If you haven’t noticed, I was quite taken with British food fare as seen in my latest British Invasion series. This time, instead of taking the traditional afternoon tea scone and developing a cupcake recipe based on it, I decided to find a recipe for a straight-up scone. It’s super-easy and the only addition I made was that I added a tsp. of lemon zest into the dough. Added bonus: done without the use of my standing mixer. Sometimes a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon is all you need.
Baking a cake using the heat of a 100-watt incandescent light bulb with no parent giving me permission to lick the mixing spoon was empowering, even though I didn’t know what empowerment meant at the time.
It was 1988 when I first got my Easy-Bake; a gift surprisingly not from my parents but from my brother. The Easy-Bake was in the midst of its post-modern makeover, taking the form of a microwave oven as opposed to the make-shift replica of a 1960s kitchen.
“She will lose her shit,” said the doting father of a two-year old daughter named Cecilia, who loves bathing her TY Beanie Boo Muffin cat (aka “Meow-Meows”).
If ever there was a review for my cakes that I would wear with pride, it’s that I made a toddler lose her shit.
So here was the criteria:
1. Make it chocolate.
2. Include this cat:
TY Beanie Boo Muffin Cat
3. She loves bathing Meow-Meows.
Rubber ducky was a bonus:
Surprise! This decadent dessert may have originated in England, not France… maybe, most likely, probably, I dunno. On my last day in London, the last meal of the journey took place at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho, where I capped it off with a Crème Brûlée (which appeared on the menu as “Trinity Vanilla Cream”). A symphony of rich creamy vanilla custard and crunchy toffee is just as sweet, no matter where it’s from. But for the sake of my “British Invasion” series, let’s say England.
Continuing my exploitation of traditional British desserts, here’s one that does not date back as far as Victorian times, but rather the 70s by two gents who seem to have been conducting their own Epic Meal Time experiments. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of bananas unless they are mashed up and blended into a fluffy batter and baked… so that’s exactly how I incorporated the rich banana flavour into this cupcake. Adding a layer of dulce de leche on top allowing it to seep into the cake was just the icing under the icing on the cake.
The best way to learn about a culture is by eating it, I always say. It’s so easy to be inspired when you learn more about a culture’s food and its history. Paired with my love for culinary challenges and my fascination with the cupcake’s versatility, finding and creating a cupcake recipe inspired by another dessert was something that excited me for the duration of my recent trip to London.
While I enjoyed the sights of London with its history, architecture, parks, and people, I felt most at home at the Borough Market where I picked up a small jar of pure Madagascan vanilla powder, a pinch of which would transform a simple buttercream into an aromatic addition to any cake. I was, however, unsuccessful in finding the right jam for me at the Market (I went on one of its lesser volume days). Then I was introduced to Fortnum & Mason where a modest jar of strawberry preserves waited for me.