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Diamond Jubilee Petit Fours


By now it’s no secret the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is coming up next week.  Over here in the UK we’re in full BBQ and street party planning mode. 

To be honest, I’ve never actually been to a street party before – I guess they’re kind of like the North American block party, although to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever been to one of those either.  I don’t think they’re as popular there as they are here. 
A traditional British Street Party (Image Source)

It’s being reported that there will be over 10,000 official street parties throughout England and Wales, and that’s not counting unofficial parties that haven’t gone through the proper approval process through local councils.
On Sunday I’m hoping to attend one of the larger parties in my area that will take place in our favourite park.  Monday and Tuesday are public holidays here, so the parties and celebrations will continue for a few more days.
In order to help make your street party look it’s best all of the major stores have released their own lines of street party gear including the essentials such as bunting flags, paper plates, cups, napkins, cupcake cases, etc. 
Each of the jubilee product lines are very patriotic and obviously incorporate everything British and royal such as union jacks and crowns, but they’re also very different from each other.
Lakeland was kind enough to send me some products (above) from their Jubilee range, so I’ve featured some of them here with my latest street party inspired creations.

My street party snacks are the perfect addition to your Jubilee table – they’re patriotic, three out of the four are quick and easy, you can make them all ahead of time, they’re all very transportable, and best of all they taste great!!!

I’ve decided to split the recipes for my Jubilee treats into two separate posts, otherwise you’d be reading this post forever!

 

First up I’ll start with my Diamond Jubilee petit fours.  I’ve always wanted to make petit fours so when I was given some cute little London themed sugar decorations in a Waitrose goodie bag, I knew they’d be perfect to add on top.  I used the traditional Victoria Sponge recipe that I came up with last year to celebrate the Royal Wedding, but this time I replaced the strawberry jam with black current jam – something I consider very British as it wasn’t something I’d really ever come across in Canada.

Diamond Jubilee Petit Fours
Ingredients:
3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Castor Sugar 
3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Butter, room temperature 
4 Eggs 
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract 
1.5 Cups + 1.5 Tbsp (200g) Self Raising Flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder

Blackcurrant Jam
Vanilla Buttercream 

Ready to Roll Fondant – I used Renshaw Regal Ice White Chocolate flavour

Liquid Fondant – (I used the Silver Spoon powdered version that you mix with water)

Liquid Glucose – optional
Red and Blue gel colouring

Decorations of your choice – I used Jubilee decorations from Waitrose and a couple of left over crowns I made for my Dome cake here.

Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Line two* square 8″x8″ cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5-8 minutes).

*I divided my batter up, and made 6 cupcakes for another project and used the rest in a 9″x9″ pan which made 16 petit fours approx 1.5″x1.5″

2.  Add in the eggs 1 at a time to ensure they don’t curdle the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat well before adding each following egg.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

3.  Gently fold the self raising flour and baking powder into the butter, sugar and egg mixture until just combined.  Don’t over mix.  Divide the batter equally between the two pans, making sure that the batter is as flat and even as possible.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

4.  Let the cakes cool in their pans at before lifting them out by the parchment paper. Leave the parchment paper on your cake, and wrap it in cling film before placing it in the freezer for about an hour to firm up slightly.

5.  While your cake is chilling in the freezer make your buttercream icing according to your favourite recipe. (I don’t have a recipe for my buttercream – I just cream a block of butter and keep on adding icing sugar (with a nit of milk and vanilla) until it tastes right.

*The instructions below are for one 9×9 cake (as I mentioned above). If you’ve made two 8×8 cakes, follow the instructions below twice.

6.  Take your cake out of the freezer ensuring that the bottom of the cake is facing upwards (this ensures you’ll have a perfectly flat top) and slice it in half so you end up with two layers.  I used a Wilton cake slicer, but a steady hand and knife should do the trick.  Open your cake so that the freshly cut sides are facing up.  Spread a thin layer of the balckcurrant jam on one half of the cake (remove any large currents), and a layer of buttercream on the other half (make sure it’s as smooth as possible).  



Sandwich the two layers together so the fillings are in the middle, making sure that the edges are aligned.  Next, trim the edges of your cake to ensure it’s perfectly square with nice sharp edges.  Spread another layer of buttercream on the top (which was once the bottom) of your cake, making sure it’s as smooth ad level as possible.

Roll out your fondant so it’s about 3mm in thickness.  Cut a square of fondant out the same size as your cake (you can use the bottom of your cake pan as a guide, and trim the edges later). Place the fondant over your buttercream covered cake top and smooth it out, ensuring you don’t have any trapped air under the fondant.  Trim off any excess fondant so that the edges are flush, and it’s exactly the same size as the cake.

Cut your fondant covered cake into small squares – once trimmed, my 9×9 cake made 16 squares.

7.  Prepare your liquid pouring fondant according to directions on the package – I added in about a teaspoon of glucose to mine to help make it spread easier.  I used Silver Spoon brand which is available in most supermarkets, but you can also buy other bands at speciality cake stores.   One 500g box was just enough to cover my 16 petit fours.

Place a 1/3 of your cake squares on a wire rack that’s been placed over a baking dish.  Start by pouring a tablespoon or two of the uncoloured white fondant on the top of one of your cake squares.  Using an offset pallete knife, spread the fondant to the edges so it starts to flow down the sides of the cake.  Using the back of the knife, scoop out a bit more fondant from the bowl and spread it down each side, starting from the top.  Let the fondant run down the sides until all of the cake is covered.  


Once the cakes are covered, place a sugar decoration in the middle of each one and let the icing dry for at least half an hour.

Ignore the random white one with sprinkles!
Divide the remaining fondant icing in half an colour one half red, and the other blue.  Repeat the steps above for the rest of your cakes.
8.  After the fondant has surface dried, use your palette knife to move each cake onto a paper liner.  You can press the paper onto the fondant to help it form to the shape of the cake.
Leave your petite fours uncovered until they’re thoroughly dry.  I made mine in the evening, and I don’t know what on earth possessed me to cover them in a sealed container but I did, and because my liquid fondant hadn’t dried completely my sugar decorations absorbed some of the moisture which discoloured them.  Obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly!  
These petit fours will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days if they’re properly covered with liquid fondant to prevent them from drying out.



I hope you like these petit fours – I loved them – especially with the addition of the blackcurrant jam!  I can’t wait to make more of them.  Don’t let all the steps detour you, because although they do take a bit of time to make them, the final results are not only pretty, but also delicious!

Check back later for my other Diamond Jubilee street party recipes!

Thanks to Lakeland for the Jubilee products (cake stand, napkins, cupcake cases and jam jar covers are featured), and to Waitrose for the Jubilee sugar decorations.

Queens Diamond Jubilee Hat Cookies


When I was living in Canada I was always a little envious of our patriotic American neighbours.    To many outsiders their patriotic enthusiasm seemed overly excessive and brash, but as a Canadian kid I looked on in amazement.  They took any opportunity they could get to plaster their flag on anything and everything, and I often wondered why Canadians didn’t do the same. 

The patriotic differences really became apparent when July rolled around.  Canada celebrates their birthday with a national holiday on July 1st, while the US celebrates theirs on July 4th.  The Americans always seemed to have loads of festive activities going on like parades, barbecues, block parties and amazing firework shows, while Canadians seemed relatively unfazed by their national day.  Don’t get me wrong – Canadians definitely do celebrate Canada Day with a few fireworks and the odd picnic, and as Vancouver showed during the Olympics, Canadians are extremely proud of their country, but we don’t always shout about it from the rooftops like our southern neighbours do.  

Some of the patriotic things that always caught my eye were all the fun American themed desserts and products that seemed to pop up during the weeks approaching July 4th.  A large part of it I’m sure, was a result of savvy marketing, but the other part was down to sheer patriotism.  

I remember flipping through magazines (most of the magazines were American) and watching programmes like Live! and Martha Stewart and thinking how pretty the desserts and crafts that they were featuring looked in red, white and blue.  For some reason red and white (Canada’s colours) never seemed as much fun.  

With the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (marking the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth) in a few weeks, it appears that the whole of the UK has gone jubilee crazy.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it!  It’s such a nice feeling to see Union Jacks everywhere – on grocery packaging, home decor, magazines and loads and loads of CAKES! 

It’s so nice to see the whole country getting excited about their heritage and celebrating it with a little red, white and blue.  And I especially love it because it’s the perfect excuse for me to do some fun and festive baking – just like I always wished I could have done when I was younger!

I’ve come up with a few Jubilee themed desserts – one of them was this Jubilee Dome Cake with red and blue flowers and a golden crown that I posted last week.  


I’ve also made these little Jubilee hat cookies inspired by the Queen herself!  It’s no secret that the Queen is a fan of her hats – they even took bets here in England on what colour hat she would wear to Will and Kate’s wedding last year!  

I got the original idea for these cookies from the fabulous book Cookie Swap, and then borrowed a few tips from Bakerella who also made them a couple years ago for Easter.  

I loved making these cookies – they were so fun and easy to make, and I really think they’re just perfect to help celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Seriously – how cute would they  look alongside a nice cup of tea, or arranged together on a stand at your local street party.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Hat Cookies

To make these cookies you’ll need a few things:


Sugar cookie dough – I use Peggy Porcshen’s recipe that can be found in this post here.
A small amount of Royal Icing – Peggy Porcshen’s recipe that can be found in this post here.
Double sided pastry cutters – I used these.  
Mini flower plunger cutters – I used these
White fondant – I used white Renshaw brand
Sugar paste / flower paste – I used Squires Kitchen Sugar Floral Paste
White nonpareils 

Instructions:

1.  Make your sugar cookie dough according to the recipe and instructions here.  Once your dough is chilled, roll it out to the appropriate thickness (about 4 or 5mm).  Using the scalloped edge of the 68mm (2 5/8″) round pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you think you’d like hats.  These will be the base of your hats.  I think you could make at least 20 hats with the cookie dough recipe – probably more.  Next, use the 38mm (1 1/2″) plain edged round cutter to cut out twice the number of circles as you did with the scalloped cutter.  These will make up the top of your hats, and each hat top requires two smaller circles. Bake according to the instructions in my original recipe post, and then cool.

2.  While your cookies are baking you can start to make the little sugar paste flowers that will decorate the brim of the hats.  Take a small amount of the Sugar Floral Paste and tint it whatever colour you’d like – I used Wilton gel paste colours.  Roll the sugar paste out, and use the flower cutters to cut out various sizes of flowers. It’s easy – honest!  I used some royal icing to attach the white nonpareils to the inside of the flower, but if you don’t have any nonpareils, then a dab of royal icing will do just fine. Set the flowers aside to dry.

3.  Once your cookies are nice and cool you’ll need to start building your hats.  First you’ll need to roll our your fondant, and use the same sized scalloped edge pastry cutter you used for the base of the cookies to cut out the fondant circles that will sit on top.  Use the end of a paintbrush or chopstick to make small indents around the scalloped edge.  Put a little royal icing on the scalloped cookies and then place the matching fondant pieces on top making sure to line up the scalloped edges.

To make the second part of the hat you’ll need to glue two of the smaller circles together by adding a dab or two of royal icing on the top of one of the small circles.  Next, use another dollop of royal icing to fix the bottom of the smaller stacked circle to the scalloped fondant covered cookie base.  Using the small cookie cutter, cut out enough fondant circles to cover the tops of the smaller circle stacks.  


Next you’ll need to cut some fondant strips to wrap around the stack of small cookies – use a small ruler to make sure the fondant strip is the same width as the cookie stacks, and long enough to wrap around them.  Fix the strips around the cookies using royal icing.  Use your fingers to smooth out the fondant strips and blend them into the fondant tops.

Lastly, it’s time to add your sugar paste flowers – simply glue them on in whatever arrangement you like, and there you have it – little Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Hats!


I’m sure it’s pretty safe to say that these hat cookies will likely end up inside your tummy – but I’d really like to know what’s happened to all of the Queen’s own hats?  Seriously – Buckingham Palace must have one gigantic room filled with 60 years worth of the Queen’s hats!


Because my hat cookies have flowers on them, I’m also sending them over to The Tea Time Treats monthly challenge hosted this month by Karen of the blog Lavender and Loveage, and other months by Kate of What Kate Baked.  This month’s theme is floral, so I think they’re a perfect fit!

Diamond Jubilee Dome Cake


The other day I posted my review of Peggy Porschen’s new Boutique Baking book.  I was so excited when it arrived, I couldn’t put it down.  I flipped through the pages over and over again, examining every recipe trying to decide what to make first.  


The recipe that stood out the most to me was a very simple, yet elegant dome cake that Peggy calls her Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (pictured below from her book).  This cake isn’t your typical cake – it’s made up of a thin layer of jaconde sponge and then filled with a delicious custard butter cream that’s been studded with raspberries.


I’m not going to lie – this cake is fairly labour intensive.  There’s a lot of steps involved and it’s best to do them over two days, but the step by step pictures are a huge asset and really do help to reassure you that you’re doing things correctly.


Peggy’s version of the Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (above) is covered in pastel fondant and decorated with pretty sugar paste flowers.  I choose to decorate mine in a royal theme to help celebrate the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I used the same sugar paste flowers that I made last year on my Royal Wedding Cupcakes, and I also made some cute little crowns from a mould that I picked up a few months ago at the Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating Exhibition.
  


I’ve decided not to post the recipe for this cake because it’s very long (approx 4 pages in the book) and requires a lot of steps (see the pictures above).  I don’t want that to detour you from making it though.  It’s not hard to make – especially the jaconde sponge (I made a similar one here, and they only take 8 minutes to bake!), it’s just the assembling of the cake that takes the time.  So if you think you’d like to try baking your own dome cake, then please buy Peggy’s Boutique Baking book – you won’t regret it!


To make the crowns you’ll need a mould like this one here from Squires Kitchen that I used.  First I took some Mexican modelling paste and tinted it a light golden colour (I used golden yellow from Wilton).  Next I brushed some gold metallic lustre dust inside my mould which helped to give it the golden colour, but also to prevent the modelling paste from sticking.  


Firmly push the modelling paste into the mould and trim off any excess with a sharp knife,  To remove the crowns simply turn the mould upside down and tap the back of the mould firmly with the handle of a knife to help shake them out.


To give the crowns their nice golden colour I mixed a bit of the gold lustre dust with a tiny bit of vodka to create a shiny gold paint and used a paintbrush to coat the surface of the crowns.  The red and blue gems in the crowns are actually just shimmery sugar sprinkles that were given to me by Waitrose in a goody bag a few months ago.


This cake calls for a dome mould (Peggy uses half of a ball pan) to give the cake it’s perfect shape, but I didn’t have a dome mould, so instead used a bowl.  Although the bowl worked, it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined.  It was a bit deeper and not as perfectly domed as I’d hoped, but I think I could have done a better job of lining my bowl with the jaconde sponge to get a better shape.  I get a bit annoyed when my baking attempts don’t turn out exactly as they do in the pictures!

This cake, like most traditional UK cakes is covered in both a layer of marzipan, followed by a layer of fondant.  I’m not a huge fan of marzipan, and I honestly don’t see much of a point in using both layers of covering (other than the fact that the marzipan layer makes the fondant layer a little easier to smooth out).  I almost did’t bother using the marzipan, but I wanted to make the cake exactly as it’s shown in the book.


I had intended on using the same fondant boarder around the base of my cake that was shown in the book, but the red fondant (Renshaw brand) I’d bought a month earlier had dried into a rock hard block before I even got a chance to get it out of the package!  Instead, I kept things simple and just used some red and blue ribbon.


Overall, I was quite pleased with my dome cake – even if it didn’t turn out perfect.  Although I’ve done a few, I’m still fairly new to covering cakes in fondant, and really just enjoy tinkering around in my spare time making flowers and sugar paste decorations.  I’ve always wanted to improve my cake decorating skills, and I’m very pleased to announce I will get that opportunity this week!  


You see, last summer after I made my Peggy Porschen Baby Shower Cookies I was absolutely thrilled to receive an invite from the Peggy Porschen Academy inviting me to attend one of Peggy’s cake decorating courses!!!  The only thing was, they had invited me to a course that was taking place 3 weeks after I was due to give birth to baby Jayden.  I knew there was no way I could attend a cake decorating course and leave my 3 week old at home. Luckily, Peggy’s team was very understanding and told me to contact them when I was ready to take one of her courses.


A few months ago I got back in touch with Peggy’s team and we decided on my course.  I’m so excited to tell you all that this Tuesday I will be spending the day with Peggy learning how to make this absolutely stunning Black and White Anemone Cake!!


I’m sooo looking forward to learning how to make this stunning cake and picking up tips from the master herself.  I can’t wait to share my cake with you all when I’m done, so keep watching, and I’ll post it soon!

Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes



First things first.  It’s national cupcake week.  So obviously you know what that means. Cupcakes. Cupcakes, and more cupcakes.  They’ve been everywhere this week.  On Twitter, on TV, and online – even more than they already were before.  

So as we near the end of cupcake week I figured it was only right that I provide you all with some cupcakes for your viewing (and baking!) pleasure.

But I do have a confession to make. I actually made these cupcakes for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I just never managed to post them until now. 

Both the recipe and the decorating idea for these chocolate cupcakes comes from Peggy Porschen’s latest book Boutique Baking.  I’m a huge fan of this book – it’s got a load of great recipes and decorating ideas, and it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve come across lately.  If you’re interested, you can read my review of Boutique Baking here.  


As is the case with every recipe of Peggy’s that I’ve tried, these cupcakes were delicious.  The chocolate cake was so soft and fluffy, and the chocolate cream cheese icing was as well. 

I’ve found that all of the icings on the cupcakes I’ve purchased from Peggy’s parlour are so soft and fluffy that they don’t fair that well in the heat or while being transported home on the train.  While the icing is absolutely delicious, it is very soft and tends to slide off the cupcakes while I carry them around London in their box.

The icing on these cupcakes was so yummy, but it was very soft.  You can see it in my pictures here – the icing started out stiffer, but softened up and started “drooping” a bit while I was taking the pictures because it was so hot in our living room.  But don’t let that detour you from making these – they’re really delicious, so just make sure you keep them in a cool place and don’t bounce them around if you need to transport them anywhere.  Besides, you’ll probably want to keep them all to yourself anyway!

The other thing I loved about these cupcakes was their little decorations.  Aren’t they cute!  And guess what – I made them!  Well, kind of.  They’re made out of sheets of candy paper (rice paper) which is widely available here in the UK.  I picked up a big package of multi coloured sheets in Top Shop of all places.  


I sprayed the candy sheets with a coating of silver lustre spray, and then used a craft punch to punch out the little crowns (in honour of the Diamond Jubilee – although I’ve always been a big fan of crowns in general which is why I had the punch).

I do have a few words of caution before you make these cupcakes – see my notes at the bottom of the recipe.


Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Frosting:

140ml whipping cream 
160g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
1 tbsp glucose 
200g full-fat cream cheese (I used the new Cadbury Chocolate Cream Cheese instead)
200g salted butter, softened 
450g icing sugar, sifted 

For the Cake:

125g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
165ml milk 
285g light brown sugar 
105g unsalted butter, softened 
2 large eggs 
180g plain flour 
pinch of salt 
½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp baking of soda 
8g cocoa powder

For the Decorations:

2-3 Sheets of rice paper
Edible Pearlised Lustre Spray
Craft Punch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven 320ºF (160ºC) and prepare your cupcake pans. Set aside and make the icing.

To Make the Icing:

1.  Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until barely simmering. Place the chocolate and glucose into a bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Whisk carefully until smooth, shiny, and all the chocolate is melted. Leave to set at room temp. The ganache should have the consistency of soft chocolate butter.

2.  Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, set aside. 

3.  Cream the butter and icing sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add the ganache, a little at a time, to the buttercream mixture, and mix on medium-high speed until combined. Gently stir 1/3 of the chocolate buttercream into the cream cheese. Slowly whisk the remainder of the buttercream, and add the chocolate cream cheese in two batches.  Make sure not to overwork the frosting, or it will split. Chill until set!

To Make the Cake:

1.  Place the chocolate, milk, and half the sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil while stirring. 

2.  Cream the butter and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).  Lightly beat the eggs together then slowly mix into the butter mixture, making sure they don’t curdle.

3.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa together, and then add them to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix slowly until just combined. 

4.  Slowly add the hot chocolate mixture into the batter and mix. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula to make sure it’s well combined. The batter should be liquidy.  

Pour into the cases so they’re 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes fully cool before icing and decorating.

To Decorate: 

1.  Spay the smooth side of your rice paper sheets with a  thin, but even coating of lustre spray.  It might help to weigh the ends of your paper sheets down with butter knives so they don’t curl up because of the moisture.

2.  Let the rice paper sheets dry, and then use your craft punch (mine was from Martha Stewart) to punch out shapes from the edible paper like you would a normal piece of paper.  Set your punched decorations aside.

3.  Pipe the chilled frosting onto your cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip, or simply spread it on top with a knife or off set spatula.  Place your edible paper decorations on top.

These decorations are the funnest, and easiest things to make.  What a clever idea – I love that you can make so many different designs!


**  A few notes:  The book says this recipe will make approximately 24 cupcakes, but I only got 16, and I made them the exact same size I make all of my cupcakes.  I can also confirm they were almost identical in size to the ones sold in Peggy’s Parlour, so I’m not sure why the recipe estimated they make 24.

Also, I’m pretty sure I had to bake my cupcakes for closer to 20 minutes before they were fully cooked.

Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.  They’re delicious, and I highly recommend making them.

If you do make Peggy’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes and decorate them with a rice paper punch out, I’d love to see a picture of them.  Feel free to leave a comment below with the link, or you can also post them onto my Facebook page here so I can see them!

Waitrose Summer Cupcake Mix Review

With the London 2012 Olympics well underway now, we’re right in the midst of the Great British Summer.  2012 has given us  the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Euro Cup Football, and now the Olympics.  What it hasn’t given us is good weather (insert sad face here). Even though this summer’s weather has been absolutely dismal, it’s been great to see how the residents of the UK have really come together to celebrate everything British.

Over the past few months I’ve seen loads of new British themed products released.  Some were traditional favourites, some were never seen before, and others were a perfect blend of old and new.


Waitrose has released two new cupcake mixes to help celebrate this years festivities.  They mixes are a fun twist on two British summertime classics – Eton Mess, and Bucks Fizz.  If you’re not from the UK, then you may not be familiar with either of those, so let me clarify. Eton Mess is a delicious dessert that takes fresh cut strawberries and crushed meringues and blends them together with sweetened whipping cream.  It’s delicious!  I made my own version of Eton Mess a few years ago, and you can get the recipe here.  And as for Bucks Fizz, it’s just the British version of what North American’s call a Mimosa – aka: Champagne and Orange Juice.


These cupcake mixes are a similar concept to the cake mix bags Waitrose released last summer (you can see my review of them here).  They’re a bit different than a regular Betty Crocker mix.  With these, the ingredients are already pre-measured for you which is great if you’re short on time, or preparing for a party and want to keep the mess to a minimum.  Also included in the box were the cupcake cases (as pictured on the box) which was a nice surprise, because they were actually very good quality and a nice design.  Unfortunately when the cake mix was sent to me the boxes arrived quite badly squished, and so did the cupcake cases.  The cases that came with the Eton Mess cupcakes were too badly squished for me to use them, but I managed to find some similar ones in my “collection”, although they weren’t as nice a quality as the ones that were included with the mix.

Both cupcake mixes do require you to add in a few ingredients of your own, just as you would a regular cake mix.  


The Bucks Fizz cupcakes called for the addition of the juice and zest of an orange, as well as an egg and some butter.  Also included in the mix was the icing sugar needed to make the icing, some candied orange peel and some popping candy to simulate the bubble in the champagne.  Unfortunately the popping candy in my mix must have had some moisture leak into it because it was just 2 big solid lumps of candy fused together.


The final result was a very moist cupcake with chunks of candied orange peel, and a lightly orange flavoured icing with additional chunks of candied peel and freshly grated zest.  I really liked these cupcakes, and I think with the addition of the popping candy they would really would have been excellent.  I was a little skeptical that there wouldn’t be enough icing for the cupcakes, but it made just the right amount.


The Eton Mess cupcakes were a strawberry cupcake with real bits of dried strawberry in them – no fakeness or artificial flavours – bonus!  The addition of an egg and some butter turned the strawberry mix into a very moist and delicious sponge that really allowed for the strawberry flavour to shine through.  Also included with the mix was a small packet of raspberry jam and some mini meringue pieces to sprinkle on the cupcakes that are topped with freshly whipped cream that you supply yourself.


Although I really liked both of these cupcakes, I did prefer the Eton Mess ones but would have preferred for the jam that was included to be strawberry rather than raspberry. I actually thought the raspberry jam tasted a bit chemically.


Overall I thought the new Eton Mess and Bucks Fizz cupcake mixes from Waitrose were excellent.  My only points of criticism (aside from the raspberry jam) would be a) that each mix only makes 6 cupcakes, and b) the price – at £3 per mix, these cupcake mixes are fairly expensive when compared to the other boxed mixes that make 18 – 24 cupcakes.  On the other hand, the £3 price tag (equivalent to £0.50 per cupcake) seems like a bargain when you compare it to the tins of Williams and Sonoma and Sprinkles cupcake mixes that I saw while on holiday in Canada which sold for $22 CDN + tax for a 12 cupcake mix (equivalent to more than $1.83 CDN (£1.18) per cupcake!).


So, would I buy these mixes again?  Probably. They’re great if you’re in a time crunch and are looking for a unique cupcake flavour to impress your friends and family.  You also don’t need to buy a large amount of ingredients that you might not use again (like the candied orange peel or meringue pieces).  I’d also recommend them to friends and family that aren’t really in to baking much.  If you really enjoy baking and experimenting with new recipes like I do, then you may just prefer to come up with your own Eton Mess or Bucks Fizz cupcake recipe from scratch.


If I was ranking these out of 5 stars, I’d give these 4.5