Sunday, 30 August 2009

Cupcakes by the canal

We took advantage of the sunny weather yesterday and took a walk along the canal from Islington to Broadway Market. I'd been wanting to go to Broadway Market for ages but as Manny usually has band practice on Saturdays and wanted to come I'd put it off till he had a day off. Unfortunately he also had a stonking hangover - but thankfully a good bumble down the canal in the fresh air sorted that out - and some Ghanaian stew he had :) 

One of the first stalls we chanced upon was Violet -my main reason for heading to the Market. My previous encounter with Violet at Covent Garden had been slightly marred by my experience with  the salted caramel and wanted to give them another go as the other cupcakes were very tasty and gorgeous to look at :)

I was going to just get a couple of large cupcakes, however there were so many flavours to choose from we just opted for a box of 9 minis for £7 which included all the flavours on offer. We got vanilla, valrhona chocolate, salted caramel, figs, lemon, strawberry, candied violet and I think the final one was blackberry - or blueberry...I really should write things down at the time! We shared most of the cupcakes and they were all really nice - including the salted caramel which this time wasn't over-salted. The cake bases were all really soft and melt in the mouth and the frostings were all fantastically well flavoured. I particularly loved the fig cupcake and also the strawberry.  I'm really impressed by  the range of cupcakes available and all seemed to be available in both sizes. 

Highly recommended :) I shall definitely be going back to the Market as I want to try the coffee as well as the cupcakes. You can always buy some cupcakes, get a coffee and then head into the nearby fields (or down to the canal) if weather permits :)

Like your cupcakes spicy?

The featured "cook the book" on Serious Eats this week has been Bite Sized Desserts by Carole Bloom which is available on Amazon via the link above, in the UK from the 2nd Sept. It has so-so reviews on, but the bittersweet chocolate five spice cupcake recipe featured on Serious Eats sounds yum. For the full recipe click here

By the way, as much as I adore Serious Eats,  I don't particularly agree with their  description of my favourite baked good 

Sure, they might be a little passe and cliched but who's heart doesn't still flutter with a bit of happy childhood nostalgia when they think of cupcakes? 

Passe and cliched...pah! 

Simply bea-utiful cupcakes

There's a certain time of the month when every lady craves cupcakes...or maybe it's just me but anyways...I'm lucky enough to have a lovely husband who pops to the local bakery at lunchtime and gets me my "fix". And it's just fabulous that the bakery local to his office is Bea's :) 

We had a passion fruit, a raspberry, a chocolate Baileys and a chocolate caramel. The two chocolates were Manny's but he let me have a taste of the divine chocolate Baileys - next time I'm having one of those for sure! My passion fruit one (with the cherry on top) was gorgeous - soft and flavoursome base and the frosting was to die for - fruity yet moreish. And the cherry on top was lovely too :) Again the raspberry base was nice and soft (and fresh!!)  and the frosting had a nice sharpness to it that you expect from raspberries! Simply divine!

When I first tried Bea's cupcakes I really didn't get them - I didn't like the frosting as I was used to the more sugar-filled American style ones but now I really, REALLY like them - it was just a case of something different being a shock at first I think! I also love the freshness of the ingredients used - you can tell everything is super-fresh and I adore the passion of everyone who works there! 

Sorry for the quality of the pics - I was taking them with my new phone which I've not gotten used to yet - they really don't do the cakes justice! 

I really recommend keeping an eye on Bea's website (and twitter) for the flavours and popping along to try the many lovely combos they come up with! I'll be back for the chocolate Baileys soon! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A new cupcakery in town disappoints

About 4 months ago I tried a vanilla cupcake from Ella's Bakehouse @ Selfridges and all was not good (you can read about it here). I never really like to judge a cupcakery badly on just one try, so when I was told by a fellow blogger that Ella's Bakehouse had now opened a little store in Covent Garden I couldn't resist checking them out. 

I had to wait a week or so, having had swine flu (oink oink) but last Friday after a rather hectic day at work I traipsed down to Covent Garden and chose 3 cakes - a vanilla (pink of course), a chocolate and a coconut. Oh yeah the store - it was small but perfectly formed with a lovely retro feel. There were quite a few flavours of cupcakes to choose from including red velvet, peanut butter and mocha and from the spaces on the shelves I think they had been busy. I took a couple of pics (after asking was it ok) and headed off home, heralding all my willpower not to scoff a cake on the bus as they looked really nice!

We had the cakes for pudding. Well, Manny had his cake for pudding - unfortunately the vanilla and the coconut were put barely touched in my beloved Brabantia bin. I really wanted to like these cupcakes, as the shop was cute, the cakes looked all glittery and pretty and Lorraine Pascale seems incredibly passionate about baking and any cupcakery near my work is welcomed,  but as soon as we removed them from the box it wasn't looking great. The casing of the vanilla cupcake had come away completely from the base and the base looked all soggy. Also the vanilla frosting unfortunately smelt of nothing but butter - and alas tasted the same. Just butter - no vanilla, not really sweet - just buttery. I tried a bit of the base and  it was very tasteless, again no taste of vanilla. I'm not a professional baker, but I know something was wrong - the cake was full of large air holes (over-mixing?) and as I said the base was very moist and sticky -to the point of being half raw. We decided it was only fair to try some of the coconut cake so we cut it in half but it was also inedible with not a lot of flavour - this one wasn't moist, instead it was rather dry. I'm a HUGE fan of coconut but the frosting did nothing for me - again just too buttery. 

The chocolate cupcake was another story - I only tried the frosting, to compare and it was really tasty- very chocolatey and dense. Manny enjoyed it and said he'd have a chocolate one again but agreed the other two weren't worth visiting for. 

I have since googled some reviews and while I found a couple that agreed with me re the over-buttery-ness of the frosting, others thought the cakes were fantastic and on par with Hummingbird - I shall politely disagree with that. Please let me know if you try the cakes and agree or disagree. I really do want to hear as obviously people have different tastes - this one just isn't for me.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Lots of cupcake cuteness

I love finding new websites with lovely new cupcake goodies - today's is which is full of gorgeous cupcake items. 

My faves include the kisslock purse and wallet by Fluff, featuring a gorgeous "forever sweet" cupcake, cupcake and junk food hair clips by Loungefly and finally, the Hello Kitty cupcake plushie - Hello Kitty really hopes you like the cupcake she baked for you - how could you resist? 

I'm definitely getting the wallet unless someone (hint hint) wants to get me it ;)

Thanks to for the pics :)

Friday, 21 August 2009

Cute 'n' cuddly cupcakes

I have slowly become quite addicted to Twitter - there are so many things you can find out on there, and its nice to just let your little thoughts out sometimes. 

Today a fellow tweeter posted about these and I thought how adorable so thought I'd share them. These Koala cupcakes were posted on Not Quite Nigella's blog for the RSPCA cupcake day along with the recipe - they're just so cute! And then to make the blog even cuter she's also got a panda cupcake recipe! Cute, cute, cute!

Thanks to Not quite Nigella for the pics and lovely recipes. 

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Paul's Boutique cupcake handbag

I'm not usually a fan of Paul's Boutique stuff - probably because every person on my bus in the morning seems to be carrying a bag of theirs and they look kinda like fake Chloe padlock bags,  but I'm really quite keen on this pink Barbie bag featuring a cute cupcake badge :)

You can buy it from asos for £80. 

Friday, 14 August 2009

How to frost a cupcake

I found this rather cool video on Youtube,  featuring Helen Shroyer of Marmalade Cake Company in Toronto, which gives you hints on how to ice cupcakes in 3 different styles. I was impressed with her suggestion on how to fill an icing bag - something I do need to practice as I'm usually covered in more frosting than the cupcake!

You can see the vid here

Thanks to Helen Shroyer/You Tube for the screen shot of the iced cupcakes - gorgeous aren't they! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lots of cupcake goodies

In Debenham's Red Herring collection. From £3 for the make up bag to £15 for the beauty bag. Must go to Debenhams asap incase they have any other goodies with cupcakes on :)

Sorry the pic cuts off a bit but its the best I could piece together! Check their website to see the full size!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

MORE cupcake gifts!

My lovely friend Kellie from Boston sent me a little package stuffed full of Johnny Cupcakes goodies last weekend! She included the box and the wrapping - isn't she great?! I got a Johnny Cupcakes plaid t-shirt and Manny got some cute boxers

I heart how the label is a little baking glove!! Everything is just too cute! 

I'm so lucky :) 

Cute cupcakes gift

A bad day at work was made much sweeter with the announcement from Manny that he had a gift to give me when we got home and presented me with the gorgeous cupcake trinket holder I mentioned last month :) Thanks Manny :)

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Finally I got my hands on the latest mammoth book of Cupcakes by Martha Stewart and it is simply one of the most glorious pieces of cupcake pornography ever to grace my hands! It is filled with pictures to make you drool. There are 175 of recipes to keep you busy for months of cupcaking - from everyday cupcakes to filled and layered to special holiday cupcakes. There is a section on the basics with hints and tips (ie how to make a piping bag),  and did I mention  the photography is stunning!

 I heart Martha and wish she was as big here as she is in the States but alas thanks to our Government treating her like public enemy number one and refusing her entry to the UK (Which riles me as we let known terrorists and all manner of evil people in and give them free-reign in our country but a woman who committed a crime and cooks cupcakes is refused entry...utter poppycock!) I'll just have to rely on her books and magazine for my Martha fix. 

Her websites great too! 

I shall definitely be trying my hand at the witchy cupcakes for Halloween - and maybe the Devils food ones for Manny sometime soon too! 

Pics courtesy of Martha Stewart - with thanks

Post beer festival cupcakes

As mentioned in the previous post we bought some take-away cupcakes at Hummingbird to relieve the post-beer fest hangover - these were a black bottom and a chocolate for Manny and a red velvet and a pear and cinammon (Friday's cupcake of the day) for me (which got a bit squished in the cloakrooms at the beer fest)

I really liked the pear and cinammon, not sure I'd have it again though as there wasn't much pear in it. Also I heart red velvet but I seem not to enjoy the cheese frosting so much anymore - I think its since I made red velvet I've gone off them....the horror! 

Next time I got to Hummingbird I shall try to ensure it's a Sunday when the cupcake of the day is black forest which sounds gorge!

Cupcakes, and whoopie pie for lunch at Hummingbird

On Friday we went along to the Great British Beer fest and I took the chance to pop into the Brompton Road branch of Hummingbird Bakery for a spot of pre-beer lunch, which would then be walked off by stomping up to Earls Court. 

As usual I opted for a pink vanilla and Manny opted for a chocolate and a whoopie pie  which he just couldn't resist! There's not a lot to write about Hummingbird that I've not said before - the cakes were lovely, moist and very tasty, the frosting to die for! They really should offer a frosting shot! As you can see from the top pic another cupcake was eaten as well - I couldn't resist a second one and opted for a carrot cupcake, which I don't think I've had from Hummingbird before and it was one of the best carrot cakes I've had - very rich, lots of fruit and nuts and a gorgeous frosting which didn't overwhelm the cake! 

We also got 4 to take-away to help with the post-gbbf will be posted in anther post! 

Finally, I know its not a cupcake but I highly recommend the whoopie pies! Manny allowed me a couple of bites and it was really tasty - like a cross between a cupcake and cookie held together with a really lovely middle frosting it was v.nice! I asked if they have them every day but the guy serving wasn't sure - he thought maybe only on Friday - Sunday so if you want one best to ring ahead I'd say - all contact numbers are on their website

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

HUGE cupcake on big brother

Big Brother's latest Alice in Wonderland task includes Hira (aka Alice) having to eat a giant cupcake to find a can see a video here.

She is having to eat through the cupcake without using her hands, which must stay behind her back at all times. 

Yummy - I'd prefer it to be vanilla though!

Currently she's sitting asking the cupcake "why are you so big" while looking like she's going to throw up!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Cupcakes I've eaten...

I managed to finally download some pics from my phone so here's  a couple from Starbucks - a black forest gateau cupcake and a Sicilian lemon - not eaten at the same time. I blogged about the black forest one and seemed to very much enjoy it but didn't about the lemon one so maybe that gives a hint as to how it tasted, but it was honestly so long ago I can't remember! 

The black forest one is much prettier though!

Asda goes crazy for cupcakes

I popped into Asda today to do some shopping on the way home and spotted this giant cupcake for under a fiver. I think I'd prefer a nice freshly baked cupcake myself but thought I'd share :) Could be good for a party I suppose if you can't afford a fresh baked one! 

They also have a tray of what they call "party cupcakes" for under £2 - it seems that anything that's a little cake is a cupcake these days! If they're anything I'd say they're fairy cakes!

They also have some little recipe cards featuring vanilla cupcakes in their baking goods section - although again I'd say they're fairy cakes as they've got royal icing on top!

Sorry if the pics are a bit blurred - was trying to take the pics without being noticed as I'm not sure you're allowed to take pics in Walmart owned businesses!

Bea's cupcake order form

Bea's of Bloomsbury put up their cupcake order form online last month and I totally forgot to blog it (sorry!). 

Flavours include the scrummy sounding passionfruit vanilla, strawberries and cream (which I tried last week...very nice!), praline chocolate, chocolate grand marnier and my favourite sounding one...lamingtons cupcake: rich coconut glazed in rich fudge icing and then covered in coconut...yum! 

There is also the option to 'build your own cupcake', which includes the option for baileys base or baileys frosting...or both..swoon!  Ther are options for gluten free and vegan cupcakes as well. 

Sorry about the pic above - just got my new mobile phone and it took a day or so to get used to it! The chocolate cake has kumquat on :)

Crumbs and Doilies cupcake of the month...

is Summer Lavender. yummy

Our Summer Lavender cupcakes are made using organic French lavender, organic free range eggs, Lescure butter and Doves Farm organic flour. They're light, floral and perfect for dreamy summer days.

I hope to be trying one on Thursday..hint hint Manny ;) 

Thanks to Crumbs and Doilies for use of the (gorgeous!) pic

A rather spiffy cupcake topper

At work we have someone with a fine moustache (aka el moustachio). As such I'm always on the lookout for fancy moustached items and was rather tickled to find this cute little moustache cupcake topper from my new favourite (non cupcake) site Hannah Zakari. Not sure I'd shell out nearly £5 for it but it is cute. 

The site also has some cupcake jewellery which you must check out. I featured it on the blog a long time ago so wont re post everything just click here and here. Oh go on then, I've added a pic of the bracelet!

Thanks to Hannah Zakari for use of the pic! (When I added the tags I realised I'd written about Hannah's site before - my memory isn't what it used to be...ooops!)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Saucy cupcakes

I adore these rather saucy cupcakes by Lisa Edsalv a prop stylist (for Ikea including others!) who's been gaining cupcake star status after Kanye West blogged about her fashion inspired cupcakes! 

"It was just a funny idea, we even thought about having a cupcake runway"

Lisa is planning to launch a cupcake store in New York (where else?) in the near future - somewhere to add to my list of must visit places next time I go back to my favourite city! 

pics courtesy of Lisa Edalv

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Its cupcake weekend...wuhu

Its Outsider Tart's cupcake weekend this weekend and I hope to make it along to the new Chiswick store tomorrow - however there are a lot of road closures so I mightn't make it which is quite perturbing as this months selection looks GOOD - their theme this week is Nebraska :) 

Raspberry Polenta with raspberry buttercream
Gingerbread with lemon cream cheese frosting
Maple pecan with maple glaze
Peanut butter chocolate chip with peanut butter frosting
Chocolate Polenta with mocha cream frosting
Banana Orange
Vanilla Vanilla ( fave)

I'm loving the gingerbread, the banana, the peanut butter and of course the vanilla! In fact (as usual) they all sound great!

The Chiswick shop will have a selection of the weekend cucpakes  and also some layer cakes, tarts and brownies...yum! And of course you can catch them at the markets - locations here

Thanks to Outsider Tart for use of their Twitpic of their blackout cupcakes being prepared...think Manny'll be trying to lick the screen when he sees it ;)