Cupcakes!

I am a terrible flibbertigibbet doing this project sorry. I was going to do all the cakes in order but that’s not feasible. I am going to hop from page to page depending on mood, ingredients and the occasion!

Last Friday I made Cupcakes for a keyworker leaving nursery. Yes the ubiquitous cupcake that not even Queen Mary can escape from. There is so much love and hatred for these small heaps of sugar filled fancies. It amuses me that people can get so worked up over such a small cake. Mumsnet is filled to the brim with complaints about these American upstarts and how they are just simply fairy cakes. However there is a simple  difference between cupcakes and fairy cakes.  Cupcakes are bigger!

Mary’s recipe is another all in one. I changed the recipe slightly as vanilla cupcakes are a bit  – well vanilla! I added Lemon zest and lemon essence to the basic mixture.

mary berry's cupcake, mixture

Cupcake mixture

I can never get my cupcakes top come out flat, they always have volcano like tops.

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So on one of the hottest days of the use I decided to ice cupcakes.
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I used a 2d nozzle for a basic swirl. Not my best work but they’ll do.

On a break next week so probably no baking for me. To next time!

Victoria Sponge

So this weekend I also made Victoria sponge.  When I think about Victoria sponge I think that it is boring but every time I make it I really enjoy its beautiful buttery simplicity. It really is the best cake to have with a cup of tea.

There is a lot of debate about Victoria sponge and what is the definitive recipe. Whether to use the all in one method or cream the butter and sugar? Which jam? Cream or no cream? Vanilla essence or not? Mary’s recipe uses the all in one method so there is no mucking about creaming the butter and sugar with eggs curdling the mixture (which is the bane of my baking life).

The boys enjoyed putting all the mixture in my mixer and it only took a few minutes until it was nice & smooth and ready to go in the oven. My two year old got a bit excited about cracking the eggs so there were probably a few rogue egg shell pieces in the mixture!

Mary berry's Victoria sponge, recipe

The recipe states that it should take 25 minutes but my oven is quite quick so it took a few minutes less. If you can invest in a good oven thermometer please do, as all ovens vary.

Golden brown out of the oven

So here is the finished product. It was beautifully risen, light and fluffy and tasted amazing. I used Strawberry jam but you can use any type of jam. I would also fill it with whipped cream for a special occasion.

 Victoria sponge

 Go on & revel in the buttery simplicity!

Two down – 98 to go

This weekend I have been very productive. I was just going to do a Victoria Sponge but I managed to do Scotch oranges pancakes as well.

Orange Scotch Pancakes

Pancakes are very popular in our house and we have them most weekend. According to my boys they are either fat or thin pancakes. Thin (Crepes) usually wins but fat sometimes makes an appearance. I usually serve a batch with Greek Yogurt, Fruit and maple syrup. Its a fabulous breakfast.

Mary’s recipe is a simple batter  – the liquid part being orange juice and milk. My mother always used to warn me not to have milk and orange juice together because the milk curdles in my stomach! When I mixed the liquids together it did curdle but it certainly didn’t affect the taste or texture.

I cooked these on a traditional bake-stone. I’ll talk more about that when I make Welshcakes.

Orange Scotch Pancakes cooking on bakestone

Orange Scotch Pancakes cooking on bakestone

They only took a few minutes and I took Mary’s advice to put them on a cooling rack and cover with a clean tea-towel.

They went down very well – lovely with with butter and syrup – although my boys insisted on lemon juice & sugar as well.

In fact they went down so well I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. I had a bit left over so I cooked a few more!

Scotch orange Pancakes

A really lovely version of pancakes. Don’t forget to eat them with the zest as this really makes the dish.

Challenge accepted

I am a baker – a hobby baker. Not professional in any shape or form. I love baking and cakes & I am good at it. A friend of mine had been nagging me for ages to set up a Facebook page to showcase my cakes. The thing is I am good baker but there are so many better bakers out there & so many baking blogs/Facebook pages – do we really need another one?

But I need a challenge and I need to brush up on my basic skills, so have decided to set myself a goal. To cook a recipe from Mary Berry’ s My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes  – one recipe each weekend. You know along the Julie Powell route but through baking. Now having very little experience in the blog world I naively thought this might be an original idea. Of courses it’s not – it’s been done before and done very well. But hey  -as my friend says “there’s nowt original ont interweb” so this will be my take on it.

I was going to challenge myself to cook all the recipes in a year but that’s too unrealistic. I don’t have the time.  I bake most weekends but sometimes I can get a bit lax. So don’t expect arty shots lovingly crafted with bare foot children in the background. Expect me to whitter on about cake consistency, Dr Who birthday cake disasters and the school/nursery run.

So join me on Sunday when I start from the first recipe. Victoria sponge!