Thursday, 29 October 2009

Primrose's Orange Blossom cupcakes

At hubby's request, Primrose Bakery's Orange blossom cupcakes we're next on my baking quest.

As the coconut cupcakes weren't quite cooked at 160c, this time i whacked the temperature up to the 180c for the full 25 minutes. However this time i got the opposite problem at the top of the cupcakes were far too hard! Next time i'll heat the oven to 170c or lower the timings by 5 minutes.

The recipe requires orange blossom for the buttercream, available at all supermarkets according to the book, but not as it happens at the Watford branch of Tesco! Instead i resorted to using 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice. I also added 2 tablespoons of boiling water to the buttercream mix as the mixture was far too much like cement for my taste.

The overall combination of orange sponge and buttercream was suprisingly refreshing, although the effect was slightly ruined by the hardness of the sponge which is more an error on my behalf than with the recipe itself!

Overall rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Coconut Cupcakes from Primrose Bakery Cookbook

With a five month old baby it's rare that i have time to give baking my full attention, but as we we're spending the weekend with hubby's parents it seemed like the ideal opportunity to get cracking with the perfect cupcake quest.

Hubby's lovely mum had bought me Primrose Bakery's new book 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery' and i chose their Coconut sponge with vanilla buttercream icing after requests from the family.

Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas originally started baking cupcakes for children's parties, but their popularity means they are now more used to catering for a-list parties. Which surely makes for a promising start to finding the cupcake mecca?

The coconut and vanilla combination is supposed to resemble coconut ice, but thankfully the end result wasn't too sweet and sickly.

Were they any good?

The sponge recipe required both plain and self raising flour (but no baking powder) which made for a denser cupcake than i'm used to. If i made them again i'd reduce the amount of plain flour to make the sponge a lighter, fluffier texture.

I also found the timings and temperature settings slightly out at 160c for a fan oven for 25 minutes. I really don't think that there needs to be a 20c difference for the fan and it would have been better to raise the temperature up to 180c. As it stood i ended up cooking the cupcakes for an extra 5 minutes.

The vanilla buttercream is probably one of the best variations i've tasted, i've previously just used butter, icing sugar and water which always seems to make for a runny buttercream where extra sugar is needed, but this variation used milk and 500g of icing sugar which made the buttercream exactly the right consistency.

Overall the density of the coconut and the sweetness of the vanilla buttercream made for a yummy combination and the batch was quickly snaffled up over the evening - which is always a good sign!

Baking Housewife Rating: 8/10

Mission: To find the perfect cupcake

How to find the perfect cupcake?

There's a plethora of cupcake recipe books out there, i should know as i have most of them! But over the past year, i've been stuck in something of a cupcake rut, returning to the same trusty chocolate and vanilla sponges every time.

I need a new challenge, so every week, i will be baking my way through the books of all the famous cupcakeries such as Hummingbird, Magnolia and Primrose in search of the perfect recipe.

I also want to find out if the recipes translate in reality, i've been stung by Nigella one too many times and sometimes swear that recipes are deliberately altered. I'll be adding my own amendments and recommendations, which will hopefully act as a useful guide.

The final results will be rated by myself and willing guinea pigs (namely hubby, friends and family) but i would also love to hear how you've found the recipes featured. The top 10 will appear in the cupcake league table.

I deliberately haven't included the ingredients and recipe for the cupcakes as i'm sure this would infringe on copyright laws!

I would love to hear your opinions and you can also follow me on twitter at

Baking Housewife xxx