So, last weekend, I challenged myself to start following my cupcake dream and make two different batches of cupcakes and icing, completely from scratch. There had been a bit of prep in the two days previous, as not being any sort of baker in the past, I lacked most of the required equipment and ingredients! I spent 4 hours weighing out exact quantities of ingredients on my new scales, mixing with my borrowed electric whisk for at least the required time and, throwing in the odd prayer that they would rise once they went in the oven!
The vanilla sponges came out brown and risen so I decided to give the carrot cake a go. Sure enough, following the mantra to use quality ingredients, exact measurements and never open the oven door until they are ready to come out, the carrot cake cupcakes turned out as firm, moist sponges with well-distributed raisins!
Purely for investigative reasons, Other Half and I sampled (a few) of the sponges for taste and texture (plus it was way past lunchtime and we were starving!) and made mental notes accordingly.
Exhilarated by my ability to bake mini sponges, I made the vanilla icing in a batch of pink and white and proceeded to try to ice with a palette knife. Despite step by step instructions and pictures in the book, my results were definitely a mixed bag BUT, as Other Half kept reminding me, it was my first time!
There was a missing orange for the cream cheese frosting so I packed away ’til we had been shopping on Sunday. A good hours work the next day and the orange cream cheese frosting looked beautiful sitting atop the carrot cakes – it also tasted so nice that there was definite extra icing consumed during this time!
I quickly picked up some handy tips during my first bake-off:
- The recipe will make more cupcakes than it claims
- The icing will be double the quantity you need
- Buy large carrots!
In an effort to share the cupcake love and calories, I took the majority to work for elevenses and they were very well received. I got full support from everyone for my idea of trying out a couple of new flavours every weekend..!
As this first bake-off was a success, it edges me a teeny step closer to living the cupcake dream…