I had a VERY exciting night last night. I know I don’t get out of the kitchen much, but even if I did have the social life of a busy butterfly in June last night would still be up there in exciting nights….. well for a cupcaker anyway!
Iron Cupcakes has come to London! I missed the first one because 18 hours a day looking at cupcake related things on the Internet obviously isn’t enough, luckily Liz tipped me off about the second one. At first I was totally up for it, I was even dreaming of flavours but as the nerves crept in I told myself I was too busy and not inventive enough to come up with something out of the ordinary. So that was that… Until luvvie Kat brought it up, she was totally up for it and twisted my arm.
I spent the weekend baking orders, A baby shower and a birthday, while Kat was slaving away coming up with utterly inspired combinations, the accountant in me was having trouble with the thought of deviating from a recipe, after all, a recipe is a recipe and a recipe should be followed! Ahhhh!! A few deep breathes and a pep talk from Kat of we went to the new farmers market in Westerham looking for inspiration. I came home armed with Apples, Black currents, Strawberries and Raspberries amongst other lovely things and set to work at …….11pm! I just couldn’t decide what to bake. I had some peaches in the fridge….. and some Blackberries…..
So in the end I settled on 2 entries. Peach and raspberries to reflect high summer and Apple & Blackberry to reflect late summer.
For the Peach and Raspberry: I Poached the peaches in honey, sugar and a little peach schnapps, let them cool while reducing the syrup by 1/2 (wow that syrup is good!). Made a Raspberry coulis and let that chill. Prepared the vanilla cupcake batter, folded in the now chopped peaches and then added a squirt of the coulis, ran a skewer though the batter for the ripple effect and baked….
Once they had cooled I brushed them with the syrup and filled them with a little of the coulis and topped with cream cheese frosting. I had hoped tofrost them with a lovely cream cheese frosting that had fresh cream and Marscapone but with the weather hot and sticky I chickened out, there was no way they would make the train journey.
Because the theme for this month’s Iron cupcake was Summer fruits I tried to think about what summer meant to me, it evoked memories of the summer holidays, when I’d almost forgotten what getting up for school was (I’ve always always loved a lie in!) the days are still long and the grass has gone brown everywhere. I remembered the elderberries in the back alley, wow they make a mess! and the blackberries growing on the common opposite….. black berries….. apple and blackberry pie with custard! oh yes…..
So I grated 6 Organic bramley apples, toasted some walnuts and prepared the batter, luckily I had experimented with a few apple recipes last year so knew what batter to make. I toned down the spices, as I didn’t want it to be too autumnal, so it was just a touch of Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cloves. I chopped the blackberries and gently folded them in and hoped they wouldn’t just sink to the bottom as they baked.
Once they were cool I filled them with some creme patisserie and again topped them with cream cheese frosting.
So from fretting about meddling with recipes I went from simple beginnings to what I think ended up as quite complicated. I had no time to get second opinions, even if I did what could I do, at what was now school run time there was no time to re-bake so I would just have to wing it. Eeek!
Off we went, Kat & I, to the Barrow boy and Banker at London bridge. I was so nervous. Cupcakes on public transport!?! Where is Mr D when you need him! OK, at work, but really, this was a cupcake emergency!
And we arrived…..were they going to be OK? The right way up? melted cream cheese frosting? broken decorations? Oh honestly, the stress!
Phew! We arrived in one piece!
The people at ICL have really got it sussed, very organised, you have to have 12 of each entry. You place 2 on a plate for the judges and then the rest on another plate for everyone else to try. Very quickly the table filled up and the competition was hot. they all looked amazing all neatly lined up. the sense of anticipation was immense
First round of samples:
It was such an experience. To be able to unashamedly scoff multiple cupcakes. Lets face it, in most circumstances it really doesn’t come across as polite to grab more than one serving of cake. So to be able to walk up to a table and feel totally unembarrassed about taking 3, with the knowledge that you are also going to help scoff the other 3 your Friend has… well it was like blooming Christmas!
But, Oh How much did I need this:
And how much did I regret this:
It felt so wrong to be leaving so much cake. All the thought, love and hopes that had gone into baking every single one of those wonderful cuppies…. and what you can’t See is that it was all around the room. 50 odd people stuffing themselves silly with cake, absolutely bulging, all saying No more! but then creeping back to the table to check out the late entries.
Finally the moment came, the judges and the public (Bakers and Eaters) had all voted… the result was in. With all the time I procrastinated away, the rush in the end and the lack of sampling I was just glad both my plates didn’t still have 10 cupcakes left on it. There were so many luscious cupcakes, smelling like summer on a plate I didn’t think it was my turn this time. But WOW! shock of almighty shock! I won first prize! I can honestly say I have never in all my life won a competition where you have work judged. I can’t actually think of a time I have entered anything. probably because I have never been as passionate about anything as much as i am cake. So this was amazing. I really didn’t have a clue what to do. I know I wanted to cry, pathetic emotional bag that I am!
So here are my goodies:
I was absolutely bowled over! It was fantastic night even without winning, hopefully next time I will pluck up the courage to chat to the other people that have come to stuff them self silly with cupcake. I can’t wait! roll on August! And remember you don;t need to be a baker to come, you can just come and pay £5 to stuff yourself silly with wonderful cupcakes! personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday night.
You can see more about the evening at www.ironcupcake.co.uk