. The recipe said it would make around 26 cupcakes, but I ended up with 36 somehow.


For the cupcakes:
2 cups of caster sugar
1/2 pound of butter at room temperature
2 eggs 
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tbsp Wilton Royal Blue gel food colouring
1 small toothpick dab of violet gel food colouring (This is to make it extra blue, I didn't use it in mine as my house colour was more of a turquoise)
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1/2 pound of butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing sugar

For the fondant hats (optional):
1 pack of ready-to-roll icing/fondant
Wilton gel food colouring of your choice (I used Royal Blue, Sky Blue and Ivory)


For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line cupcake pans with your cupcake cases
2. Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg
3. Mix cocoa and food colouring together to make a paste, add this to the sugar mixture and mix well again
4. Sift flour and salt, and add to creamed mixture a bit at a time, alternating with buttermilk, then mix in the vanilla
5. Add the baking soda to the batter, mix well
6. Scoop thick batter into cupcake cases, filling about half-full, and start checking the cupcakes at around 18 minutes as mine were done at 20 - to check you can stick a toothpick in the center of the cupcake and see if it comes out clean
7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and wait for them to cool completely before icing

For the icing:
1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until nice and smooth
2. Add sugar gradually and beat on low till combined, then beat on high speed. The recipe says to beat until it is light and fluffy, but I found that the lack of thickness made it really hard to hand-pipe, which is what I blame my disaster icing on.

The fondant hats were REALLY hard. I tried to make little boaters, but it was really difficult to make them stick together. When you try and make them, apparently it's good to use icing sugar so it doesn't stick on your hand. I learnt how to colour fondant here.

Once you've coloured the fondant, you can pull of pieces of it to create whatever shape you want. I made a flat base for the bottom of the boater with Ivory coloured fondant, then a round one to stick on top. I then cut a thin strip of Royal Blue coloured fondant to wrap around the round top, then cut an even thinner strip of Sky Blue coloured fondant to wrap around the middle of the Royal Blue fondant. Then use a base of Ivory fondant in a small rectangle, with a layer of Royal Blue fondant on top, and then cut a tiny piece of Sky Blue fondant to stick in the center. This makes the little ribbon on the boater.  If it sounds a bit confusing then sorry but it's common sense to make really. Just cut them out and make it look like a hat! If it sounds easy, well, it's not. If you DO find it easy then I applaud you.

Mine turned out a little gross, but from a distance it doesn't look too bad!

Here are the finished pieces..

I bought little cake boxes to put cupcakes in to give to my singer teacher, my house mistress, tutor and house matron as a little thank you gift. It looks really sweet and its inexpensive to do!

I bought the cake boxes from Cake Craft Shop, which is also where you can buy the gel food colouring.

Although making them took me to late hours of the night (stupid fondant hats), I had to get up extra early as I had my hair appointment on the day of graduation. I went to Headmasters, who were so sweet as they didn't have a free slot until 11.30 which was too late for me, but as it was my graduation they fitted me in extra early and said I could come 10 minutes before they even opened to get me shampooed. So so sweet.

I've decided I must look like a child without makeup. First thinks I'm 12, then the hair dresser asks if it's my Year 11 prom I'm getting ready for. No, no it's not.

I got my hair done extra curly so it would last through the day until the graduation ball in the evening. It dropped only a couple of hours after getting it done since it was so windy, but thankfully the curl held for the rest of the day, even though the volume didn't. I got my dress in Australia so I didn't have the feat that someone else might have it muahaaa!

It was so much fun to see everyone again, even though it was only about a week it felt like ages. I don't think leaving has properly hit me yet since the day was just so enjoyable. And yes I know I'm a massive poser.

Congratulations to all 2012 leavers!

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