Monday, September 27, 2010

A Monster Post to Defeat the Fairy Cake.

Dearest readers, I trust you are all well and enjoying that lovely September sunshine which heralds back to school and college. As you know I have been fostering a little love affair with cupcakes since before the conception of this blog. My cooking endeavors will all to often end in whipping up a quick batch of cupcakes for some friend or other who needs some sugary love at that particular point in time. Although this is beyond a pleasurable activity I do feel that this has held me back in my cooking explorations as they are such a handy failsafe. So much easier to produce something you know from a recipe you trust than reaching up to the mountainous pile of cookery books opening at random and running with it. I’m making a vow with myself not to produce anymore batches for a little while at least, in order to force my self to branch out and must ask you wonderful friends to call my bluff if I ARRIVE BARING A TRAY OF THEM!

Hence this last monster post to get them out of my system. Read on to learn my secret recipe and the tips and tricks I’ve learnt in my time as a cupcake baker. I hope these little beauties will continue to be made… just in other peoples houses.

The cupcake mix:


125g butter

125g sugar

2 eggs

125g flour

a heaped tea spoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

together using an electric beater


a generous splash of milk and mix again.

Bake for 15 to 20mins @ gas mark 6.

For the icing:

I use loads of different recipes for this depending on my mood but your basic yummy one is simply 150g unsalted butter and 250g icing sugar with a little vanilla essence and a few drops of food coloring. Use an electric beater to whiz this all up and there you have your icing!

These will give you about 12 cupcakes.

 Your key to the perfect cupcake:

  • The temperature of the butter you use in the icing is absolutely vital you're looking for butter that's soft but not runny. I usually stick it in the microwave for a sec but you have to watch it carefully as the second it goes runny there's no point using it as the icing will turn out horrible.
  • Don't open the oven while they are baking as they will sink.
  • The icing on a cupcake is its crowning glory. Never ever slap it on with a knife, the result looks child like and totally ridiculous. Cupcakes should be small perfect moments. The should NOT looking like they’ve been smushed because your icing decoration skills aren’t up to par. use an icing bag and tip (the largest of the metal kind with zig zag edges) both available very cheaply from kitchen shops such as Kitchen Compliments on Chatham Street - or Stock on South King Street.
  • Guide the tip of the icing bag with your left hand. Twist the top of the bag with your right in order to push the icing out.
  • Never use synthetic vanilla essence. Its horrible. Most shops carry natural and synthetic and although the natural kind is considerably more synthetic bare in mind that it is the predominant flavor of your cakes and your icing and one can always tell the difference instantly.
  • When spooning the cupcake mix into the cases poor a boiling kettle over the spoon that you use so that the mix slides of the spoon without any effort at all, creating a perfect shape. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ich Mag Wolle. I Love Wool.

The German capital recently suffered an invasion of the Crafty Students variety. We had a fabulous time and as each day of our trip passed, our love for Berlin grew and grew. It is definitely a city that we will return to! We spent our time foraging through all sorts of vintage/thrift shops, exploring museums and galleries, sampling the buzzing nightlife and of course keeping our eagle eyes alert for good craft shops.

We happened upon a lovely little shop called "Handmade in Berlin" The ladies who worked there were lovely and helpful. We ended up staying there for quite some time having wonderful chats about knitting. We vented our anger about the terribly overpriced stance of wool in Dublin (as we love to do) and admiring all that the shop had to offer.

What we found very interesting was the surprised expression on their faces when we explained that knitting isn't fashionable and widespread in Dublin. In Berlin it's a very popular activity among all age groups. Sometimes I think I live in the wrong city! Berlin is chockablock with artists and people who appreciate creativity, as a result, all over the various districts of the city exist art & craft shops. It truly is an inspiring city to spend a weekend in.

We couldn't resist taking some photos of the sumptuous skeins of wool, spools of ribbon and well stocked bookshelves. There was also an adorable little lace loom. I was in crafting heaven. It was lovely to spend time in a city that holds knitting and crafting in such high regard and facilitates crafters with a great variety of sensibly priced wool and other crafting necessities.

For the past while I have been looking out for the appropriate wool for one of my upcoming projects and I managed to find it there. It's rather exciting indeed! More on my next venture to come soon! Upon completion, I think it might just be my Knitting Sistine Chapel to date...

Above is the adorably stickered-shut bag containing my purchase. Very exciting!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Love Bríd x