I remember not that long ago when I was a child, ok a while ago when cupcakes were simple and the most difficult decision was what kind of birthday cake to make. I remember flicking through the Women's Weekly Cake cookbook and choosing my favourite cake and Mum would cook it for a family dinner. Mum would also make the most beautiful cupcakes with plain icing (still does) and the biggest decision that my Mum had to make was what flavour to make the cupcakes! The choice was chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.
Parties have become somewhat of institution these days and there are so many party products to choose from! Where to start? What theme? Who to invite? Where to have it? What decorations to buy and if you live in the middle of nowhere like me where to start on the internet!
When I started planning my daughter's first birthday I was on leave from work and had plenty of time as a stay at home Mum to search the internet for the perfect party goodies to make her special day beautiful. I never realised how many party places there were, all the different products and how many cupcake toppers you could buy. Then there is the choice of what cupcakes you need to bake. As I looked through one of my many cupcake recipe books "200 cupcakes", I wondered, when did cupcakes become so complicated? There was chocolate strawberry cupcakes, rose delight cupcakes, lemon drizzle cupcakes, plum polenta cupcakes and hot and spicy cupcakes (this one I wouldn't recommend for a child's party). Then there is themed cupcakes including pirate face cupcakes, snake in the jungle cupcakes and lady bird cupcakes. When did cupcakes become so complicated?
I thing I figured out is that all these cupcakes are basically based on one you beaut cupcake recipe "The vanilla cupcake!"
So here is the never fail recipe that I use as a base:
150g (5oz) of lightly salted butter, softened
150g (5oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Put into cupcake cases makes 12
Bake for 20minutes at 180 degrees
For chocolate cupcakes make the above recipe but substitute 15g of flour for 15g of cocoa powder
As I progressed in the planning of my very first children's party I started to gain a passion for all things that make a special event. I was planning an owl themed party and I loved looking at all the stylish parties and wondering how they made everything look so perfect! This party was heaps of fun and I learnt heaps about styling parties. I made these cupcakes for the party was a bit sneaky I purchased so come fondant owls to put onto of the cupcakes.
Another year past and again I found myself planning my daughter's second birthday and like a lot of Mums thought this was a good idea at the time. I decided that she would have a fairy party. Only thing I failed to take into consideration that I have a four month old who is attached to my hip.
Again I found myself pondering when did cupcakes become so complicated? I wanted little mouthfuls of fairy goodness. Again I flick through my cupcake book to find the perfect recipe. To many to choose from, how could I ever pick? Why not have a selection? Now to add insult to injury for those who are not super woman in the kitchen they now have added cake pops and biscuit pops! What the??? So again I spent time researching and trying to find the perfect recipe and again looked at the parties who have been perfectly styled by those talented ladies. Again I decided to cheat!
So I decided that I would make pops but they would be coconut ice pops!! Have the pop look with about have the effort!
One can of condensed milk
3 1/3 cups of icing sugar
4 1/4 cups of coconut and mix well.
Add what ever food colouring that suits your party and roll into balls. To make these into pops, just wait till they have set in the fridge and stick a cake pop stick in them seen in the photo below - a cheats way to get the pop look!
I can do this, I thought I am super women! Oh what was I thinking??? Even my plan to get up early and organise everything wasn't going to plan. A baby just consumes so much time! We were lucky to get everything set up before our guest arrived. Then it was into the kitchen to get all the food out for the party. This is when I decided that everyone needs a little help in planning and conducting the perfect party especially if you have small kids. Luckily I had a few extra helpers floating around to made it easier for me by helping out with the preparation of the food.
There are so many recipes out there for cupcakes but I say keep it simple and remember they are just cupcakes.
PS if you have a fool proof recipe that you use at an event please post below!!!