Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Celebrating Mother's Day

I recently went home to Sydney to spend a weekend with my family and thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day a bit earlier with the two special women in my life - my dear Mum and gorgeous sister.

'Ice' Teapot and saucer from Sweet Little Birdy
We always exchange presents but this weekend I baked some very special cupcakes for us and would like to share the recipe and piping techniques with you.
I was inspired by a cake I tasted at Sugar Rush in Mount Hutton (where I did a fabulous buttercream piping course). So although this recipe is not theirs, it is definitely inspired by them.

Vanilla bean and Rose water cupcakes (Base recipe adapted from

This recipe will make 24 standard cupcakes plus a bit extra for little fingers!


2 cups SR flour

1 cup plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

150g unsalted butter at room temp (this is important!)

155mls milk

3 eggs

1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 capfuls of Rose water (see photo)

2 -3 drops of pink food colouring


Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius fan forced.

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use electric beaters or your mix master to beat on a low speed until combined.  Then increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is thick and the butter is incorporated (this is why it's so important to have the butter at room temp). Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. Bake for approx 20 mins - depending on your oven this make take longer or shorter. I lightly touch the tops of the cupcakes to see if they are done, they should spring back and your finger shouldn't leave an indent. You can also insert a skewer into the centre and check if it comes out clean if you are unsure. Set aside in pans for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I found my rose water in a local green grocer (which is a fairly big one with lots of gourmet items). I think you could find this brand in most gourmet stores or speciality ethnic food shops as rosewater is commonly used in Lebanese, Arabic, Moroccan and Egyptian cooking...yum yum!

Vanilla frosting


200g unsalted butter (at room temp)

1 kg icing sugar mixture

 60mls combination of milk and water (half half)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Food colouring to colour different flower designs


Beat butter for 2 minutes until pale and creamy, slowly add milk mixture, vanilla extract  and icing sugar in alternating batches. I will sometimes need to add a bit more or less of milk depending on how thick I want my frosting. Separate into as many bowls as you need and colour.

If you want very white frosting, you can add a few drops of Wilton 'white-white' food colouring (available from most cake decorating stores) to make it even whiter as most butters are slightly yellow, without colouring it, your frosting will never be completely white.
Cake stand from Sweet Little Birdy

For this design, I wanted my cupcakes flat, if yours are domed, then you may need to cut the tops off before icing with some of the white frosting.

Once frosted, you will need a Wilton 104 petal tip (available from most cake decorating stores) and a disposable piping bag. I decided to make a 5 petal flower and daisy flower which are both piping techniques demonstrated in a Peggy Porschen book "Pretty Party cakes" I have.

You will need to start with the wider tip at the centre of the cupcake and the narrow tip slightly raised and apply consistent pressure while moving your wrist (one-fifth of a turn) to create an almost fan like petal. Peggy suggests using less pressure as you move your tip back to the centre (for the second half of the petal). Keep repeating until you have all the 5 petals. I like practising so here's what I did.

You can pipe dots of icing for the centre or add some sprinkles  - I went for a simple look and added a few white non-pareils in the middle of the flowers and a silver cachous in the middle of the yellow daisy.

Liberty pink square plate from Sweet Little Birdy

The daisies were made using the same piping tip, just hold the tip in the same angle (but the opposite way round - wide end away from the centre and narrow end at the centre of the cupcake), pipe and slowly pull the tip towards the middle while you release pressure on the piping bag. Easy! 

Sweet Little Birdy stocks these beautiful Pink Liberty square cake plates... mum wanted to buy one for both my sister and I... love you mum!

I liked the slightly pink inside, you don't have to add the food colouring if you don't want to. This recipe makes delicious dense vanilla bean and rosewater cupcakes.

Mum and my sister loved this Sweet Little Birdy Tea Set -
I think it makes a beautiful Mother's day gift.

Now my exciting news! Sweet Little Birdy is having a special Mother's Day sale - 15% of all the products in their "for your home" section - so an even better reason to buy something for Mother's Day!!!  Just enter code MUM at checkout!

 I think this would be perfect for some cheese and crackers!

Black and White Oversized cup and saucer on sale - What a great gift for a coffee/tea loving mum

Tea for one... how cute would this look on an office desk for your morning cuppa

Turntable with buckets comes in a range of colours and is one of the top sellers... now on sale!

Peg bucket - not only for Pegs but I can think of so many uses in your laundry.

Kitchen garden planters - how perfect would this look with a couple of herb pots for a Mother's Day present!

Now they were just a few of my favourite items on the "for your home" section, have a look today and take advantage of the Sweet Little Birdy Mother's Day sale.

I love Mother's Day and I know I'm biased because I am a mother but maybe that also makes me realise how special my mother and all the mothers out there really are. Being a mother has shown me the depth, strength and power of love. I have learned to love my two little boys more than myself and have realised that the same love I have for my boys is the same love my mother has for me - constant, never failing and forever forgiving.

Happy Mother's Day

Yours in blogging


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