Friday, 30 October 2009

Happy halloween!


happy halloween!

Happy halloween everyone! I made these cupcakes for my sister to take into work for her little halloween party (they are quite big fans of my cupcakes now haha). I used my Wilton icing colour gels kit, which I love. It was the first time I'd tried the purple colour out. I've only got the blue, black and ivory to try next (although to be honest I do not know why I would ever need to dye icing ivory?). Aren't these toppers really cute too?! I love the pumpkins, although they look a little bit too friendly to be real halloween jack o lanterns. I'm going to carve a pumpkin tonight with Scott, maybe they will be a bit scarier. What is everyone else doing for halloween? Anyone dressing up as anything fun?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Red

red

Red is my absolute favourite colour ever. Red telephone boxes, red lipstick, red balloons, red strawberries, red road signs, red tights. If it comes in red, I'll have it. Red things I am currently lusting after include:

Red bow brooch from Cath Kidston

Red Magimix food processor from John Lewis

Red studded shoes from Topshop

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


autumn

Good things so far this week:

  • Today is Apple Day. I'm going to enjoy it by having a baked apple with some brown sugar and cinnamon after tea. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
  • Making pumpkin soup. I like mine with lots of ginger and creme fraiche. 
  • Another cupcake order.
  • Waking up to a mug of freshly brewed loose leaf green tea, thank you Scott. 
  • Still reading Anna Karenina and really enjoying it. Trying really hard not to read any spoilers! 
  • Listening to the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack on spotify, it is really good. I especially love 'All is Love'. I am listening to it to make up for the fact that the film isn't out until December here.
  • Enjoying the lovely coloured leaves on the trees before they are all blown away and go soggy on the paths and slip me up. 
How is your week so far?

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?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Pumpkin picking!

choosing a pumpkin

pumpkins

pumpkins

pumpkins

Over the weekend I went pumpkin picking! Well, not literally picking them out of the field but picking one to buy. Scott and his brother wanted really big ones to carve jack o lanterns, but I just wanted a really cute one. I bought a little one and some mini squashes too. We might go back next weekend when they open the pumpkin fields to the public and you can actually pick your own.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


shoes - primark, dress - miss selfridge, cardigan - marks and spencer

Hello! I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I finally got around to seeing 500 days of summer on Wednesday. I had really wanted to see it like everyone else and I must be the last person in the entire blogosphere to see it, but it was worth the wait. I've been listening to the soundtrack on spotify, I was especially surprised to see Carla Bruni on it! But it's a really beautiful song, I highly recommend it. Even if I can't understand what she's saying...

This weekend I plan on cosying up with Pepe and finishing off some uni work on the Dewey Decimel system.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Autumn


Autumn to me is:

  • Apple picking
  • Early nights with cups of tea
  • Making soups to keep me warm
  • Carving pumpkins for halloween
  • Walking the dogs and laughing at them playing in the fallen leaves
  • Rain, rain, rain.
  • Digging out the winter clothes, tights, scarves, duffle coats, and gloves.
  • The first cold of the winter, with a week spent sniffing and coughing.
What is autumn to you?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

peanut butter cookies

peanut butter cookies

Who doesn't love peanut butter? Whenever I do encounter people who say that they don't like peanut butter, I always approach them with care, because only weirdos don't like peanut butter, right? Crunchy or smooth is a whole other debate, but peanut butter is universal in it's adoration I do believe. I like smooth peanut butter for eating straight from the jar, or to spread on toast. However, for in baking, crunchy is far superior. These cookies are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with little chunks of dark chocolate and crunches of peanut buttery goodness. Hmmm. It's a hummingbird bakery recipe that I've been wanting to try for a while now. It was pretty good, but next time I would try to halve the recipe as this made 24 HUGE cookies, which is too much for me to eat before they go stale, no matter how hard I try! I actually froze half of them so I can have cookies whenever I want now, as they take seconds to defrost in the microwave.

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter (I actually used salted because I like the saltiness with peanut butter and chocolate)
200g caster sugar
200g light soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g cruncy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons bicarb.
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas 3. Grease and line a few baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix the butter and 2 types of sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Turn the mixer down to low, and add the peanut butter and vanilla extract.

3. Then add the dry ingredients, flour, bicarb and salt, and mix until the dough is smooth. Stir in the chocolate until it's evenly mixed.

4. Arrange on a baking tray in small balls (about 5-7cm big), with big spaces between them, as these cookies spread out to be HUGE! Bake for 10 minutes, or just until they start to turn golden at the edges and cracked in the middle. If they feel soft in the middle, still take them out, as they continue cooking after being taken out of the oven and this makes them perfect and chewy after they've cooled.

5. Enjoy with a glass of milk!



peanut butter cookies

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