For more Silent Sunday treats – head to Mocha Beanie Mummy
It’s been a while since I’ve rocked the cupcakes on the blog, and since it’s what my blog is named after it seems only fitting they get a feature.
My colleague’s beautiful wife celebrated her 30th bday this weekend, and to help with the festivities I was commissioned to make cupcakes.
For this occasion I created lemon cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting.
The cupcake and buttercream frosting recipes were courtesy of my trusted Primrose Baker Cupcake book, but nothing beats the marshmallow frosting recipe from Nigella’s How to Be A Domestic Goddess (Autumnal Birthday Cake Frosting).
I dolled up these tasty treats with lemon slices and sparkles and thought they turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
I hope the birthday girl thought so too… Happy Birthday, Helen!
I can’t believe we are in the home stretch to 2013. 2012 has passed way too fast for my liking. Looking back through the photos which have documented this year, I haven’t been baking or blogging about baking nearly enough.
And though this has been a recurring sentiment, I’m getting back in the proverbial (blogging) saddle. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. There’s going to be a whole lot of baking, eating, sharing and best of all a big trip to the motherland.
Stay with me, dear readers… but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what went on in the downtime:
Victoria Sponge in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. Recipe from Primrose Bakery Baking Book, although I used fresh strawberries in place of jam and Earl Grey/Lemon whipping cream. This was my first go at the traditional British cake. I was happy with the way it turned out and will most likely bake it again when tradition calls.
My baking book of the year is definitely ‘Baked In America‘ – maybe it’s because I’m American, but mostly because this is one AMAZING baking book. Recipes from this book are featured many times throughout the blog in 2012 and will continue to be featured in the future. One day I’ll finally make it to Chiswick to Outsider Tart and hopefully meet my baking heroes – the two Davids.
The brownies above are called Hepburns (Kate, rather than Audrey) and probably the best brownie recipe around. They make ideal treats for any occasion – school fetes, birthdays or general parties.
These Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies were made especially for my mother in law’s un-birthday party. As her party food was served buffet-style, I wanted to make a special desserty treat that attendees could eat as little or as much as they like. So these brownies were cut into 1.5 in squares and served on cake stands mixed with the Hepburns featured above.
Another series of books which have inspired breakfasts, dinners and baking alike are the Leon books. The Orange Polenta Cake is from Leon – Baking & Puddings, book three, as featured in the ‘Teatime’ section. This cake is an ideal accompaniment to Earl Grey tea and also gluten-free!
Martin has been working on building a set of speakers over at his dad’s house. I like to take a baked treat when we go over. One weekend in September, Trish’s Two-Cents from Baked In America caught my eye and I had to give it a go. This is the best ‘pound-cake’ type cake I have ever had. It is definitely going to be in regular rotation for when cakes are called for.
And last, but not least, in the baking recap is Pumpkin Pie. This is a recipe traditionally served at Thanksgiving, in fact was featured in my Thanksgiving blog post from 2011, but I am not celebrating Thanksgiving this year so it was moved to Bonfire Night. While this recipe is from the back of a Libbys can, it is home-made with love and reminds me of autumnal days past.
Watch this space for Christmas treats to come soon…
Cocoa Boutique, a luxury artisan chocolate club, recently launched their website and I was asked to test out their ‘Tasting Box’. Never one to turn down chocolate, I agreed.
The box arrived on my doorstep and The Whiteman 3 tasting team was off. Inside the beautifully packaged box were 15 different varieties of chocolates, an letter introducing the chocolatiers who created the tasty delights and a menu describing each chocolate and which chocolatier made them. If you’re into your chocolatiers, this tasting box featured Barry Colenso who was on the team that made Kate and Wills ‘groom’ wedding cake… fancy! Additionally on the menu, Cocoa Boutique included a score card for each chocolate. Like wine tasting, chocolate has its own subtle flavours, notes and textures, this was a way to keep track of all of them.
Each evening over a week, as an after dinner treat, M and I tucked into the chocolates, studying the menu to see which ones we wanted to try first.
I went for the Rum Cafe Cream a blend of milk and dark chocolate with an infusion of rum. I gave this one an 8 out of 10 as I felt it could have leaned more toward the dark chocolate side, but that might be personal preference.
Next up was the Cocoa Dusted Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel. There were three included, but I just tried one. This was something very special. I gave it a 9 out of 10.
Other highlights included the ‘Pamela’ which had painted flakes of pink and gold on top and the Dark Chocolate Coffee Beans.
As far as a box of chocolates goes, this is a very special treat. The presentation is amazing and it is a fun way to try different varieties you wouldn’t normally get in your everyday selection box from the supermarket. It would make an ideal treat for a dinner party as it lends itself to discussion and conversation about chocolate.
Being a self professed connoisseur of chocolate, my only critique is that I think the chocolates could be a bit more adventurous. Who knows, maybe in future Tasting Boxes, Cocoa Boutique will push the boat out and include some wild combinations! However, this was an introduction Tasting Box to a new company, I think they got it spot on.
If you would like to try your own Tasting Box or become part of the artisan chocolate club, Cocoa Boutique are offering an introductory price of £9.95 or you could enter to win free chocolates. To keep up to date on all things Cocoa Boutique, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
**This is a review. The Tasting Box was sent to me free of charge, but all views are my own**
My son is very expressive and his emotions run high even at such a young age. If he’s happy, he’s all jazz hands and hugs. Alternatively, if he’s in a mood the situation ends up looking like this.
I’m not breaking out the Thursday or Taking Back Sunday tunes just yet, but we’ll see what happens when he hits the pre-teen and teenage years… (hah!)
For more fabulous photos, check out:
Hands up, who loves chocolate? *hand raised high up* Yep, I love chocolate. I was also lucky enough to be approached by a new chocolatier Chocolate by Genevie to review chocolates available from her new online shop.
Last week, I was welcomed home by a very pretty package. Thankfully, my husband saved the unboxing until I got home from work.
Inside were eight beautifully crafted chocolates.
Not only did these chocolates look beautiful, they tasted beautiful. Just rich, indulgent cocoa each teamed with pistachio, marzipan, coffee, or just more chocolate ganache. This ‘Silver Box 8 Chocolates’ is only available from the website for £8.99 and would make a perfect gift for someone who enjoys chocolate. Thanks, Genevie!
There are a few competitions from other bloggers to win Chocolates by Genevie, if I were you I’d make sure to enter!
*I was sent a box of chocolates for review, but these thoughts are my own.*