Posts Tagged ‘recipes’


At work I have been labeled the cupcake queen. Whether I deserve this title or not is yet to be seen. All I know is that I make cupcakes a lot.

One of the lovely ladies I work with actually put in an order for her friend’s birthday and I thought I would show you what I made.

don't they look beautiful!

I made three different varieties of cupcakes for her.

The first were these Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with lovely green mint frosting.

mmm... minty goodness!!

Then these Cinnamon Swirl Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

ohh.. lovely appley mapley gorgeousness!

Then these Caramel Pear & Ginger Cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream.


I can tell you that they are all delicious. In fact, I had to clear some frosting off my greedy fingers to type this post!!

Go and try the recipes! They are LOVELY!!!


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It’s officially autumn which is my favourite season of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there are things about winter that I love and there are certainly things about spring and summer that I love as well, but nothing compares to the leaf-crunching, crisp air, hot chocolate and a good book, smell of distant smoke, perfect weather for baking loveliness of autumn.

And, boy, am I ever excited!

One thing, though, autumn here is just not as good as autumn in Ohio. The leaves on the tress change colours differently (it seems to happen overnight here…) and the air is more damp than crisp (read: constant rain). There aren’t (as far as I can find) any orchards nearby where I can go apple-picking. There are no choose-your-own pumpkin patches. No haunted houses. No trick-or-treating (unless you’re under the age of 7). I can’t find any non-alcoholic apple cider and there’s no anticipation of deep winter with feet and feet of snow. Not to mention their screaming lack of THANKSGIVING.

But I have resolved to make the most of it.

Attempt number one was my baking of Smitten Kitchen’s Jewish Apple Cake whish has to be my favorite First Thing To Bake in Fall. This would have worked wonderfully, I had visions of myself seated on the stairs of our deck drinking hot coffee and enjoying this cake in the mist of a chilly Sunday morning, however this was not to be. Why? Because after the cake was in the oven for nearly 3 hours and still liquid I had to admit to myself that the oven just isn’t working. So. Until we figure out what is wrong with our new oven I’m afraid my enjoyment of fall has been thwarted.

There will be no delicious apple cake, no dense and sticky gingerbread, no Christmas Morning Muffins fresh and hot from the oven. The way of tackling this problem is three fold. First I am going to ask my In-Laws if I can bake cake at their house (understanding I’ll surrender half shares in all baked goods), second I am going to plead with my husband to figure out how to fix our oven (thermostat? auto-shut off? who knows!) and if we can’t get it fixed I am going to beg my sister and brother in-laws (hi Alan!) to give us their old oven when they get their new oven installed during their kitchen renovation. Although the broken oven in our kitchen right now is the result of one such charitable donation and I’m wondering if it’s just a bad idea to begin with.

So, to take my mind off the broken oven and the startling lack of sweet cinnamon and apple smelling kitchen, S and I are redecorating our lounge. This is an ongoing task which is sapping my will to live. First the wallpaper had to come down which took forever, then we had to wash the wallpaper residue off the walls, which took forever. Since then we have painted two coats of white paint over the (lovely, ha) teal blue paint which had been hiding beneath the wallpaper (and I thought it couldn’t get worse than peach!). Now all that remains is gloss paint on the woodwork (loads of it!) and two coats of our chosen color on the walls.

We’ve been taking our time with this task so as not to wear ourselves out, however now we have a deadline in the form of S’s flat-screen television purchase which will be delivered a week from tomorrow. A race to finish the lounge so we can hang a television on our wall. Apparently it’s 3.8cm wide which is, apparently, amazing.

So this weekend will be spent not baking, but painting. My trip down to Galloway Forest Park will have to wait another week, although the leaves are still green so there’s no point in going until they start to change. I just hope they don’t do their spectacular changing colour in one evening and then falling off the trees in one fell swoop all over the course of 24 hours trick (see the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter 3), like they usually do. Because if I miss the leaves falling off their trees I might just cry until spring time.

Do yourselves a favor, though, and bake that apple cake.  It’s delicious and the perfect treat to have ready when returning into the house after raking a metric tonne of leaves off the lawn in the backyard.  And go to an orchard and pick-your-own apples to make it with.

Happy Fall.



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The first part of my post is about cupcakes. The best vanilla cupcakes I have ever had, actually. Ever. The recipe is from Amy Sedaris (I know!) and it can be found any number of places. The one I used is from Cupcakes Take The Cake and I followed it to the letter. I doubled the recipe and got 36 cupcakes, 30 of which went to my work.  They turned out perfectly and were, according to the people at my work, the most talked about treat the office has ever seen! Which I thought was nice of them to say!! Anyway, here are the cupcakes:



The second half of this post is about my birthday tomorrow.  The Pressies part.  Or – Why I Have The Best Husband, Mom, Brother, Sister and Niece.

The following is what I came home from work to:


Now, the big brown one – as you can see – is from my Mom.  The two with the stars are from my husband and the rest are from Eric, Linda and Natalie!

I have no idea what is in any of them – not even the brown box because S took away the custom’s slip so I couldn’t even cheat and find out that way.

Also I think he made a cake for me – but it is not in the fridge so I have no idea where it could be. 

So, all in all I am excited about the wonderful birthday I am going to have!

I will post more afterwards!!

Now, I am going to put on my PJs and watch some of my favorite films from snug in my bed!!!!!



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Obama Inauguration Celebration…


Goodbye & good riddance Bush, you old bastard.

Today is a very exciting day.  And to celebrate Obama’s Inauguration, I made cupcakes.  Devils Food, of course, with buttercream frosting.

And I decorated them to show my (finally renewed) sense of pride in being an American.  See?:

Congratulations President Obama!

Congratulations President Obama!

 And before you ask, no there are not exactly 50 stars.  My lovely husband enquired whether there were (at that point there were only 9 per cupcake and 9×4=36) and when I said no he laughed.  So then I had to make sure there WERE the correct amount of stars.  Except I stopped paying attention and went WAY overboard so there are actually 67 stars. 

Know any territories that would like to be made into US states?

In other news we got our new dining room table, chairs, stools and side table.  S actually saw them in a discount furniture store a week or so ago and we went this past Saturday to take a look.  Well, I followed S and fell immediately in love with this set.  It’s amazing.  It got delivered yesterday and S and I spent the night assembling chairs.  Want to see a picture?  OK!!

our new solid wood dining table  
our new solid wood dining table

And another shot, showing more chairs and the side table:

see the side table in the background?
see the side table in the background?

It’s a bit dark, but you get the idea.  The block of wood in the front of the picture is one of the stools – meant to be the chairs for the table, but we thought they might be a tad uncomfortable so we bought actual chairs as well as some stools.  The two dark squares on top of the table are the tops of the “legs” which are two solid square blocks of wood.

We’re buying a matching coffee table as well, but that has yet to be ordered. 
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.  I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we LOVE it!!!

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2008 was a very good, very busy year. 

In 2008 I became an aunt, got engaged, got married, bought and moved into a new house and adopted 2 kittens.  Not to mention the 2 week holiday to the East Coast of America where I met my brand-new niece for the first time!  And the mountains of DIY we’ve undertaken at the new house.

We’ve gutted and re-decorated all three bedrooms, the kitchen and all three bathrooms.  Actually, the third bathroom is still waiting to be finished, but as it is only hanging of towel rails, mirrors and the like, I think we can call the ensuite finished.  Finally.

So what will 2009 have in store for me?  Hopefully not quite as much as 2008 because I don’t think I could do all  that again!!

I hate the word resolution and I don’t think you should have to wait until January to make goals in your life, but it is a rather convenient time to join the goal-setting bandwagon.  So here I go.

  • I will read a book a week.  Or, rather, an average of a book a week.  52 books in 2009 and I am sticking to it.  I’m already behind. (shh!)
  • I will make more of an effort to complete the list of 100 Snapshots listed here.  I miss my camera and I miss taking photographs.  Not just pictures, mind, but actual, thought-through photographs.  So I am going to try harder.
  • I will bake more of the recipes I see on the hundred or so food blogs I read religiously.  I may even post about some of them.  So far this year I’ve made  Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread from the recipe posted by Deb of  Smitten Kitchen which has to be my favorite blog.  Wonderful recipes, beautiful pictures and a handful of humour thrown in for good measure.  Go and visit her site, she is amazing. (And the gingerbread?  So very lovely…)
  • I will call my far-away family and friends more often.  I may be 3,444 miles from them but that is no excuse.
  • I will go see something at the theatre.
  • I will spend more time writing.  Writing, writing, writing…  One of these days I will finish the novels that I have started (yes, plural) and I’m not going to let any more half-as-talented-and-twice-as-annoying-as-me “writers” beat me to the punch, and the millions. 

My favorites from 2008?

Website – Cake Wrecks (The Cookie Monster cake still makes me laugh until I cry.)

Book – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Read it right now.  Seriously.)

Poem – i carry your heart with me by e e cummings (A late entry, but utterly perfect.  Thanks, Kate.)

Song, New – Revelry by Kings of Leon

Song, Old – An Olive Grove Facing the Sea by Snow Patrol is still my favorite.

Album – Only By the Night, Kings of Leon

Movie, New – The only film I saw in cinemas this year was Twilight and it certainly does not rate as a favorite.  It wasn’t very good. actually.  I’m looking forward to seeing Australia, if that counts.  If you want a movie I saw this year for the first time and loved, loved, loved then I’d go with Stardust (Thanks again, Kate).

Movie, Old – Pride & Prejudice (Not the BBC adaptation)

TV Show – Toss up between Pushing Daisies and The Big Bang Theory

And what am I looking forward to in 2009?  Going on honeymoon.  Finishing the last of the huge DIY projects.  Finding a new job (fingers crossed).  Watching my niece grow and grow and grow.  Getting my hair cut short.  Hopefully making it back to the States at some point to see people and finally box up all my books to ship over here.  The first year of married life.

That is it, I think.  Stay tuned for updates on the honeymoon, which has been booked, and my first of the 52 books of the year.

Happy 2009.



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