Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ho Ho Ho - a festive box of cupcakes

I've fallen a bit behind with my blogging recently- being ill and working too hard has taken its toll, and so only now have I got round to featuring this rather nice pre-Christmas gift from Lola's. I was contacted by Lola's PR company, Slam, via Sarah from Maison Cupcake, as they had read on her blog a nice comment I made re Lola's Cupcakes, and offered a freebie box of their Ho Ho Ho cupcakes to taste.

The cupcakes arrived at work on a rather depressing Friday afternoon and cheered us up no end - I shared with 2 colleagues and didn't keep them all for myself (and my tubby hubby!). Tasha had the gingerbread one and Fahima the red velvet - both thought they were very tasty and ever so pretty, in fact the first thing both of them did on taking hold of the cupcakes was take lots of pics with their phone cameras!

My act of sharing left me and Manny with four to test - 2 vanilla and 2 chocolate (one with vanilla icing), which included the gorgeous red one with my name on - how cute! Whilst the base of the vanilla cupcakes were moist and fresh, they didn't really taste of anything, just sponge. I'm a great lover of vanilla and I like to taste, and if possible (especially in frosting) see the vanilla, but unfortunately in this cupcake there just didn't seem to be any vanilla to all. Similarly the frosting also lacked even a hint of vanilla, which left you thinking you were tasting only butter, sugar and the food colouring - I don't think I was, it was just the power of perception, "ooooh its green, I taste green".

The whole vanilla cupcake situation is rather odd, as Lola's are not alone - it seems to be the vanilla cupcakes that suffer the most from lack of flavour - I've had this with other cupcakes in London, the vanilla cupcake being just a little bland. I'm not asking for a "knock you out" amount of vanilla, but if you're selling me a vanilla cupcake I would like to taste it!! Before anyone asks I have v.good tastebuds - never smoked and can generally pick out flavours in foods very well - I'm also Manny's real ale flavour taster which I hate as I cannot stand real ale, but I can still get a hint of apricot in something I don't like the taste of when he forces me to try them!

Back to the cupcakes - Lola's gingerbread and their brandy butter, which I tried earlier in December were both flavoursome and very tasty, as were the chocolate cupcakes in this box (and the two other flavours the girls had) only the vanilla let the box down.

All in all it was a lovely gift (and the first time I've received a gift saying "press" since I stopped working for a well known music venue as a trainee press officer more than half of my life ago - and cupcakes are much nicer than Cliff Richard's sateen tour jackets!) and I would like to thank Lola's and Slam PR - I hope the feedback, although not all good has been helpful in some way!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas cupcake gifts!

As you can see from the pics above I had a cupcake filled Christmas this year.

Myself and Manny had originally decided not to do gifts as we're going to see Manowar in Tilburg in a month (yay!) and have some home improvements (new windows..hurrah!) then we umm'd and ahhh'd and that changed to getting a few little gifts for each other as Manny wanted to make sure I had a lovely Christmas..and I did :)

So, my gorgeous gifts from Manny were - a cupcake cake stand, a cupcake message board, cake lettering and the slice of cake money box (the middle one in the pics). The other two cupcake money boxes were from the lovely Fahima (the one on the left) and Tasha (the one on the right). I also got Twilight on dvd and I'm going to sit and swoon/cry over that in the next day or so :) I am a very lucky cupcake lover!

The cupcakes you can see are fresh cream cupcakes from Waitrose. Originally I'd planned to go to Hummingbird on Christmas Eve to pick up some Christmas Cupcakes however my cold was stonking by then and I just couldn't face town so I picked these up while getting some last minute food bits. We had them on boxing day (too stuffed on Christmas!) and they were really nice with a cup of tea - they had a raspberry compote in the middle and the fresh cream made a nice change to heavy frosting, also the blobs of pink sugar on top were very yummy. I can say these were far superior to recent cupcake's purchased from an East End cupcakery which was inedible due to being rancid and very very old (more to come on this in a later post!)

So I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and got lots of fabulous presents. I'm going shopping tomorrow afternoon or Thursday to look for some cupcake goodies to spend some of my Christmas money on and I'm collecting some more gifts in the next day or so from friends I've not caught up with yet and I've been told cupcakes feature so look out for updates!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Sex and the City 2 AND cupcakes! The excitement!!

Sex and the City is always credited for the phenomenal rise of the cupcake and it from the latest stills and just realised trailer from Sex and the City 2, its a link the producers are keen to play up!

The movie is out on May 28th and I shall be there, cupcake in hand to watch - hopefully my cupcake will be just as pretty as Charlotte's :)

You can view the trailer here, and hopefully get as excited as me :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hail...the royalty of cupcakes!

A couple of people sent me details of the worlds most expensive cupcake this week - priced at $750, from Sweet Surrender at The Palazzo in Las Vegas ...

Decadence D’Or is a sumptuous cupcake, handcrafted from the most exclusive, rich, and enterprising ingredients around the globe. The main ingredient in this sinful cupcake is Palmira Single Estate Chocolate. This special chocolate varietal is derived from the rare and fragile Porcelana Criollo bean and cultivated to its fullest state of richness exclusively at the Valrhona plantation in Venezuela. Complementary to the Palmira Single Estate Chocolate is Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar- the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural crop. This fruit, after it is ripened for nine months, then hand-harvested, cured, sweat, dried, and hand-split, is obtained only by tedious manual extraction; it is truly a delicacy, both in taste and exclusivity. Topping the Decadence D’Or is the masterfully smooth Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac, 100 years in the making, and edible, metallic gold flakes, each painstakingly hand-placed. Finally, once baked to perfection, this grand dessert is encased in a stately, hand blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis and presented on a handmade exclusive elegant crackled-gold glass curved plate and bowl.

Sounds a bit fancy for me - think I'd stick to their regular cupcakes personally - think of the amount of normal cupcakes you could buy for that amount of $s!

I'm betting this image will turn Manny into a screen licker ;)

I saw these online some time ago but didn't blog about them as I was hoping eventually Godiva UK would see sense and start stocking them so I could buy some for Manny, the chocoholic, as a surprise. However, they are still only available in the USA at the moment so I thought I'd just post the pic to make Manny drool a little - and perhaps incentivise him to get back to NY asap ;)

If you're lucky enough to live in the US you can buy these online from Godiva, and I know their chocolate cafe in New York sells them also.

Festive fun with Johnny Cupcakes

I really LOVE this new fleece blanket from Johnny Cupcakes - perfect for snuggling under while having a hot chocolate and cupcake :)

Also perfect for this weather some Johnny Cupcakes gloves and a fab JC snow tube - basically a giant rubber ring alternative to a sledge - I bet Manny would love this!

Thanks to Johnny Cupcake for use of the photos!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

As I look out my window onto a rather festive looking south London I can't help hoping that there will be snow next week and there'll be a lovely white Christmas :)

As usual my thoughts then turned to cupcakes and I began looking for festive cupcakes on google and I happened upon Epicute - the cute food blog! Why haven't I found this before?? Lots of gorgeous pictures of cute food - right up my street!

This lovely cupcake was originally uploaded onto Flickr by Bananagranola - isn't it adorable! Check out her other pics if you like giant rubber ducks too - very cute!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow :)

thanks to bananagranola for use of the gorgeous photo!

Some cupcake treats from M&S

A couple of new cupcake bits from Marks and Spencer for cupcake lovers - yet another set of oven gloves covered in cupcakes (I already own some ultra cute cupcake oven gloves thanks to Manny) and a cute little apron to match.

They are also doing some mini strawberry and chocolate cupcakes for Christmas, and fresh cream lemon ones as well, however after trying a couple of cakes from their cupcake range I shall be giving them a miss!

GIANT Christmas Pudding Cupcake

I spotted this in Daily Candy today and just had to share! From Sweet Things, a giant Christmas pudding cupcake, decorated to look like a Christmas pudding it is in fact a giant chocolate cupcake, with chocolate filling and butter icing. It costs £45 and will feed 15-20 people. This would make a great alternative to Christmas pudding for chocolate lovers!

Sweet Things range includes three other Christmas cupcakes. The chocolate orange cupcake has a chocolate base with orange peel, topped with a Belgian chocolate ganache and the gingerbread cupcake is a vanilla sponge with ginger spices topped with cream cheese icing. Finally the mince pie cupcake has a vanilla sponge with sweet mincemeat, topped with vanilla butter cream and cinnamon sprinkles.

Further info about their Christmas range is available here and you can check out Sweet Things website here, where you can get lots of info about delivery and their other products - all of which look yummy!

Thanks to Sweet Things for use of their photograph.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Celebrate National Cupcake day

Tomorrow, the 15th December, is National Cupcake Day in America and I think we should adopt it here, and I for one plan to have a cupcake for my tea to celebrate :)

Currently obsessed with...

the Twilight series of books. I've read the first two (staying up waaaaaay beyond my bedtime last night to finish New Moon) and I've just ordered the next two.

I thought I'd share my obsession with you with these gorgeous Twilight cupcakes from I heart cuppycakes. There are recipes and instructions on how to make them on the website.

Thanks to I heart cuppycakes for the pic.

Btw - I'm on Team Edward :)

Better than cupcakes?

I'm not sure that I agree with the Biscuiteers bold claim that their cupcake biscuits are just like cupcakes, but better but they are incredibly gorgeous and I bet they taste as good as they look

They are available in two sizes: a tin of 9 cherry topped biscuits or if you just want to send someone a little gift you can opt for the cupcake card, a cookie in a little package with your own message - perfect little gift for someone special :)


Sunday, 13 December 2009

I want to be the girl with the most cake

I adore these bracelets by Jessica Kaggan Cushman! Not only are they telling the truth (I do!!) but they feature a line from one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands, Doll Parts by Hole.

Cupcake boots

From Sugar, these cute little cupcake boots would keep your feet warm over the winter.

Look pretty as a cupcake over the festive season

This dress by Darimeya is rather cute and perfect for festive parties if you're a cupcake lover - although as its one size fits all (fits size 8-12) you can't be too much of a cupcake lover...well you can love cupcakes but you can't scoff too many ;)

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Nollaig Shona Daoibh

Christmas is the time for Baileys, well in our house anyhow- so how about this boozy cupcake as featured on the Irish Central website featuring a triple whammy of Irish booze :)

Combining Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Cream Liquor and Guinness, could there be a more authentic or tempting Irish dessert? These indulgent little beauties will knock your socks off, we can promise you that.

The recipe can be found using the link above.

Thanks to Irish Central for use of the pic of the yummy cupcakes.
The title of this post means "You have a happy Christmas" according to here in Irish.

Ding dong merrily on high

I've been meaning to check out the Lola's cupcake bar at Selfridges since I heard it had opened and finally made it on Thursday and the cupcakes were good enough to make you burst into song :)

They've taken over a larger section in the food hall and had approx 6 tables and a much nicer display of their cakes - if you go into the food hall you really cannot miss it - even with the throngs of Christmas shoppers in there. I was going to have a cake and a coffee to test the cafe but I was trying to be good and not eat too much cake so I opted for a couple of their festive cupcakes to take away and share with Manny - a gingerbread and a brandy buttercream. I've had some issues with Lola's cupcakes from Selfridges in the past, including incredibly surly service but I noticed the really rude guy that used to serve in their old section is still there serving other baked goods so I assume he's Selfridges staff rather than Lola's. The people at the new section were really friendly and we had a chat about their fab new cupcake carriers :)

So to the cupcakes - they were both absolutely delicious. The brandy buttercream had just the right hint of booziness and the base was moist and flavoursome, the frosting very moreish. The gingerbread had a lovely hint of spicyness, the frosting was a lovely cream cheese frosting that was really light and tasty and the gingerbread flavoured little gingerbread-men sprinkles were simply gorgeous. I highly recommend enduring the crowds and picking up a couple for a pre-Christmas treat :) As well as Selfridges, you can get them in Harrods online.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A Cute Baker's Dozen

Currently reduced in the Debenhams pre-Christmas sale, this is an adorable little top from Baker Baby perfect for little cupcakes everywhere. Available online and instore.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The cupcake effect

From last weeks Telegraph, an article explaining how cupcake cafes are helping the property market get back on its feet.

It’s called the cupcake effect, and it could be happening in a street near you. The candyfloss-pink shopfront gives it away: windows stacked with colourful cakes. Every cupcake is a special occasion, washed down with a mug of foamy cappuccino. It’s the late-Noughties equivalent to a glass of champagne. And if you live near such a shop, there is every reason to celebrate – cupcakes mean higher house prices.

The craze was started by the girls in Sex and the City, but their Magnolia bakery in New York’s West Village wasn’t the first. Sugary cake shops are the post-credit crunch version of the posh deli or gastropub; they bring a feel-good factor to an area, making the surrounding streets more desirable.

“These niche boutique shops add prestige to an area, lending a sense of affluence,” says Muir Morton, of Chesterton Humberts in Kensington.

Of course, it could be that it’s the reverse – cupcake shops target affluent or up-and-coming areas that already have a relatively high footfall.

“It’s a win-win situation. The shops are well positioned for business, and local residents get the pleasure of a quality confectioner in the area,” says James Geddes, of buying agency Property Vision.

But there’s an element of the ridiculous about the cupcake trend; grown men and women lining up to buy boxes of colourful cakes? People buying a house simply because it is near a cake shop? It doesn’t seem cool – or right. A cupcake is not something you need; it is a relatively cheap luxury in a world where luxury has been put into question. Could it be that cupcakes are a hangover from the greedy days of 2007?

Cupcakes - ridiculous?? Hush! I agree that cupcake shops tend to be in more affluent areas - a map of London cupcakeries for example would show you that they aren't many cupcake cafes in areas that aren't full of "yummy mummys" - I can only wish they'd open one near my house, but alas that's highly unlikely. You can read the whole article here.

Tis the season for Gingerbread men

Aren't these just some of the cutest cupcakes you've ever seen?

These lovely little smiling chaps are perched on top of a moist ginger cake covered with lemon buttercream, and are available from the Lavender Bakery to order now.

Photos courtesy of the Lavender Bakery

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Cupcake Milkshake

Have just found out via Twitter that Burger King in the US do a cupcake milkshake - how wicked. It is described as "tasting like you're drinking a cupcake...delish" DELISH indeed. I want to try!

Thanks to Donuts for Dinner for the pic

Another cupcake book to add to the collection

Last week I spotted that Aldi were selling 1001 Cupcakes and Cookies in store for £4.99 so I made a point of popping into my local store to pick one up. As well as pages of really nice looking cupcakes, the book includes muffins, cookies and yummy items like millionaires shortbread. The consultant editor is Susanna Tee, Great pics and simple to follow recipes (from the look of them -I've not tried any yet) and it gets good reviews on Amazon, so looks like a great little cupcake book.

The front cover is the same picture as my magnetic cupcake note pad, also available on Amazon.

Winnie the Pooh festive cupcakes

Saw these in Tesco's and thought they might be quite cute for any children's parties you have coming up over the festive season - although you'd be cheaper and they'd taste better if you baked them fresh I'm sure :)

Sorry for the pic quality - was doing it quickly on my phone before I got thrown out of the store!

Knut celebrates his birthday with cake :)

Yesterdays was Knut's 3rd birthday and he celebrated in style with a cake much like last year, although he looked a little cleaner this year. Although this isn't really cupcake related, I have been lucky enough to visit Knut several times at Berlin Zoo and I just wanted to say Happy Birthday Knut.

To keep this on a cupcake theme I thought I'd share these gorgeous cupcakes from The Journal of a Girl who Loves to Cook - aren't they adorable?