So it's been about two weeks since I blogged last, and my aim was to blog at least once a week, so I've missed the boat on that one already! That means it's also been about two weeks since I baked any cakes, and I swear even my oven was beginning to give me dirty looks, let alone my cake-starved friends...
What I have done in the last two weeks is use Astral's great tips over at her blog The Art of Being Perfect, and make myself up some vanilla sugar. Here it is:
Not much to look at, but the smell when I open the jar is fantastic. The vanilla pods are buried inside the sugar, I promise.
And the cakes I decided to bake, now I have my vanilla sugar, were also from Astral's recipe.
I hold my hands up and admit, I have never used vanilla bean paste before, only extract, and the effect that this had on my cakes was phenomenal. From the cute little specks of the bean in the mixture to...oh yes, the taste. Say hello, because my inner domestic goddess has arrived!
This was the last of the mixture, I just remembered to photograph it before I used it all up.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Astral for introducing me to the best vanilla cupcake recipe ever. And I've been around the vanilla cupcake block a few times. These were mouthful of light, fluffy, vanillary heaven (is vanillary even a real word? Who cares!) I actually managed to get a generous 14 cupcakes out of this mixture.
The vanilla buttercream was equally as divine, lusciously thick and creamy as promised. My icing spirals didn't pipe great, but practise makes perfect, so hopefully one day they will be!
This is definitely a recipe I would love to use time and time again; simple, yet delicious, so a huge thank you again to Astral for sharing it.
For the decoration, I took inspiration from a cake I saw on my new favourite TV programme, Cake Boss, and went for gambling/casino themed cupcakes. I made cubes and circles out of fondant icing, drew the numbers of the dice on the white cubes with a black food colouring pen, and attempted to make poker chips. I borrowed the design for the chips from an poker kit I've got here at home. They weren't perfect, but they looked pretty cute, and I was pleased with them.
Let's wait and see what my chums at work think of them tomorrow!