Monday, 11 June 2012

A first for everything!

So if you weren't already aware, I enjoy baking! I also enjoy decorating cupcakes and trying new things (or just trying the same things until the perfectionist inside of me is finally happy with the result)!

Up until recently, I had never made a cake by scratch. Friends would tell me how easy it was, but it all sounded far too complicated, and when ALDI has cake mixes priced between 75c - $1.99, I was determined to stick with what I know how to make, knowing off by heart what I needed to throw into the mixing bowl and mix up all together... I figured that way I could spend more time actually decorating the cupcakes!

Well... My family must know that I enjoy baking cupcakes, too.. And as I flicked through one of the many cupcake recipe books they had given me for Christmas, in my head I had a list of all the ones I wanted to make (trying to think of how I could manage to make them with packet mixes)! After 4 months of having that list, but not actually crossing anything off it (I'm pretty sure I only added to it!), I bit the (imaginary) bullet and made my first batch of cupcakes by scratch!

Oh my... It was so time consuming! There was so much measuring, and I must have triple checked every direction to make sure I was doing everything in the right order and with the right ingredients!

So, out of my list (and because I had spare black polka dotty patty cases), I decided that first, I'd make what "Wild about Cupcakes" by Rachel Lane calls: 'Cookies & Cream Cupcakes'. This is what they looked like in the recipe book:

And this is what mine looked like ->

Things to do differently in the future:
- Do NOT whip the cream with an electric mixer! (even if the recipe says to).. Within about 5 seconds the cream was almost like butter and not like the picture at all!

I also added mini oreos on top :)

And, of course, I like presenting things all pretty and nice (and symmetrically if I can!), so for my Bible study ladies, I made Smarshmallows as well! This time using smarties, and all of the colours :) My Bible study leader (one of the friends who was trying to convince me that baking by scratch was super easy) was impressed that I finally made cupcakes by scratch!

So feeling that I was at least competent at this new idea of baking cupcakes from scratch (and because I had piles of ingredients still to use up!), I picked my next target in the same recipe book, and made  'Black Forest Cupcakes' for Mother's Day. This is what they were supposed to look like:

And this is what mine looked like ->

I was pretty happy with these ones! I couldn't find the exact cherries that were used in the recipe, but found similar ones, and this time I whipped the cream with a hand mixer, so the cream was as it should be! :)

Coincidentally, I was rostered on for Ropes Crossing Church's morning tea for Mother's Day, so I added to the cupcakes by printing out little 'Happy Mother's Day' signs, stuck them onto toothpicks, and poked them into the cupcakes :)

And for some more colour, I made another round of Smarshmallows!!

I think I may have a problem...

So I was really starting to get the hang of baking by scratch! ... I became so confident that one afternoon I simply 'felt' like making cupcakes, and did! ... By scratch! I didn't want to make something that I needed extra ingredients for, but knew that I:

a) had peppermint essence in the cupboard, and
b) had 'Peppermint Slice Cupcakes' from 'Wild about Cupcakes' on my list!

This is what they were supposed to look like:

And this is what mine looked like ->

Unfortunately with these cupcakes, you kinda need to tear them open a bit to actually see the 'decoration', and with a piece of chocolate wedged inside the cupcake, it proved quite tricky to slice in half (did I mention that I'm a bit obsessive and like everything to be perfectly neat and symmetrical!?)

The next cupcake from 'Wild about Cupcakes' I plan on tackling is called 'Sticky Chocolate Date Cupcake' and will hopefully look something like this:

I just need to pick a DATE and STICK with it! :)

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