9 March 2020
MARCH BLOG

I said I’d be back in March and here I am - with a pretty cake for Mother’s Day. Well, I say cake - it’s in fact made of cupcakes, and you can easily vary the amount of little cakes to suit the number you are feeding - even just three or four could look very cute.

I always remember my own mother at this time, and appreciate just how much she did for me and my brother and sister, and how unrelentingly and forgivingly she always loved us. I’m so lucky to have children and grandchildren of my own to love just as ferociously, and taking these small moments to celebrate that is something to be cheerful about: very important in these difficult times we are all going through at the moment.

When I posted this blog in early March I had no idea about what was coming, of course. I’ll be back in April and have already made a couple of Easter treats to show you: fun to make and eat however few of you are able to be together.

Look after yourselves.

Love Jane x

Mother’s Day Flower Arrangement

Ingredients

  • 1 packet JA sponge mix, plus oil, eggs and water as directed
  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2tbsps strawberry jam
  • Vanilla essence
  • Orange, yellow and pink food colouring
  • Small quantity green roll-out icing

You will need:

  • 20 - 24 small cupcake cases
  • 1 muffin or cupcake tray
  • 1 flower pot or pot holder
  • 1 polystyrene ball - I used one about 15cm diameter (easy to buy cheaply on line)
  • Cocktail sticks

Method

First roll out the green icing thinly on a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Cut out 20-30 small leaves (I didn’t have a cutter to hand so used a knife - leaves are really easy to cut freehand). Mark the veins with the knife, then arrange the leaves on a rolling pin to dry, so they are gently curved.

Make up the sponge mix as directed. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5. Divide the mix into four little bowls or mugs (an ice cream scoop really helps).

Then add half the orange juice and rind plus a little orange colouring to one quantity, half the lemon juice, rind and yellow colouring to another, half the strawberry jam and pink to the third and the vanilla to the last.

Divide the mix equally between the cupcake cases (it should make between 20-24 and, again, the ice cream scoop really helps!

Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make up the butter icing by beating the butter until it is smooth, and gradually adding the icing sugar. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Divide into four and add the remaining flavours and colouring to the bowls.

Once the cupcakes are completely cold, fill a piping bag with a closed star nozzle

then fill with one of the portions of butter icing. Starting in the centre of a cupcake, and using the appropriate colour and flavour of icing, swirl the butter cream outwards to the outer edge of the cupcake.

It’s surprisingly easy to achieve a rose-like finish.

Ice all the cakes and chill for at least 20 minutes or more so they will be firm enough to work with. Meanwhile, fit the polystyrene ball into a suitable container.

Once the iced cakes are firm, attach them to the polystyrene ball with cocktail sticks. I found it easiest to push a cocktail stick into the ball first and then spear the cake onto it.

Add the leaves by pressing them into the icing edges of the cakes. The cupcakes will have tastes to match their colours - vary them so as to use your favourite flavours of course.

And here is the delicious result - a Mother’s Day Flower Arrangement.