Friday 16 April 2010

Baking and babysitting.

A few weekends ago, I was on kid-duty, which was... totally ace, actually. My niece is the coolest little person ever.

Anyway, we decided to raid my trusty Hummingbird cookbook, which if you don't own by now, you totally should - it's just the best. Beautiful pictures, yummy cakes, and best of all, the recipes are really easy to follow and quite hard to screw up.


I've long been obsessed with the marshmallow cupcakes in the book, because they look so creative and yummy. I mean, they have melted marshmallow in them! What's not to love?

So, we made them (accompanied by a beautifully timed showing of
The Railway Children on ITV3 - probably my favourite film ever, the only problem is that I can only watch it for about ten minutes at a time before I start crying). The cake was fluffy and yummy, and the icing was FANTASTIC. I hadn't tried their vanilla frosting before, and it's now going to be my go-to frosting. Amazing. I think it's the combo of lots of vanilla and using milk instead of water to improve the consistency.

No complaints, really, until I got to the part where you melt marshmallows and spoon a little into the middle of each cupcake. Sounds simple. But melted marshmallow is the stickiest substance in the universe. I actually started panicking that I wasn't going to get it unstuck from my skin, that it was going to meld itself to my fingers and I was going to have to learn to live with fingers that were part marshmallow, part skin.

The key, in the end, was to moisten my hands before handling the marshmallow, but it made the final result insanely sweet. I have an epic sweet tooth, but these were too much even for me. I think I may still be thirsty. However, everyone who has tried them since has been like, 'OMG, Sarah. Good cake. Gooood cake.' The marshmallow stayed squishy, and not sticky or crunchy (which is a weird side-effect of melted marshmallow if you leave it exposed to the air for too long). But no, as far as I'm concerned - Fail. Pretty, though.

Me and the kid decreed these cakes a failure, and decided that we would make carrot cake on Sunday to make up for it. Which is pretty hard to screw up, and indeed, it was. We used the recipe in the Hummingbird book (which makes a three tiered cake, plus enough icing for all the layers and the outside) to make carrot cupcakes. Awesome... but it made 30+ cupcakes. The amount of cream cheese icing it generated was obscene.

I had to pawn them off on work colleagues in the end, just to get them out my house (I cannot have cupcakes in the house for too long, otherwise I will not fit in the house for long). They were goooood. And the kid is surprisingly good at piping icing.

(A bit too good, actually. I like doing it too!)

And then we flopped on my bed and continued the baking + classic films theme of the weekend, and I introduced her to The Secret Garden. Yep, I'm pretty much the best auntie ever.



  1. I know what you mean about Marshmallow, its a nightmare when its melted! The cupcakes look lovely though. I really need to get my hands on the Hummingbird Bakery book!

  2. Marshmallow Cupcakes sound like the dreamiest thing ever!!


  3. YUM! these look lovely. I love the carrot ones, but I havent made the marshmallow ones because of that exact reason- the sticky factor! eek.

  4. I had SO much trouble with those marshmallow ones too! I gave up in the end, I don't even like marshmallows that much haha.


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