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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Flamingo skirts, fairy cakes and Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

This morning, I cheekily finished off the last two flamingo skirts whilst the littlest girl sat next to me with her play dough. 

You see, I'd made the error of unveiling one finished skirt without having the other ones ready. Given the first skirt was an instant hit with its owner, the unfinished nature of the other skirts quickly became a problem when the school girls returned home.

Gathered skirts are not exactly the rocket science of sewing, I know. But they are very satisfying all the same, especially if you have a fabulous flamingo print to show off, and, you need to make three.

Please indulge me and coo suitably over how clever (I feel) it was of me to think ahead and make labels for the skirts. This will make life easier when it comes to sorting out the washing, trust me. (Don't even get me started over the trauma of pairing up all the necessary socks and sorting pants for three little girls so similar in age. Let's just say I am training up the biggest girl, heaping on praise - and house points - each time she helps me with it.)

Ta - da!
 Next, some footage of mine and the littlest girl's baking adventures this afternoon.

Does anyone know or care what the difference is between fairy cakes and cupcakes? We made both this afternoon, so prepare for me to bore you with a quick run down.

Fairy cake (complete with fairy dust)
If you are interested, the fairy cakes of my childhood are a simple equal amounts (4 oz) mixture of butter, flour and sugar, with a couple of eggs, and whizzed up and dolloped into a dozen cases before going in the oven. Simple water based icing with sprinkles is the orthodox way ahead with decorating. Cupcakes are a more recently popular thing here, thanks to our cousins across the pond - and, if you're being cynical about it - an excuse for charging handsomely if on sale. The have more sugar than flour, less egg (instead more milk to make up for that), and, usually have tons of butter icing on (I use half what the recipe says, as have never managed to pile all the recommended butter icing on top of the cake and eat it without feeling slightly sick). In my humble cake eating opinion, both are lovely. Just in case you live in Bedford and were thinking of making a batch of either and leaving some on my doorstep.. he, he.

Here are some of the t shirt designs we came up with together over the school holidays. I've only managed to go the the vast effort of switching the iron on and finishing one. That is now covered in porridge and strawberry juice (above). But you get the idea.

The girl loves washing up after our cooking sessions. Still working on the getting stuff clean without soaking the kitchen floor part of the process.

Onto the next part of the baking adventure. Whilst the littlest girl was busily occupied with her fairy cake decorating and washing up duties, I was free to bake the Jaffa Cake cupcakes unassisted.

This was the very first recipe my friend Sang and I cooed over when we opened up the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home book just after she gave it to me.

I vowed to make some before too long.

Not least because I a) love Jaffa Cakes and b) had this jar of posh marmalade in the cupboard. I am a Marmite on toast girl, and would choose plain butter on toast before allowing marmalade anywhere near my breakfast. But in a cake? I am open minded.

The verdict?

These were fun to make, and good to look at. Easy enough that I could have made them even if the littlest girl was `helping'.

The taste?

Good. No, very good. Very, very good (even if, like me, you don't normally like marmalade).

And, exciting news just in for those living in Bedford - a new fabric shop has just opened by the bus station in town. They are the same people who run the shop in Bletchley, where the fabulous flamingo fabric came from. Apparently, it is still early days as far as levels of stock go, but definitely worth popping in regularly to see what new goodies they are getting in...

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