20 October 2008

Duathlon cupcakes

The Bayswater School Duathlon was yesterday morning, and after a half hour practice riding her bike without training wheels Madeline and the rest of us set off for the school. Thankfully her age group is not in the actual duathlon yet, and she was happy to settle for the junior cycle safely event, where pretty soon she decided a bike and constantly scraping her legs on the pedals was not her style and reverted to her scooter. But the day was beautiful and warm and we had a great time together.
Parents were asked to do some baking for the cake stall so I got to work with some cupcakes. Blue and white are the new school colours so I attempted that, but the blue kind of turned into an aqua blue, and I just went with whatever I could find. I used the chocolate fudge recipe again as its the easiest and I can get 16 from one cake mix. They didn't turn out too bad, and when I secretly went to the cake stall to get a look at what had sold there were only 4 left.

07 October 2008

Dads Birthday

Okay so I know cupcakes aren't exactly manly. Well they're not really are they? But anyway I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I could stick a candle on it and it tastes good. If something tastes good, who cares what it looks like right?...Hmm well to a point.

The main reason I wanted to make cupcakes was because I wanted to try 2 flavours. The first one was a mini cake variation of my famous chocolate fudge cake. I wanted to see how they would turn out if done in a muffin tray. This recipe is as easy as your gonna get for a cake. Its egg and dairy free and is wonderful when our nephew Oliver comes over or for a family birthday cake as he can eat it too. I have been using this recipe for about 11 years now and its never failed me once. Except that time I was pregnant with Madeline and I grilled it. Twice.

The other recipe was one I found a few years ago in an NZ House and Garden magazine and tucked away in my precious blue recipe folder. Lime and Coconut Cakes. Yum, sounds good. I remarkably had all the recipe items in my pantry...until I got to the part where I needed icing sugar and realised I only had about 1/4 of a cup left. So instead of rushing out to buy it I improvised and used my blender to whiz up some caster sugar and it came out a bit finer and instead of using 1 1/2 cups I cut it down to 1 cup. Also instead of limes I substituted with lemon. Not as strong a flavour but it was all I had.

Both recipes turned out better than I expected. And today, a day after, they are still remarkably moist and actually nicer than they were last night. The chocolate isn't as doughy and I would imagine they will still be quite moist tomorrow, much like the full cake version usually is. These are both fantastic recipes if you are needing to make them up a day or so before eating.
Because I only had 1/4 cup of icing I sent dad off to the supermarket to buy icing for his own cake. And he came back with caster sugar instead of icing sugar (maybe he did it on purpose because he was a little mad at having to source his own cake toppings) so again I had to rummage through the pantry for an alternative to buttercream icing. For the chocolate fudge cakes I melted some dark chocolate and dipped them in and placed a candle in the middle. For the lemon cakes I creamed together the remaining icing with about 1/4 cup of cream cheese and approx 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and dolloped it on top and garnished with grated lemon rind. I didn't want to cover the top of the cakes completely as after they are cooked the tops go all hard and caramelised. Really delicious.

I placed them on a non flowery plate and although they weren't manly they were delicious. They would make a great dinner party dessert if served with berries and a dollop of cream.

03 October 2008

Hmmm scones...

Now one of my favourite things to do is eat chocolate. Failing that...scones. With jam and cream. I spent today with my lovely friend Claire and she made scones. Delicious scones. With jam and cream. And they were put up nice and high for the adults only to eat while the kids scoffed away in the carpeted (eek!) lounge with chocolate fingers and sausage rolls. Sorry about the mess Claire! Ooops. Anyway all washed down with a dip in the resort like pool and spa. Blissful afternoon and only a touch of sunburn. Too good.
A great discovery was made a wee while back while browsing the supermarket aisles. After being recommended the Sweet Muffin Mix packet by a friend I also discovered the Scone Mix. The Edmonds seems to be the best. All you have to do is add water!!! ITS TOO EASY! They come out fluffy and delicious and you get about 3 batches out of one packet so it will last for the next time you entertain (I only bring out the scones when entertaining because its too expensive to waste cream on my kids). Another tip from a friend for making scones is to use 3 cups of self raising flour with 300ml cream, mix it up, cut it up and voila! I haven't tried that one yet so watch this blogspace...