Monday, 23 August 2010

Smarties and my comeback to cupcakes!

So the cupcake abstaining didn't last for long.
It was Byron's Dads 50th on Friday and that called for cupcakes.  It wasn't the best of timing seen as how we were in the middle of packing up our whole house getting ready to leave for our Caribbean adventure, but I don't like to let people down so I put my cupcake apron on one more time and got down to it! 

I made a dozen vanilla cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting, and a dozen vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate frosting.  The father-in-law likes it plain and simple and smarties are his favourite chocolates so  that was the decoration of choice.

All ready to eat on my revolving cupcake stand!

I decided you couldn't celebrate a 50th without a layer cake, and because I like making work for myself, I made one of those too.

I sandwiched the cakes together with chocolate frosting and crushed up smarties, and then decorated around the edge in white chocolate frosting.

Excuse the sloppy frosting was a bit of a rush towards the end! Here is the cake on one of my new favourite cake stands, I thought it would be fun to fill it with some extra smarties! 

So it's 6 days 'til we leave and one of the hardest things to do has been parting with my beloved baking cupboard! and deciding which ingredients were most vital to take with on our move to Turks and Caicos, I had bought quite alot of American baking supplies recently that I hadn't gotten around to using and so I'm selling a few things on ebay if anyone wants to have a look - you can search by seller id: gem_braithwaite, and maybe I won't feel so sad about parting with my goodies if I know they're going to a good baking home! 

Friday, 13 August 2010

Please don't take a picture...

Yesterday was a bad day! I started to blog about it last night, but the emotions were still too raw! so here I am this morning trying to work out what went wrong! First of all let me explain that our 'exciting news' referred to in my previous post has quickly progressed past the exciting phase and is now in the super stressful phase.  Endless phone calls re: visas, police checks, regulations etc with everyone telling us something different, so we have the flights booked for 17 days time and police checks that are required for our working visas that have a turn around of 26 days - see the problem! We have contracts coming out of our ears that needed to be paid up in full before we go - ouch, in the U.S if you are locked in a phone contract and can produce documents proving you are moving abroad they will cancel it with no extra fees but no here in the U.K they like to drag as much money out of you as possible so yes you have to pay the full amount.  To top it all off we got a nice little letter from Reading council claiming we had driven in a bus only lane and received a nice little fine as if we didn't have enough financial outpourings at this point! They even include a little picture of where the deed was done...I categorically insisted I had never driven in that lane before! and so we worked out it was actually Byron! turn for reprimanding came later though so I didn't feel smug for long. 

In between all of this commotion I made some cupcakes for a Church BBQ, I had signed up on the sheet saying I would contribute dessert so I had planned to make some cupcakes.  However, it was such a chaotic day that not much planning went into these and I just baked some good old brownie cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting, they never let me down.  I didn't think I could take any more disasters...little did I know what was coming! I also put a few in an egg box and adorned them with chocolate letters spelling 'Thanks' to take to my employer as we said our goodbyes.  I had planned to make my own chocolate letters but with time running away I just bought some silver spoon ones at the supermarket.  I was pretty impressed with them and would definitely use them again:

Here's a close up so you can see the flecks of vanilla bean! yummy...let me also say that probably adding to my frustration yesterday was the fact I'm on my special K Carribean diet and so could not partake in any cupcake eating at all! I do not recommend baking delicious cupcakes whilst on a diet!

I crumbled some flake on the rest and here they are on my cute little mini cupcake stand:

So I packed them up and hopped in the car, on the drive to the 'Summer BBQ' it poured down like you have never seen! I could hardly see the road there was so much rain! I arrived at the road where it was being held but it was a busy main road with nowhere to park along side, I drove up and down for a while trying to find somewhere to park to no avail so I decided to turn up a side street and find parking there - big mistake! You know those bollards that restrict access for wide vehicles, well there were two of those at the bottom of the road and as I squeezed through my car didn't quite make it all in one piece! Let me also rewind to the rather ironic conversation we had on the way back from the supermarket earlier in the day where I told Byron I had been really paranoid driving around in the car the past few days worrying I might have an accident, because while we are away our car is being loaned to a family member to use,  and so by this stage I had a rather large scratch down the side of my car and decided to give up and go home.  So the cupcakes never quite made it to their destination but I'm sure everyone at Byron's work will enjoy them today! 

In my head right now the two events are inextricably linked...I wasn't really in the mood to go to that BBQ anyway considering the day I'd had, and all the packing I could have been doing instead...but pretty much the only reason I ventured out was cause I'd signed up to bring desserts and I didn't want to let them down so for me it was all the cupcakes fault! Cupcakes = Expensive car repairs.

Don't expect any cupcakes from me for a while, I don't want to tempt fate! 

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Exciting News!!!

Sorry for the lack of blogging, but there is a good reason! In the next few weeks we are moving to Turks & Caicos for the next year (see the above picture!) for a job that I was offered a few weeks ago.  So our Wales plan is on hold for a little while, I discovered on Google that Turks & Caicos have 350 days of sunshine per year so it sort of beat Wales hands down! We are ridiculously excited and just trying to sort out all the paperwork side of things right now! 

You know you're cupcake crazy when the first thing you think about when being offered a job on a Paradisiacal Island is 'what will I do without my KitchenAid?', 'what will happen to the contents of my beloved baking cupboard?' and 'where can I get my cupcake fix when I'm there?'!! The answers to most of these questions have unfolded in the past couple of days, my sister Mel didn't hesitate when I asked her if she wanted to take my KitchenAid off my hands for the next year! and I am offering my baking supplies to a couple of friends, and as yet I haven't been able to find any evidence of cupcakes on the Island but I'm thinking that could work in my favour and I'll fit in my case as much baking stuff as I can and perhaps start up some cupcake making on the side for fun!

Apologies also for the lack of baking, I'm afraid the island diet is on right now so baking is off! until next week when I'm making cupcakes for a BBQ at church (but I won't be eating them so it's okay!) So I leave you with a little snap of some mini cupcakes my sister and I bought in London this past weekend.  We went to Lola's at Selfridge's and went for strawberry, banana, chocolate and coconut.  I have always been impressed with Lola's in the past but this time the cupcakes were just so-so.  We loved the coconut one, it was fairly moist and the coconut frosting was yummy and creamy.  I felt the chocolate cupcake was too dry and the banana cupcake was too full of spice so it tasted more like a carrot cake than a banana cake.  Neither of us rated the strawberry cupcake, there just wasn't anything yummy about it at all! So this past weekend was slightly disappointing on the cupcake front but we made up for it in other food areas with some corn dogs and shakes at The Diner on Friday Night, Taco's and Quesadilla's at Taco Bell on Saturday and the most delicious strawberries and cream cheesecake from The English Cheesecake Company to finish off! They've just unveiled some of their latest cheesecakes today on their website so go check them out, they even have a red velvet cheesecake which looks so tasty! 


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