Friday, 30 November 2012

Double icing swirly whirly girly cupcakes

Darling boy had his first primary school christmas fair today, and as one of life's 'joiners' I'm on the PTA (parent teacher association) at his school.  Donations were requested for the cake stall- what honest self respecting christmas fair doesn't have a cake stall?) Happy to oblige, I made rocky road, with chocolate, biscuit and marshmallow, topped with more marshmallows and glitter being a perfect winner for children.

I also made these cheeky cupcakes, vanilla with swirly whirly double icing.  I fancied a challenge and so went with the double icing- just what every mum wants to do, late on a school night!  I thought something out of the ordinary might sell well, and I was right.  The lovely receptionist at Darling boys school told me my cupcakes were selling "like the proverbial", which is what every charity baker wants to hear.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

These are a few of my favourite things

A recent visit to marvellous mum and dads took in a trip to Bekonscot Model Village.  A place of my childhood, and such fun.  It was as sweet and enchanting as I remember, and as luck would have it, Darling boy and Little brother were enraptured by it too.  The model village is so lovely, stuck in a time warp and featuring the excellent naff puns that always raise a grin.  You can also pretend to be a giant, which is a great past-time.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Spooky bat cookies and gingerbread cupcakes

Holy bat biscuits robin! I made these iced bat cookies, and dotty star cookies for Little brothers preschool halloween party.

Darling boy and little brother were very sweetly dressed for the fancy dress parade in matching bat costumes with wings,  and our newest addition wore a cute pumpkin teeshirt, as at just 10 weeks, she is a bit little for dressing up just yet (however come christmas it will be a different story!) I opted for Vegas witch in a long hot pink wig and pointy hat.

I also bought along gingerbread cupcakes, topped with a lemony cream cheese frosting for the grownups and they went down a storm.  Perfect with a hot cuppa, gingerbread seems a great flavour for halloween, spicy and warming, perfect for braving a gaggle of goulish preschoolers.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

When I'm not baking cupcakes

...I get all butch with sanding paper and paintbrushes to renovate furniture.

My nesting has gone up a notch.  Our forth-coming number 3 baby needs somewhere to store their clothes and I've always had an urge to renovate furniture and this was a perfect excuse.  I'm not going to use the word 'up cycle' as it is too gruesome. but I believe this lovely chest of drawers would easily fall into this category.

I bought the drawers on Ebay (this in itself was a new and nail biting experience) and I picked it up from a nearby seaside town a few weeks back.

I followed advice from my various stacks of interior magazines, youtube and my good old Dad, who always knows everything when it comes to practical skills and DIY.

After a vigorous sanding, and many coats of undercoat and topcoat, and the fixing of new knobs (also an Ebay bargain)  I have managed to step back and admire my new beauty.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cupcakes for the queen

Like most of the UK, we had our village street/barn party for the Jubilee celebrations in the cold and drizzle.  The great British summer didn't stop us from having a get together, we just wore our cagoules, stylish I know.  It was still good fun, if a bit damp.

Here are the cupcakes I made for the party, lemon with a home-made lemon curd filling and a new one, Earl Grey- which were totally delicious.  I wasn't sure how the Earl Grey were going to go down with a mixed crowd of locals, mostly proper farmers perhaps not so inclined towards the more unusual cake flavours in life.  But the cupcakes all disappeared fairly quickly, so I needn't have worried.  Perhaps the farmers of Devon are more experimental in their tastes than I had imagined.  and of course, I decorated a couple of cupcakes especially for our Lizzie, if she felt like dropping by.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Roll on the street party

The village where the farm is is having a street party (well, more of a winding lane party) I've been volunteered to make the celebration cake and decided to go with classic British flavours with a twist.  I'm making two batches, lemon and earl grey tea.

The lemon curd is made (I love making lemon curd, so simple and super yummy)  The lemon cupcakes are made, now I just need to apply A into B.

I've not made the Early Grey cupcakes before, but I love the flavours as a tea, and am intrigued to see how it turns out as a cake.  I will report back.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Hot chocolate cupcakes

Here are the latest cupcakes from the Adventure in Cake kitchen... hot chocolate cupcakes, topped with marshmallows to complete the tasty hot beverage theme.  The cake and buttercream icing are both infused with hot chocolate in place of the usual milk which gives the cupcakes their perfect blend of chocolately-ness and milky sweetness.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Superhero's super birthday cake

It was Darling boy's 4th birthday this weekend and, being nuts about Spiderman, Superman and all things 'super', he had chosen a superhero theme.  We went all-out for the fancy dress, and, as last time when the theme was pirates,  the kids and grown-ups all dressed up.  We had prizes in various categories, from best superhero accessory, to best mini-skirt in a superhero capacity.

Huge amounts of fun were had by all, lots of chasing around and dashing about- all brilliant stuff.

The cake I made for Darling boy was chocolate- to Darling boys request- was the same recipe as I used for Handsome husbands Granny's 90th birthday.  It was iced in blue buttercream icing, with the customised logo made from royal icing and cut out with an art knife.

The accompanying superhero cupcakes are lemon, with matching stars and home-made superhero comic book style cupcake flags.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Caramel cupcakes

Here is a new recipe I tried, caramel cupcakes.  They have sweet caramel in both the cake and the buttercream and are very, very moreish for it.  Just don't tell your dentist!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The waiting game.

So, we are still waiting for our barn conversion.  Apparently we are close to starting building, but I have heard that many times before- and we are currently looking at saying 'in by christmas', but for the 3rd christmas so I'm not so convinced.  Hopeful, but not convinced.

Baby three is due in August and kicking like a bucking bronco.  The bump is definitely growing and I have already had several total strangers call to me across car-parks, and at checkout queues, etc amusing things like 'look at your bump, its massive!' 'are you having the baby today?  'are you sure its not twins'... Naturally I find this both flattering and hilarious.

As the barn was taking so long, we decided to move to somewhere a bit bigger.  Living in the cottage next door to our homing heroes was fabulous, but with number 3 on the way, we just needed
                                             m     o      r      e               s    p    a    c    e .
We have been in our new place now for nearly 3 months and it's great.  Having a playroom and a grownup sitting room is the most luxurious thing I can think of.  Well, one of them.

So, we wait on.  Is patience a virtue? or is life what happens to you when you are making other plans (as a very wise man once said)

Waiting for our baby, waiting for Handsome husband to finish his course, waiting for Downton Abbey series 3 (exciting people, very exciting) and for the new John Lewis in Exeter to open in December.  We might even be in the new barn by christmas?

There is so much in the pipeline, we just need to remember to enjoy the waiting game.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Salted caramel and chocolate tart

This is the second time I have made this for Sister in laws birthday  Its her most favourite combination and what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl will get.

We had this in the evening, when the boys were in bed- it is definitely not food for children.  Too salty, too sweet, too chocolately, too good!

I also made a day-time birthday cake that Darling boy and Little brother could join in with.  After all, it was a special big birthday (but don't tell Sister in Law, I don't think she is too pleased about turning this particular number) and therefore deserving of not just one, but two birthday cakes.  I will be posting about the day-time cake soon.

This one went down a storm with Sister in Law and her Lunnun chums- they were all down in Devon helping with the celebrations and larking about on the farm.  All that fresh air and quad bike action meant we were hungry.

photo by Dancing Steve

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Easter = chocolate

Here we are Easter egg hunting on the farm with Little brother and the bump.  The walk up the (tiny) hill to the orchard justifies the unbelievable amounts of chocolate we put away that day.  Little brother is very much a 'now' kinda man.  When he finds a chocolate egg, he eats it straight away, seeing little point in the basket that silly mummy keeps going on about.

The day before, Darling boy had drawn a map for the Easter bunny (so the easter bunny would know where to come of course) and we left it outside the kitchen.  We then walked around the house ringing the school bell and when we got back to the front door, the map had gone! Eye witness reports feature seeing a flash of white running across the fields- which must surely have been the Easter bunny.  Darling boy was totally caught up in the excitement and magic of the Easter bunny, Little brother remained focussed, like an olympic athlete on the consumption of chocolate. Clever boy.

photo by Dancing Steve

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

90 years of birthday cakes...and here is the 90th

It was Handsome husband's Granny's 90th birthday last week and we went on a (super long) road trip to see her.  Oxford and back in one day from Devon is no joke, especially with two under 4 year olds and a big bump in tow.

Great Granny eats like a bird, but has a legendary sweet tooth and so a super-mega chocolate birthday cake was called for.  It also had to be something relatively compact as although we were taking the big car, we were also taking my in-laws too.  Our 7 seater car was to be carrying 6 people, 3 changes of clothes (small boys need wardrobe changes much like Lady Gaga does, though for reasons of water, mud and chocolate, not high fashion so much) plus toys and books to provide suitable distraction for the aforesaid little ones, and, of course the cake.

I wanted to go feminine, but not too girly.  So I opted for a simple round shape, and went with the ribbon effect chocolate buttercream and pastel flowers, with matching glitter.  The cake recipe is one I hadn't tried before, but will definitely be doing again.  Chocolate cake is often not all that chocolately, and more often that not, a cocoa disappointment, but this was everything you'd want a chocolate cake to be, rich, moist, and actually chocolately.

The birthday girl seemed keen on the cake and half of it was eaten on the day by us partygoers, and the rest was carved up and taken home by the rest of the family, wrapped in napkins and stashed in handbags.

I asked Great Granny if she liked being 90 years old, and in true Great Granny style, she quickly said 'No'.  I asked her is she preferred being 89 and she said 'No'...Though she did say her favourite age was 40 as I'm 33 this year, it means I've got something to look forward to!

Onwards and upwards I say.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter cupcakes all grown-up

...And for the grownups, here is my Easter cupcake for you.  This one is an Easter spiced cupcake, with honey cinnamon buttercream icing, topped with a crystallised primrose for added adult sophistication.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Easter cupcakes

Here are some yummy cupcakes from my kitchen...Chocolate cupcakes topped with a double layer of buttercream icings, the bottom layer is a honey cinnamon buttercream, and the 'nest' is made with chocolate buttercream studded with mini eggs- it is easter after all.

Happy chocolate season everyone!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Chocolate and orange cupcakes- approach with speed

Here are my most recent batch of cupcakes, baked for a grown up birthday.  Who can resist the combination of chocolate and orange zest.  Positively yummy.  I took them along to a tea party Darling boy and Little brother were having with some local friends, and the cakes nearly all got snaffled before the  grown-up birthday boy arrived, the cupcake version of 'you snooze, you lose' I guess.  Luckily we dived in and rescued the last cupcake from sticky fingers.  Speed is of the essence where chocolate is concerned.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Going global, transatlantic love

I have had my first order from overseas- how exciting, I'm now an international business woman.  The customer lived in America and her husband lived in Devon.  She wanted to send him a valentines gift and this is where I come in.

6 Valentines carrot cake cupcakes later, the husband was genuinely touched and delighted with his surprise, and I got to feel warm and fuzzy in helping bring two loves separated by thousands of miles closer together on Valentines Day.

Ahh, love and cake- life's natural partners.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

It's a cupcake, but it's healthy...almost

Darling boy's school had a party and I was more than happy to bring along some cupcakes (for the grownups, the kids had more than enough cake!)

Wanting to do something different from the usual treat of chocolate and the crowd pleaser of vanilla, and feeling spicy, I went with carrot cake.  These are topped with a cinnamon buttercream which keeps it cakey, but the cake itself is a low fat recipe and of course the carrots in the cake make them healthy, innit.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

How to become an accidental husband poisoner

Imagine the scene, you are due to visit a new friends house (these lovely people with their own fantastic farm and wonderful rare breed products) and then some more friends the following day.  Baking is needed and something chocolately.  Mums are always in need of chocolate.

Step 1. Begin one of your favourite recipes - Rocky Road- without fully checking you have all the required ingredients

Step 2. Get to the bit where you add the crushed biscuits and find you haven't enough. Get in a flap and say rude words (both boys are in bed, so I quite enjoy having a jolly old swear apres bedtime)

Step 3.  Feel relieved and smug when you find a stash of amaretti biscuits at the back of the cupboard. Add the almondy biscuits, complete the recipe, put in the fridge to set and toddle off to bed.

Here comes the crucial bit...

Step 4. The next day, dust with icing sugar, slice and box up in 2 batches and then, go out for the evening without thinking to mention to Handsome husband about the unusual addition of the amaretti biscuits...

The following morning Handsome husband mentions that he really doesn't feel very well at all.  I ask him what he ate (as I was out for the evening he was self catering)  The food he lists all seems pretty normal, apart from 'oh and two of those chocolately things in the cupboard'

Oops. Handsome husband has a nut allergy.  Two visits to the emergency out of hours doctors and a prescription of mega ultra antihistamines, an unbearable rash, constant nausea, nearly a week off work and an aching restricted throat, Handsome husband has just about forgiven me.  Though not without checking e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g I now offer him is nut free.

And, by the way, if you were wondering, the addition of the amaretti biscuits to the Rocky Road was actually very tasty, just the teeniest bit toxic to those who are anti-nut!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Exciting news about a new arrival

Well, I haven't been posting much since christmas not because I haven't had anything to say, but because what I have had to say is so exciting, but has also been top secret until recently... It's been hard to think about much else really.

Close friends had guessed it and family are delighted.  Can you guess what it is?

Baby number 3 is on the way!  All things being well our third baby will be due in early August.  Little brother is very excited and is quite keen on having a sister.  Little brother I think vaguely gets it- though he saw the scan and said 'doggie' so perhaps not.

We aren't any closer to the barn conversion being completed, or even started and although we were planning to wait on being in the barn before trying for a third baby, quite frankly we got bored of waiting.    We needed to get on with our lives, and what better way to get on with you life, than creating a new one!

nb, the photo is obviously not baby number 3's fingers, but little brothers- though you get the idea.