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Category Archives: Baking can be fun…

The Hummingbird

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Hi everyone, I hope you have all been enjoying the long week-ends we’ve been lucky enough to have here in S.A lately – I know so many people took full advantage and put in some well deserved leave in the odd days and was able to really enjoy some time off with extended days due to the public holidays. 

As you know Easter has just come and gone and I decided since I had a great deal of extra time on my hands I would get a little creative and try something different. I know I’ve seen pictures in recipe books and heard stories about how awesome this cake was, but until I tried it I was rather skeptical. I mean I’m not a fan of pineapples, fresh or out the tin and banana in the form of banana muffins/loaf/cake is a little boring in my opinion. However together these ingredients work magic in what’s known as the Hummingbird Cake. 

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It is a firm, but moist cake and I think what I love even more about it is the fact that it’s not overly sweet and really looks great in a modern rustic kind of way. A great Birthday cake that would wow friends and family alike, it’s something different in an awesome way.

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Like most cakes this one has a long history and it’s fare share of drama – as there’s a heavy debate as to where this cake originates; Jamaica or the USA…? Well that’s a fight I will leave to the foodie historians as its been re-invented so many times to suit the ever changing taste of society – so in my humble opinion tracing it’s lineage could prove to be rather difficult.

So to put any other doubters to rest, the Hummingbird Cake is really a show stopper and definitely a cake to add to your repertoire if you bake regularly and enjoy something other than the usual suspects (chocolate, vanilla or red-velvet). The other wow factor this cake has is that with these ingredient you could get away with selling it as a “healthy” alternative as it’s made primarily of fruit… hahaha so for the weight conscious crowd this cake would be an instant hit. 

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I got my recipe off the net, at the Southern Living site:

 http://www.southernliving.com/food/entertaining/hummingbird-cake .

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I just loved the picture they had in the magazine back then and just couldn’t resist sharing.

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There are a few more public holidays coming up and if, like me you enjoy having family or friends over… why not try your hand at making this awesome cake. As always I would love to hear from you… thoughts, comments and suggestions welcome.

Till next time, happy baking everyone

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Easter Long week-end… A Good Friday Snapshot

Yip Easter 2014 Long week-end has come and gone. It once again proved to be an awesome time spent with the family, not to mention a great time to relax. Hubby made his Pickled Fish… which is the tradition for this time of year, but also for Hubby who is now dubbed the King of the Kitchen at Easter. I am sure you can recall from my post last year that I can not stand the smell of the onion and vinegar mix… I must confess that I have found an awesome little orange peel and cinnamon boil up which counteracts the odor leaving a great warm sent after the pickle fish preparation.

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This year I decided to make my own Hot-cross buns… I used the Paul Hollywood variation of this classic bun. I must say that it was a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort and the time. Like most of the comments on the online recipe I also added additional spices and fruit. My sister also doesn’t like raisins so I made her a chocolate-chip option using the same dough. I used this recipe:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2066661/hot-cross-buns and I was not disappointed… the other plus is that we had them fresh out the oven ready for lunch.

Homemade Easter Hot-cross Buns (2)

Homemade Easter Hot-cross Buns (1)

I also made some chicken pie, with an Easter theme and my mom did the veg – we had this as a second course which always compliments Good Friday lunch beautifully. Last year my mom was away so it was really nice to have her home this year to really enjoy the week-end together as a family. My cousin and his girlfriend also popped by for lunch, which made the day extra special to me!

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I feel a bit like an infomercial now… “but wait there’s more, if you sign up today you will also get” some dessert. Yip I tried my hand at the famous Hummingbird Cake. I have heard and read so much about this American classic I had to see what the fuss was all about. All I can say is that it is one of my new all time favorites. So easy to make and really just an awesome cake. So awesome I am going to dedicate an entire post to it… from recipe used to links to other blogs who have tried it, but for the curious few here’s a picture.

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I hope you all had a Blessed and safe Easter week-end. Let me know what you got up to or if you tried your culinary hand at some new cooking or baking recipe’s. I’m always eager to hear from you.

Happy Baking

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From Scratch

It is with much excitement that I am writing this post to share with you that after a few years of following recipe’s to the letter I have finally gathered the skill and the courage to make up my own.
 
As you know I have been on a bit of a health buzz lately so substituted a number of ingredients in the recipe’s I’ve been using and some how this has helped to unlock my own creativity and given me the confidence to write my own recipe from scratch.
 
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It really wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but I think the trick is to ensure that you get your quantities correct – enough liquid ingredients vs dry ingredients. So recipe No.1 is done and dusted, very excited to share some more from the “Cupcake Couture Diary” – thought this would be a cool name for my own recipe creations.
 
So here they are… my Apple and Peach Oat and 4Seed strudel Muffins

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Not to toot my own horn, but they really were a great hit. You know what most people hate about health muffins  are how dry they are, but these mini bombs of flavor were moist and light. They also baked to a nice golden brown with a bit of a chewy crust. The fruit wasn’t overly visible and the 4 seeds gave a nice little crunch to every bite.

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If your keen to try them out, drop me a line and I’ll share it with you, they make +/- 24 units. Oh and 3 of the star ingredients is the Almond Milk, Organic or Regular Rolled Oats and the 4Seed Mix (Sunflower, Pumpkin, Flaxseed, Sesame). These seeds are so super healthy and give you an awesome energy boost you need, whether you enjoy them in the morning as a breakfast on the run or afternoon snack.
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Almond Milk, Rolled Oats and 4Seed Mix
 
I need to just add that I really appreciate all the support from all of you guys – for paying a keen interest in this blog, reading the posts and commenting really means a great deal; as I really enjoy getting feedback from you so please keep it up.
 
Happy Baking 

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Ps: If your in the Cape Town area I hope to see you at the Constantia Market this coming week-end, I’ll be making my first trading appearance for the new year, so let me know if you would like more info (date and time) – I plan on having a great table of treats for sale.

 

Pear Ginger Muffins with Hazelnuts and Milk Chocolate

What an awesome breakfast muffin… Thanks to Korena in the Kitchen for sharing and allowing me to re-blog.
 
Happy Baking
Cupcake Couture

2013 Year in review

This post is without a doubt dedicated to all my family, friends, fellow bloggers and bakers alike who experienced 2013 from either the crazy kitchen or on the receiving end of a delectable sugary treat handmade with much love, care and patience. Not to mention my two 4 legged fury family who spend hours with very little cuddles and attention whilst I was busy in the Kitchen baking up a storm.
 
 
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I know I still owe you guys about 3 catch up posts from a white chocolate collar to new tips and techniques… but I’m not going to make any promises as I am finding time fleet by and when I look back at the clock I’ve not done what I’ve said I would. Not a great start to the New Year with so much still on the back burner – but I endeavour to wow you all and get onto writing these wrongs 🙂 So with my apology in hand I take a brief look back at 2013 and what to look out for in 2014.
 
As you all know I was pretty busy this year – not only developing new skills and techniques, but also promoting my brand. As a new kid on the home-based business block I have had so much to learn, not only about the arena I am stepping into, but also about myself and my own strengths, weaknesses and endurance.  I know that without my faith and the support from family and close friends 2013 could have been such a different year for me and my future business plans.

2013 in Review

So here is is… 2013 the year in review
– I got my hands free stand mixer, which has taken a little while to get used to, but now that I have it all down to a sing and dance I don’t think I could survive without it.  So if you want my advise do yourself a favor and save up for one of these… it’s well worth it.
 
– March was a really big month for Cupcake Couture – as we introduced ourselves to the public, not friends or family or any of their acquaintances… neutral people who did not have any prejudice in terms of the business or it’s future. I could happily agree that this was the turning point as I was able to showcase my product and it’s quality – the awesome people of Constantia loved it! Cupcake Couture has been a rolling stone ever since.

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– My sister graduated with her honors in June, which was a special time as it was a reminder that hard work and persistence on any area of your life pays off in the end. We also celebrated fathers day and even though we love our dad dearly everyday… it was awesome to really celebrate him and what he means to us.  On the baking front I experimented with an array of tarts and meringues.
 
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– July is Birthday month in our household as we celebrate both my mom and sisters birthday… it was also the month I prepped for my first big project of the year.
 
– Brad and Ronel, good friends of ours were expecting their first baby, so I was asked to do their baby shower cake and other sweet treats. I enjoyed this project immensely as I got to be creative, challenge myself a little as well as use baby pink and purple. It was a beautiful and blessed day with perfect weather that truly reflected mom and baby.

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– It was another busy month, September… making a bible cake for a churches birthday celebration as well as a semi traditional wedding cake for friends of ours. Looking back remembering the joy experienced at this time, not only for the business opportunities, but also for the opening doors and the opportunity to really showcase aspiring towards your dreams no matter what the obstacles ahead my present.
 
 
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– October, November had me busy in a very different way; although still very much on the business it was more the administrative side rather than the baking aspect. I attended a small business workshop at the V&A Waterfront and submitted my business plan to Business Partners. I learnt so much invaluable information in these two months and the support I received from complete strangers was so overwhelming. October also had me have the privilege of working on a super awesome 60th birthday for one of the most amazing people in my life – real organic roses on a 2 tier chocolate cake with a white chocolate collar.

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December is the festive season and with it comes joy and laughter and a reminder of those we have lost along the way. A time of reflection and thanks giving for the many blessings received in the year. I was given a surprise party for my birthday from my husband and enjoyed yet another awesome Christmas with my family – we are all happy and healthy… looking forward to the New Year.
 
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If I had to describe 2013 in a few words I would definitely say it was a year for learning new things, taking on new challenges and pursuing old dreams. A year not without it’s challenges, but now that it’s done I can look back and be so thankful for the people I surround myself with and count my many, many blessings.
 
So what does 2014 have in store for Cupcake Couture – well if I left it entirely to my imagination and dreams I would need plenty more days in the year. 1 thing I can be certain of though is that this is the year we take a little more risk and a few more steps to the ultimate goal.

2014

With this I would love to thank you all for your love and support in 2013 and wish you all a joyous and prosperous 2014 – may this be a special year for you whatever you have set aside to achieve.

Thanks

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Busy, Busy, Busy

I am sure from my title you already know it must be pretty hectic on my side. I have been busy with so many orders I can hardly keep up. Day job 7:15am to 16:00pm then rush home to start baking… turning off the light at around 1:00am only to start the new working day all over again. This is by no means a complaint, more like an observation about how awesome starting a new venture can be and as far as I know most of the greats started off this way too.

I have been working actively on my Facebook page trying to increase my number of likes – at the moment I’m on 79 hoping to reach 100 by the end of this month. I have also hugely incentivised this by encouraging my current followers to share my page and the follower that assists me by achieving the most likes from his/her shares will win a prize. I have not quite decided on the prize yet – other than knowing it’s going to be epic.

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New business cards are in the process and since summer is on it’s way Constantia market had better be ready – Cupcake Couture is working hard and going to hit you with a dollop of sweetness you’ll never want to forget. I will post details here as well as on Facebook, so please keep an eye open for this so you can come and support and experience not only what I have to offer but also the rest of the market.

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I’m going to do a little montage of everything I’ve been working on in my next post, but what I can say is there are a number of new tricks, tips and techniques learned and I am going to share them with you. You know there is, in my opinion nothing worse than someone who keep all their knowledge or skill to themselves – as I have learned a great deal from other bakers out there open to sharing what they know; so consider my share as a tribute to them.

Coming in next posts

Making modelling chocolate from scratch

Making a chocolate collar

Using fresh flowers on a cake

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It may not seem like much from the list, but let me tell you – if you didn’t study to be an awesome cake maker or decorator you need to be able to sift through millions of online tutorials, recipes, blogs and u-tube video’s to find the answers Julia Child would have been proud of. So haters can go right ahead and hate, but I am still prepared to show you what I have and I’m positive I’ll still knock your socks off.

Happy Baking you guys!

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Coming soon…

Hi all, yes I’ve been very quiet lately… but this has been one bumper month for me; so I’ve done most of my updates via my Facebook page out of sheer ease, and time.

However, I have a big project I’m currently working on, which I can not wait to share with all of you; but I’m not going to spoil it for the expectant couple… so for now, it’s classified – post and pictures to follow.

I do hope you are still baking up a storm and enjoying experimenting with new techniques. I need to just add that working on this project has opened my shopping to a whole new experiences as I’ve found a few new places to purchase awesome baker goods at the most ridiculous prices… can’t wait to share.

Babyshower Post Coming soon

Happy Baking

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