With the Annual ABKA Honey Show on Sunday, we had to make an effort to prepare our entries. We didn’t really have enough honey to enter and hadn’t made anything from wax. No candles, no combs of honey and even the cookery class that we were looking forward to was different this year. The various classes were as follows:
- Bottle of mead.
- Two one pound jars of light honey.
- Two one pound jars of medium honey.
- Two one pound jars of dark honey.
- Two one pound jars of granulated honey.
- Two one pound jars of heather honey.
- Cake of beeswax approx. 8oz in weight.
- Four cakes of beeswax approx. one ounce each.
- A shallow comb of honey suitable for extraction.
- Ornamental display, incorporating wax. Base of entry to be no more than 6inches in diameter.
- Cookery class (something a bit different this year, see belowâ€¦â€¦).
Our only option really was the cookery class and the rules for that this year were:
“Four cupcakes decorated in the theme of â€˜beekeeping’. Entries will be judged on presentation. Let your imagination run wildâ€¦!”
Hmm, not really our thing either as we just like to bake cakes that taste delicious and then eat them. The presentation has never really been our thing. Our cakes usually look nice, but we never go to town with fancy decorations. Well, we were up for a challenge so out we went to get some supplies and we let the decorating begin.
First the cupcakes themselves. I decided to stick to the theme as much as possible by baking honey and vanilla cupcakes. I don’t know if anyone will even be tasting them, but I thought it would be good to get some honey in them. Anna on the other hand made chocolate and Guinness cupcakes as she thought sticking to a tried and tested recipe would be safest. They also stay lovely and moist and would make a decent coloured background for her planned decorations.
Morgan tried various ideas as he really wanted to make a hive from various bits of cake, but in the end used some of Anna’s chocolate cupcakes.
We obviously had to taste test them. Anna’s Guinness cakes were lovely as ever, very chocolately, moist and slightly sticky. My honey and vanilla cupcakes were nice too with a lovely quite strong taste of honey.
After some perusing of Google Images for inspiration we each had a plan. Anna was going to make sunflowers by piping butter-cream icing around her cupcakes. I too made butter-cream icing but wanted to top my cupcakes with disks of honeycomb white chocolate. I was hoping that the white chocolate would go well with the honey in the cakes and the marzipan bees would add some almond to them to give it a taste of white Toblerone. Morgan went for some bee patterned cakes and flower decorations.
We were all making marzipan bees to go with the cupcakes.
Anna’s worked pretty well first time, in fact her first attempt was the best one as she piped her icing around each cupcake. A couple were rejected in the process and rapidly consumed but she soon had four cupcakes ready to show. The buttercream icing didn’t necessarily complement the Guinness cakes, but the competition was all about presentation, not taste.
My chocolate disks proved quite difficult. I was using bubble wrap to imprint a honeycomb pattern into it so had to first melt and temper my white chocolate and then colour it yellow before trying to make little moulds for the disks. I tried various methods, some more successful than others. One batch of chocolate went completely wrong and solidified as soon as I added the food colouring, but it still tasted OK so we’ll just eat that. I did experiment with disks made from icing or marzipan but wasn’t completely satisfied with them. Eventually I had four pale yellow white chocolate disks that I was happy with, although a little darker yellow would have been nice. These were then arranged on top of the butter-cream icing and each little cell was painstakingly filled with a delicate blob of honey.
Morgan made various decorations for his cakes from melted chocolate, marzipan, icing and sugar decorations. It took most of the day but we finally had four beekeeping themed cupcakes each ready to show.
We now have to devise a way of presenting them and getting them all to the show without damaging them. No doubt they will look pathetic compared to some peoples amazing artistic creations, but we all had fun in the kitchen together whilst making them. It was a little bit of a challenge for us and made us try something a little different, but we are all quite proud of our creations and the cupcakes do all look good sat on the table together ready to go.