Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cakes to Celebrate Love & Life!


I don't buy recipe books much anymore, preferring to make my own out of recipes I gather from online &  store in easy wipe clean display folders, but whenever I go to Target I can't resist checking the shelves hoping to scan a bargain...and it does happen!


This book was on the shelf for $45 but scanned at only $5! So of course I grabbed 3; one for myself, one for my SIL & one for a volunteer baker at the shop we ran.

Today's recipe I'm sharing is from this book with a bit of my own tweaking.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

2 cups castor sugar
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp of salt
2 eggs at room temp
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Prepare two 12 cup muffin trays with paper cases.

In the bowl of an electric mixer mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a bowl or large plastic measuring jug mix together all the wet ingredients EXCEPT the boiling water.

Add the wet ingredients (minus the boiling water) to the dry ingredients and beat on a medium speed for two minutes.

Stir in boiling water - the batter should be very runny.

Use a ladle to pour batter equally amongst the paper cups.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Leave to cool completely before icing.


CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM ICING

125 grams butter softened
2/3 cup cocoa powder *
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

With an electric mixer beat butter & cocoa on a low speed.

Adding a little of each at a time, add the icing sugar & milk. Beat on a medium speed until it is smooth & is of a spreadable consistency.

* I added extra cocoa powder at this stage as my icing was much much paler than the icing in the picture for the original recipe, where as the cupcake itself had come out just as dark as the picture.

Finally add vanilla.


The plastic ring on my icing gun that holds my large 1M tip broke as I went to ice these so I had to make do with a smaller tip :-/

This is a very rich, moist & fluffy cupcake.

ENJOY!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Washi....A sanity saver!

I wasn't originally fussed either way in regards to Washi Tape. When I first took time to have a look at some at one of my local Scrapbooking stores, the only ones available were all black & white.

It was only when people started posting all these uses for it on Arty Farty Peeps & Pinterest that I took a look on eBay to get an idea of exactly what was out there. 

Well there was heaps of variety. I almost bought some from eBay but around the same time I was considering, the afore mentioned shop got a new shipment in promising lots of variety, so I went to check it out.....and left with two hands full of Washi Tape! :-/



But I didn't just purchase randomly. An idea had already started to form in my mind. I make a lot of photo gifts for the grandparents. And although I try to mix it up a bit, I end up frequently using chipboard albums or shapes; partly because I still have a stash from my Kaiser prize I won in 2008 & partly because they are well priced, cute & post well. 



In fact for the project I'm sharing today, I originally had canvas in mind. Picture me standing in Spotlight with every available space in the pram wedged with blank canvases! And then common sense kicked in. Every year I plan & make these great craft items & forget that it is a nightmare trying to post them. I am freed up a little this year as we're driving to Perth for Christmas but I still have to post a parcel to Tennant Creek, NT. So I talked myself down & challenged myself to come up with a more post friendly way to achieve the same idea; a chipboard album.



Now here's the thing; with the few chipboard albums I have worked on, I really disliked having to paint the edges before covering the 'pages' with paper. It's a small thing I know but it seems like such a time wasting activity. And this is where the Washi Tape came in. I visualised using the Washi Tape around the edge of the chipboard and then gluing down the paper over the top. I already had a pastel colour theme in mind so I had purchased accordingly, with a couple of extras.



I'm happy to say the the Washi Tape behaved exactly as I wanted it to! It was quick, easy & stress free. :-)



My original idea had been to put the kids footprint or handprint on a canvas together with a photo of the child. I think I've done a really good job of reinterpreting my original idea.