Sunday, 19 October 2014

Curing Cancer With Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago I was baking for England...well, MacMillan really. My plan was to hold a MacMillan Garden party (which ended up as an indoor gathering due to the changeable weather of October in Yorkshire). 

Growing up in the 70's two of my best friends, who lived just doors apart from each other, both lost their Mums to breast cancer. This year another friend learned that she too had developed breast cancer and that for the best part of the coming year she would be doing all she could to get rid of it and regain control of her destiny. She has had a tough time of it and is doing brilliantly; she really rocks a jazzy headscarf it has to be said. So it is probably no surprise that I wanted to contribute in a small way to the fight!

I hadn't baked in quite a while, months even, but I love to bake and create fabulous cupcakes. As I was a little time strapped, and a little less confident of my baking prowess than I should have been, I decided to purchase a couple of Betty Crocker cake mixes and frostings. 

I used the Devil's Food Cake mix for my Terry's chocolate orange cupcakes and a Red Velvet cake mix for the Red Velvet cupcakes (obviously!). I wanted to kind of practice with those before experimenting with what I hoped would be a new cupcake success, a MacMillan Mojito cupcake (virgin of course).
The Devil's Food cake always makes the most amazing chocolate cakey goodness, and when topped with the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge icing and a Terrys Chocolate Orange segment (the exploding candy sort) you are on to a winner. To make it extra special I popped a mini Chocolate Orange segment in the center of the uncooked cupcake - uummmmm!
Next for the Red Velvet. Again I reached for the Betty Crocker. I usually make my own Red Velvet but it can be a bit of a faff. You see you need buttermilk and it's not so easy to come by here. It's easy enough to make however;

Combine the milk and lemon juice. Measure 1 scant cup of milk. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
Let stand 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

I've had some great results in the past but this time I went for the "safe" option. Well, they turned out OK, but my own are better I think anyways. These were flat cupcakes with a vanilla frosting and freeze dried raspberry sprinkles,  topped with a fresh raspberry.

And finally, now more confident, I was ready to create a totally new cupcake from scratch - the MacMillan Mojito. This consisted of a regular plain sponge batter, flavoured with Rum flavouring and a lot of Lime juice. The frosting was a buttercream flavoured with more Lime and a secret surprise ingredient - Sea Salt flakes. Yes, you read correctly - Sea Salt Flakes! It works and added a great sweet/salty contrast with a hint of crunch. lastly I decorated with a Lime green sugar sprinkle by Wilton.

These turned out to be my personal favourite. 48 cupcakes and a messy kitchen later I was ready to go. Guests arrived in a steady trickle throughout the day. We even had a mini Stampin Up class held by my good friend Caroline. You can read more about Stampin Up at her blog page...
When the word got out that there were cupcakes leftover people started asking for boxes to be delivered. I raised around £80 for MacMillan through baking and eating cupcakes with some friends. Not bad for a last minute and half baked plan (see what I did there LOL?).


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