Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A hard day's work

Look, I've nothing against Nigella. She's a brunette with big hips, which in my book is a fine thing to be. But her cupcake recipe sucks.

I can say this, because I am A Woman. I can flip a pancake; I can bake a cake; I can joint a chicken. Her cupcake recipe, the one I have been using, is just not good enough.

So when Duyvken raved on about red velvet cupcakes just weeks after my sister-in-law had mentioned them, I thought they were worth a go. A blogger had handily provided Duyvken with a recipe, which she passed on, and I made cream cheese icing. And apart from a moment of terror when I realised that the carefully plotted instructions (you don't just get to fling this all in a bowl and whizz it with a handblender) didn't tell me what to do with the damn egg, it was a very happy experience - yummy, velvety and grown up.

And it was exciting, because the recipe used bicarb and vinegar, which up until yesterday I wouldn't have understood. We learned all about it in an attack of frenzied kiddie science brought on when I found the Lattes in the bathroom mixing things to 'make a potion'. You can make a volcano with bicarb and vinegar, if you put the bicarb under some flour and then fire the vinegar at it through a dropper. See!

it's erupting from Coffee Lady on Vimeo.

Today a friend came, and we had a red velvet cupcake and chatted while the children wrecked the house. And then as she was leaving another friend rang, and said had I forgotten she had invited me for tea and I must come right now, as she had made rose meringues with chantilly cream, and there were other people there and I must bring the children so they could all wreck the house.

So you know. Lent is going very well.


  1. Woohoo! I am so glad you did it, they look amazing. Right, now I need to bake some too. I don't know if I'll post pics though, mine are not likely to look as good as yours do.
    PS My mum has the best cupcake recipe, I'll post it soon.

  2. Note to self: when heavily pregnant do not read blog posts about cupcakes in the middle of the night. Cooking may ensue.

  3. My smalls had a cake sale at school the other day,seeing as I had barely time to cook supper let alone a cake I send them in with money to buy some.E came home with 2 cakes such as in your picture. They are cupcakes she said,fairy cakes I corrected,cupcakes she said rather more firmly! what I want to know is when did the humble fairy cake with its flat icing with hundreds & thousands on turn into this glamourous confection I see everywhere now! & why arent they called fairy cakes anymore!
    In my day(how I love to say that) someones mama was a bit chiechie if she made butterfly cakes for their party rather than *normal* fairy cakes!
    Whenever we made butterfly cakes we would eat all the cut off wings & the flling before they got assembled, so you ended up with a plate full of chopped top,naked fairy cakes.......
    Take that Nigella ahhahahh
    GTM x x x x

  4. Anything that involves small safe explosions and chocolate has to be a good thing in my book.

  5. I do wish people would stop putting up such wonderful pictures of cupcakes....argh, trying to avoid the cake and biscuit cupboard...

    they look delicious by the way.

  6. I want friends who make rose tinted meringues.

  7. Oh how cool, I think that I see a baking and science day coming on in the madhouse. We do the bicarb thing with the sink cleaning and the mini's love it. I am not a fan of nigellas cakes, I prefer my own!!

  8. When I was a lad, they were called Buns. We had an old, metal biscuit tin which was designated The Bun Tin (not that long-term storage was, frankly, an issue). I only came across the term Fairycakes when I lived in London and assumed it was just what they called buns 'darn Sarf'. The posh mummies around Dulwich village called them cupcakes though which made me feel all working class and northern when I offered their offspring Buns (spoken in a West Riding Yorkshire accent, you understand. But I don't think I'll ever be enough of a yummy mummy to call them cupcakes.
    Those buns look delicious, Penny. And no, for once, I'm not meaning that in a flirty way!

  9. It certainly sounds like it is! (And to me, fairy cakes sound much fancier than cupcakes.)

  10. I assumed fairy cakes was an English term, cupcakes American.
    I make Nigella's fairy cakes and found that using a cookie scoop to put the batter in the cupcake tin helped me divvy it up properly.

  11. I like your style: eating MORE sweets during Lent instead of giving them up. Very nice. Count me in.

  12. Goodness, your friend made rose meringues with chantilly cream? Was Marie Antoinette round her place too? How delicious. I'm happy with a spot o' flapjack, me.

    Where did these red velvet cupcakes originate? I've seen them on several blogs and they seem very glamorous.

  13. Damn. Those things look good.

    How many did you eat?

    I mean, really?

  14. We are loving the red velevt cakes over here too - was a bit spooked out by the addition of bicarb and vinegar at first though.

    But what I really want is the recipe for rose scented meringues with chantilly cream - they sound completely heavenly.

  15. I, too, love Nigella (especially when she eats standing up at the 'fridge), but not her cake recipes. All this time I assumed British people must like their cake on the dry side and that she was just catering to British tastes, but apparently this is not the case.


I love comments. I always try to respond - either here in the commentbox or by email if Blogger gives me your email address.

Thanks for visiting!