There are occasional downsides to being the only female in the house. As much as I probably am, by nature, a bit of a tomboy (alright, quite a lot), sometimes the testosterone is a bit much. There's the perennial toilet seat issue. The amount of sprinkling when tinkling that takes place. There's the fact I have resigned myself to never being the mother of the bride. And there is the absence of pink. Baby boys simply don't do pink. Teenage boys predominantly don't do pink either (unless it is a fairly bright shade in some super trendy t-shirt).
Now don't get me wrong. If I'm asked my favourite colour, it is unhesitatingly blue. But I must admit, whether it is mid-life crisis, or what, sometimes I find a bit of pink now creeping in. Whether it is the thinnest of thin pin stripe in an otherwise shades of blue and purple shirt, or some dusky rose lip tint, it is undeniably there.
So when Amy of Weekly Bake Off decided that this week's bake should be cupcakes, I knew where I was heading. Pink, swirly buttercream. And lots of it.
For those who don't know, Weekly Bake Off is Amy's challenge to bake her way through Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes. Each week she picks a different recipe. Having missed the last couple of weeks, I knew that I had to make time to do this week's cupcakes.
Now there are infinite varieties of cupcake flavours and even more ways to decorate them. I used loads of different glitters today, some natural violet sugar (made from violet petals) some silver dragrees, some funfetti, and some mini sugar coated chocolate sweets.
The recipe itself is super easy. Bung all the ingredients for the cakes into a bowl and mix. Similar with the frosting. I decided to add some pink colouring (one colour I have never used before). I used Wilton's Rose Paste Colour. Just a dab on a cocktail stick. Even then, the colour came out a bit more intense than I wanted. More of a Barbie pink than an elegant pale rose. Ah well. Learn by experience.
The cakes themselves tasted great. The sponge was quite dense but moist. The buttercream seemed a little thick (piping showed this as it was difficult to get a nice peak to the swirls), but it tasted lovely. I didn't find it overly sweet as some recipes can be. Another Mary Berry winner.
However ... (prepare for mini rant here). I love cookbooks. I really do. They are staple bed-time (any time) reading for me. I'm lucky enough to own lots. And I mean lots (I get embarressed every time we have a visitor as it seems almost compulsory for them to comment on the wall of books that threatens to topple down on them. They tend to leave fairly quickly thereafter. Whether that's because they fear the obviously crazy, obsessed lady, or the fact that the wall might just detach from the house and crush them, I'm not sure).
Anywho, the point that I am slowly getting to is that having shelled out for these weighty tomes, and the not so weighty, and lovingly read them and looked after them, I hate it when I find something that leads me to question the author/editor/proof reader. I mean recipe wise. Whether it is clearly a typographical error which calls for 1500ml instead of 150ml, or a photo to accompany a recipe which shows a dish clearly made with different ingredients (I know you can argue that one, perhaps, as artistic license, but I like to see what the recipe that is included will look like. At least as a starter.) I start to worry about a lack of care. Or of more concern, have they actually tested this recipe?
On this occasion, I couldn't help notice the contrast between the measurements given for ingredients in metric and imperial. For example, Mary cites 100g/4oz of butter, but then 150g/5oz of self raising flour, and 150g/5oz of sugar. 50g does not equal one ounce. 100g does not even equal 4 ounces. (Commonly held that 1oz is equivalent to 28g). I appreciate metric conversion of imperial measures can give you odd amounts but I worry that, particularly in baking, the correct proportion of your ingredients is important. Accuracy is important, so I've been told.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's a lack of experience on my part - after all, I'd love to be able to whip up the perfect batch of cupcakes by instinct alone, but at least at the moment I need a recipe as a starting point. I used the metric measurements on this occasion. I wonder if, if you use the imperial, you get the same results? It's probably just me worrying over nothing as, after all, the cupcakes as already noted tasted great. And the proof is in the pudding.
In this case, Mary's book costs a fantastically reasonable £4 (I got mine from my local Asda, but you can follow the link above to Amazon if you'd like to check it out). So I'm probably way over-reacting and so rant over. It's well worth it and I'd really recommend that you get a copy. :-)
I used the quantities given in the recipe. I found that I only got 10 cupcakes. I used the buttercream measurements, but as I have - clearly from the pics - been pretty generous with the frosting, only managed to fully cover seven cupcakes. I'd therefore adjust this accordingly next time.
100g softened unsalted butter
150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
3 tbspn milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
For the Buttercream
100g softened unsalted butter
225g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
|Mixing the mix ...|
|Scooping the batter ...|
|Naked cupcakes ...|
|Good to go.|
|E=MCsquared. Relativity of Cake to Buttercream.|