Sunday, 18 October 2009

Lots of cupcakes

Warning: This post is going to be full of lots of cupcakes. Not for those on diets!



I have a lot of cupcakes to share with you all. Firstly, I want to discuss The Primrose Bakery cookbook. When I saw this book in Waterstones, I was so excited. A cupcake book I hadn't heard of! Using metric measurements! With lots of different yummy flavours! Of course I had to buy it. The photos in it are wonderful and there are so many different varieties, much more than in my old faithful Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Early grey cupcakes? Caramel cupcakes? I got it home and was itching to try it. I dove right in and decided to make the caramel cupakes, they sounded so amazing.

Primrose Bakery caramel cupcakes

Sadly, they tasted less than amazing. The icing was impossibly hard to work with - it was either too runny, or would set suddenly and be rock hard. The cake itself was dry and a bit tasteless if I'm honest. I didn't want to write the book off totally just by having one duff recipe, so I decided to go back to basics and try their vanilla cupcake recipe.

Primrose Bakery vanilla cupcakes

These were lots better than the caramel cupcakes. The cakes rose to a lovely peak, the icing was fluffy and delicious and easy to pipe. The cake was just okay though. When I compared the recipe and quantities to the hummingbird recipe, I was quite surprised that it used 2 eggs compared to just one in the hummingbird, and SO much sugar! In all of my baking experiences I've discovered that too much sugar can result in a hard crust and denser texture and I was not wrong with this recipe. The sugar crystalised slightly on top, which was okay once it was covered by a lovely swirl of the icing, but the texture of the cake was dry and dense. I like my cupcakes to be soft and delicate and like a sponge, rather than dense and crumby like a loaf cake. I suppose it's all personal preference, as one of my friends actually said she preferred these ones. But then again, she doesn't like cake much and just likes them to be a vehicle for frosting! The majority of people testing these decided they were too dense to be a good cupcake.

So I decided to return to my trusty Hummingbird Bakery cook book that has served me so well since I got it. I think I will try to combine the ideas and flavours from the Primrose Bakery with the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery.

Chocolate & Vanilla cupcakes for an 18th

Really, though, you can't beat good old vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. I was asked to bake 2 dozen cupcakes for a colleagues' son's 18th birthday party, my very first paying customer! I was so excited and nervous (what if I had one of my disasters that I am often prone to?! Especially with the icing?!) but everything turned out perfect. My recipe for perfect vanilla cupcakes can be found here.

It is also national baking week starting from tomorrow! So I am hoping that I can bake quite a bit this week (I have lots of pumpkins and apples to use up from a recent visit to the farm shop). Are you going to be baking anything yummy this week?

34 comments:

  1. Man, the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes look AMAZING!! And how cool that you now have paying customers!

    I was eyeing up the Primrose Bakery cookbook in Waterstones, and thought it looked good - so many yummy flavours - so thanks for the warning!

    xx

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  2. Must get this cook book, where do your talents end? These look divine am now following you, if you love polka dots do pop round to my blog, it rather fun!We seem to have much in common!Including a love of sponge! Sharon xxoo

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  3. Congratulations on the paying customer! :) They look so good.
    I'm going to have to bake something this week now!

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  4. They LOOK great, even if they didn't turn out brilliantly! I already ahve the Hummingbird one so probably wasn't going to bother getting the Primrose one (but I do want the Babycakes one... GF recipes FTW!). What did the caramel icing actually taste like?

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  5. Yum! I like the Primrose Bakery Book too but it's not a patch on the good old Hummingbird Bakery!

    I'll be baking pumpkin pie and pepper cake this week and maybe some foccacia too.

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  6. Mmm, you can never have too many cupcakes! If you're still looking for a caramel icing recipe, I made the icing part of this recipe and it was amazing: http://www.recipezaar.com/Banana-Cake-With-Caramel-Frosting-94128

    Hum I think I've just inspired myself to bake some apple cake, topped with that icing of course.

    Congrats on the paying customer!

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  7. I am very bad at baking! I wish I could!

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  8. so pretty! i don't know if you know about this book:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Martha-Stewarts-Cupcakes-Inspired-Everyones/dp/0307460444/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255890019&sr=8-1
    it came out recently in the us, and martha is the master of, well, everything over here.

    the american site has a recipe in the description, if you'd like to try:
    http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Stewarts-Cupcakes-Inspired-Everyones/dp/0307460444/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255889916&sr=8-1

    happy baking!!

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  9. Hi Helen, you have been awarded the very special Stylish Blogger award over @ My Passport to Style.I hope you like it!Sharon xxoo

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  10. Think about me: I'm crazy for cupcakes, but in Italy, or where I live at least, no way to find them
    :-((
    I'd like to have The Hummingbird cooking book too, cause when I was in London I loved to go there (I wrote about it even in one of my last posts!).
    It's an hard life....

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  11. yummmmmm!!! what lovely cupcakes!!! If you wouldn't have said that the top ones turned out less than perfect, I never would have guessed bc they photographed beautifully! And the black and white ones looks fan-tab.

    I am going to attempt baking halloween stye cupcakes from 'the red deed'. she used fondant to create creepy skull, crossbones, and fingers......creeepy. hehe.

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  12. I'm sorry the first 2 recipes turned out to be less than perfect. They still look gorgeous in the pictures, though! I can't even remember the last time I had a cupcake...

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  13. I saw the primrose book in borders last week. I was going to put it on my xmas list but I might give it a miss now.
    I was thinking of making a pumpkin pie this week or apple loaf from hummingbird book.

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  14. Do you find that the hummingbird recipes have a lot of sugar in them? I always think they taste good but wow, my mum almost has a heart attack watching me pour the sugar in because it seems like so much!

    They look great, well done on the birthday cupcakes!

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  15. oh my, you're making me crave for cupcakes! Those look delicious :)

    That is so cool that you guys have a national baking week. I'm not sure if there's such a thing here in Australia. Hope you'll share all your baked goodies with us (well, the pictures anyway, hehe).

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  16. Everything you bake looks so yummy - I'm jealous. National baking week does give me and excuse to get out the cake pan though!

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  17. I am totally drooling right now and have a massive urge to get baking!

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  18. Those chocolate and vanilla cupcakes look delicious! I love reading your posts about baking- they always inspire me to get in the kitchen. Please keep them coming!

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  19. I just discovered your blog, and I realy love it! :) thank you:)

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  20. it's too bad about the caramel cupcakes they sounded tasty. Your chocolate and vanilla ones look fantastic though, you pipe frosting like a pro.
    -indigo

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  21. Wow! I shouldn't be reading this post so late. Yum!!

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  22. this looks so good!
    i just bought a baking book called vegan cupcakes and they are delicious!

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  23. Oh, all those cupcakes... I seriously want to make some right now! But I don't have the time...

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  24. Congrats! These cupcakes are so yummy - all so colorful and delicious! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog :)

    http://inbugsdrawers.blogspot.com/

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  25. dumb! your pictures didnt show up! i was looking forward to salivating over yummy cupcakes. my ideal cupcake is soft and fluffy with light icing. cupcakes often look absolutely stunning but tast horrible!

    I never knew it was national baking month! im going to try my hands at a pumpkin pie this sunday and also might give a victoria sponge a go.

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  26. So you finally started putting your talents to good use with a paying customer. Good for you! How wonderful to have a hobby that pays for itself :)

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  27. Can I ask, what do you use to transport your cupcakes if taking them to a party or something? Sometimes I bring mine to work in like empty biscuit tins but invariably the icing gets somewhat dented on the way!

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  28. I've always been a vanilla cupcake kind of girl anyway

    This makes me want to start baking

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  29. good thing i am not on a diet! these look oh so yummy!

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  30. Wow. Those cupcakes (and your photography) look amazing. I'm a little bit ashamed of my paltry effort (pictures on my blog, if you want a giggle!).

    I've never been one of life's natural bakers but I do like the excitement of piping the frosting. And licking the beaters. :)

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