Tag Archives: cupcakes

Johannesburg Cake and Bake Show

Saturday was a day of treats – Urban Angel Food Market in the morning, Cake and Bake Show in the afternoon. Of course, I tried to balance this out with some exercise in the morning, but you can’t out-exercise 2 doughnuts, 4 cupcakes, a couple cookies, a scone and some chocolate truffles for lunch… But hey, we all deserve to let loose every now and then.

Mom and her cupcake

Of course, I only went for the educational aspect of the Cake and Bake Show. It had nothing at all to do with the possibility of free food, surely not! I would say the show was definitely value for money – a goodie bag upon entry, free spin-the-wheel competitions where you win more goodie bags, free samples from the different stalls, especially from the Bakels store…

Johan from the Bakels stand was particularly generous with their offerings...

Johan from the Bakels stand was particularly generous with their offerings…

Sasko was there showcasing their Quick Treats packet mixes, Clicks had a stall for their Love to Bake range, there was lumo baking chocolate, with a fantastic cake display featuring lurid but exciting lumo cake pops, and a stall for ready-made cake/cupcake decorations (sugar decor). Kenwood had a stand as well, but that just upset me… One day when I am rich!

My biggest lesson from the show: you can buy acetate at hardware stores (not baking shops, as I’d previously believed). Also, just because something looks delicious, doesn’t automatically mean it is. And beware of chocolate chip cookies who pretend to have big chocolate chips… They are liars who want to hurt your soul.

Alice in Wonderland Party – Red Velvet Queen of Hearts

The person that wrote Alice in Wonderland was definitely cooked off his rocker. But, some of the best things in life are just that: cooked! (Or “Mad”, if we want to go full-on Alice in Wonderland reference)

Mom’s “hat braai” had me wanting to do a real mad-hatter theme party. Actually, my mini steampunk hat made me want to do a Mad Hatter’s party. I couldn’t go straight “Hat”, though – can’t be copying my mother – so I went with the whimsical land of Alice, with all of it’s crazy tea-parties and glam of the Queen of Hearts.

It turned out quite well: everyone was dressed up, and the theme actually lent itself to great decorations. See my Pinterest board for inspiration.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 3

Following the carrot cupcakes of the other day, I needed to make that cream cheese frosting again. Emphasis there on the word needed. It really was that good. The red velvet cupcakes came out so cute as well! I may have left them out in the open for a bit long, however, so they weren’t as moist as they should have been. The flavour, though, was great, really does the iconic red velvet cupcake.

Red Velvet cupcakes

I have to admit that there is a disappointing amount of cocoa in the red velvet mixture. 1 Tbsp? What’s the point!? Either way, apart from some of the random ingredients (don’t be put off by the smell of the mixture or the consistency of some of the ingredients), these cupcakes are really easy to make (mix mix mix everything together!). Though you might not want to eat the cupcake batter, you will definitely want to dig into the finished product (some may argue that there isn’t even a point to making the cupcakes if you can’t enjoy the batter, but bear with me for that little red gem of joy). Again, I used this recipe from One Sweet Appetite, because her carrot cupcakes were so good, there was no doubt that the red velvet ones would speak to me on the same level.

Red Velvet cupcakes 2

Red Velvet Cupcakes – makes 24

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ C cake flour
  • 1 ½ C caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ C vegetable oil
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp red food colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider because that’s what we had, and it’s an acceptable vinegar substitute for most recipes, which is good to note)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
  2. Prepare your cupcake tin (liners or greased)
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl
  4. Whisk all the wet ingredients together until well-combined
  5. Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until the mixture is of even consistency. Note to self: do not lick the batter spoon
  6. Divide evenly, about ²⁄³ full
  7. Place in the oven on the middle shelf, for 15 minutes, or until the sounds of wet-baking have disappeared, and a skewer comes out the centre of the cupcake dry
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting

 

Cream Cheese Frosting – enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes (and eat the leftovers)

Ingredients

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 5 tsp softened butter (not melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ C icing (powdered/confectioner’s) sugar

Method

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together until soft (this makes it easier to mix the sugar in, instead of having the chunks of dairy flying around)
  2. Add the icing sugar and mix slightly before beating until well-combined and of a desired consistency (like whipped cream or a solid buttercream frosting)
  3. Pipe onto your cupcakes

You could say I’m some kind of hot fox…

… because I’m a serious browser! I love to shop, but when I say “shop” I don’t actually buy anything, so it’s definitely more of an aggressive and distracted browsing…

I came to London, knowing very well that I would be shopping quite a bit, but somehow forgetting that I had experienced a lot more of the Internet than the last time I was here, somehow. I have been in my absolute element, and I have pretty much only scoured Oxford Street in the West End. Below is a collection of some of the funniest and some of the most interesting things I have found so far.

"Dear Santa... I want it all." So true of my shopping explorations. So many wonderful things!

“Dear Santa… I want it all.” So true of my shopping explorations. So many wonderful things!

Clothes oxford

I nearly bought that dress for a Christmas party, but as you can see there was a little problem, and I didn’t have time to buy heels to make up for it. Why don’t they make short long dresses yet? The PJs would be appreciated by many students at Rhodes, and the panda skirt would be purchased in a heartbeat for a lovely friendle of mine who is mad about pandas. Pity that I come from South Africa, and the Rand is depressingly weak at the moment. Also: leggings absolutely everywhere! I still can’t decide if people should be allowed to wear leggings as pants (it depends if the way I wear them counts as wearing them as pants or not).

An array of drinking chalices

An array of drinking chalices

Some of these are appropriate for my four-year-old cousin, some of them she would absolutely love inappropriately. Either way, this is a really fun shop.

Some funky quotes to keep you inspired and motivated on your browsing way

Some funky quotes to keep you inspired and motivated on your browsing way

Quotes on posters, quotes on money tins, quotes to buy for your house, and quotes as graffiti. Everywhere you turn there is someone offering up their own piece of wisdom. I guess that’s just the world today, right?

Shoes. OMG shoes. So many weird and wonderful types... I have this problem that even if they are ugly, I want to try them all on! I also have a problem that I don't actually end up liking any of the nice ones either, so I find the purchasing of shoes to be rather problematic

Shoes. OMG shoes. So many weird and wonderful types… I have this problem that even if they are ugly, I want to try them all on! I also have a problem that I don’t actually end up liking any of the nice ones either, so I find the purchasing of shoes to be rather problematic.

It took me ages to find boots! It turns out there were quite a few unanticipated purchases that have been made since arriving…

The best part of the shopping experience: the food of course. So many treats available at every turn, it's no wonder that high up on my shopping list are a new pair of jeans (in my current size...).

The best part of the shopping experience: the food of course. So many treats available at every turn, it’s no wonder that high up on my shopping list are a new pair of jeans (in my current size…).

Not to worry about all these sweet things though, I am off to gym today (the first time since I’ve been here, how shameful!), which also means I’ll need new gym gear. I optimistically brought along some running clothes. Unfortunately, it really is cold here, and I don’t much fancy running in this unfamiliar area in the dark. So, gym for me! I will also get the added benefit of attending spinning classes which means I won’t completely die on the 110km cycle race that is the Argus in early March 2014.

I have many more hidden shopping districts to attend to shortly, but for now I have done one of the bigger and more important streets. I’ve got that out the way, now I can learn to be less of a tourist and find all the local spots to save some cash and still look as fabulous as everyone else here does.

Classiest treats in Grahamstown

Haricot’s deli and bistro is definitely one of the classiest little cafés in town. Situated very near campus, right across the road from The Rat & Parrot, a local drinking hangout that makes truly fabulous pizza, Haricot’s provides the quaintest little treats and meals. However, for “sophistication” such as this, you really do pay rather heftily in some cases. I went there for a “first date” last year, and (apart from the school children who were out with their families) it was a really romantic venue to take someone for that kind of thing (where it really is a treat) It’s not all expensive, though, so a student can really make it work out for them.

Their cookies are delicious: chocolate and white chocolate chip. They go really well with the hot chocolate

Their cookies are delicious: chocolate and white chocolate chip. They go really well with the hot chocolate

Haricot’s makes the best hot chocolate in town, as far as I’ve had (and I have had quite a few). It’s really cosy in there, and I’ve decided that that’s where I like to get work done, if I feel like working in a coffee shop (which I do, of course). It is also a competitively priced hot chocolate.

I could really sit there all day working, so long as I had a steady stream of that fluffy, creamy goodness

I could really sit there all day working, so long as I had a steady stream of that fluffy, creamy goodness

I went there for breakfast with a friend of mine over the weekend. I had French toast, she had a croissant with jam and cheese. While her croissant was a fair bit smaller than my meal, it was about a third of the price.

More hot chocolate as we try decide from the numerous great options

More hot chocolate as we try decide from the numerous great options

Croissant with jam and cheese - note: it is smaller than it looks in the photo, but big enough

Croissant with jam and cheese – note: it is smaller than it looks in the photo, but big enough

They are also makers of wonderful different breads, which explains the unusual choice of bread in this French toast meal. It was also the first time I had maple syrup: I can't say I'm a fan as it tasted too much like plant (like tree bark or something)

They are also makers of wonderful different breads, which explains the unusual choice of bread in this French toast meal. It was also the first time I had maple syrup: I can’t say I’m a fan as it tasted too much like plant (like tree bark or something)

They do cake, of course. The cakes are pretty, sometimes they are extravagant, but all the time they are  really pricey. Granted, they are large slices, so maybe it works out well if you go there and share a slice with a friend. But when you’re paying the same price for one piece of cake as you are for a full take-away burger with large chips and a drink, you have to question your sweet tooth. I tend to stick to their cupcakes, which are more reasonably priced, and which are also really delicious.

Cutest and fluffiest little chocolate cupcakes

Cutest and fluffiest little chocolate cupcakes

The cupcake they have a solid reputation for, of course, is the red velvet cupcake, and it really is amazing. Make sure you get it fresh, otherwise the buttercream frosting (it tasted like buttercream more than cream cheese frosting, but I could possibly be wrong) will go a bit too hard, and their fresh frosting is light and fluffy and delicious, so don’t miss out.

This cupcake cheered me up after a very bleak morning today. Thank you, Red Velvet Cupcake, I love your fluffy sweetness

This cupcake cheered me up after a very bleak morning today. Thank you, Red Velvet Cupcake, I love your fluffy sweetness