Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Sloth cupcakes for 13th blog anniversary

If you had described my current life to me when I started my blog 13 years ago, I don't think I would have believed you.  I might have laughed.  I might have stood with my mouth gaping.  I could not have taken you seriously.  But here I am in CoVid19 lockdown with an 11 year old daughter who has made amazing sloth cupcakes to take to her dad's home for his "Iso" birthday.  Actually I might have found it believable if you had told me I would have a daughter who is a great baker. 

It is no coincidence that Sylvia's dad's birthday coincides with the blog anniversary.  My first blog post was his vampire birthday cake.  Much has changed since then.  I have made E a birthday cake for my blog anniversary every year since.  This year however we changed things up and made  cupcakes instead of a big cake.  Sylvia decided on sloth cupcakes and did a lot of the work.

The cupcake recipe is one that she has made before and also kept a friend company on face time while they made it.  She asked what flavours E would like.  When he said spice and caramel, she decided to add cinnamon and a hint of mixed spice.  Those cupcakes smelled amazing.

The crowning glory of the cakes was the caramel buttercream.  We made a buttercream and added a few spoonfuls from a jar of Bonne Maman Caramel Sauce.  It was so good.  We used salted butter but could have perhaps used a little more salt.

Then we added fondant faces.  Sylvia did most of the work bu I helped a bit.  We kneaded colour into the fondant and rolled it out without it getting too sticky (thanks to a pinch of icing sugar), covered it up without it getting too dried and had fun drawing on the mouths in different expressions.  Sylvia and I have come a long way since we first started playing with fondant at the start of last year.  (And I was pleased we still had some black fondant leftover from the cats.)

They took some work and didn't taste that great but they looked so cute.  (I ignored the colleague who asked if they were raccoons).  The last few when we ran out of fondant were just spread with caramel.  They tasted the best!  But I also loved the raspberry bullets that Sylvia chose for the noses.  It was very kind of her to pass on the black jellybeans because she knew her dad didn't like them.

We also bought oreos for the eyes but reverted to fondant after a trial.  So we ate too many and then I opened a tin of chickpeas to eat plain because we needed something savoury.  We ate late that night - just chopped vegies, grated cheese and tacos, all scattered with a little taco seasoning that had been sitting in my shelves too long!  I read that we should create some fun memories in lockdown and I think making these cupcakes might be a moment to remember!

While we decorated, we talked about sloths.  Sylvia said they were lazy in a cute way.  I couldn't help thinking that sloths were not only popular with the kids but could be the mascot of Covid19 lockdown.  One of our favourite shows lately is Brooklyn 99 in which Jake does a David Attenborough impression of him saying "the majestic sloth".  It made me think of one of my favourite childhood shows, The Goodies (RIP Tim Brooke Taylor), in which Attenborough was parodied as David Rabbitborough.  It seemed a fun parallel that both of us had learned about Attenborough as kids through parodies without actually watching the real thing.  Then Sylvia began to watch his documentaries.

The moral of the story is that kids today have far greater access to learning where parodies originate than I did as a kid.  But also that one thing that is certain is change!  And so I end this post with a brief reflection on my time as a blogger.  So much change!  Since starting blogging 13 years ago I have met lots of amazing people, had lots of inspiration for dinner, seen blogging transform from a community to a career, created a sourdough starter, become the sort of person who makes pizza every Friday for her kid and  I have learnt so much about photography, curries, smoothies, tacos, kale salads, vegan baking, nut roasts, gingerbread, smoky flavours, nutella, pancakes, and sausage rolls that no one will ever believe are not meat!  It's been fun and I am grateful to still be here on my blog being inspired in the kitchen, even if I am not eating out right now.  It was a little sad that we weren't able to share the sloth cupcakes, thanks to lock down, but as always it is a joy to share them here on my blog with you.

More animal shaped cakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Animal cupcakes: chicks, pigs, frogs and mice
Butterfly cake (2)
Cat cupcakes
Green Giraffe cake
Hedgehog cake
Monkey cake
Owl and spider cupcakes
Viking cat cake

How to make sloth cupcakes

You will need:
Cupcakes (see below)
Caramel buttercream (see below)
White fondant
Brown food colouring (or more cocoa, black and red food colouring)
Black fondant
Bullets or black jelly beans
Edible black marker or black icing in a bag with a thin writing tip.

Knead a spoonful or two of cocoa into a good handful of white fondant to make it light brown.  Stamp out circles slightly smaller than the cupcake top.  For each circle cut out 2 leaf shaped pieces to be under the eyes.  I used a piece of cardboard cut into the shape I wanted so I could have them all similar size and used scissors to cut around them.  Cover and set aside.

Take a good handful of white fondant and mix in colouring to make it a darker brown.  (We did not have brown food colouring so I mixed in cocoa, a little black and a little red food dye).  Stamp out circles the size of the cupcakes (one each for each of the lighter brown circles).  Cover and set aside. 

Spread caramel buttercream on a cupcake.  Top with a circle of darker brown fondant, then use a small amount of water to stick on a smaller light brown fondant (have a small bowl of water to stick on the other pieces of fondant).  Push a bullet or jelly bean in the middle of the light brown circle to make the nose, then place a leaf shape either side.  Roll a two black circles to be on the leaves and then white dots to place on the black to make eyes.  Use edible black marker (or black icing in a bag with a writing tip) to draw the mouth.  We did different expressions for fun.  Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.  If you run out of fondant or energy these cupcakes taste amazing with caramel buttercream and no fondant.

Vanilla Spice Cupcakes
Adapted from Life, Love and Sugar
Makes 20-24 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups plain white flour
2 cups sugar (we used caster sugar)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mixed spice

1 cup milk (we used soy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup water

Line 2 x 12 cupcake tins with papers and preheat oven to 180 C.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk together the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  (This could all be done with electric beaters but we did it by hand.)

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling them about a third.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  I found these cupcakes damp by the next day so they are made to be frosted or need to be baked longer.

Caramel Buttercream
Adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes if you spread with a knife not a piping bag!

125g butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
3 tbsp caramel sauce
1 tbsp milk

Using electric blenders, beat butter until creamy.  Gradually add the icing sugar.  Then beat in the caramel sauce and milk.

On the Stereo:
Marvin the Album: Frente


  1. OMG too cute to eat.. love your blog, hope you are well in these trying times.. x

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  2. Happy anniversary to GGG! These cupcakes look very cute, and it sounds like the two of you had great fun making them.

  3. Happy Blog Anniversary Johanna. Sylvia is a great baker and the sloth cupcakes are not only fantastic, they are sound right on and the caramel buttercream sounds amazing!

  4. Happy 13th blog anniversary! That is an amazing time to be blogging and being creative. I love the sloth cupcakes and the idea that sloth could be the very mascot of covid-19 lockdown!

    Have a nice weekend!

  5. Happy blogaversary - 13 years is a long time. Sylvia's cupcakes are phenomenal! I don't think any of us would have believed we'd be where we are now, but I definitely think you're making the best of it. Here's to many more years blogging!

  6. Happy 13th Blog anniversary!! Sylvia is so clever making these sloth cupcakes. They are SO adorable :D Sloths are very cute indeed.

  7. Happy blogoversary and thank you once more for just about everything here!


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