I have noticed many a time over the past three years how cooking and, in particular, baking, often seems to go hand in hand with reading and blogging. I suppose the temptation to settle down with a good book and a chocolate muffin in hand proves far too much for most of us.
Long have I marveled over the glorious, sugary creations baked by many of you. I’m not much of a cook myself but can throw something reasonable together if needed. On the baking front, my efforts have always been strictly within the confines of cupcakes (of the Hummingbird variety) and are known for their taste (I’m not a scrimper on butter/sugar/nutella) but NOT, I repeat, NOT for their appearance. After a mildly successful round of Christmas tree cupcakes last year, I had grand plans for 2013. Few of which were met…
Organised my work space is not.
Looking good and well beaten, however, I have been so, so nervous about cooking accurately in my unpredictable gas oven this year that I’ve avoided baking entirely. As you can see from the knife marks in my little cakes below, the paranoia was pretty full-on, but worth the fussing in the end since the sponge was a nice texture!
Nutella firmly ensconced in the centre of the cupcake, time for the buttercream frosting (the only acceptable icing to have.) After some near-fatal experiences with piping bags, I eschew the fancy equipment for layering it on in favour of the trusty tablespoon.
Icing and glitter ahoy, now was time for my pièce de résistance. Sugary sprigs of holly. My grand plan was for miniature, nutella-flavoured Christmas puddings complete with edible leaves and berries on top. This wasn’t to be. Out came the green sugar dough from last year. Rock hard. Ok then, let’s get inventive and try blue leaves instead……
May 2013?! Who knew sugar dough had an expiry date! (I can hear you baking veterans moaning now).
Needless to say, feeding the family something rock hard that smelt distinctly like playdough seemed rather risky for Christmas day. In a Christmas eve eve panic I therefore sadly had to resort to smarties and other assorted sweet things to stick strategically on top……drat!
Despite the embarrassing playschool appearance of my efforts, I must say these did taste good, all the better after the Nutella had time to cool and harden a bit. Mmmm. I will however be making some more extensive preparations next year for my decoration rather than some hair-brained plan. Merry Cakemess indeed!