If you’re like me and you love to cook, you’re always finding a recipe you really want to make but can’t eat much of. I think all food writers and bloggers are in the same boat unless they’ve got heaps of kids who have heaps of friends.
Sadly, there are no kids at this house and Charlie the dog shouldn’t eat a lot of people food but that doesn’t stop me from making food to give to friends and neighbours. The problem I’ve had is how to present the food that doesn’t look all smashed when it’s covered in foil or lose a good plate or dish.
I ordered some boxes from PackQueen in Victoria and I couldn’t be happier. My cupcakes looked beautiful when I brought them to Rob today – no more gifts that look like a dog’s breakfast after the journey.
Rob mentioned he liked sharing his treats with the others at his dining table. The nursing home has several dining rooms with no more than 16 in each one. There are ten in Rob’s dining room so I always make sure that there’s enough for everyone. I say he mentioned it because he never asks – it’s always a big hint and I know what I’m supposed to do.
“Are there any mangoes left?” always means, “Could you cut up some mango and bring it over?”
“Will you be making cake or cupcakes soon?” is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Thankfully, they’re only 7 minutes away by car.
Now that I have my nifty pink boxes, I’ll be able to bring cupcakes to the oldies anytime they’re in the mood. The boxes cost $2.75 but for me it’s worth it to have the cupcakes arrive looking as good as when they left home.
PackQueen has boxes for everything and I would have bought more different styles but you have to buy a minimum of 50 on the cupcake boxes and that’s prohibitive for most households. Plus, where do you put the 49 other boxes while you’re waiting for the next time you need to give some away. The company sells at wholesale prices so I shouldn’t complain. Delivery was quick and their staff couldn’t have been more pleasant.
I made these vanilla cupcakes and frosted them with white icing and sprinkled white sanding sugar to look like snow. Then I piped a little Christmas tree in green icing and shook some coloured sprinkles on top of the tree. I didn’t have any stars but I had some white butterflies that sort of looked like stars. The olds didn’t mind a bit. When we left, Rob had icing on his face – good sign.
These cupcakes are light and spongy and made the ancient ones happy. If you want to make someone happy, cupcakes usually do the trick.
The recipe calls for cake flour which is not available in Australia – at least where I live. Thankfully it’s easy to fix by measuring out one cup of plain/all-purpose flour and then removing 2 tablespoons and put that back in the flour bin. Add 2 tablespoons of corn flour/cornstarch and sift the flour about five times to make sure the corn flour/cornstarch is well combined.
I found the best vanilla cupcake recipe a few years ago at Glorious Treats who said that when she tried these, she was sure she heard angels singing. If that’s not convincing enough, come over and I’ll give you a cupcake. When you make your own, get one of these cupcake boxes so your hard work won’t get squooshed.
- 1¼ cups cake flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- ½ cup buttermilk (or ½ cup milk plus ½ teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice- add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined.
- In your mixer bowl add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and oil, beat to combine.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined. Scrap down the side of the bowl. The batter will be thin.
- Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners. Fill liners about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes.
- Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Are you ready for Christmas? It’s so bright outside at night because the Griswalds have moved in across the canal. ALL those lights blink too. I should have taken a photo of our outdoor lights last week. We were so proud of ourselves that we’d gotten our lights up before the Christmas boat parade that goes by the house.
Last night we were outside having a quiet chat and I looked up and burst out laughing. “What’s funny?” John asked.
“8′ long Merry Christmas is upside down.”
“Crap,” and he laughed too.
All fixed now. There are cruise boats that go up and down the canals looking at lights. Imagine the laughter.