Sunday, 1 November 2009

The icing on the (cup) cake.

I'm quite aggrieved about Halloween. Why we're suddenly all expected to have parties and spend money on gratuitous Trick or Treat paraphernalia, I don't really know. But on the plus side it gave me a very credible excuse to make some heavenly Pumpkin and Ginger Cupcakes. This recipe appeared in last week's Guardian, and I'd been fantasising about baking them ever since. They didn't disappoint - in fact: Wow.

A word about butter-cream icing: After endless failed attempts and years of practice, I think I've finally found a formula that produces the right consistency for perfect frosting. Get your butter really soft, and beat it with half the icing sugar, using a wooden spoon, until you get a nice paste. Then add the extra's of your choice - mascarpone, cream- cheese, cocoa or whatever - give it another good beating, then add the remaining icing sugar and beat again. Put it in the fridge and remove about 20/30 mins before use.

So back to Halloween. After an early flurry of ghosts and ghoulies, all was quiet until about 9pm when there was a knock at the door. I opened it, and was greeted by a boy of around fourteen standing by himself, wearing an anorak and a pair of trackie bottoms. 'So where's your costume then?', I asked him. Nothing - just a slightly lethargic stare. I sent him away with no more than a snack pack of Sunny Maid raisins as a penance for his lamentable lack of effort, figuring that if he couldn't be bothered to even scowl at me in a threatening manner, he was unlikely to hurl any eggs at my window. I certainly wasn't going to honour him with a pumpkin cupcake.

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