Saturday 3 November 2012

Ginger Bonfire Night cupcakes with popping candy

I wanted to make something for Bonfire Night as we were going to watch the fireworks then back to a friend's house for some food afterwards, and for a long time have had the idea of popping candy in my head. Do you remember eating that when you were a kid? I used to love the way it would fizz and pop in your mouth, and hoped it would have the same effect sprinkled on cupcakes!

I also wanted to make my cupcakes fit the theme so decorated them to look like little bonfires. The cakes themselves are ginger flavour which I think also works really well for this time of year!

The recipe I used was from the book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, though the decoration idea was my own.

There is a separate recipe for the frosting below. For the cakes, you need:

200g butter, softened
175g brown sugar
3 tbsp black treacle
150ml milk
4 pieces stem ginger from a jar of stem ginger in syrup. Chop the ginger and reserve the syrup for the icing.
2 eggs
300g self-raising flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180C/ 160 C fan.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and treacle over a low heat. Take off the heat then stir in the milk.

Beat the eggs in another bowl, chop the stem ginger (reserving the syrup) and add the ginger pieces to the egg mixture. Beat this into the butter mixture- either still in the saucepan or you can transfer it to a bowl.

Add the flour, ground ginger and salt and mix well.

Spoon into cupcake cases - I had some Halloween ones as I couldn't find anything that would have specifically worked for Bonfire Night, though in retrospect I think a metallic red would have been good. But I did pretty well with this recipe and had all the ingredients in the house already - even the stem ginger and the treacle - so didn't want to go out and buy cake cases specially.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes then leave to cool.

Ginger buttercream frosting
280g butter, softened
8 tbsp ginger syrup from the jar of stem ginger
600g icing sugar

You can either make this in one batch then separate it, or in two as I did. If you want to make two batches, halve the ingredients.
Otherwise, beat the butter until creamy, add the syrup then the icing sugar and mix to make buttercream.

Take each bowl - or separate the mixture into two bowls - and colour one orange and one red. I used some orange Wilton gel colour that I had from Halloween last year, and it only needed a tiny amount to turn a lovely orange colour. For the pink, I used a few drops of liquid food colouring - admittedly it was one that was made from natural ingredients so wasn't neon pink like some are - but then I added a few more drops, and a few more, and still wasn't happy with the colour, so I used a tiny dab of Sugarflair ruby red sugarpaste colouring and that was perfect.

Spoon each icing into a piping bag. This is the point at which I started wishing I had the new duo colour piping bag set from Lakeland as it would have been perfect to use here - you can pipe two colours at once and swirl them together. That was the effect I wanted to create with the red and the orange icing, to look like the flames of the bonfire, so I took it in turns to pipe some of each colour onto the cupcake. I did a small blob of icing and drew the bag upwards so it stood up like a little flame. Unfortunately the red was a little softer than the orange (from all the liquid food colouring, I expect!) so it didn't quite stand up as well, but I thought it still looked nice.

Here you can see how I did one colour first, then the second colour in the gaps around it:

Next I cut up some Cadbury's Flake and arranged the pieces on the cupcake to look like logs on the bonfire.

Now for my favourite part: the popping candy!

I sprinkled a little popping candy on each cupcake in the gap at the top of the flake pieces. I wonder whether I should warn people before they eat the cake, or just let them have the surprise? I think the popping candy will mimic the effect of fireworks going off.

The finished cupcakes for tonight's Bonfire Night party


  1. They're very cute indeed. I love ginger in all forms (especially cake!) and treacle too, so with the addition of popping candy I bet I would have loved these.

    You don't actually need a duo piping bag to get that effect - if you put your two colours into bags as you have done, but without a nozzle, and then put the nozzle into a third (empty) piping bag and then put the two full bags into the third one, you get the same effect. I used this technique for triple colour buttercream for the Jubilee very successfully here:

  2. Mmmmmmmm...Ginger...

    Might have to try these - they sound delicious!

  3. WOW very impressed! these look great! B

  4. Hah! Love the idea of popping candy surprises in the middle! These look great with the two tone effect, and Ginger is one of my favourite flavours. Bet these were a big hit at your party! :)

  5. These are really cute and a great idea for bonfire will love them too with the flake and popping candy!! :-)

  6. These look brilliant, I love the idea of the popping candy !!

  7. Such a great idea to add in some popping candy for a Bonfire treat! xx

  8. How fun! What a great bonfire night bake! I love how you used the flakes and the popping candy was a great idea! Hope you enjoyed your bonfire night celebrations!

  9. they look realy yummy. i love ginger in anything.

  10. Love your decorations - very fitting for the occasion!

  11. Yum! Perfect for Bonfire Night! Also, ginger buttercream sounds amazing, I must try it!


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