Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Drowning my sorrows in cupcakes

Last weekend saw me descend into my last year of my 30's. Not only was I old(er) but to make matters worse my birthday was on a Sunday I couldn't get to my favourite cupcake emporium for some birthday goodies as I was in the wilds of the Highlands of Scotland visiting my mum as a surprise for her 60th so no Kooky for me!

We spent 5 days in Scotland and it wasn't until the 4th day that we discovered some cupcakes. We did find some other lovely cakes but no cupcakes. FYI Mohammed Al Fayed's cafe at Shin Falls does a wonderful meringue!

My first birthday cupcake was from the local bakers in Dingwall, Deas. They have two outlets on Dingwall High Street, including a cafe where you can sit with a cup of tea and the pie or cake of your choice. Manny went for a haggis, neeps and tatties pie (shudder) and we got the cupcakes to take away. The lovely girl serving gave us a free cupcake after deciding the pink one was too girlie for Manny. He has this effect on girls -they often give him free cake!

My cupcake was a vanilla sponge with some raspberry frosting. I didn't hold out much hope for it as it looked kinda blah (the holes on top worried me) if I'm honest but it was actually quite nice! It was moist and the frosting was really tasty - which is more than can be said for cupcakes from many of Time Outs recent list of the best cupcakes in London (more on that in another post!).

Manny's was plain vanilla and he seemed to enjoy it. Again it ended up in his belly rather than the bin so result. You can see the holes on the top of the cake in this pic - I think its from either over mixing of the oven being too hot? The cake underneath was moist though and the frosting wasn't just a lump of sugar or flavourless butter so all was good.

Our second cupcake in Scotland was from a small cafe inside Inverness Airport. This one looked a little prettier than Deas' offering but alas it was all style and no substance. My raspberry and white chocolate was overly sweet and didn't really taste of anything much. The middle raspberry jam made it slightly better but unfortunately I couldn't eat most of it. 

Manny's mocha chocolate fared better and he said it was incredibly chocolaty. He scoffed the lot so it must've been ok.

The highlight of Inverness Airport for me wasn't the cupcake but spotting Danny Dyer there. I would've gone and said hello as I have a bit of a crush on him but he looked so hungover I couldn't bring myself to bother him!

Back in London we decided to have a little day after my birthday celebration with lunch and a cupcake. I choose Moolis as my lunch venue (yum) and we headed to Hummingbird to try one of their new daily specials. Monday's special is chocolate fondant; a rich chocolate sponge, with a decadent chocolate fondant centre, iced with a rich chocolate cream.

I don't know what to say really. This cake was nice but nothing that special. It was chocolaty but didn't really taste of chocolate. There was a depth of flavour that was missing - when I compare it to the Gü cupcake from Lola's it just wasn't in the same league. I found it a little dry and the fondant centre in mine appeared to have been forgotten. The frosting was ok but again not chocolaty enough somehow, yet, a little too rich for me. I'm not sure if its due to the chocolate they used or what - I'll be trying the recipe from the book Cake Days when it's out to see if it fares better when I bake it using Green and Blacks - my trusty baking chocolate of choice!  Manny of course scoffed it and some of mine, although he agreed the Gü cupcake was better!

I will be popping back to try Tuesday's flavour - S'moreAnne cupcake - how could I resist it! And perhaps on a Sunday for their Boston Cream Pie one, a cupcake I've been meaning to make forever!

The best thing about our visit was the cheesecake brownie we shared - we couldn't say no to it. And it's not every day you turn nearly 40!


Abbie said...

That cheesecake brownie looks epic! xx

mannymetal666 said...

Isn't it strange how an airport cafe in the Highlands can make a better cupcake than some of London's most highly (over)rated places?

It's great to see a new post on here - now I can't wait for your next lot of baking :)

Archies Mum said...

Happy birthday for last week. Like how you drowned your sorrows, who needs alcohol when you can have cupcakes.

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

p.s Happy Birthday! So glad you found cupcakes on day 4! I hate when you go somewhere new and look everywhere for some but don't end up finding any! That Hummingbird cucpake looked yum!

Katie said...

Happy birthday (belated!) Sounds like you got to enjoy quite a few cupcakes. I admit the chocolate cheesecake brownie looks my favourite - yum yum

I heart cupcakes said...

@Abbie - the brownie was really nice! the recipe is in their book if you fancy making it!

@Manny - I know! Fully agree sweetie!

@Archies Mum - thank you so much. We did manage to have some alcohol in Scotland :)

@Gem - thanks! I do love finding cupcake places when I'm on holiday!

@Katie - thank you! The brownie was the best indeed! I love their frosted brownie too