London’s Prettiest Cupcakes: Peggy Porshcen

WELCOME… to London’s most Instagrammable cupcake shop. With pastel pink walls, beautifully designed cupcakes and an enormous flower garland crowning the door, this is a very hard one to beat.

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The Peggy Porschen parlour has become somewhat legendary on Instagram. The marble table tops, feats of sugar craft and general pink-ness were enough to make it so, but the flower garland is what really attracts the attention. Based in London’s Belgravia, this hub of pink on the corner is impossible to miss.

And miss it you should not. You’ll get some beautiful pictures, but fortunately this place really does taste as good as it looks. You need a sweet tooth, but the selection of ready to eat cupcakes, layer cakes and confectionary are delicious.

We visited on an unseasonably hot day and with tables spilling out onto the street, it was the perfect pit stop for pink lemonade and people watching. And cupcakes of course. It’s a little out of the way but certainly worth it.

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Summer Baking: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Is it an ice cream? Is it a cupcake? It’s a celebration that The Great British Bake Off is back. That’s what it is.

Paul Hollywood’s steely stare is back and Mary Berry’s delightful way of saying ‘layers’ (watch out for it). Mel and Sue’s innuendos, union jack bunting, blue plasters and an entire batch of new contestants who will inevitably get teary over tarts. I can’t wait.

Most important of all though, you can’t watch an episode of the Bake Off without some kind of baked treat to hand. When I discovered that Martha from a few series back had teamed up with Waitrose, I was immediately lured in by the recipe cards showing off her incredible baked creations. And believe it or not, they aren’t that impossible to recreate at home. Hallelujah! 

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These ice cream cone cupcakes are simply an ice cream cone filled with fluffy vanilla sponge and a dollop of whipped meringue on top, complete with chocolate flake. One word against them – they aren’t that easy to actually eat. Prepare to have meringue on your nose.

YOU WILL NEED:

For the cones

  • 12 flat bottomed ice cream cones
  • 12 squares of dark chocolate
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp milk

For the icing and topping

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Cadbury flakes, halved
  • Coloured sprinkles

TO MAKE:

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4.

Place each cone into a muffin tray. Place a square of chocolate in the bottom of each and put in preheated oven for 5 mins.

Beat the butter and the sugar. Add eggs one a time and the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add to mixture gradually until it is a thick batter. Pour in the milk. Distribute between cones, make sure you don’t overfill them. Bake for 20-25 mins.

For the icing, place sugar, syrup and 2 tbsp water in a pan. Cook on a medium-high heat until it reaches 118C on a sugar thermometer). Beat eggs whites until soft peaks form then, with the mixer on a slow speed, pour in the hot sugar. Increase to high speed and whip until mixture is thick and glossy. Add the vanilla extract.

Using a piping bag, pipe and swirl and decorate with half a flake and sprinkles.

London Cupcakes: Crumbs & Doilies

To say Soho is a busy place would an obvious (and rather stupid) statement. But today I have a quiet little corner right at its very centre for you, and they serve London’s best cupcakes.

Crumbs & Doilies is quite easy to miss, hidden down a little cobbled street from Kingly Court, but you absolutely musn’t miss it. The shop is only small but the selection of cupcakes, cakes and brownies is enormous, with inventive flavours and excellent coffee.

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Crumbs & Doilies is the mastermind of Cupcake Jemma who shares all of her baking genius on YouTube and she’s just released The Cake Book with over 50 recipes. Crumbs & Doilies also have a Saturday stand on the Kings Road and deliver their cakes all over London. Using just the finest ingredients and no weird additives, preservatives or short-cuts, there are over 40 flavours of cupcake to choose from and the selection is changing all the time.

If you can make it to the shop in Kingly Court, it feels like a calm, cupcake oasis in the middle of the Soho hubub. For the huge selection that they have on offer it seems a little small in the shop but the flavours are always incredibly inventive and varied, and if you really can’t decide they have selection boxes that you can fill to enjoy at home. And if cupcakes aren’t your favourite sweet treat, there are plenty of others to choose from. From tiffin to rocky road to shortbreads and brownies, there really is something for everyone. Wash all that down with some excellent coffee and you’ll never want to leave.

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Surprise Oreo Cupcakes

Today I’ve got a delicious Sunday treat for you all. My sister and I have always been drawn to Oreo cupcakes when we pass the cake stands in London. There’s just something so satisfying about biscuits in cake form – it’s like two treats for the price of one!

We followed this BBC Good Food recipe and they turned out brilliantly. These cupcakes are essentially wonderfully rich and light chocolate cupcakes, with Oreo frosting and a surprise biscuit at the bottom.

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Makes: 15 cupcakes. Baking time: 20-25 minutes. 

YOU WILL NEED

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 80g butter
  • 240ml whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 15 Oreo biscuits

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 6 Oreo biscuits

TO MAKE

THE CUPCAKES:

Preheat the oven to 170C/160 fan. Place half an Oreo in each muffin case with the cream facing upwards.

Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and butter until combined. In a jug whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add to the mixture and mix until smooth.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

THE FROSTING:

In a bag, smash up 6 Oreos.

Mix the butter and sugar until you have buttercream. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs.

When the cakes are cool, ice and enjoy!

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Toffee Frosting

The tree has gone up and everyone is getting into the festive spirit, so it seemed only right to whip up some Christmassy goodies. This time, my sister and I decided to have a go at gingerbread cupcakes with toffee frosting, which is one of Tanya Burr’s recipes and her video can be seen here.

I wouldn’t normally bake from a YouTube video, I much prefer to have a recipe in front of me, but my sister had made them before and persuaded me. These cupcakes are so delicious, and so easy to make! We bumped up the original measurements to make 16 cupcakes.

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Makes: 16 cupcakes. Baking time: around 15 minutes. 

YOU WILL NEED

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 4 eggs

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 200g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 200g icing sugar (plus extra)

TO MAKE

THE CUPCAKES:

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Cream together 200g butter and 200g sugar, then add 200g of self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger. Mix together well. Crack in 4 eggs and mix.

Put the mixture into cupcake cases and put in the oven. Bake for around 15 minutes but keep an eye on them. Leave them to cool.

THE FROSTING:

To make the toffee syrup, melt 50g butter and 50g brown sugar over a low heat, then add 2 tablespoons milk. Leave to cool.

Mix together 150g butter and 200g icing sugar. Pour the cooled syrup into the mixture and combine.

The syrup will make the mixture sloppy, so keep adding icing sugar until it is stiff and ready to pipe (this might be quite a lot!).

When the cupcakes are cool, ice and decorate!

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

These cupcakes are absolutely perfect for Halloween next week and even … I’m going to say it … Christmas!! They are chocolate orange marbled cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing and lots of sprinkles. The perfect treat for all of the dark, cold, long evenings we have to look forward to.

Now, while I am a devoted Bake Off fan and a lover of large wedges of cake, I’m unfortunately not a gifted baker. Part of the problem is that I am part of a family of enthusiastic and talented bakers. My mum is the best at birthday cakes (always has been, always will be) and my sister makes absolutely exceptional scones. Me on the other hand, I prefer to sit back and let them do the work.

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So for this blog post I roped my sister in, as if I hadn’t it would have ended in complete disaster. This is also her own recipe, so not letting her join in seemed a little unfair.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE CUPCAKES
Makes 16 small cupcakes.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 93g flour (a weird measurement which will make sense later)
  • 2 eggs
  • 7g cocoa powder
  • Zest of half an orange
  • Dessert spoon of freshly squeezed orange juice

For the icing:

  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g butter (room temperature)
  • 40g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 40ml milk
  • Festive decorations!

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 Fan or 350 Fahrenheit.

Using two mixing bowls, place half of the butter and sugar and 1 egg in each. Put 50g for flour in one bowl and 43g of flour in the other.

In the bowl that has less flour, sift in the cocoa powder. In the other, put in the orange zest and juice and mix until well incorporated.

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Get two tablespoons and two teaspoons (a pair for each mixture) and spoon the mixture into the cupcakes cases, putting in half orange mix and half chocolate. The cases need to be about 3/4 full.

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Using another, clean teaspoon, swirl the two mixtures together in the cupcake cases while being careful to not just mix them into a chocolatey orangey mess.

Put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes (keep an eye on them!)

When they are golden in colour and bounce back when you touch them, they are ready. Place on a wire rack to cool.

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For the icing, simply put all of the ingredients into a bowl (apart from the decorations obviously) and mix together. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before icing them. We used a piping bag but feel free to just dollop it on and smooth out using a spoon or a knife.

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Finally, get decorating! This is always my favourite part of making cupcakes, but especially when you have a seasonal theme to follow. We found our scary faces sugar decorations, golden stars, bronze sprinkles and the cupcake cases in Waitrose, but pretty much all supermarkets do great ones and you can find all sorts online.

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Sit back with a nice cup of tea and enjoy!

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Also, a quick final note… I’m going to be playing around with my scheduling a little bit just to work out what I like best. I’m going to start posting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 6pm and see how I go. Three posts a week is quite a lot to churn out, so it might not stay that way, but for now that’s the plan!