Saturday, 19 September 2009

Absolutely loving it at Leah's Pantry!

It was definitely worth the wait!! On Saturday Mara, Mom and I made our way to Leah's Pantry just outside Macclesfield and we had a fantastic time! I was anticipating our day of cupcake making to be amazing...but the actual day surpassed all my expectations! From the second we arrived until we left we were impressed by all the small details which had been taken into account and really added to the day. The Pantry where we baked all day was a lovely place to was a beautifully finished kitchen and even had cupcake kitchen tiles too! Upon our arrival we were offered drinks and home made biscuits that were delicious..all served on gorgeous crockery too! We were presented with recipe files which even had all our names inside, and then the cupcake making began! (Check out our aprons too!)

One of my favourite things of the day was the array of flavours we were able to make! We made brownie cupcakes, lemon meringue, white chocolate and raspberry, blueberry, vanilla and even rocky road!So we had a good mix! and not only did we learn how to decorate elegantly with fondant icing there was also lots of buttercream around and a whole selection of various toppings and sprinkles to decorate with. We were shown how to make rose decorations and frosted blackberries. We were also left to our own devices with every colour icing imaginable and a big selection of different shaped cut outs - we had so much fun..making decorations to our hearts content! Whilst our icing decorations were left to set we indulged in a homemade lunch of cauliflower cheese soup and chocolate mousse cake which was scrummy! and then after lunch we assembled all our cakes and were given a presentation box to take them home in!

Here we are proudly holding some of our creations!

These were my finished creations:

Mara and I even bought some goodie bags at the end of the day filled with icing and colourings and edible glue so we can now practice what we learnt on the day at home! Here I am in the hotel that night with my goodie bag (in my cupcake pj's).

I would definitely recommend it to my opinion it certainly offers the most fun on the day then any of the other cupcake courses I looked at, you make more cupcakes and you get to take a variety home with you..not just all the same flavour! and value for money was incredible too - I would have expected to pay double for a course of this quality! Thanks to Leah for giving us a great day! You could even make a weekend of it like we did (but we didn't manage to get accomodation at the farm where it's at as we took too long to book so book early!) because Leah's Pantry is situated at her family farm Harrop Fold Farm which is an amazing B&B that's won many awards and I could only imagine how yummy the cooked breakfasts would be since everything is sourced locally. We had some of the butter with our soup at lunch which was sourced from Shropshire and it was the best I'd ever tasted!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Cupcake course this weekend!

I have been awaiting this weekend since May when I booked my Mom, Mara and I places on this cupcake making course! It felt like September was aaaages away and was never going to come but I'm ridunculously excited it's finally here..and it's cupcake time!
The course is at Leah's Pantry just near Macclesfield and it is run by Leah Stevenson who used to work as a confectionary buyer at the Harrod's Food Hall which is a pretty impressive credential in my book! and we will be learning to 'create the ultimate in elegant, witty and exceedingly pretty cupcakes' - sounds good to me! I will of course take plenty of photos and blog about it when I get back! The photos above are taken from her website if you're a cupcake addict like me this is definitely a course worth checking out!

14. De Drie Graefjes Bakery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

So imagine my delight when on our little 4 hour stopover in Amsterdam on the way home from Thailand I found more cupcakes..just a day later than my discovery in Bangkok!!
We were just going down this random alley strolling around and there it was! Unfortunately we'd only just stopped about 45 minutes before that for a little croissant and hot chocolate break! but I wasn't going to let that stop me from another cupcake indulgence! By tried one of their giant brownies and I took a vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting, I was very impressed by the was super creamy and they tasted super fresh! So it was another 8/10...ignore the picture of me below - I had been travelling for over 17 hours by this point and hadn't slept in two nights!!

13. Cupcake Carousel, Bangkok, Thailand

Yes!!!! so I completed my challenge! I actually managed to find cupcakes in Thailand but believe me it wasn't easy!! as it turns out the Thai people aren't a sweet toothed people at all! and even when I found a few bakeries on some of the islands there were still no cupcakes in sight...there weren't even any cupcakes in the starbucks over there!! So I was beginning to give up hope of ever finding any..and then it was the day we flew home and we had all day to kill in Bangkok so we headed into their snazzy shopping district. We went to Siam Paragon which is a very upmarket shopping centre and the basement of it is basically like Selfridge's and they had this huge food court..with everything you can imagine - they even had a pizza in a cone! it was bizzare..anyways I found a donut counter, an ice cream counter, a sweet bread counter..and I was thinking surely if there are cupcakes anywhere there have to be some here and alas there was! So I was pretty pleased when we stumbled across cupcake carousel. I have since checked out their website which claims they are 'the original cupcake bakeshop in Bangkok' which would lead you to believe there are many more...but I didn't see any evidence of this!!

They had a pretty impressive assortment..and each of their cupcakes came with a cute little chocolate disc stuck in the icing with a picture of a cupcake carousel on it! so that was a nice touch...I was being swayed by the oreo one (as it's defo a fave of mine) but in the end I went for the chocolate peppermint one and it was a good choice! The cupcake was really moist and the icing was creamy and really minty - just the way I like it! They worked out at about £1.40 - 80 baht which isn't bad at all! If I'd have opted for coconut it would have been about £1..if it hadn't been our last day with only a few baht left in our pockets I would have definitely purchased more than one! but on top of all the swensens sundaes and root beer floats we'd had that day I think really one was probably enough! An 8/10 for cupcake carousel.


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