The kids’ school is in full on Royal Wedding mode today, they’ve gone to school dressed as if they were wedding guests and they have been doing (and will be doing) lots of wedding related activities, including making commemorative plates. They will also get a commemorative leather bookmark apparently.
One of the things they will be doing today is having a red, white and blue food lunch, so those with kids who have packed lunches (my two do) have to get a bit creative. I ended up sending my two in with a raspberry jam sandwich for Boy Lacer and a cheese sandwich for Girl Lacer (both on white bread) and both had packets of ready salted crisps (in red packets), bottles of water (in blue bottles) and one of the red, white and blue cupcakes I was sweating over late last night / first thing this morning. Normally the school is a healthy food school and things like jam sandwiches and cupcakes are banned but hey, if they’re suddenly going to introduce (temporary) ‘rules’ about what colour the food should be, they can’t be picky.
Anyway, the red, white and blue cupcakes are actually the vanilla cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book, which is a relatively new acquisition for me (I couldn’t resist after reading about all the lovely cakes Cookbook A Month are currently making from it). The whole book looks lovely, definitely fulfilling a must have criteria for me these days with baking books, that it must not be a rehash of all the other common recipes found in baking books elsewhere, I have enough of those as it is, whereas Cake Days definitely has new recipes in and new recipes I am desperate to try. Drool inducing highlights include;
- Lots of different varieties of whoopie pies.
- Caramel cupcakes (made with dulce de leche, which is a dangerous thing for me to have in the house because I always end up eating it straight from the fridge, a sneaky spoon at a time before I even remotely get a chance to cook with it).
- Chocolate fondant cupcakes.
- Lemon and thyme loaf (yummmmmmm)
- Apple blossom cupcakes look a bit of a challenge to get the ingredients for (not actual apple blossom but apple iced tea powder instead, I have no idea where to get that, there are some variations involving herb tea bags instead, I may have to improvise).
- Malted chocolate cupcakes (oh heaven! Cookbook a Month make them here).
- Lemon and poppyseed loaf.
- Marbled cupcakes.
- Blueberry and soured cream loaf (blueberries + sour cream = another heavenly combination, Cookbook a Month makes this here).
- Lemonade cupcakes (I have to make these, but where on earth do you get lemonade syrup from?)
- Raspberry trifle cupcakes (I am going weak at the knees now).
- Coconut jam sandwich bars (just looking at this book is putting inches on my hips).
- Cola cupcakes (ditto the lemonade cupcakes).
- Apple and oatmeal cookies.
- Hot chocolate cupcakes (oooooooh)
- Beetroot and chocolate cupcakes (a must try).
- Gingerbread cupcakes.
As you can see, some of the recipes involve ingredients which may be a little tricky to get hold off (I would guess lemonade and cola syrup, that’s sodastream stuff, right?) and Cookbook a Month (who have cooked far more recipes, obviously, from this book than I have) report that some of the recipes involve a lot of stages that can take all day but I guess the reward is having something unique and delicious on your plate. The vanilla cupcakes (aka the red, white and blue cupcakes) were certainly delicious, I’ve had some problems making cupcakes before, starting off (and having some disasters with) a Nigella recipe before moving to an amalgam of two different Annabel Karmel recipes, which did work but in no way shape or form did it produce cupcakes as light, moist and tasty as the Cake Days recipe. I’ve often had problems with my cupcakes sinking back and problems with the mixture not mixing properly to, but these were perfect shape and I don’t really think that’s anything much to do with any baking skills I may or may not have. My only criticism of the recipe is that although you can taste the vanilla very well, the recipe also has a lot of sugar, so the sweetness over powers the vanilla a little bit, but I think the high sugar content has probably helped produce a nice, almost caramelised outside of the cake, which probably helps with the shape and helps keep it moist to. As for the icing, which I did this morning (i.e. one slightly stressed mummy wishing that Sainsburys hadn’t missed out on an obvious marketing ploy in their bakery and had actually sold some red, white and blue cupcakes or biscuits or something, so that I wouldn’t have to be faffing around with cakes alongside everything else I have to do in the morning, because if Sainsburys had sold something like that (and I had checked), that’s what the kids would have been going to school with this morning). The icing was nice, although as you can probably see from photo, sieving the icing sugar was one step I missed out on this morning. I’m not normally a big fan of icing but this one wasn’t too sweet and actually tasted of something other than sugar, so a big thumbs up from me!
(Oh and Cookbook a Month have also made the vanilla cupcakes, you can their opinion here).