Wun Fiddy. WERD!

one fiddy

Oh hooray! In my short existence on the interweb, I’ve had just over 150 page views (we’ll discount the fact that a lot of them are probably me looking in, or showing people!!). This is probably an infinitesimal number comparatively, but for me, I’m amazed that people bother to look at my page at all! To celebrate, I shall be baking something 150-related….150 cookies? Cakes in the shape of the numbers 150? Bake something that has ingredients that are 150grams (note to self…BUY SCALES!) or multiples of 150…the ideas are endless…you shall all see on Monday after I’ve had the weekend to think and bake and think and bake x 150!! 

Speaking of Monday, I have sad news – I am starting ‘Smackdown’ – no, Wrestlemania is not my thing, but I will be laying a smackdwon on my cupcake eating habits, which have gotten a bit out of control.

After a three month hiatus from the gym, I was shocked when I finally had to put my jeans on after an awesome summer of baking to be rudely SHOCKED my their tightness. Surely they had just shrunk in the wash? Or maybe they have that ‘just washed jeans’ tightness? Sadly not. The human scales, which I do have, do not lie. Neither does my super-tight eighties high-waisted skirt. I mean, sure, it’s meant to be a tight skirt, but at the moment, it is positively BURSTING at the seams.

So, a sad goodbye to sugar, and an introduction to attempted ‘healthy’ baking (is there such a thing?). I  attempted to brainstorm some healthy, natural alternatives to sugar with my colleagues, because after all, that Splenda stuff has an awful after-taste and is supposedly carcinogenic (hmm, it’s all speculation at the moment…). We came up with honey, bananas, yoghurt, almond meal, vanilla beans….honey…errr, honey and….Honey! Does anyone else know some natural sweeteners a girl watching her waistline could use?!?! Oh ZING…dried fruit is pretty sweet…as is carob chocolate. Maybe I should look to the diabetics of the world and try living in their shoes for the month of April (aka Smackdown month). 

This post has gone way off topic, and I should probably be working! Till MONDAY aka SMACKDOWN START DATE, stay sweet. 

Fif la Cuppies. 

April 4, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Nom nom nom…

 

I find this picture so funny because ‘nom nom nom’ is totally the noise we make when we eat…well, at least when I eat, and when my boyfriend imitates me eating. And who doesn’t love cake?!?! And if you don’t, get off my page!

So hooray, I made banana bread again. Boo hoo, I don’t have measuring scales. 😦 Hooray I bought a loaf tin and a springform cake tin! Boo hoo, I forgot I didn’t have measuring scales.

In one of our more technologically inspired moments, I asked my Mum to email the recipe for banana tea bread that I’ve been making since I was about 8 maybe. It took a couple of tries (whoops, failed to inform Mum of my new email address) but at last we had success. Recipe below!!

 

prebaking

 

200g self raising flour
1.25ml bicarbonate of soda
2.5ml salt
75g butter
175g sugar
2 eggs beaten
450g bananas mashed
100g nuts, chopped

Grease and line an oblong loaf tin. Sift the flour, bicarb and salt. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and add the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the bananas and beat again. Stir in the flour and the nuts. Put into the tin and bake in the oven at 180C for about 1.25 hours until well risen and just firm. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Keep for 24 hours before serving sliced and buttered.

buttery goodness 

Ya see all the reference to GRAMS up there? yeh, doesn’t work so well when you don’t have a scale. So I kinda guestimated with cups and stuff, and the result wasn’t TOO far from how it usually turns out, but it wasn’t quite right. GA. I also have to give props to the cook book this particular recipe comes from: Good Housekeeping – the South African Way, published 1981, or possibly earlier – 1981 just happens to be the year my Mum purchased the book…when she was about to become a Mummy for the first time. Nawwww.

2538.jpg

NOTE TO SELVES: Get scales before you make this recipe.I’m still always amazed at the fact that this is baked for 1hour + and it’s still lovely and not burned. And, amazement number two – this really does taste better 24 hours after it’s been baked. Yum. But greedy me can never wait, and I have to have some fresh out of the oven with lots of butter. Ahhhhh, my aorta!!technological recipeNote the little laptop on the kitchen bench – reading my Mum’s email from the kitchen. From email to oven. Hm, could be catchy…

texture

 

NOM NOM NOM WALNUTS…. Til our baking paths cross again.

xx Fif

March 31, 2008. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Master Baker? Not quite yet…

In my adventures in cyberspace, I have stumbled across a FANTASTIC reason to bake. Blogg baking CHALLENGES/COMPETITIONS. Who would have thought?? In short, the person in charge of the challenge (in most cases) picks a certain ingredient or theme, and you have to bake within that theme.

2244354399_3117dca63f_m.jpg

Well, with the taste of eater eggs all too fresh in our mouths, the friendly kids at Master Baker gave the challenge of cooking with ‘easter candy’. Oh joy of joys – I was given FAR too much chocolate this Easter, and what better way of getting RID of it, that by BAKING with it 😀 Loves it!

Now, my very first entry in Master Baker is very VERY simple. So simple it probably won’t get a look it, but I think it’s a neat idea.

I love DUMPLINGS. My regular ‘dumpling partner’ is on a health-kick atm, so I have been minus dumplings for a good two weeks now. Soo, I think I really have dumplings on my mind because look what happened to my easter eggs:

Wanton

That’s right, I turned my excess Easter eggs into little chocolate wantons. See below for all the gory details!!

Step one: so I had some spare filo pastry in my freezer from making Spanikopita (spinach pie) which can at times be tricky to work with as it is very thin and needs to be defrosted for a couple of hours before you can work with it. I cheated and call it sacrilege, but I MICROWAVED it. I rolled out my filo pastry and brushed it with melted butter, which makes it much easier to work with and gives the pastry a nice golden brown CRUNCH. I cut the sheets into 1/4’s to make a rough square.

unwrapping eggsStep two: Unwrap the easter eggs. Perhaps this should be step one, as unwrapping easter eggs with butter covered fingers was slightly difficult. HMMMM.

step three ishStep three: place easter egg in the centre of the filo square. Pick up the corners of the square and shape the filo to be flush against the egg, creating a wanton effect (don’t know how to better describe that!).

wanton woman

 

Step four: place on baking tray and place in oven at 200C. Bake for approx 5 mins or until golden brown.

Step five: EAT!!! Preferably while still warm so the chocolate is all melty, and in my case, the caramel filling is EXTRA gooey!

My verdict is that these were ridiculously simple to make and taste way too good. Mixing flaky pastry with choclate and caramel all smooshed together. Ahhhh, my waistline.

I also experimented with wrapping mini Lindt chocolates with Filo…also work exceptionally well and sinfully good. They looked like little raviolis. I also experimented with wrapping the eggs fully with filo, and I thought they looked like gnocci. Pasta filo chocolates!Lindt ‘ravioli’

Thus ends my first Master Baker attempt. I know there wasn’t much baking involved, but as I said, it was a bit of a novel idea, a theme that seems to becoming quite frequent!!

 

I’m baking banana bread again this weekend, and also whipped up some pretty generic cupcakes this morning – they weren’t anything special, so they might have to be eaten without record.

Ciao, Fifi la Cupcakes xxx

Easter Egg Wantonsthe whole ganglittle chocolate wantons

Attacking the wantons

 

March 29, 2008. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Biscuits, bananas and bunnies

Ah, I love a good corny title! The Easter long weekend has drawn to an end, and despite my wishes, I didn’t spend the entire weekend baking…only some of it!

On Good Friday I took a drive down to the Peninsula to visit my Mama in Mornington. Whenever I head down there I either come baring some sort of baked offering, or I bake while I’m there. This trip was no different. I came armed with Hot Cross Cup Cakes (rave reviews, esp for the icing!!!) and having spied some rather ripe looking bananas and a bag of walnuts, decided to make Banana bread. Unfortunately, the banana bread was eaten before I could get a camera near it, but I’ve been requested to make it again ASAP (the boy likes it!!), so I will document the banana bread another day.

On Sunday, we were in the mood for biscuits, so I whipped up a quick batch of biscuitsDarling decorating (cookies to those Americans out there…) and they cooled while I had a wild night out with my girl friends. Sunday morning (ok, afternoon…) I got a call from my darling to arrange the decorating of the cookies. Now apparently, the boy doesn’t LIKE baking – that’s fine, I understand it’s not everyone’s thing, but goodness me, give him the piping bag or the icing syringe and you’re not getting it back!

Simple biscuits (from memory!!)

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 tblsp milk

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla essence and milk, beat again. Fold in sifted flour, roll balls of dough about walnut size on baking sheet, you can either squish them with a fork or leave them kinda domed. Bake in the oven at about 200C for 15 mins max.

cookies! My boy and I like to sometimes stray away from tradition decorating methods and styles…so have a look at what we’ve done with our biscuits! Decorating biscuits reminded me of Christmasvarious time when we decorated about 25+ gingerbread men and women for my work’s Christmas ‘bake off’ – we won the Best Christmas entry and our prize was a set of magnetic measuring spoons – here’s a picture of some of our creative ideas for gingerbread men and women. On the topic of gingerbread, building a gingerbread house is on this year’s baking agenda!

Gingerbread!

March 24, 2008. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Easter hatched early…

The idea for my Easter cupcakes came to me one morning while eating my breakfast, maybe three weeks ago (early I know…).

 Before I get too involved, I have a big confession, and one which many people do not believe. EASTER IS MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY 😐 This is the truth. I mean, I can legitimately eat CHOCOLATE for four days straight. People GIVE you chocolate to eat. Hot Cross Buns. I would eat them year-round given the chance. The perfectly spiced, soft doughy goodness, and the white piped cross, which I love to pick off and eat seperately. YUM.

So, to combine some of my most favouritest things, the idea dawned. I love easter. I love cupcakes. I love hot cross buns. OMIGOSH…Hot Cup Buns 🙂

Inspiration My inspiration 🙂 The soft, doughy, lightly spiced hot cross buns. These ones are fruitless, but I enoy all varieties – fruit and chocolate – although with fruit, you can’t have too much peel. Yuk.

I used a golden butter cake packet (on sale for $1.80!) as I hadIngredients 2 decided after work that I had wanted to make cupcakes, and didn’t have time to sift and measure (and I wasn’t sure how much flour I had left!!). To make it a little more caramel-y and hence Hot Cross Bun coloured, I added about 1/2 a cup of brown sugar and some golden syrup, which despite its taste of burnt sugar, works really well in baking.

I think I went a little overboard with with wet ingredients as soupy-batter.jpgthe batter ended up a little soupy – unless that’s just how this particular batter looks. I like my batter to be quite ‘goupy’ so that when I put the batter into the pans, it kinda sits and stays in the position it was dropped as. Oh well. I think that the fact the batter was soupy made the baked cupcakes stick to their paper a bit too much.

I was also a little overzealous with the checking on my cuppiescooling.jpg when they were in the oven. I was using new cup cake cups which were bigger than my normal cases, and I was worried they were going to bake slower, so I kept checking, which resulted in a couple of my cupcakes ‘falling’ in the middle.

My packet cake didn’t come with a packet icing, which was OK, as I was wanting to make my icing a caramel colour. I used:

  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugarcinnemon-icing.jpg
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 25 g  non-salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of ricotta (I didn’t have cream and this surprisingly worked really well!)
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnemon sugar

This turned out to be the LOVLIEST icing I have made in a while. Its texture and flavour were divine 🙂 Just LOOK AT IT!

iced.jpgThis icing was a breeze to spread. I used my special pink icing spatula that really makes icing much easier.  It’s a tiny little spatula that is cupcake sized, and a little inverted on one side and kinda domed on the other. Look at them all. Awww, making progress!

Adding the crosses was pretty simple.crossed.jpg I made a really easy icing mixture (1 cup icing sugar, some milk and a bit of butter) and scooped it into my piping bag. I used the ‘writing’ nozzle. The white icing was quite runny, but that’s the texture I wanted. I piped and piped and piped, and tada, hot cross cup cakes!

I can tell you now that these babies taste AMAZING! I am so pleased that the icing turned out as well as it did. The flavours are divine! A bit sorry I made these at night so the photography is a bit nasty – I’ll try get some more pics in natural light….so, to finish: can you spot the difference?! 😛

easter-buns.jpg

March 20, 2008. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Does Tiffany&Co. do layby?

I have had ONE hit since I have been live – and that was me, checking from home that I actually existed on the Interweb.Since checking out various other baking blogs, I have really been woken up by the amount of cupcake paraphernalia that exists out there in the big bad world.

One that has got me hopping from foot to foot about (and that I WILL make mine) is the latest Tiffany & Co. sweet offering. Lucky for me I have a gal pal that works in said wonderland, who will Pink Enamel Tiffany Cupcakehopefully assist me in acquiring my latest tasty trinket: OHHH EMMM GEEEEE. It will be mine!

The ‘cupcake charm with pink enamel on sterling silver chain’ comes in at US$200 so maybe $250 Aussie. Now, considering I live out of home in a super cute, 50’s style apartment in a well situated suburb that renders me poor almost every month without fail, this one may have to go on the wait-list….I wonder if Tiffany’s does lay-by….

March 19, 2008. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Hello world!

So, I finally decided to do something constructive with my days at work (no, I don’t do any work at work, duh!) and set up a blogg where I can tap into the amazing web community of those who are as obsessed, if not more-so than myself, by those tiny little moments of sunshine and delight – CUPCAKES!

As a 23 year old girl, I have been described as a domestic goddess by my boss (if only!) and words like ‘stepford wife’ ‘domestic bliss’ ‘wifey’ get thrown my way a lot.

Two things have made me this way. I am a MASSIVE sweet tooth (hello dentist!) and I love to bake. And as a result of both, when I’m not baking, I am also often found at the gym (hello treadmill!).

But not only do I love baking and all things sweet, I am a real girly girl. Bows, ribbons, shiny, sparkly things, I love them all. So, to document just how LAME I can be with all things Martha Stewart and pink, I bring you the word of Fifi la Cupcake!

xxx

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

March 18, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

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