I used to love reading fashion magazines. Thick glossy pages of vibrant colour, beautiful models, juicy celebrity gossip. But recently I've sort of grown out of them and rarely buy them any more. I used to flick through, look at the shiny pictures and then they'd form a jenga-like stack in the house, collecting dust and dating almost instantly. Considering the use you get out of a good book magazines are appallingly bad value. And with the internet today, fashion and celebrity and just a google search away. So when my friend Grace bought one of these new DeAgostini 'How to Decorate Beautiful Cakes' magazines I was pleasantly surprised by how good value they were. The first issue came with two sets of butterfly cookie cutters and a cardboard cupcake stand. The magazine itself (albeit very short) had good colour photos and step-by-step illustrations. Of course the first issue is always at a knock-down price so they can reel you in and then stick you with a €7 charge for the next issue. But the second issue was only €3.50 which , considering you got three reusable piping bags and three piping heads was still good value I thought. I've used all the piping heads and the bags and they really have surprised me in how durable they are. Usually the stuff you get is about as useful as the rubbish in a Christmas cracker but the couplers are made out of strong plastic and the piping heads are great sized. For the cupcakes above I used this nozzle:
I think it makes a lovely swirl for cupcakes. So yeah I presume these magazines are available only in England and Ireland but if you see them and are as nerdy as me in enjoying collecting baking paraphernalia I would check them out!
If you aren't familiar with Ovaltine its sold in pretty much any supermarket. I hear old people like to drink it before they go to bed. And it is used in malt shakes to which I daresay I am partial....
From the 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery'
110g unsalted butter, at room temp
120g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten lightly in a cup
125g self raising flour, sifted
60g plain flour, sifted
60g Ovaltine malted drink powder
125ml semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy and light, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Add the egg slowly one third at a time with a tablespoon of flour each time. Throw in the vanilla extract. When all the egg is gone, fold in one third of the dry ingredients with one third of the milk until all the dry ingredients and milk are incorporated.
3. Bake in cases at 180oC for 15-20 minutes. My batter was very light and moist so it took almost 20 minutes. Insert a skewer and when it comes out clean the cupcakes are baked.
These were iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing which is separate blog post to follow!