Welcome to my first ever blog for Party Pieces! Each month I will be giving a few baking and decorating tips, sometimes recipes – which I hope will be inspiration for your entertaining.
I can’t think of a better time of year to begin than in the spring-and of course Easter isn’t very far away.
As a child I grew up reading Beatrix Potter and not surprisingly I weaned my two children in her magical world – the tales of Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Jemimma Puddleduck and Pigling Bland. When they were small we visited Beatrix Potter’s home in the Lake District (and the setting for many of her tales). I remember trying to spot Peter Rabbit with them in her vegetable patch! My son’s birthday cake featured Peter Rabbit (which I modelled, of course, from sugar paste!), long ago as he has just turned 23.
As I perused all the wonderful ideas offered by Party Pieces this Easter the charming Peter Rabbit wheelbarrow cupcake holder caught my eye. A really lovely way decorate the Easter table – and I think they will be adored by any age.
One of the very easiest ways to decorate cakes is with fresh EDIBLE flowers. Primroses, violas, pansies, daisies and violets are all in my garden as I write, and are so easy to crystallise.
Hopefully you will make your own batch of cupcakes (or if time is short you can buy them) and top with buttercream.
How to crystallise spring flowers.
Freshly picked EDIBLE flowers-see list above, and please note they should be dry, and unsprayed with pesticide (many shop bought flowers are, so be careful). Not all flowers are edible, and some are poisonous so stick to those I have listed. (I will be writing later in the year about using Summer flowers).
- 1 egg white
- White caster sugar
Plus a small paint brush
- Place the egg white in a small bowl and whisk a little with a fork.
- Place caster sugar on a plate.
- Using a paint brush paint every surface of each petal-front and back with just enough egg white to cover. Using a teaspoon, and holding the flower over the plate, sprinkle with sugar and shake off excess.
- Lay out to dry on a tray lined with baking parchment and repeat. The flowers will dry overnight, near a radiator or even an airing cupboard, but not in a steamy kitchen!
Stored in an airtight container the little flowers will keep at least a few days or up to a week. The key is to cover every surface of each flower with egg white and sugar.
When ready to serve, arrange a few flowers and maybe a scattering of tiny chocolate eggs onto each cupcake. Assemble the cardboard Peter Rabbit and wheelbarrow cupcake holders (there are 8 in a pack) and display.
An alternative, if you have the time, would be to make an array of tiny marzipan or sugar paste vegetables to decorate your cupcakes – including a few carrots of course!
A few Easter Baking Tips
- Keep it simple! A pile of homemade cupcakes or a simple vanilla or lemon sponge decorated with a sprinkling of little chocolate eggs, edible spring flowers (crystallised or freshly gathered) is perfect.
- I always make a large deep pavlova for a gathering of friends and family – piled with whipped cream rippled through with lemon curd and topped with fresh fruit or berries. Alternatively top with an array of little chocolate sugar eggs.
- Make a batch of simple shortbread or butter biscuits. Cut out with a rabbit cutter or chicks. Get ahead and freeze unbaked, and bake off fresh as required. Sprinkle with caster sugar and pack into little cellophane bags, tied with a pretty ribbon – this makes a lovely Easter gift, and a change from all the chocolate around!