Thursday, 22 January 2015

When Blocks Are Cleared Everything Shifts and Everything Falls into Place

The only thing that gets in our way, is ourselves. I don't know if that is an official quote but it certainly sums things up. I have been a "can do" person all my life. Always solving my problems, but more often than not, everyone elses. But in 2012 I got made redundant and not long after, I went into a "can not" phase, which has been enduring.

I can't do craft
I can't bake
I can't paint Aaron's bedroom

And so on... and so forth... except so forth infers some movement and quite frankly there hasn't been any.

But if you have read my posts of late, you will know that tide is turning. Even my foot is hurting less, whether it be plantar fasciitis or gout, I will know very soon (in 5 days).

So, last Friday, a week ago, tomorrow, I baked.

I went and bought all of the ingredients (who said baking was cheaper than buying cakes though? *gulps):
You'll see the cookery book I was using above.

I love that the recipes are VERY straight forward and that there are quite a few that are a little different - Aaron's Teacher's Assistant said "it was different eating a cupcake with a spoon" but more on that later :-)

The first instruction was to pre-heat the oven, but considering I was doing this for the first time in 10 years, it probably wasn't the best idea for me, as it took me far too long faffing around so I'd say the oven was on a tad too long by the time I got MY act together.

Second mistake, was that despite owning a scales, i didn't bother getting it out of the cupboard. Meaning I guestimated everything, resulting in (i) the cupcakes being too sweet and (ii) the cupcakes being too eggy. I announced my frustration on Instagram (as you do) and a very helpful @threeboysandacat suggested that I weigh the eggs, in their shells, and then you add that same amount in flour, caster sugar and unsalted butter. It works. It's great for example if you are using large eggs instead of medium, as they may weigh at 200g instead of 180g and you can then adjust everything accordingly. Yes, cupcakes appear to be an exact science. Am I right in thinking it is the exact same recipe as madeira cake? Should madeira be with a capital "M"?

Anyway the page after the cupcakes recipe, had the instructions for "Cupcakes in a Jar" so that is what I did, and I simply adored them:
What is really weird is that I had already washed two jars that chocolate spread had vacated, about a week before. I NEVER do that. I mean I do, but they go in recycling. When I washed and kept them, I didn't even know why I was doing so, AND no, I had not read the cookery book yet!

So these are the two teacher's gifts prior to delivering them on the p.m. school run:
They were not expecting them, so on delivery I announced that they were "Thank God It's Friday" gifts, which I kind of made up on the spot, to cover my embarrassment at giving a gift without reason. If you have read recent posts, you will know that after that, I opened Aaron's book bag and he'd got a Head Teacher's Award certificate, so it was like I was saying THANK YOU for that, without even knowing about it yet. He got it for handwriting - his is very good it has to be said, and he gets that from his Dad.

I must say, I did enjoy the baking. I wasn't an expert at filling the cake cases though. This was my first effort:
I'm such a perfectionist, that the MINUTE Aaron came home from school, I made them again, this time with him. True say, they were much better. I was glad of the weighing eggs tip, as my medium eggs were by this time finished, so I was now using large eggs. Now, I DID get my scales out of the cupboard. I weighed all of the ingredients out correctly and as a result the cupcakes tasted perfect. They weren't too sweet at all, and therefore could accommodate the jam and buttercream, without it all being a bit much.

Baking for the first time in sooooooooooooo long meant there was NO WAY I was going to make the buttercream myself, so I bought this stuff. I'd say (i) it is too expensive and (ii) the taste is a bit much. If I made a cupcake have a topping the size of what you see on the web, I don't think I could eat it - just too rich. Plus if you do a topping THAT size, you'd only get 8 from the tin, which means the cost per serving would just be too much. So now that I have popped my baking cherry, I WILL be making the icing topping MYSELF next time - watch this space :-)
Clearly baking was on the horizon for me, as I bought this wire stand a few weeks ago. You'll see that my cakes kind of sunk. They rise beautifully in the oven, then sink as they cool. This even happened when I was making them for the second time, despite doing everything right :-(

You'll see that's the amount of icing I can JUST about cope with:
So are we bonkers? Or, do you weigh your eggs too? I would love to hear more about cupcakes from the lovely +Helen Jessup as I know she is the resident cupcake expert of the parent blogging world.

Anyway, if you like the sound of Bake With Maw Broon, which is a beautiful baking book, with wonderful photography, you can win one below. It certainly is a bit different, with lots of slightly out of the ordinary things in there - lots more recipes for me to try, now that I am back in the game. The baking game! Now, I need an apron!
MAW BROON is the indomitable matriarch of the Broons family and the original domestic goddess. In between cooking, cleaning and setting the world tae rights ower a braw cup of tea, she has also found time tae become the bestselling author of Maw Broon’s Cookbook, Maw Broon’s But an’ Ben Cookbook, Maw Broon’s Afternoon Tea Book and Maw Broon’s Cooking with Bairns. Bake with Maw Broon is her definitive guide tae guid Scottish home baking. She lives with her husband and eight children at 10 Glebe Street, Auchenshoogle.
Here's the comp, which is quite easy to enter. You don't have to do much, but all entries are mandatory.
Thank you

Bye for now, Liska xxx
+New Mum Online 




I have listed this comp over at Super Lucky Di's linky list of comps ending in February:
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
Sadly, despite the enthusiasm displayed in this post, I learned a tough life lesson TODAY just after writing it, which resonates with positive, intended to be upbeat, opening sentence of this post. It has inspired me to create this pic below, which I will open up about tomorrow in a further blog post:

This competition has been listed at The Prize Finder
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/bake-maw-broon-cookery-book-hardback-copy-beautiful-photography-and-easy-recipes#sthash.0oQds8EI.dpuf

73 comments:

  1. My cupcakes often sink to to I make them into fairy cakes by cutting out the wings, filling with buttercream and then adding the wings to the top! My cup cake is now a fairy cake and twice as high!

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  2. I've made lots of cupcakes they are my favourite things to bake

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  3. Yes i love to make supcakes , they dont always turn out like i want but i have so much fun making different ones

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  4. I have made chocolate cupcakes before with the kids

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  5. Not bonkers! If I were Aaron's teacher, I might have kissed you. Friday cupcakes are the best! My class team would take it in turns to buy treats on a Friday, just to celebrate surviving the week! I NEVER begin by preheating the oven now - for the reasons you mentioned!

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  6. I always make cupcakes and love icing them in different ways. I've never had them sink on me though, perhaps leave them in the oven a few minutes longer might help.

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  7. I have made cupcakes many times! Red velvet cupcakes are my favourite!!

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  8. It looks like you have had a great time with your baking, it all looks delicious :)

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  9. Those cakes in a jar look ace. I agree with you, we are often the ones putting barriers in our way not others.

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  10. I like making cupcakes but i'm not very good at it x

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  11. They look awesome, I so want to make cupcakes in a jar now :D We don't weigh eggs lol, but I have a pretty standard recipe I use for most cakes and it's like 200g of most ingredients and works perfectly lol

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  12. I am not much of a baker either. I think you did a great job especially with the cakes in a jar.

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  13. I love baking but don't always have the time. The cupcakes in a jar idea is lots of fun.

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  14. I just started baking when i had my child. And now she is old enough to join in the process is even more fun!

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  15. baking with kids is always great, they learn so much from it.

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  16. I need to remember the egg-weighing tip! I love baking, but didn't have much time recently :( Need to find some quick and simple recipe!

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  17. I'm not a confident baker, so haven't tried to make cupcakes yet

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  18. we all have to start or better said restart from somewhere. The important thing is that you made it work!

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  19. That's such a great tip about weighing the eggs - thank you for sharing it. I'm not a great baker either, I only do it when the kids want us to make something together. The cupcakes which you made look yummy.

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  20. I love the idea of putting them in a jar x

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  21. Well done for giving it a go - putting them in a jar turns them into a lovely gift!

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  22. I've started regularly baking with my children. My advice to you would be not to worry about how much the cakes rise, how golden they appear etc. To me, as long as we had fun making them and they are at least edible to me (not a lot isn't ;) ) then that's all that matters. I love the idea of the cupcakes in the jar!

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  23. Im awful I never find time to bake with the kids. I really must try soon as they love it x

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  24. I like baking, but like you I quickly learnt that I can't take my usual slapdash approach to the recipe - with other cooking I am all about the substitutions and guess working, but baking is science, have to follow the recipe! I am hopeless at all the icing and pretty stuff but I can now make a cake that tastes good - and that's the important bit! Well done you for giving it a go, no such things as can't my mum used to say!

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  25. I lov e those cupcakes in jars, such an unusual idea! I'm not a baker, I don't have much space in the kitchen either which doesn't rely inspire me! xxx

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  27. I tend to be good with cupcakes. I can't bake a cake though. They either burn or soggy or they sink.

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  28. Make cupcakes all the time with my son

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  29. I love making cupcakes.
    I love eating them too.
    Always use the hummingbird bakery cookbook.
    Yummy recipes.

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  30. I've never tried but I do like Maw Broon.

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  31. I totally agree that it's all in the mind and its only our lack of self belief that means we can't achieve. Well done on your baking xx

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  32. I have made cupcakes many times because they are easy to make and you can do different flavours

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  33. My cupcakes never seem to rise enough!

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  34. Keep at it - your cup cakes will just get better and better every time x

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  35. They're my favourite things to make - not least because you can cover up any mishaps with icing and sprinkles ;)

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  36. we bake something every week this week is apple pie week :)

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  37. I love cupcakes but not fab at making them, I do try but find ones out of a packet are easy lol!!

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  38. I KNOW that you are awesome and you get in your own way ALL the time but glad to hear you're shifting away from that habit. That's a really old fashioned weigh the eggs thing but I hear it works well :) XX

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  39. I'm quite good at baking cupcakes but I still need to use scales or they go super soggy in the middle. Love the jar idea, I might try it for valentines x

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  40. I love making cupcakes, I would maybe lower the temperature a little and keep them in the oven a bit longer. At least you can keep trying them out as you bake each batch!

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  41. I find cup cakes the easiest to make x

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  42. I love making cupcakes & that jar idea is brilliant! :)

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  43. Apparently putting a spoonful of boiling water into the mix makes them very light and fluffy and less likely to sink. Haven't tried it myself though! EJ Dunn

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    1. I'll be making them again soon and will definitely be trying that thank you x

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  44. Mix all the dry ingredients then add the wet ! also don't mix the mixture too much ! and another, look into savoury cupcakes too (cheese and courgette!) . . . very yummy :) x

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    1. That's a top tip. I can't hear about veg muffins though without thinking of the guy Miranda married (BBC TV Show) xx

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  45. I've only ever made cupcakes from those little boxes you can buy in the supermarket - I always think they look nicer than they taste though - a friend of mine has shared a recipe with me for healthy cupcakes that you bake veggies into but they dont taste of them so I am going to give them a try when I have time (so prob next year at the rate things go!!!)

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    1. The whole veggie muffin thing makes me think of Miranda. Don't wait till next year. Remember what I said as I opened this post. x

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  46. I haven't made any cupcakes but I would thoroughly recommend all of the Maw Broon cookbooks. (Especially the hogmanay pie recipe)

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  47. Love making Cupcakes topped with Butter Icing - made quite a few for my husbands 50th to take into his office and they all went

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  48. We make cupcakes all the time, our favorite are rainbow cupcakes, you split the mixture into small bowls and make them all different colours and spoon into the cases.If you are careful the colours wont mix. The kids love them

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  49. I've made cupcakes but only for people who like all that frosting (which I find far too sweet)

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  50. have made hundreds of cup cakes,my secret is I never use milk - just a splash of boiling water.

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  51. I love making cupcakes and trying out new icing ideas!

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  52. I love baking this is my favourite cake recipe and I use it for cup cakes too but I never add the syrup it suggests that would be too sweet http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10860/easy-vanilla-cake

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  53. Yes I have made cupcakes in the past but prefer to make cakes.

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  54. I have made a few over the years, eaten a lot too. I would say definitely weigh eggs. Their idea of a large egg might not be the same as yours!

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  55. I've never made cupcakes but if I did they would be chocolate ones with chocolate chips

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  56. I've made cupcakes but a long time ago, don't worry I found it so hard to fill the cake papers too!

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  57. Yes i make them with the kids - sometimes we put fillings like jam or chocolate spread in the middle!

    AShleigh

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  58. The cupcakes look so delicious and they sound relatively simple to do. Seems like a very good cookbook to me!

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  59. Aww! Would love this Bake with Maw Broon book! I remember reading The Broons cartoon every week in the Sunday Post when I was growing up. I used to bake a lot but don't bother much now (well hardly ever really!). I must try cup cakes again as a start - yours looked good and the Cupcake in a Jar idea looked great!
    @LindyHine twitter

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  60. Whenever i baked fairy caked in the oven they too would sink, even when i did not open the oven during cooking (which is meant to make them sink), HOWEVER i was given a big Swan cupcake maker a few years back and 10 mins in this, they come out perfect... Never gone back. Make loads of different flavours now this way.

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  61. I used to make these with my Gran many moons ago, we would cream together butter & sugar add eggs mix well, sieve half the flour into mixture add milk then fold in the other half of the sieved flour that way it ensures the mixture stay's light & fluffy. Also do not over fill the cases.

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  62. I'm not a great cupcake maker - got to be said I'm much better at eating them! Mine sink sometimes too but I'm determined to master them so I'll keep on trying,

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  63. mine are always spot on, its simple, equal weights of egg, caster sugar, marg and flour. and once in the oven DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR UNTIL THEY ARE COOKED

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  64. I always cook them a little longer than the recipe says.

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  65. i love making cupcakes n love experimenting with flavours, never open the oven door until they are cooked or they will sink, if u want quick cupcakes get a cupcake maker mine cook in less than 3 minutes in mine

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  66. I have and they were eaten veeeery quickly x

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