Thursday, 23 September 2010

Carrot Cake and a challenge!

Well, I'm all packed ready for the big move tomorrow and Saturday, so thought I would sneak in a quick blog entry before I pack up my laptop. Not sure when internet access will be sorted - although its meant to 'go live' tomorrow, the router hasn't made an appearance yet, so who knows when that will be sorted!

This is the carrot cake I made for Mike's dad's birthday a few weeks ago. I don't like carrot cake, so I was a bit whingey about making it when Mike suggested it... but since it is his favourite I gave it a go, and I'm glad I did because it was an opportunity to bake something I wouldn't normally bother with.

I ate a slice to be polite (and I always think it looks a bit suspicious if you present someone with a cake and then refuse to eat it!), but I'm really not a fan, and rather embarrassingly had to leave a little pile of raisins on my plate like a child! (nasty things - one of the most unpleasant surprises I've ever had was when I tucked into a bag of Revels without realising they had added raisin ones...)

The icing was meant to be drizzled in lines, but I had so much of it I slopped it all on, hence the running down the sides. Anyway, Mike's dad seemed to like it, so I think it was a success, even though it tasted pretty vile to me!

I've got a huge challenge this week - my Dad is 60 next weekend and I have been asked to make the cake! We're going out for a meal and so it will be sent into the kitchen to be brought out in front of everyone. I'm so nervous - luckily, his favourite cake is Victoria sponge so that bit will be quite straight forward, but it's the decorating I'm worried about! I was going to try and ice the theatre masks onto it, as he's really into his Am Dram, but I'm aware that could end up being a complete disaster...!

Hopefully I will be back soon, but if I'm not, then it's because I'm still waiting for the router...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes

Apparently it's National Cupcake Week, so I'm glad I didn't get round to posting about these last week, since I have neither the time nor the money to bake anything this week, sadly!

I had been trying to find a recipe for some kind of toffee cake, which is apparently the favourite of the friend who I baked the cupcakes in the last post for. Recipes for actual toffee cake seemed few and far between and the closest I found was this one which was just for normal cakes with a toffee and chocolate topping. I got all the ingredients but changed my mind at the last minute (too paranoid about making something rubbish!) and stuck with the old favourites instead.

Since I had the ingredients, I made them anyway and was really happy with how they turned out.

I think the toffee needed to be a bit thicker so I could put more of it on, and the marbling wasn't quite as neat looking (OK, not remotely as neat looking!) as the one in the book, but it was fun to do. Mike liked them so much that he had one for breakfast several days in a row!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Recent cupcakes and a tantrum

Firstly I wanted to say thank you so much for the lovely comments on my last post. I'm still quite new to the blogging world, and I'm never quite sure on the correct etiquette for responding to blog comments. I'd like to respond to all of them individually, but I worry that people don't check back to their comments for replies... some I've been able to reply to the email notification, but that's not always possible. Anyway, I'm sure I'll work it all out in time!

I'm pleased to say that WE GOT THE HOUSE!!!! So we're moving in on Friday, September 24th. I can't wait! Apart from having my own kitchen, I also can't wait to have people round for tea and I've already started thinking of menus in my head. I also wanted to be baking things each week so I've always got treats in for when people come over, but I'm sure that will never work out in reality... I'll probably get really lazy. Plus, there probably won't be much time left for baking after cooking, washing, ironing, hoovering, scrubbing the bath... argh! What am I doing?!

I haven't done much baking over the past couple of weeks due to some friends being over from Canada, so we have been out and about with them. However, I did find time to whip up some cupcakes for a friend's birthday. She is a total girly girl so I went a bit crazy with pink buttercream and lots of sprinkles. I want to make the buttercream pinker next time, but as it was my first time colouring it, I played it safe as I didn't have time (or enough butter) to make any more if it went wrong...

Also I found a different cupcake angle!

And then came my first strop. Mike has been wanting to try icing for ages, and since I'd done the ones I needed for my friend, I let him finish the cakes off. Oh dear. I should have known that he'd be good at it, since he has a design degree, and does everything painstakingly slowly with his tongue out for concentration. He even placed his sprinkles on one by one! Rather embarrassingly, I had a bit of a childish tantrum when his cakes were iced better than mine... after a few days, I was calm enough for him to tell me where it seems I'm going wrong, and just to prove I'm over it, I'll post a picture of his beauties! I do take comfort in the fact that they are pink cupcakes with sprinkles and therefore probably the most girlyish think he could have iced...

Anyway, I will be back very soon with chocolate toffee cupcakes and hopefully a carrot cake, which I'm going to be attempting for Mike's dad's birthday. It will be a nice change from cupcakes! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!
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