Cupcakes, fairy cakes, buns...I don't care what you call them, they are delicious!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

It's not often that you can say that you need to make cupcakes. It's much more common that you'd want or even fancy making cupcakes but very rarely need. I found myself needing to try out a method of cake making this week as I'm planning on giving away a dry cake mix as part of a present at christmas and wanted to make sure it would work.

The cakes were just a simple sponge recipe (4oz each of sugar, SR flour and butter with 2 eggs and a bit of vanilla extract). I have always made my sponges by creaming the butter and sugar together, adding the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and then folding in the flour gently. While it doesn't really take a long time, I felt that if I was giving away the mix (really only sugar and flour) then I wanted it to be really simple to make. This is where the all-in-one method comes into play. Basically you chuck all the ingredients in together and, using an electric whisk, blend everything together until smooth. It takes about 5 minutes from start to finish (which can only be a good thing). I was a little worried that the mix would be too thick but it soon smoothed out.

I put quite a lot of mixture into the cake cases because we don't tend to eat a lot of cake between us and I figured the fewer we had, the easier it would be to finish them in good time. It would be very easy to double the mixture if that's what you wanted or just to make smaller cakes. They cooked in the over for about 20 minutes as 175C (my oven is notoriously fussy so it's easier to tell that they are cooked by eye - they should be a pale gold colour and springy to the touch, a cocktail stick inserted into the centre should come out clean).

I also decided to decorate these cakes. We found a package of Mini mini marshmallows (teeny tiny mallows made by Dr. Oetker - don't seem to be able to find a link anywhere) on offer in the supermarket and bought one for us and one for the aforementioned christmas gift so I used those with a simple water icing. I made butterfly buns with buttercream and a 1/4 of a glace cherry each and used the last of the buttercream with some sugar sprinkles.

I was very impressed at how well this method worked out. I thought that it might be a little heavy but the cakes are moist and fluffy with a faint vanilla flavour. The icing was very simple and the marshmallows are soft and quite cute.



Now, I know a lot of people who are squeamish about sushi. The whole idea that it revolves around raw fish is a bit of a misnomer. I'm not going to deny the fact that sushi and raw fish are frequently found together but the word "sushi" actually refers to the vinegared rice rather than the filling/topping that goes with it. That being the case, there are plenty of non-fish related fillings out there to be enjoyed. My personal favourite on the home-made sushi front is ham and mustard. The slight saltiness of the ham and the kick of the mustard (I use English) compliments the seasoned rice perfectly. Of course, there are endless possibilities, I've used carrots and cucumber for vegetarian options, tuna-mayo-wasabi and a quick trawl of the internet will give you yet more filling ideas.

Sushi is also really easy to make. You need the right rice which is becoming more widely available in supermarkets (I know Sainsburys, Tesco and Morrisons all sell it). I cook mine following the guidelines on Cooking Cute and it seems to work perfectly every time. I don't have a rice cooker so I just use a saucepan with a lid. Next I use pre-made sushi vinegar (I got mine from Sainsburys) on the hot rice and cut it in using a large spoon (while simultaneously fanning it with a spatula - if I haven't got a helper) until it is shiny and well coated. I don't tend to measure, I just do it by eye and it seems fine.

Rolling sushi is the fun part (obviously, this is only the case with maki rolls). I think it'd be easier to explain with photos and a tutorial so next time I make some, I'll try and remember to take step-by-step photos. Basically, you spread and press the cooled rice onto a nori sheet (leaving a gap at either end). Next, you line up the filling lengthways on the rice and then roll. I don't use a mat to roll, I tend to either just manage without or use a tea towel to keep it dry and clean.

I serve my sushi rolls with wasabi and sweet chilli sauce and sometimes include soy sauce or another dipping sauce (usually bought from China Town in Newcastle). It's very good for you (maybe not so much with the sweet chilli or mayo) and very moreish. I'd happily stick a few in a lunch box as something a bit more interesting than sandwiches.


Getting back on track

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Apologies for the months of an update free blog. I've been busy but am finally in a position to start up again. In the next few days, I'll be adding posts on various food based activities I have been indulging in. There are tons of photos on my phone ready to be uploaded too so bear with me and I'll reward you with yummy stuff soon.


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP