We host a bake off to raise money for Macmillan…
Last Friday morning at Fed Up & Drunk HQ, coffee was slurped and cakes were scoffed, all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning – and, to be honest, everyone was rather in need of a post-sugar-rush nap by the end. However, the afternoon stupor induced by our overindulgence in all things sweet was worth it, as we raised over £200.
We decided to add a bit of healthy competition to this year’s coffee morning with a Bake Off-style contest. With first prize being a free meal very kindly donated by The Living Room – offering a mouth-watering menu to choose from featuring the likes of Thai fishcakes to start, roast pork fillet with ratte potatoes, apple chutney and cider sauce for mains, and sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream ice cream to finish – the stakes were high, and our budding bakers pulled out all the stops to scoop the top spot.
Our judging panel gallantly tucked into the 12 scrumptious submissions, marking each one out of ten for looks, taste and overall deliciousness. It’s pretty safe to say they all have a new-found respect for the Bake Off judges – poor Jess even remarked she had the sugar shakes. How do Mary and Paul do it?
Emma’s creative burger cupcakes were a standout contender, as was Sally’s zingy Food With Friends-recipe lemon cake. Emma also made a vegan chocolate cake, proving that you can do without eggs, butter and milk and still create something seriously tasty. Designer Morag’s moreish chocolate and cherry, and lemon and mandarin bites also impressed, while Gordon’s zealously seasoned chilli chocolate cake caused a stir (and a bit of a coughing fit) amongst the jury. Jerry’s version fared somewhat better, perhaps thanks to his exotic use of rum and lime.
Fourth place went to Morag’s yummy bites, Emma’s fun burger cupcakes came in third, and second place was deservedly awarded to Joe’s huge chocolate cake, decorated with chocolate fingers and Maltesers. First prize – drum roll please – was awarded to the salted caramel cupcakes baked by yours truly (and there was no bribery involved, honest). It seems Nigella was right – salted caramel’s ‘holy trinity of fat, sugar and salt’ really is a winning combination.
I used a classic vanilla cupcake base filled with Nigella’s devilishly good salted caramel sauce, topped with vanilla icing and yet more caramel sauce (you can never have too much). Here’s the recipe for those who would like to whip up my winning bake:
What you’ll need:
For the cupcakes:
110g/4oz softened butter or margarine
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g/4oz self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk
For the icing:
140g/5oz softened butter
280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Chocolate flakes for decoration
What to do:
You’ll probably want to mix up the salted caramel sauce (recipe here) before you start making your cupcakes so all you need to do is drizzle it on at the end (just make sure you don’t eat it all while waiting for your cakes to bake).
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases (I got mine from Wilkinson).
Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour using a metal spoon, adding a little milk. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, making sure they are all half full.
Bake for around 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on the top. If you’re not sure they’re done, insert a metal skewer into the centre of one of the cakes – if it comes out clean, you’re good to go.
Set aside to cool while getting to work on the icing. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft, then add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Keep adding the icing sugar and milk until the mixture is soft and pipeable.
This is the fun part. Pop the icing in the fridge, and grab the caramel sauce you made earlier. Spoon out a small section of each cupcake, pour in some sauce, and pop the little lid back on.
Pipe on the icing in whatever design you desire, before drizzling more caramel sauce on top and adding a sprinkling of chocolate flakes. Then thank Nigella (and me) for such a fantastically indulgent recipe.