31 August 2009

Very Vintage Cupcakes

Could I be obsessed with cupcakes? I think so. I just love making them - they are my absolute favourite ... these little bite sized pieces of heaven. And I love that it's easier to pick up a second cupcake than go back for a second slice of cake - or is that just me? I think I get most enjoyment out of playing with colours of icing and all the different sprinkles you get. So much fun! Since I last wrote, I've made a few more cupcakes - check these out... and these ... So pretty! And then last week I tried something completely different ... I had seen a recipe for Earl Grey Tea Infused Cupcakes and while I love the idea, I'm somewhat resistant to change. You see, I love my fail safe cupcake recipe, with thanks to Nigella Lawson and my all time favourite cook book, How to be a Domestic Goddess, so while I didn't want to change my recipe, I did think I could find a way to marry the two. The recipe calls for a few tablespoons of milk, so instead of being
my usual pedestrian self, this time I heated up a mug of milk, and steeped two tea bags in it. But one type of tea wasn't enough for me. So I got quite complicated - four mugs, all with different flavours of tea. I was sure to use lots of notes, to be sure I kept tabs on which batch was which flavour - I even colour coded all the writing. (I should have photographed the production line for you - you would have laughed!). And all those colours translated nicely into four different colour cupcakes.
What do you think?
May I say I think they were quite beautiful? So, the question is, which flavour would be your favourite?

Earl Grey - these were my favourite, especially with the very pretty
sugared Violet petals my dear friend Jacqui sent me from London. A little closer? Green Tea? A little closer? Maybe Ceylon Tea? And a close up? or Rooibos, that great South African specialty tea? Closer still? In case you're wondering why all the effort?
Ben's Mom Floral Design and I met with the organisers of the Vintage Fair last week, which launches at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town in October.
This was the vintage idea I presented to them.
And this is what Ben's Mom presented.
Good old Quality Street!

We are considering having a presence there and I thought tea infused cupcakes was a very vintage idea!

What do you think?

Would you buy from us?

It should be very exciting - I will keep you posted on progress.
Keep reading! Nicky

22 August 2009

Baking and bubbles

So, I thought it was important to share my new found freedom with some girlfriends, some bubbles and some pretty special yummy treats.

Yesterday I was blessed to share the afternoon with six fabulous self employed friends, and it was the perfect excuse for me to try out some new recipes!

Most importantly, we had bubbles ... lots of them.

Then my prerequisite cupcakes ... I just love them ... and because we had some little people with us, I enjoyed using a wide array of colourful sprinkles! There are so many great sprinkles available these days. In fact I think I'm starting a little collection of my own.

So much fun! I love the little flowers - I bought some fantastic flower cutters from Imaginitive Icing recently and I was too impatient to make a flower gum paste mixture, so I just rolled out some pre made fondant, which worked well enough to satisfy my curiosity! I'll have to make them properly one day soon...

Then I tried out something called cake pops. I will need some more practice before they are as good as Bakerella's - she was my source of inspiration for these - but they were a huge hit and a nice innovation - a small ball of chocolate covered cake as a lollipop! Fabulous!

Pretty little vanilla butter cookies - these I loved! And they were so easy...

And of course, meringues ... I just love these little guys ... all soft and gooey - and not a bad option if you need to watch your waistline.

And they were nice for breakfast this morning too!

So, thanks to my ladies for joining me yesterday, thank you for my gifts and for your support!

Robyn of Ben's Mom Floral Design gave me a beautiful floral arrangement, using my trade mark lime green, for Lime Scales. Beautiful!

I love this photo ... too tempting ...

I had a great time and will be sure to let you know when there are more recipes to try out!
Thanks, and keep reading

11 August 2009

Going it alone

When I started this blog, I promised myself I would publish at an absolute minimum once a week … and here we are – two weeks later, no publishing.
So it’s time for excuses.
Well, not really, but I think you will forgive me when I tell you that since I last published, I have left my job and gone it alone!

Yup - I’ve made the leap in a time where almost everyone else is holding onto their jobs with all they’ve got … and I couldn't be more thrilled!

At 35 years old, I’ve left my corporate career, for a desk in my spare room and a spot in my beautiful kitchen fitted with brand new thermostat oven. Here I will focus on the beloved SA Baker’s Dozen, as well as Lime Scales - my designer cake and cupcake enterprise. I’ll be taking over the world – one cupcake at a time!

My first week on my own was busy, exciting and exhilarating all in one. The week was so promising - full of meetings with like minded, creative, exciting people, partners and potential clients. It’s all looking good!

Then of course there was my first “all on my own” order of two large birthday cakes (using a double batch for each cake, of the recipe we used in “Let them eat cake”) – images below – Lemon & Poppy Seed and Dark Chocolate cakes for 40 people, which were a huge hit. Yay!

I’ve also spent a lot of time working on content and images for the Lime Scales website which I am pleased to say went live just yesterday.

And of course, with all new enterprises comes all the experimenting you get to do!

Take a look at some of the items I prepared this week for client presentations.

The bright sprinkles in the bottom left of this photo are chocolate covered sunflower seeds - great hey?

I just love these little hearts!

And couldn't resist this little Daisy at my nearby baking supplier - I must learn to make my own!

Simple, but so pretty.

I also bought some pre made icing, the kind you can roll out and use as required, so I experimented a little with that on this mini cake.
And I used a great little mould that I bought from Karen Davies Cake Decorating in the UK - actually meant as a cupcake topper, but I cut the roses out to use here instead - lazy girl!

Old faithful butter icing - so easy and so effective.

Here I boxed both mini cakes and some of my famous chocolate chip cookies as a thank you to my fabulous mother who designed and built the new website!

So, thanks for your understanding over my little lapse ... I promise, as of next week, we’ll be back to normal on the blog with lots more recipes, tips and beautiful, inspirational photos! Keep reading!!!