Friday, 15 July 2011

Star-Spangled Bites (Gluten/Wheat Free)

Well, as most people on my Facebook and Google+ know, I had a mummy-fail today. Not quite an epic fail, but pretty darn close. The end of the school term is coming up soon, and the Imp's nursery has a Pirate Party planned to celebrate and to say farewell to those that are leaving the nursery and entering primary school (the Imp doesn't start primary until 2012, so she will be returning to the nursery in September). For the party, the kids can go dressed as pirates, and I signed up to take in cupcakes.

Last week with my Baked and Delicious magazine subscription I had a dozen little silicone star cupcake moulds arrive. The Imp was so excited, so I promised that we could use them for the party cakes. I got up early this morning, baked 60 of these tiny cakes because I only put one teaspoon in each mould instead of two. They turned out the size of a 50p coin, but rather cute. I then cut a strip of fabric to turn into a pirate sash for the Imp, and another bit of fabric for a bandana. She looked adorable, and was on cloud 9 because her current favourite program is "Jake and the Neverland Pirates". I had just managed to get the cupcakes safely packed so we could take them on the bus, the Imp all sorted, and out the door to go to nursery.  When we arrived, I was confused as to why the child that was leaving when we arrived was in normal clothing. I shrugged it off thinking that he may have just had a miserable mum. Thinking nothing of it, we went in and up the stairs. The Imp was the only child dressed as a pirate. I quickly glanced at the notice board. Oops, I had screwed up. By a week. The end of the term in this county isn't until next Friday. Mummy fail.

But we managed to turn it around. It's the first time that I've tried a slightly different cupcake recipe, and it made for a good test run. The Imp didn't care how she was dressed, and ran off to play with her friends. The cupcakes were shared amongst the 6 children in the Preschool room, however many in the Baby room, and the staff, to rave reviews. They were actually shocked that they were gluten/wheat free, because they turned out very light and fluffy, and very moreish. I think there was also surprise that I had made them myself. I think most people that have signed up for food on the list have intentions of getting shop-bought.  We'll just have to do it again next week.

And I'm thinking that I need to get a lot better about keeping a calendar. I have a fancy new smartphone that is tied in with my Google+, so maybe I should start having a play with that. Then my phone will start yelling at me to remind me to pay more attention to the date (that I rarely have much of a concept of).

I promised Beth on Facebook that I would share the recipe, so here it is. I have obtained it from "Baked and Delicious" Magazine, Issue 10 (Eaglemoss Publishing), Page 8.

For the Sponges
50g (2oz) butter, at room temperature (I used Flora Buttery margarine)
140g (4 1/2 oz) caster sugar (I never bother with caster sugar, and used granulated)
125g (4oz) plain flour (I used Dove's Farm Gluten and Wheat Free Plain Flour blend)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (I used Dr Oetker's Gluten Free Baking Powder)
a pinch of salt
125ml (4fl.oz) milk (I used whole milk, and added a small splash more to accommodate for the gf/wf)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Buttercream
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature (again, I used Flora Buttery)
125g (4oz) icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
a few drops vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.  Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and use an electric beater to mix it all to a fine breadcrumb consistency.

Pour in half the milk and beat until it is just combined.  Add the egg and vanilla to the remaining milk and whisk together.  Add the egg and milk mixture to the creamed mix, then whisk until the batter is smooth.

Use a teaspoon to fill the moulds.  There should be enough to make 36 stars, so do them in batches (I only put one teaspoon into each mould, and made 60. The cases produce about the diameter of a 50p coin, just in case you have another shape).  Cook the stars in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the tops are golden and springy to the touch (mine weren't golden because they were quite far down in the moulds. But they were springy).  Cool the stars on a wire rack.

Beat the butter until it is creamy and light, and only then gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar, the milk, and the drops of vanilla until the buttercream is really fluffy. Spread a little on the top of each star. Decorate as you please. I used edible red glitter flakes that I found on eBay.


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