I've mentioned before that I attend my local Women's Institute (WI) on a monthly basis. Well last month's meeting was a bit different in that we had an outing to visit some nearby bees. I had no idea that there are beehives on the roofs of many of the city's buildings. After a talk from a local beekeeper we headed up to the roof of The Printworks where they have chickens, a vegetable garden and two beehives. It was dark when we visited, but I found the below photo online which gives a much clearer view!
The bees are looked after by someone from the Hard Rock Cafe, vegetables from the garden are used to make soup for the homeless, and the wild flower section of the garden was dontaed by Bez from the Happy Mondays. Who knew all this was going on right above our heads! Bees are such fascinating creatures and so essential to our environment. Friends of the Earth are currently campaigning against the governments decision to use bee harming pesticides in the UK, you can read more about it by clicking here.
So in honour of our bee themed meeting I decided to make some honey flavoured cupcakes with cute little bees on top! To make the bees I started by rolling chunks of golden marzipan to make the bees bodies. I laid them onto baking paper.
I melted a few blocks of dark chocolate in the microwave and painted the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a brand new paint brush. You could probably also do this with a cocktail stick.
I pushed flaked almonds into the bees to make the wings.
Soon I had a swarm of marzipan bees! I made 30+ cupcakes for my WI meeting, but I'll give you the recipe for 12 cupcakes, then you can double and triple it as you need.
To make the cupcakes I started by creaming 150g butter, 50g honey and 100g caster sugar.
I added 2 eggs, the zest of one orange, 3 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp orange extract.
Finally I mixed in 150g self raising flour.
I baked the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes until golden brown. I got a new oven recently and it bakes things super fast so you may need to leave them in for 20 minutes depending on your oven.
I made some buttercream by mixing 150g butter, 50g honey, 400g icing sugar and 1 tsp orange extract. I piped it onto the cupcakes when they were fully cool.
Finally I added the super cute marzipan bees! I loved the final effect, the little 'bees' looked so adorable. I got some really lovely comments when I presented them at the meeting and was pleased to see them all fly off the table!
I'm entering these into Belleau Kitchen's challenge Simply Eggcellent, this month the theme is cake.
It's also National Cupcake Week at the moment, which is great timing to share this recipe!
Honey & Orange Cupcakes
- 120g Golden marzipan
- 6 blocks of Dark chocolat
- 50g Flaked almonds
- 300g Butter
- 100g Honey
- 100g Caster sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Orange
- 2 tsp Orange extract
- 150g Self raising flour
- 400g Icing sugar
To make the bees, roll chunks of golden marzipan into an oval shape. Lay them onto baking paperMelt the dark chocolate and paint the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a small paint brush or a cocktail stickPush the flaked almonds into the bees bodies to make the wingsTo make the cupcakes, cream 150g of the butter, 50g of the honey and the caster sugar togetherAdd the eggs, the zest of the orange, 3 tbsp of the orange's juice and 1 tsp of the orange extract. Mix wellFold in the self raising flourBake the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completelyMake the buttercream by mixing 150g of the butter, 50g of the honey, the icing sugar and 1 tsp of the orange extract together until smooth. Pipe it onto the cupcakesFinally add the marzipan bees
Sponge recipe adapted from Rowse Honey.