Friday, 22 April 2011

A treat for Friday……..

The Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers

For the cake:
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼tsp vanilla extract
1 quantity vanilla frosting
hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
For the vanilla frosting:
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml whole milk
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands.
For the vanilla frosting:
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Let’s get started………..

If your venturing of alone or even with a significant other you need to get a basic tool box for a number of reasons one is that stuff goes wrong when you can’t get hold of someone – that’s a fact and two a knife you use to cut your food up with is not really the right tool for putting together a Billy Bookcase from Ikea or that that ever so easy bed you bought from John Lewis ……

So when I set up home I asked my Granddad Jack what I needed and now I have my own tool box and yes it has saved hours of frustration and made life loads easier.

1-      A 16oz claw hammer – yes you can use your shoe heel to bash in a nail etc but trust me a hammer is much easier and if you bash it in wrong the claw will help remove it!
2-      A Stanley knife with spare blades – this is great for trimming stuff and you’ll find a million uses and yes it is better than a kitchen knife.
3-      Tape measure – guessing is good with a dress as in “this size 12 looks large so I’ll go for a 10” but actually buying things and making purchases like tables and sofa’s you need a proper metal tape measure.
4-      Duct tape ……… trust me this is very useful especially when suddenly things come adrift or break when you can’t get hold of someone ……’ll thanks me for this.
5-      Pliers – get a needle nose and vice grip they are excellent when your flat pack furniture building and you need to turn a tiny screw or unscrew the tiny screw.
6-      Philips screwdriver – this is the one with the star shaped end and you will need one for loads of flat pack items – way better and easier to use than a kitchen knife.
7-      A flat end screwdriver I suggest a small and a large as both are useful and both are needed when building furniture etc.
8-      A flashlight – keep it either in the toolbox or on a hook near the fuse box as nothing worse than the lights blowing and you can’t see to flick the fuses back on.
9-      A set of Allen Keys (hex keys) again used with loads of flat pack furniture but thin awful ones are supplied so get some which are stronger and longer so actually easier to use.
10-  Finally get a can of WD40 this can be used on everything from a squeaky door to loosening a screw to removing a stubborn stain.

 You can find all these at B&Q and Homebase and trust me when I say you’ll thank me when the lights fuse on a wet cold Wednesday night when everyone is out!

Cupcakes ……

Yes I love cupcakes – I love the frosting, icing, sprinkles, flavours and the texture in my mouth so I thought I would share my love.

I first started making cupcakes with the help of Betty – she is like your American aunty who does it for you – Betty Crocker in fact one friend has me in her phone as Betty C so the first book I got away from Betty’s packets was hers – this is all about decorating and making for special occasions – this is where you go from add egg to packet mixture and whisk to actually weighing out ingredients.

Betty Crocker Decorating Cakes and Cupcakes £13.99 (Waterstones)

Now this is the Queen of American homeware and cookery with her shows, magazines etc this is very easy to follow but you might want to plan ahead with some ingredients and also Americans use cups for measuring so buy some cups Nigella does some cute ones.

Oh and a little known fact when Martha did time her prison is known as Camp Cupcake!

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes £13.59 (Waterstones)

The Hummingbird Bakery is in South Kensington just round the corner from the Tube and it’s always busy as they do the most delicious cupcakes – everything is fresh and they are just so delicious – this cupcake kit is a great gift as it has easy recipes and some paper cases and it comes in a cute box.

The Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Kit by Tarek Malouf £10.39 (Waterstones)

If you want something easy, cute and quick to follow then these large cards are fabulous they come in a box like a deck of cards and they are laminated so you can wipe them off afterwards and the recipes are easy to follow and the cupcakes are delicious….

Cupcake Deck by Elinor Klivens £8.98 (Waterstones)

Finally the ultimate in my view the muffin and cupcake recipe book by Hummingbird Bakery so you can have a taste of heaven in your own kitchen ……

The Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes and Muffins by Tarek Malouf £5.59 (Waterstones)
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