Hello there, and welcome to Team Pretty Bake, 2010.
We return from our holiday hiatus with the news that I have indeed successfully relocated to my own private abode, and while I will spare you the sordid details, I will just say that I am very much looking forward to hanging out here:
So then, to baking… Since I was a little worn out from the whole moving experience, and everyone was still submerged in a semi-sleepless haze brought on by Melbourne’s thoroughly unforgiving summer heat, it was decided that the start to proceedings should be a leisurely one. It was also decided that it should involve cake. Besides, I’d just finished moving house, and that above all things is deserving of cake.
The planning process followed the usual format of effortless brilliance:
Miss Rose: “I had a cream puff last night that was just heavenly, we must make zabaglione.”
Miss Emily: “Sure.”
Miss Rose: “Oh, and there’s this Dumle fluff from A Cat in the Kitchen…”
Miss Emily: “Sounds good.”
Miss Rose: “Plus, we should do a cake to celebrate you moving in to your new flat.”
Miss Emily: “Cool. Why don’t we do Smitten’s hazelnut brown butter cake, layer it with Dumle fluff and zabaglione, and finish it with some chocolate ganache?”
Miss Rose: “Oh my! Let’s!”
Miss Emily: “Done.”
Hazelnut brown butter cake
This product of our creative genius is stupidly good and undoubtedly one of the best cakes we’ve ever made. It is also very, very dangerous, and given the trip experienced as you hover on the verge of a hyperglycaemic coma, should most probably be classified as an illicit substance. The saying, “so good it hurts” has never been more applicable, and while it may just be the delusions of the sugar rush talking, I do believe our aspirations for world domination are well on their way to fruition...
Having said we were going to keep it simple, we did take the advent of the New Year to put down our next batch of vanilla extract.
And not wanting to let some surplus egg yolks go to waste, also felt it necessary to whip up a simple poppy seed lemon cake while we were at it.
So all in all, it was rather a nice way to get back into the swing of things and say happy new home to me!
Now if you’ll permit a bit of literary tomfoolery, while we’re on the subject of cakes, I just wanted to say a little something concerning those of the cup variety. In fairness, when I say ‘say’, what I really mean is ‘rant’, but then surely you’re used to this by now…
The problem, you see, is that I’m at somewhat of a loss as to why there’s been such a colossal explosion in cupcake popularity these last few years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate cupcakes per se, and I can certainly appreciate their appeal from a production perspective. After all, they bake relatively quickly, permit greater variety and afford a convenient serving size. So although I don’t quite understand why this makes them so much more attractive than any other form of baked treat, even I’ll admit to being partial to their cutesy-kitsch from time to time, given an appropriate context. But there is one aspect to cupcakes, which I simply cannot tolerate, and am at a loss to explain why no one else bears issue with it.
What I’m referring to is the matter of the icing turd; that Mr. Whippy-esque spiral of pastel sugary cream crowned with some form of stereotypical cuteness. I’m aware that my lack of forbearance for cute places me in the minority, and I would normally be happy to respect that they’re just not my thing without making comment, but when something becomes this popular I just have to ask, why the hell do people love these so much? Does everyone really, genuinely think that looks ok? Granted the bright array of colours will undoubtedly appeal to children and those with inclinations for pretty in the obscene, but honestly. Really? Does no one else have flashbacks to the fake plastic turds of childhood show bags? And that texture? To me, the smoothly piped poop smacks of mass-produced plasticity to the point of being off-putting, and is, if I may be so bold, quite frankly offensive.
So I’m just going to put this one out there – cupcakes shit me. I don’t care if they’re the greatest tasting baked treat in existence, if you’re going to finish them off with a colourful turd, I don’t want to know about it. So you can take your cupcake kitsch and place it in a flaming paper bag on my doorstep, I’ll probably be out bucking a trend anyway…