Saturday, 8 February 2014

Cupcakes, chemistry and cream cheese frosting.

It will not come as a shock to you that I love to cook.  Give me a great cook book and I will be lost for hours especially the ones that have lots of pictures.  I will even hold it to ransom and possibly refuse to give it back.  This is a fact.  I need photographic proof of what my end product should look like.  I will totally glaze over an otherwise delicious recipes because there are no pictures.

Sadly though, I have a bit of trouble following a recipe.  I do tend to freestyle a bit.  "Don't have this ingredient, meh lets try something else instead".  This philosophy has had mixed results.  I love to experiment with food, talk about food, post pictures of food, and look at other peoples pictures of food.  (This is why I am not skinny.)  I digress, nothing is better than walking into a house that smells delicious.  Food has a way of making you feel safe and happy.

Baking, takes this happiness one step further.  I can't tell you how happy baking makes me.  When I am stressed out and have ten thousand things to do, when my brain is about to explode from all the details crashing around in my ADD addled head, I bake.  It is predictable, and comforting.  It is how I meditate.  It also doesn't hurt that there is yummyness at the end.   But there are rules to baking.  Yes, rules.  This is edible chemisty.   There is no place for my freestyle, "fly by the seat of your pants" attitude.  I have learned this the hard way.  That is not to say that I don't try.

Now back to the point.  Cupcakes.  I have always been fairly ambivalent to cupcakes.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but the cake part generally tastes the same no matter what.  I love cake batter though, Oh how I love cake batter, but generally it tastes better than the cake.  The frosting, on the other hand, is where it was at.  

I have recently been introduced by one of my very good friends and "Team Awesome (a FB foodie club)" compatriots to a book that has changed my life.  This book.

It has changed everything.

Generally I bake once a week.  Friday or Sunday.  The Sunday baking is usually in conjunction with the person responsible for introducing me to this book, my good friend Li.  This book is funny.  There are lots of swear words in here which appeals to the teenager in me.  There are little cartoons too.  They are trying to change the way people treat cupcakes, and after gazing lovingly at its glossy pages, I am inclined to agree. So Li and I have now decided to go all "Julie & Julia" on the Robicelli's.  

We are going to tackle this one recipe at a time.  We will not flinch at French butter cream frosting.  (This is a lie as it is shockingly complicated and requires fancy equipement, but we will work something out.)  I want to try to follow and actual recipe, and find out why certain things have to be at certain temperatures and what reactions they have.  Do things like mise en place.  This is a fancy was of saying get all your shit together and weighed out before you start cooking.  Something I never do.  Preparation!  

I will take show a picture of theirs and then show a picture of ours.  I may even try to take photos of the during too.  (The light in my kitchen is shitty so we will see how this works.)  I will make notes, and then tell you about it.  Well this is the plan.  Sounds fine doesn't it. Maybe I will draw something too.  Who knows?  

What I do know is that I am in love, enthusiastic and spectacularly full of good intentions.  Tomorrow we start.  Not sure what with, but we start.

In the mean time gaze upon this.  Seriously how delicious does this look?  I want to eat the shit out of it.

 I fear for my waist line, and will have to up my exercise routine, but I think you will agree, in the name of science that this has to happen.

Oh I also had a birthday where lots of pig was eaten.  This will for future reference be known as "pig gate".  Choices were made, lessons learned and sad reminders of my lack of gall bladder were made viciously clear.  Totally worth it.  And no there will be no photos.


  1. I live near the Robicelli's bakery in Brooklyn, NY; I found out about your blog, and wish you the best of luck!!! I like baking too; it is relaxing, I have a small kitchen with no counter space, and I manage to bake may be 3 times a month, but baking is fun. I am looking forward to reading about your Julie & Julia baking adventure. Lots of luck!!

    1. I will be in NYC in January, and by then we will be well into their recipes, so my plan it to go to Brooklyn and give them hugs and maybe pass out in their bakery from excitement because it has become such a game-changer for me as well. I've never cared for baking. I'm now fully invested!

    2. I love you missus. And if we can see this through, I am totally going with you.

  2. Oh, forgot to mention; their stuff is amazing.

  3. Good luck Zoë - can't wait to see the results and will try to contain any drooling x

  4. Awesome! I made their Kiwanis cupcake last week - took me ALL DAY but it was seriously delicious. Wrote about it here: