Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Buns and roses: Secret Cake Club and heraldic rose cupcakes.

There were no buns. So I lied. What can I say? I do so love a pun.

Puns and roses?
I’ll get me coat.
The roses began at 6am – fifteen heraldic roses to top fifteen rosewater cupcakes (which I made the day before).
The theme of the latest Secret Cake Club was ‘History’ and I had decided I was going to interpret The Wars of the Roses. You can read the details on Wikipedia of course, but it’s pretty much the way Game of Thrones would be if there were only two families involved: the House of Lancaster, that’s Lancaster NOT Lannister, (symbol, the red rose) and the House of York (symbol, the white rose). Eventually, after many decades of squabbling and bloodshed, a Lancaster prince married a York princess – they combined their family symbols to create the Tudor Rose (his name was Henry Tudor) which is red and white. If Wikipedia history is a bit dull for you, then any of the Philippa Gregory oeuvre will tell you the story in a more engaging, if slightly less factual, way.
The white rose of the House of York is still used this day as the symbol of Yorkshire and since I was born in Yorkshire, I feel I have some connection to it in my personal history. I even wore my white rose pendant (bought at York Minster) to Cake Club that afternoon.
I’ll put the cupcake recipe below, but you could decorate any cake this way, so I’m just going to show you how to make a heraldic rose.


First cover your cupcakes with a thin layer of white fondant. I painted the fondant with rosewater and this makes it stick to the cake.


For the actual rose symbol, you need to have two cinquefoils, one small and one large. A cinquefoil is a flower-symbol with five leaves or petals which is all well and good unless your flower cookie-cutters have six petals... I ended up having to pinch out one petal and reshape the flower by hand.
Pinch out five small pieces of green fondant and roll them between your finger and thumb until thin and pointed at one end – these will be your leaves.
Stick these under your larger cinquefoil so that part of the leaf shows in the spaces between the petal.
Stick the small cinquefoil on top of the large one. Add a small bobble of fondant to the middle – this will be your rose’s stamen.


Starting with the small cinquefoil, curl the petals over at the edge. Repeat with the large cinquefoil. Using edible gold food paint, colour the stamen. Then stick the whole rose to the top of the cupcake. I was using rosewater to do all my sticking but otherwise plain water or even milk will do the trick.

I made seven Lancaster roses in gold cupcake cases, seven Yorkshire roses in silver cupcake cases, and one Tudor rose which was slightly larger than the others.

I was very proud of my Tudor rose.
They created a really pretty effect when put all together.

Cake Club was held at The Ingredient Tree in Wembley and I am glad to say that my cupcakes survived the bus journey. There was an abundance of cake with most people interpreting the ‘History’ theme as ‘heritage’. There were pandan cakes from South East Asia, Ashkenazi Jewish ‘rugelach’. Korean crispies, and Irish-whiskey studded namelaka tarts.
My favourites of the day were Viv’s mini-pizzas which were a welcome oasis of savoury in the midst of all the sweetness. There was a surprise underneath the mozzarella – a fierce and concentrated Italian hit of anchovy which I loved.  I also really liked the sticky rice cakes with the slightly toasted topping made by Terry and Alex.

So much cake, so little time. The pictures are below and I have tried to keep the descriptions in shot where possible.

So, as you can see, lots and lots of cakes and slices and tarts.
But no buns. Just roses.
I beg your pardon and offer a cupcake recipe in recompense.


Rosewater Cupcakes


1 cup golden caster sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 vanilla bean

2 tssp organic vanilla extract

4 large eggs, beaten

2 tbsp rosewater

1 tssp sea-salt

2 cups SR flour

2 tssp baking powder


White, red, and green fondant

Edible gold paint

Oven: 180C


In a food processor, whiz sugar and melted butter until pale. Scrape in the vanilla bean and add the vanilla extract. Process again.

On a low speed, add beaten eggs gradually until all combined. When all eggs are in, add the rosewater.

Sieve salt, SR flour, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Pour in contents of food processor and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Spoon mixture into cupcake cases until about 2/3 full.

Bake in oven until golden – about 25 minutes, depending on your oven.

Leave to cool.

Decorate with fondant or buttercream icing.


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