cupcakes for a departing colleague

I make and I bake. Especially the latter – not a week goes by that I don’t whip up cakes, bikkies or bread. But those of you who follow our sisterly sharing here (wave to Ingrid, wave to Amy… I think you probably make up half our audience!) will know I do not blog, lately.

So I’ve decided to do something about it.

There is sometimes a yawning chasm between what I plan to do, and what I actually do. This blog is a perfect example. I bake,  I make bread, I knit… I even take notes and pictures. And yet the notes stay as scribbles, the images stay trapped on my computer, and the only place anything is written in my mind.

For the next 30 days, that changes. This July is my baking and blogging month. Starting tomorrow, it’s 30 Days of Baking and Blogging. Every day, I will post something about baking. I know I won’t manage to bake every day – there’s work, marathon training, eating, sleeping and playing with the new kitten (so cute!) to fit in. But the aim is to put some discipline into both baking and blogging – to tackle some of my baking “to do” list and to make sure all those rec ipes and thoughts don’t get lost.

Before I head off  to play with the kitten, here’s a quick bit of evidence that i do indeed bake. Yesterday, we had an Aussie-themed afternoon tea at work, to farewell a member of the team heading off to travel the world. There were lamingtons, Iced Vo-vos, Vegemite sandwiches, pavlova, choc-chip cookies, several kinds of yummy muffins and plenty more – far too much food in fact, but it wouldn’t be a true-blue Aussie gathering without enough food to feed a small army, would it?

I made green and gold mini cupcakes. The cupcakes were made using this recipe from taste.com.au. I haven’t used it before. The verdict? It makes a nice, simple cupcake, the sort you’d want when making cakes for kids, say. The recipe says it will make 24 patty cakes. Instead, I used a mini muffin tray. If you were using what I call a patty cake tray, it would make less, perhaps more like 12 or 16. In fact, I’d be tempted to make less than 24 even when making the itty-bitty mini  muffins, if I was after a nicely rounded top. Making 24 gives you an almost flat top – which is just what you need for some kinds of decorating, but generally I prefer the generosity of a nicely domed cupcake.

Cupcakes iced and ready to go… I think my piping needs a bit of practice!

Mine were topped with lavish towers of this buttercream icing. I like this frosting, as it doesn’t harden on sitting. Perfect if you are making something to take to a party and want to carry cupcakes and frosting and ice your cakes on site. In this case, I did them at home and a few did topple in transit, but with 24 of them, a few casualties really didn’t matter!

Although they looked cute, I think this was more like a one-off date than a match made in heaven. The buttercream is super-sweet, and the tall twirly towers piped on top were almost too much for the little tiny cakes. But both are great recipes to have in your baking repertoire.

Not quite the right shade of “Aussie” green, but you use what you have…

So there you have it – some baking and blogging, to set the scene for my 30 days of discipline. And to show what delights you have to look forward to sometime in July, look what I bought today…

My bargain buy!

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