Thursday, 28 April 2011

Royal Wedding Celebrations & Granny Guen Murray Sits it Out !

I'm dedicating this blog post to one of my employees' (Rich) granny - Guen Murray - who has been camping in front of Westminster Abbey since early hours of Tuesday morning. We've been getting hourly updates of what's going on in London.

Granny Murray has been camping out in a little tent on the pavement. It's not the first time she's done it either - Guen camped out to see Prince Charles marry Diana and when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson.

I can't say I'm excited about the Royal Wedding and I won't be staying home to watch it. There will be plenty time to catch up with what has gone on via the news on television later. I've just got my car back from repair and after having been stuck at home with a bored toddler for a week... I want to go out !

Still. I hope Granny Guen will approve of my Red Velvet Whoopie Pies and Cupcakes !

The above photo is from the New York Daily News, 26/4/11. Clicking here will take you to their report and a video clip of Guen Murray camping out in front of Westminster Abbey for the best view for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as they marry tomorrow.

This blog post is about a trick I learned very recently.

When making buttercream, I like to use spreadable butter. It's almost all butter, but with a small amount of oil through it which makes it easy to spread straight from the fridge and easy to whip up into buttercream without having to wait forever for the butter to soften first.

In the picture you can see pure butter on the left and spreadable butter (80%) on the right.

However, vanilla butter cream is NEVER white. It always has a yellowness to it due to the high butter content. A lot of people seem to use vegetable shortening such as Trex or Crisco for making white buttercream - but that (in my opinion) simply makes it greasy, tasteless and gross. The other popular way of whitening it is to use Wilton Super White which is a paste. You need quite a lot, so this ends up rather expensive and remember to buy two or three bottles at a time.

Someone has taken taken the time and effort to put a really clever little video up on Youtube....

Basically, you make your normal buttercream and add the tiniest amount of VIOLET food colouring to it. What happens as you mix this in is that the violet counteracts the yellow of the buttercream and neutralises it to white !

This photo isn't great - the lighting in my kitchen is rather dire - but hopefully you can see the difference. The buttercream on the beaters has the violet added and the buttercream on the teaspoon hasn't.

Do take care only to add the violet food colouring a tiny speck at a time. If you add too much, it will turn a yucky grey. This can be "brought back" however if you add some extra butter and icing sugar and basically increase the batch volume.

The white buttercream makes a big difference when paired with something that creates a big impact like these Red Velvet Whoopie Pies and Cupcakes

Recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
(adapted from Baking Recipe Collection by Sainsburys)

75g salted butter
125g light brown soft sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
180g self raising flour
50ml milk
1 tablespoon red food colouring

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour, followed by the milk and food colouring. Watch your mix turn into a great big bowl of what looks like clotted blood. GROSS.

Put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle, and pipe small circles about 2cm wide on to baking parchment or a reusable silicone baking tray liner mat. The first one I piped on to was bright red. The cerise colour of my raw mix clashed rather violently and looked rather odd !

Leave a decent spacing between them as these will spread.

Put into an oven at 160deg C Fan for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool for around 10 minutes before transfering to wire racks. This recipe made approx 24 small whoopie pies.

Once cooled, pair them up with same sized counterparts and then fill with your buttercream.

The buttercream is simply made up of 4 cups of icing sugar, 115g salted butter and 1/4 cup of milk.

I decided to top some of my whoopie pies and cupcakes with some little chocolate roses. The little roses are made from a new silicone chocolate mould which will be available in about 2 to 3 weeks time. You will be able to find new mould designs here as soon as they are available.

I only made a handful of these up as I had so little chocolate left. Stupidly, I forgot to give the mould a little shoogle from side to side to knock out the air bubbles.. Duh

But don't they look cute ? They make smart little chocolates or cupcake toppers ! Brown paper cupcake cases always look classy - even if my tray us a bit gaudy...

The cupcakes are a basic vanilla cupcake recipe. You can find it here. The only change was substituting 3/4 of a bottle of cochineal food colouring for some of the milk.

Incase no one has guessed, I was really chuffed with how these photos came out. I think they are probably my best yet. Problem was choosing which ones to post !

Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone.

Love from all of us x

Sarah-Jane Nash, - reporting on the Royal Wedding of Prince Willian and Kate Middleton, April 29th 2011 


  1. WOW now I know how to make buttercream white! great tip and post Sarah. Tq.

    Im pretty excited about Prince William's wedding. I dont know why...LOL

    I suppose weddings are alwyas so pretty and mostly luxurious. Add prince and princess to that and it becomes even more appealing in a girly way. How cute of Granny Guen to camp there for hours! I wld think twice though. I will be watching the ocassion live on tv to day. Hopefully :))))

  2. How adorable is she. I'd get up early to eat these!

  3. Well done! Very festive and I'm sure Granny Guen would absolutely approved. I wish I'd have had a few of these when I stumbled out of bed at 3am to watch the wedding live :)

  4. Sarah Jane what lovely and amazing cupcakes and treats I think look amazing! beauty pics! xx gkloria

  5. can't agree more on the tasteless vegetable shortening buttercream..;) thanks for the tip..
    will try it soon..

  6. How amazing that Granny Guen was camped out for so long and she made it on the news! It was a great event to watch from the comfort of my couch.

    Both the cupcakes and whoopie pies look perfect. Thanks for all of the great tips too. It's always good to keep learning.

  7. Granny Guen looks like she is patiently waiting!! What a sweet way to celebrate the royal wedding.. both cupcakes and red velvet whoopie pies look absolutely delicious:)


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