Baking with Mrs Bouw: Basic Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I have had many questions over the months about how to bake and ice the perfect cupcake so I thought I would share the recipes that I use to make basic, fuss free cupcakes along with my buttercream frosting... yum! This is a great go-to recipe when you need to whip some up quickly as the ingredients involved are generally ones you always have in your pantry and fridge and they are just SO simple to make. Now, as for my secrets, well it's pretty simple... get to know your oven and don't be scared to use your better judgement! Whilst cooking times are essential (especially for those who are new to cooking or baking) I don't always believe in following a recipe and it's cooking time exactly. I have lived in several different homes now and have found that even if each oven was set to the exact same temperature, they don't necessarily cook the same. When baking cakes and cupcakes there is a very fine line between being undercooked and overcooked. For example, this recipe suggest cooking the cupcake for 15 minutes. I would suggest you check them with a skewer from the 13 minute mark. If they still seem really runny in the middle don't be fooled as they turn very quickly. Check them again in another minute or so and you will often find that they are almost done. Another thing you need to remember is that they will continue to cook slightly once you remove them from the oven and often this is where the overcooking occurs, resulting in dry cupcakes! As for piping the icing, I'm planning on sharing a video tutorial once we are settled in our new place in Chicago but if you are desperate for some tips in the mean time I'm sure there are plenty already available on youtube ;)

Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


125g (4 oz) butter, softened
½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup (2 fl oz) milk
Paper patty cases

Buttercream Frosting

125g butter, lightly softened (I usually take it out of the fridge half an hour before I plan on using it)
2 1/4 cups icing sugar (I always use CSR 'Pure Icing Sugar' as it is for hard setting icing)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


- Preheat the oven to 180°c.

- Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy.

- Gradually add the eggs and beat well after each addition.

- Add the flour, baking powder and milk and beat well.

- Spoon the mixture into x12 ½ cup capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases and bake for 15 minutes (10 minutes when using miniature patty cases) or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool (I like to cover mine with a clean tea towel to keep them nice and moist).

Buttercream Frosting

- Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for roughly six minutes or until light and creamy.

- Add in icing sugar a half cup at a time and add vanilla half way through (food colouring is optional).

- Beat until well combined at at piping consistency (approximately 5 minutes, you should be able to tell when it's done).

- Ice cupcakes as desired.

- Enjoy! 

Baking with Mrs Bouw- Sugar Cookies!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Oh I wish I had have posted this recipe before Easter (because some mini bunny cookies would have been so adorable!) but better late than never right?! I've been meaning to post this recipe since I first baked these gorgeous, sweet little cookies for Allegra and Anya's Joint Birthday Party back in November last year. They were such a hit (and so easy to make) that I made another batch a few weeks later for Christmas! For my girls' party I wanted to create a cookie that would go with their party theme but something that would not take up too much of my time as there was so much else to do and make. Icing cookies is an art and process within itself (something that I hope to be able to master one day) but with time not really on my side I decided to cheat just a little. I baked and iced the cookies myself (I just used a basic royal icing recipe for the icing) and then outsourced the edible toppers from Custom Icing. Once I had a PDF of the images I wanted to use, it was as simple as placing an order online. The service was super quick (I received in the post within a matter of days) and despite being a little overwhelmed when I first read the step by step instructions, the process of removing the toppers from the edible sheets and placing onto my cookies was super easy! I was so thrilled with how they turned out and had so many people comment on them... a small effort for a 'wow' factor! This recipe really is super easy to follow and will make about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies. Perfect for any occasion :)

Sugar Cookies
3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Baking paper

Line x2 trays with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream together until light and creamy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute or so.
- Add the flour mixture one cup at a time (this stops a storm of flour dust!).
- Mix until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of baking paper.
- Using your hands, knead the dough a few times.
- Place the dough in a large plastic (ziplock) bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  If you would like to speed up the chilling process, place the bag of dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes (just be sure not to forget to take it out).
- A few minutes before you are due to get the dough out of the fridge or freezer, preheat oven to 180°c.
- Once the dough has chilled and feels firm to touch, take out about half, leaving the rest in the refrigerator until your ready to work with it.
- Place dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper. This enables you to roll out the dough without having to add too much additional flour. Adding too much flour can cause the dough to be become a little tough and can also result in pockets of flour which may result in bumpy cookies.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick
- Cut the dough with your choice of cookie cutters (I usually use a small circle cutter as it makes gorgeous little bite-sized cookies). Try to make the best use of the dough you’ve rolled out.  Every time you have to re-roll the dough you will need to add a bit more flour resulting in the bumps I mentioned above. 

- Carefully place cookies onto prepared baking sheets. To avoid unevenly baked cookies, be sure to only put cookies of similar size on each baking sheet.  
- Place the entire baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer or refrigerator for about 3-5 minutes.  Chilling the cookies will help ensure they keep their shape while baking. This is one of the best tips I was ever given!
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as they are on the baking tray, so don’t let them get too brown.  Cool for just a minute or so on the tray and then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.
- Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with either frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant. 

- Enjoy! :)

Get the look: Bright eyed, bronzed & berrylicious!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Having been either pregnant or breastfeeding the previous two winters, this year I am trying to embrace items that I already have in my closet (many of which I was unable to wear the previous two winters) before heading to the stores to shop the latest trends. Last night Mr B and I headed out for dinner with my brother-in-law and his lovely partner and I decided to wear this Arthur Galan khaki pleated frock I picked up on sale when I was pregnant with Anya back in 2012. It is unlike any other dress I own (and not a style I choose to wear all that often) but teamed with the Robert Robert 'Diavolina' boots my Mumma bought me for my Birthday last year, my trusty Arthur Galan mongolian fur vest, some gorgeous, deep berry lippy (perfect for the cooler months!) and a low, slick pony, I felt like I put my own twist on a style that I wouldn't usually feel myself in. In fact, I have only ever worn this dress once before and I wore my hair down with a slight wave. I felt too overdone, frumpy and 'not me'. So last night, simply by opting to go with the slick pony (again, not a hairstyle I often embrace) I felt like I got it right this time! Seeing as all of the items that make up this outfit are no longer available in stores (and a little hard to source similar products) I thought I would instead share the tools of the trade used to create the beauty element of this look and the products I will most likely be turning to this winter for those winter nights out on the town!
Get the look:

1. MAC bronzer powder in 'Golden' here
2. Maybelline Full n Soft Mascara in 'Very Black' here
3. Nars blush in 'Orgasm' here
4. Napoleon Auto Pilot pre-foundation skin primer here
5. Napoleon lip pencil in 'Rococo Red' here
6. Napoleon China Doll foundation here
7. Napoleon 'The one' concealer here
8. Inglot lipstick #132 here
9. Inglot nail polish #036 here
10. Napoleon foundation stick here

Get the look: The Bargain buy dress!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm not one to shop online all that often as generally I like to see the product in the flesh first. But, back in January I was ordering a couple of new Nike gym tees from The Iconic and soon found myself immersed in the 'dresses' section. Believe it or not, I hate dress shopping. Just ask Mr B. The poor man has listened to me complain time and time again and has spent many an hour watching me try on dress after dress only to walk away empty handed and deflated. Be it online or instore I find it really hard to find dresses I feel truly comfortable and confident in. However, when I stumbled on the orange Ezra number (above) at only $39.95 and The Iconic's famous '100 day free return' policy I thought what the heck, if it doesn't fit I'll simply send it back. When I first opened the package I'll admit I was underwhelmed BUT once I slipped it on I was amazed that it was the perfect fit and super comfy! So, later that night I jumped back online to order one in black too (because a plain little black sheath can never go astray) and I also ordered three others (all for $39.95 each) in the hope that the sizing would be consistant with the first dress. The very next day I received the second package (and for some reason was still apprehensive and again underwhelmed when I first opened them) but one by one I tried them on and just like when I was a teenager, I did a cheesy little catwalk for my Mum (who was in town visiting) and with every dress her response was 'WOW'! I'll do the math for you my friends, that's five dresses for under $200! I know, what the frock right? hee hee. It just goes to show you don't need to spend big bucks to feel good in a dress!
Teamed with shoes and accessories I already owned, I wore the 'Orange Sheath' dress to a wedding last month and the 'Floral sheath' for a special dinner with friends last Saturday night. Unfortunately I think both have now sold out BUT I have compiled a few of my other favourites below (of which a couple were amongst my second order) all available from The Iconic. Most dresses from the Ezra collection are priced between $30- $40 so the whole collection is definitely worth a good look!
Fluttersleeve tulip dress here
Blue floral sheath here
Assymetrical wrap skirt floral sheath dress here
White with floral tulip dress here
Coral floral sheath here

Happy shopping my friends :)


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