Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Raindeer Cup Cakes in the new year

So, I know Christmas is over but bare with me here. My kids requested this cup cake as my birthday cake - lucky me!

More on this later. As most of you know, because I visited you, I have been away from my kitchen and down in lovely beachside Mornington for Christmas. We had a great time and I got some lovely gifts for christmas and birthday that will get a mention here in the next few weeks.

I talked in my last blog before leaving Alice Springs that I may have withdrawals from the kitchen. And I did! It was crazy. I get so much joy from baking and I received some beautiful cook books for Christmas which made me just itch to get in the kitchen.

I was lucky enough to borrow my mum and mum in laws kitchens. Well, they didn't really get much of a choice. Baking is like my therapy. My dad said even in my teens and early twenties he knew I was trying to sort a problem out when he saw me in the kitchen. Baking just makes me feel better about the world. My father in law says it is the only place he hears me hum (poor thing - it's an assult on your ears believe me).

Cooking in someone elses kitchen results in a number of challenges. Firstly, just being out of your own environment where, as my grandma says, "your kitchen knows what goodies it needs to have in its cupboards and behaves itself"! Other people's kitchens don't have the things in them that I have, although Mum's comes close. My mother in law has a beater from another era, and not in a good way, like my second hand Kenwood. But surprisingly it performed very well under the challenge.

Secondly, you are imposing on other peoples space. Luckily they were all very nice about it and only talked about me behind my back and refrained from making me feel uncomfortable. LOL.

Anyway, back to the Raindeer Cup Cakes. My good friend, Jo, mentioned she made some while my boy was listening and he decided that these are what I should have for my birthday. Never mind that my birthday is a full 7 days after christmas. Minor details to a 5 year old.

So, on New Years Eve, on a 39 degree day in Mornington I made these cup cakes. I have talked before about my endless quest for the perfect vanilla cup cake. I have decided to keep trying different recipes until I find THE ONE.

This time I tried one from the Joy of Baking website, which comes highly recommended. I found it disappointing, however I did not follow the exact recipe and that may have been the reason. I have a mental block about using white sugar in cup cakes so substituted with castor sugar. I also only used 1/2 the called for lemon zest, but it was plenty. Some people commented that they thought it was a lemon cake. I found it a bit dry and rubbery. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe I should have used the normal sugar. Maybe it was just too hot. Anyway, the search for "the one" continues...

Decorating the cup cakes with the kids was so much fun. Often the kids can't help me with my decorations as I am trying to make the presention "just right". But this time I just let them go for it. I think they ate more than the decorated but who cares.  The eyes are just marshmallows cut in half wtih a M&M on top. The nose is a Jaffa and the mouth is some piped chocolate. The antlers are Cadbury's Curly Wurly's chopped up. The antler were a bit of a disaster on a hot day as they are caramel and chocolate and just drooped and looked sad in the end. Next time I will use some pretzels.

The big kids (ie the Workaholic and our families) and the little kids loved eating them on New Year's Day.

Please forgive the late posting of a Christmas Cup Cake well past Christmas, but it is never too early to plan for next christmas!!

Happy New Year. May 2010 bring you love, health and happiness.

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