Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vanilla Cupcakes

I bought myself the new Crabapple Cupcake Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Graham, and followed their Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream recipe to the letter. The result is a moist but on the coarse side, crumbed, cupcake (which tastes better on the second day) and a super sweet icing, which sets with a crust. For me the icing is nothing to rave about, especially as the icing is far too sweet in its plain state. I will try it again though but in a citrus or other flavour which will cut through the sugar. As the icing sets hard and it good for transporting it might be a good one for long transportation.
The decoration is their signature swirl, which they give instructions on how to do, and its fairly easy to follow, the swirl does take practice.Crabapple Bakery usually put sugar piped daisys and sprinkles on top. But you know me and my silver ball and glitter addiction.

I have the utmost respect for Jennifer and her family, they as far as I know have been a leader in Melbourne with regards to cupcakes, starting off with the markets, then working their way to a shop at the Parhan Markets and then opening a factory/bakery in Ferntree Gully.

Over the coming weeks I will be trialing more of their recipes and seeing what makes them so special.


Eek, quick off the top of my head ...... big breath - go.

1. I talk to worms, and sniff compost. The thing I love down most after baking is getting my fingernails dirty in the garden. Enough said.
2. I see cupcake & cake designs everywhere. That might be obvious.
3. I was so scared the first time I saw Gremlins, that I walked out.
4. I procrastinate.
5. I love period dramas and historical movies.
6. I am addicted to listening to Audio Tapes and have been since I was 16.
7. I am secretly fascinated by celebrities and their lives (shh. don't tell anyone).

And now I tag . . . . Acaligirl who was one of my first readers, Frosted Garden, and Milk & Cookies cause I love the casual way she writes and her photos make me want to eat.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Oh dear, I have just realised that Minh has tagged me, bugger. Now I have to think deeply about who I am and what makes me tick. It could take a while. Back soon.

Where have all the cupcakes gone?

Good question, but I have been busy trawling some of my favourite sites and trying some of the recipes that caught my fancy. But strangely I have been so busy baking and testing and tasting that I didn't take any photos, not one.

For ages now I am been fascinated by the S'mores Cupcakes which have been doing the rounds. Basic wheaten biscuits, baked through tasty cupcake batter, topped with chocolate and marshmallows (homemade if you have time or bought if you don't). Every one's interpretation is slightly different. I eventually got down to it last week and used the wonderful Chockylits recipe, adjusting the butter content as she suggests and forgoing the marshmallow whip as its nowhere to be found in Oz (well when I say nowhere its not in the normal supermarkets), and piked on the homemade marshmallows, when I found that I didn't have any gelatin in the cupboard (could have sworn I did though?) and I couldn't even beg, steal or borrow any from the neighbours. But being winter we always have marshmallows in our cupboard for hot chockys.

The cupcakes themselves were scrummy, I loved the gritty texture, lightly flavoured but so moreish and not too sweet, it was all I could do to not eat all the centres I hollowed out. Popped a marshmallow into said hollowed centres and put them back into the oven to melt. Then topped them with the chocolate and another marshmallow. Unfortunately I don't have a torch so they didn't have that lovely caramelised layer of burnt marshmallow, but they were oh so yum. I do suggest that you let them come to room temp if you have had them in the fridge, they're favour seems to disappear when they are chilled.

White chocolate cupcakes, topped with Vanilla Italian Buttercream, a lovely bride has requested a tower of these beauties for her wedding and I am happy to oblige. I quickly tested two very different recipes on some friends recently, and am please to say I have found a great recipe, details of which I will share at a later date.

Donuts, seriously obsessed by Donuts and it didn't help when I saw Milk & Cookies' recipe and wonderful pictures of Baked Donuts, I was sure it could be done but just needed the inspiration. And like many I hate deep frying but baking . . . no problem. It is o'so easy, but then again I love baking with yeast, and I loved the reaction of my family, they couldn't believe what was in front of them. The recipe makes 30 decent sized donuts (I didn't have a donut cutter so had to improvise with some cutters which didn't make pretty donuts - but who cares), we scoffed the lot. Very naughty.

That same day, since I was kneading and rising already I decided to give not martha's calzones a run for their money. I have made calzones before, but not for a while, and the way she detailed the recipe and her warm pictures made my mouth water. I used her dough recipe and her cheese filling recipe but used fresh silverbeet from our community garden and a chorizo sausage, onion and garlic mix to fill the puppies. Mind you we really weren't too hungry after all those donuts, so some of the calzones made it into our lunch boxes the next day. I found that they reheated perfectly. Oh so tasty, oh so easy.

That's enought for now.

Pretty Pinks

Image for yourselves a huge (12") classic chocolate cake, filled with (3 layers) oreo cream, sealed with Vanilla Italian Buttercream. Covered in chocolate fondant and studded with pretty pink daisies and a touch of glitter.

Yes I admitt that the cake was a tad on the large size for 35 people, but it meant that it lasted all weekend.

Friday, June 8, 2007

So Many Photos of Hi-Top Cupcakes - Minis

But so I don't bore you I've just chosen 3. These and I should say many of these were created for my brother 'snot-face's' birthday last weekend.

All his guests has to arrive as something starting with the letter 'B', I contemplated going as a baker but it was really not a good look, so I decided on 'Black & Bling', (Bling was from the Bling cake in May as it is not normal to have so much), hubby went as a 'Beggar' as he is still using a crutch and is currently wearing KT-26's under doctors orders. A ripped shirt, pair of old jeans, fingerless gloves, dark dirty makeup and doggy beanie completed his look. Doesn't help that he hasn't cut his hair in months, in preparation for a 70's Party next month. He so looked the part.

But back to the cupcakes, if you want the secrets on how to create this little beauties I have already posted about their cousins here.

Honestly, what do you think of my photos? Do you think I should invest in a light box type thing or do you like the alla natural light and not too fussy settings that I use. Speaking of liking photos La Tarine Gourmand is hosting June's Does My Blog Look Good in This? do any of my photo's in my May posts qualify? Should I enter and if so which one, I can't choose.

It ended up being a really busy weekend, I had a date with some fellow Australian bloggers Minh of ecupcake and Melissa of Inquisitrix.

They are both such interesting ladies, Minh creates the most delicious cupcake recipes, spending a lot of her time on flavour and recipe development, that I tend not to do, and she think runs out of time to do the pretty stuff that I am obsessed with. If only we lived in the same city. Oh the possibilities. Melissa is Minh's great friend by marriage (she stole Minh off of her husband) and she has a wicked sense of humor and from what I hear a really bad oven.

Better get back to work, ie washing dishes, vacuuming, washing etc.