Hello to those of you who are still following my musings. I hope you are enjoying the summer weather although it's not really what we're used to in Blighty in July!
I do love the hot weather but it is not easy to bake or ice cupcakes when the temperature is on a par with Barbados! I'm sure other bakers out there are encountering the same issues. I have decided to keep baking simple and try to avoid iced cakes unless I have lots of ice packs on hand to keep them cool. I have, however, been practising my buttercream recipe and the consistency is much better so that I don't need a bodybuilding diploma to squeeze my buttercream into delicate flowers!
First of all, the icing sugar must be sifted carefully so that there are absolutely no lumps. Start the buttercream by whisking 80g of softened butter until it becomes slightly pale. Add 250g of sifted icing sugar and after a minute of whisking, one to two tablespoons (25ml) of milk or flavouring. Beat for 4 and 1/2 minutes with an electric hand mixer. Just before the last 30 seconds, add 1 tablespoon of boiled water and beat again for a final 30 seconds. Your buttercream should be lovely and smooth with a soft consistency. If it's too soft, cool it down in the fridge for a few minutes and make sure your hands are cold when you start to use it.
I made lavender buttercream this month for my lavender cupcakes. I infused 3 tablespoons of edible lavender flowers in 120 ml of milk overnight and then added the strained mixture to my buttercream mix the next day. The reason I used edible lavender flowers and not lavender from my garden is to ensure that they are free of insects and impurities, especially when serving to customers. The taste of lavender is gorgeous and takes the edge of the sweetness of plain buttercream. The same principle can be applied to other simple flavours such as coffee or lemon. With lemon, I would suggest adding grated lemon rind to the milk rather than squeezing lemon juice. There is more flavour in the rind and of course less liquid. With coffee, make up a rich two tablespoons of coffee with two tablespoons of water and add this instead of the milk to the recipe above.
Speaking of baking and icing, I was chuffed to be asked to judge the BKD bake off last weekend with Victoria from Victoria's Kitchen. BKD is a performance dance company based in Woking and Victoria's Kitchen is a gorgeous baking studio running workshops in Woking. We were asked to bring our caravan to the BKD bake off and fundraiser to sell cream teas to over 100 attendees. They were raising money for some athletic equipment in the dance studio at their base in Kingfield School and so we also helped to raise more funds by selling the bake off cakes after the competition. Anyway, Victoria and I, in true British Bake Off style, tasted and examined all 20 cakes and judged based on appearance, creativity, taste and texture. I think, due to my teaching experience, I was a much harsher marker than Victoria but we came to a clear decision and found our winners and runners up. There were some incredibly impressive entries. MMC are looking forward to working with both Miss Cathie and Victoria again. In fact, I'm booked onto one of Victoria's gorgeous piped flower courses in September. In the meantime, you might want to take advantage of Victoria's Kitchen's voucher sale available until the end of July.
And so, onto our plans for the rest of the summer. It sure is busy here at MMC HQ and so apologies for any blog absences. We try to keep in touch with you all as much as possible. We are very excited to be a vendor at Weyfest in the main arena from 19th to 21st August. As you may know, we love music and love to dance. We will still be dressed up with Victory rolls and flowery dresses (even Mike!) and serving our usual cream teas plus some toasted sandwiches and mugs, yes, I said 'mugs', of tea. We love the idea of the mugs rather than creating waste with take away cups. Customers can rent their mug for a £1 and this will be returned once the mug comes back for us to wash up. If you're at Weyfest, please send us a tag on Instagram or Facebook and definitely pop over to say hi.
Before that, you can find us at our lovely Ripley Market on the second Saturday of August. We missed you all last month but we're back with our cream teas and retro tunes.
The most exciting news which makes us dizzy with delight is that in September we will be serving from a Goodwood campsite for their glorious Revival event. We cannot tell you how many twirls we made in our 1940's frock when we found out that they had let us take part at such short notice! Watch this space for more details in our next blog.
Just to let you know that we are taking a break from this weekend for a couple of weeks. Keep up to date with our plans, as they unfold, here on the blog and maybe tag us on Instagram if you have had tea with us this summer. We love to chat and hear your feedback about our little teashop. Until next time, keep cool everyone and see you soon.