Here’s a closer look at the ridiculously delicious three-tier Raspberry Ripple cake we did for Laura, this week. Each tier is made up of eight (yes EIGHT!) layers of raspberry sponge, coulis and buttercream… What more could you want than 24 layers of the moist, raspberry goodness? Fun fact – it took 5 punnets of fresh raspberries to create this monster. Totally worth it, if you ask us!
We use Tate & Lyle sugars in our cupcakes and icing which are produced at their Thames Refinery in East London. Both T&L’s Icing and Caster sugar are accredited as Fairtrade, meaning that the farmers and smallholders get a fairer deal and that money goes towards education, health and other community projects. All Tate & Lyle sugar is refined from natural cane sugar, which gives a superior taste and texture to sugar refined from sugar beet.
We use Tate & Lyle’s Fairtrade Caster sugar primarily for its wonderfully sweet, natural taste and fine crystals, which help make the sponge in our cupcakes light, delicious and moist. We use their Fairtrade Icing sugar because it produces a fantastically smooth buttercream icing with a sweet but natural flavour.
We also use T&L Fairtrade Royal Icing sugar (to make smoother, firmer icing for piped decorations and designs) and Fairtrade Brown sugar. Our sugarpaste (for covered cakes and custom decorations) comes from M&B, a family-run business in North London who have been making and supplying high-quality sugarpaste to expert cake makers for over 20 years.
The quality of eggs is a huge factor in the taste and texture of any sponge, and of course the quality of the hens’ lives is equally important. Happily, the two things tend to go together; happy hens make for great eggs. All our eggs are certified Organic and Free Range, and are delivered fresh from a family-owned and operated farm in West Sussex. The hens that lay them are free to graze and forage outdoors all day, and live in mobile hen houses which are moved periodically to ensure they always have fresh pastures to enjoy. Because the eggs are collected daily and sorted, graded and packed right on the farm they’re super-fresh when we receive them (Duncan, the farmer, drops them off at C&D HQ every Tuesday). This freshness and the healthy outdoor lifestyle and natural organic diet enjoyed by the chickens makes for the best eggs we’ve ever tasted and, of course, amazing cupcakes.
|Some of the hens that lay our eggs, doing their thing in West Sussex.|
Hi all. We’re kind of cupcake nerds here at C&D, and the guys thought it might be interesting to take an in-depth look at some of the ingredients that go into what we do. We’ll be posting them under the tag ingredients so if you fancy reading long and potentially slightly boring ramblings about butter, flour, eggs and the like then you know where to look… Anyway, what better place to start than with our butter?
It’s one of the most important ingredients in any cake, or icing, and we only ever use Lescure unsalted butter for all our cupcakes and buttercream. Lescure has Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Protégée, or AOP) certification, which means it can only ever come from dairy herds in the Charente region of France (a little like Champagne from vineyards in Champagne or Parma ham from Parma). This small, tightly-controlled production area helps ensure that quality is kept consistently high.
When choosing butter for baking the key things to look for are fat and water content; Lescure has a very high fat content and a very low water content, which helps make for a richer, moister sponge, as well as amazingly smooth buttercream icing with a beautiful ‘mouthfeel’. It’s also matured for a relatively short period during the manufacturing process, which together with the soil, climate and feed enjoyed by the cows (they call that stuff terroir in France) produces a fresh, creamy and very slightly nutty-tasting butter.
Like a lot of the ingredients we use Lescure is a bit more expensive than other options (around 20% more than President and other premium butters) but having tried pretty much everything else going it really is the best butter out there. If you’ve ever made or tried buttercream icing that left a claggy or oily taste in your mouth, or been left scratching your head at a sponge that came out a little dry, our advice would be to get hold of some Lescure and give it a go. And of course if you’re not so much into the whole baking thing then you can always bag yourself some of our cupcakes – it’s all Lescure all the time, and we’ll never use anything else.