Monday, 26 September 2011

Babies, babies and more babies!

There must be something in the water because everyone I know has either had a baby or is pregnant! It is out of control. Does this make my clucky? Umm, how do I put this nicely, hells no! Everyone goes on about how pregnancy is one of the most natural processes of life, I on the other hand have a completely different prospective on the matter. Although I would love to have kids one day, I am waiting for the day when man creates a machine where you can teleport the baby out of a woman’s stomach. Here’s hoping this machine is invented sooner rather than later!

Anyway, this blog post isn’t about my fear of giving birth but it sure is about all things babies! Last week, I was contracted to make mini cupcakes for a pregnant lady. So naturally they had to baby themed. So basically, baby sized cupcakes that are baby themed! Since the mother-to-be does not know the gender of the baby, I made both girl and boy baby fondant toppers. The girl babies had a little pink bow on its head and the boy babies had little blue beanies. They turned out super cute!

Also, I made some cupcakes to spell out ‘Girl or Boy’.

Congratulations again to all my wonderful friends who have given birth or currently pregnant! You are all truly amazing women and most importantly amazing mothers!  I hope that one day I will muster up the courage to tackle child birth! Until then, I am just going to reproduce cupcakes.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Lemon on lemon on lemon makes for something lemony!

My golly goodness, can you use the word ‘lemon’ more in a sentence? I tell you what, you might not be able to use it more in a sentence but you certainly can in a cupcake! And that is exactly what I did last week. I made lemon curd cupcakes. I know it doesn’t sound very appetising as curd sounds like a rude word (turd – according to urban dictionary it means poo), but I assure you it was yummy to the yumma.

So what brought about me making lemon curd cupcakes? Well my amazingly talented colleague, Bernie, made lemon curd butterfly cakes for work peeps (sadly I missed out). Everyone was raving how lovely they were, and if they tasted anything like her scones, they would have been heaven in a cupcake patty. I told Brendyn about Bernie’s cupcakes and he asked me why I have never made him lemon curd cupcakes before? As lemon is one of his favourite dessert flavours along with chocolate mint, coffee, custard and stewed apples. Knowing how uber competitive I am, he suggested that perhaps Bernie was the perfect woman having perfected lemon curd cupcakes and that I probably would not be able to make lemon curd cupcakes anyway! As you could imagine, my eyes turned an ever so light shade of green and it was on…it was on like DONKEY KONG!

I knew that in order to win the affection of my husband, I had to make the lemon curd from scratch. I searched the internet high and low until I came across this divine recipe. The lemon curd was amazing. It was lemony and tangy! Everything I wanted and so much more. I did stray from the recipe a little bit, by adding a tablespoon of corn flour. It made the curd (not turd, get your head out of the gutter!) thicker like a custard consistency.

I then had to house the lemon curd in an equally delicious cupcake. So once again, I searched the internet high and low until I came across this equally deserving lemon cupcake recipe with lemon cream cheese frosting. Although the cupcake base was a little denser than I would usually like, it was a nice off set to the lemon curd. I found the cream cheese frosting did not have enough lemon zing for my liking, so I added extra lemon juice (1/4 of a cup) and lemon zest.

Holy smokes! I do not usually like to brag, but these lemon curd cupcakes were perfect. They were really tangy and packed a lot of lemon flavour. Definitely not for the weak hearted. Lemon on lemon on lemon - that is a whole lot of lemon! If you love all things lemon, then do yourself a favour and make these cupcakes.

Needless to say, Brendyn thought the lemon curd cupcakes were sufficient. They currently sit in equal first place with the Mint Slice cupcakes.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Oh, how could I have forgotten?!

I released my official website last night (with new imagery and everything)! If you have a spare moment or two, go check it out:

I feel dirty!

Ok, so I feel as though I have kind of cheated on cupcakes. Hence, I feel dirty. And before you jump up and down accusing me of using a prepared cupcake packet mix – I did not! I did something much, much worst. I listened to be my husband (problem number one) and his friends (problem number 2) and made savoury cupcakes (problem number three)!

Brendyn had his friends over a few weekends ago to watch the AFL (Australian Football League). The previous week, he and his friends suggested that I expanded my baking horizons to include savoury treats. To keep in theme with my cupcake passion, the boys suggested that I make savoury cupcake … FOR THEM!

I thought I would listen to my husband (being the good wifey that I am) and make him savoury treats. So I made savoury cupcake of all Brendyn’s favourite things: cheese, sundried tomatoes, olives, red onion and salami.

The cupcakes turned out alright. The boys seemed to have liked it, after all they did polish them all off! Basically they were savoury muffins in cupcake patties. To me it was just odd. When I took a bite into the cupcakes, I was expecting something sweet, light and fluffy. Instead what I got was salty, dense and masculine! Ah, you live and learn. So what is the moral to the story? Never listen to one’s husband or his friends!

Monday, 12 September 2011

The X Factor revealed

So it has been a while since I released a recipe and time is of the essence, so I thought today seemed like a nice enough day to do so. Sadly, I cannot claim this recipe as my own as it is not. I like to refer to this recipe as the X Factor, whereas others like to refer to it as vanilla syrup. Personally, I think X Factor sounds far more exciting. Anyway, I must give credit when credit is due; I got the recipe from Cake Chic by Peggy Porchen. Beautiful book – the cupcakes in this book is just simply breath taking.

X Factor (aka vanilla syrup)

5 tablespoons of water
75 grams of sugar
½ vanilla pod seeds
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Place water and sugar in a deep saucepan and bring it to boil.
2. Once cool, stir in the vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract.
3. Ideally, let the syrup infuse overnight to bring out the vanilla flavour.
4. You can store the syrup by keeping it in an airtight container inside the fridge (it should last up to a month).

Basically once you finish baking your cupcakes, let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then brush the X Factor over the top. Make sure you give the cupcakes a generous brush. The X Factor makes the cupcakes nice and moist (without making it dense). I have found that the cupcakes, even after a few days, are still quite moist. I am not sure whether this is the result of applying the X Factor or not, but since using the X Factor, I am telling you, my cupcakes taste different, better different that is. I know I don’t sound much of a baker, given that I don’t even know why brushing vanilla syrup over cupcakes makes them yummier, but I openly admit that I am learning about cupcakes as I go. So please, bear with me. Give the X Factor ago and let me know if it adds anything to your cupcake.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


I was presented with the opportunity to baby sit my little Mini Mousey yesterday and as you could probably have guessed, I jumped at the opportunity to do so! Brendyn and I took her to the markets with us for our weekly shop and then we dropped off Uncle Brendy to watch the football at his friend’s house. I asked Amelia how she would like to spend the day and she said “I want to make a cupcake!” I managed to convince her to bake a batch of cupcakes instead of one! While at the markets she told me that she liked blueberries, so we brought a small punnet of blueberries. I suggested we make blueberry cupcakes and she happily agreed, until she realised that we had to crush up all the blueberries. She explained to me that she wanted to keep some blueberries for home time, i.e. to eat at home, and suggested we crush some blueberries and strawberries together instead. And that is what we did – we crushed some blueberries, strawberries and raspberries together to make mix berry cupcakes!

After receiving numerous suggestions from my sister Gina, Ameila and I made a vanilla cupcake base to complement the mix berry frosting. It was quite berry-licious. Hence, the blog title: bake-a-berry-licious! Gina likes to rank my cupcakes and I think this might take the number two spot in her list! Pity she did not get to try one! Amelia is very independent and she demanded to do everything herself – from shifting the flour to licking the beaters to piping the icing. Her piping techniques needs a little work but she is getting there. She pipes the icing in a circular motion but tends to get a little too excited and places too much pressure on the piping bag. So after Amelia pipped the icing on the cupcakes, I had to wipe half of it off with a knife and spread the icing around the cupcake. To which she then placed ample sprinkles on top of! I don’t think she has quite got the idea of ‘less is more’ just yet!

I managed to save three cupcakes from death by sprinkles and took a few happy snaps of the cupcakes while Amelia was passed out asleep.

When Brendyn returned home, he was amazed by the mess that Amelia and I managed to cook up during the few hours he was away. He just sighed and started to clean the dishes (What a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man ... back vocals: mighty fine man). Was it worth it? Well he ate three cupcakes yesterday and another three this morning! So yes, I would say so.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Hippy go lucky!

So this post has nothing to do with hippes or being a hippy, I just came up with this blog post and thought it was pretty funny. Not wanting to part with this ripper blog title, I decided to use it and here we are.

Anyway, I have been very in touch with nature these last couple of weeks as I have been shopping at the markets. Yes, how very organic of me! The markets are wonderful – there is such a wide selection of fruit and vegetables and everything is so ridiculously cheap! I really enjoy waking up early on Saturday morning and going to the market. It really is a lovely start to the weekend. Here are some lovely fruits I have purchased and picked from my parents garden over the last few weeks:

It is so lovely to be able to wonder through the markets and look at all the wonderful fruit that is in season. I also tend to get cupcake inspired while wondering aimlessly through the markets with my free sample of kettle corn, i.e. sweet and salt popcorn. There are just so many sweet fruits on offer and not enough cupcaking time!

A few months ago, I was definitely not much of an inventor. I use to like to find a good recipe and follow it to a tee! However, since going to the markets and getting cupcake inspired, I really enjoy experimenting with fresh fruit and cupcakes. Do not get me wrong, there has been a lot more disasters then success stories, but I always manage to end up with cupcakes – so it cannot be all bad! There are always some winners and some losers, but hey, such is life!

Is this a phase you ask? Most probably! I will eventually get bored of the markets and the novelty of waking up early on a Saturday will soon ware off. Having said that, perhaps I have kicked my phase changing ways, after all my favourite nozzle is STILL the Wilton 2D!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Happy belated Father’s Day!

All work and no blogging makes for a cranky pants Tina. Once again, work has been hectic and blogging and baking has been pushed to the side. Work should quieten down over the next few weeks, so I should be able to get my priorities back into check: One – baking, Two – blogging, Three – everything else!

Anyway, last Sunday was Father’s Day in Australia. I wanted to make a special cupcake that both dads would like. My dad does not usually like to eat my cupcakes as he finds the icing to be too sweet and although my father-in-law does eat my cupcakes, I wanted to make a cupcake flavour he would like. So I thought long and hard about what each dad likes. Generally, my daddy always opts for spiced apple type cakes. And what goes well with spiced apples...custard (one of my father-in-law’s biggest favs)! I thought I had come up with the winning combination.

I found a spiced apple cupcake recipe online. I was supposed to add three eggs to the mixture but I stopped at two due lack of sleep. The cupcake itself was a little dense, I am not sure whether it was suppose to turn out that way or due my lack of ability to follow instructions, but nevertheless it was dense.

Oddly enough, I searched high and low and I couldn’t find a custard frosting. So I had to free style it. I made a batch of fresh custard and mixed it up with a batch of butter cream frosting. It turned out quite delicious. It was really light and fluffy – not what I had expected at all.

To decorate, I sliced two apples into very thin slices and sprinkled the apple slices with cinnamon and brown sugar. I baked the apple slices in the oven for 30 minutes and they turned out a beautiful golden brown.

The cupcakes were not the best, not horrible enough to ruin Father’s Day, but adequate to satisfy an afternoon tea. Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there! x

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The little joys of life ...

This post is more of a cupcake reflective post, then my usual post about the cupcaking process. So be warned, you may be taken on a rollercoaster of emotions and who knows where we may end up. So lock your seat belts and let’s go on an emotional rollercoaster of cupcakes.

As I am sure you have gathered, I really do like cupcakes. My friend said to me the other day ‘Don’t you ever get sick of just making cupcakes?!’ I was slightly perplexed by this question and it took me a while to come up with an answer that I deemed appropriate. I ended up blurted out ‘No, I love cupcakes!’ Yes, it took me a while to come up with that response. What? I claim to be a good baker, not a smart person! Anyway, moving along swiftly to more pressing matters, I honestly do whole heartedly love cupcakes!

I love the whole cupcaking process. I love trying to figure out a new cupcake recipe. I love designing and making cupcake toppers. I love watching the cupcakes rise in the oven. I love piping fluffy icing onto a cupcake. But most of all, I love, love, love watching people’s faces when they see my cupcakes and how excited they get. I think it must take people back to their childhood, a time when cupcakes were a special treat in the lunch box or were sold at the yearly school fate. Watching people come together to enjoy my cupcakes is one of the little joys I get from the whole cupcaking process. Yes Julian, I saw how many cupcakes you ate last night (joking – or am I?).

I am in the process of registering my business, selling cupcakes and cupcake toppers. The purpose of this business isn’t to make money. I still will be working full time and this side business is just my little creative outlet. Basically, all the money that I do earn from selling cupcakes and cupcake toppers will go straight back into the business, so that I can buy all the baking gadgets my heart desires. I have been slowly (emphasis needs to be put on SLOWLY) working on my website this past month. I will release it all in due course. So please stay tune.

I make cupcakes for the love of it. It really is a passion. For me, it really is one of the little joys of life.