I am regularly challenged, from the moment I wake up, by my children. But when they are asleep or playing nicely, as they are sometimes beginning to do, I find myself challenged instead by Saint Nigella of Lawson.
I should point out that whilst Ms Lawson may have some awareness of Maison Cupcake’s almost stalker-like nature, she is not directly responsible for the #ForeverNigella Challenge that Sarah issues forth every month. She should be very grateful for the increase in book sales though: it’s a very tough competition so you need every recipe at your finger tips.
This month’s challenge is, unsurprisingly, related to the Royal wedding (there’s a Wedding Memorabilia Prize) and is entitled ‘Street Party’. Very British, so I took the opportunity to give you the Red White and Blue Cupcake. Two Becomes Four made Red Velvet Cupcakes in the first Forever Nigella Challenge and I have been keen to make them ever since.
I dutifully followed the recipe from Kitchen, using my new fabulous Americolor soft gel paste. I cannot believe I have taken so long to be persuaded by paste colouring: the intensity of colour is breathtaking, yet it never affects the texture. The downside to having such brilliant colour is the very visible evidence of licking the bowl: my fingers had a red tinge for days. In fact the kitchen sink looked like an outtake from CSI by the time I had finished.
Then came the decorating. I perhaps forgot to mention that I used Union Jack cupcake cases, so the cakes were looking very festive anyhow, but I wanted more. I also had a product to test: Betty Crocker Spray Frosting. Yep, that’s right. Spray, which makes mush more sense when you realise that they have spray cheese in America too. It came with four nozzles, which you screwed on, then you ‘simply push the nozzle to the side to release the icing’. Two words: NOT simple. The nozzles were slightly smaller than is ideal for decorating cupcakes, and the ache that rapidly ensued in my finger and palm from holding the nozzle to one side became unpleasant very quickly. Of course I also have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which doesn’t help. The finish wasn’t bad, but the nail in the coffin was the taste: it was floury and claggy and I will categorically not be using it again.
Which is not to say it wasn’t perfect for the decorating element of the challenge: glossy white piped icing on top of a vibrant spongy base. Then I added some wonderful red white and blue sprinkles I bought from my local Cake Shop, and a teeny tiny Union Jack. I defy you to find a more patriotic cupcake for the Street Party of the Decade. And by that I of course refer to Forever Nigella. Apparently there’s some wedding coming up, so you could use them for that too. Just don’t use the icing!
Forever Nigella #4 is being hosted by Mardi at Eat Live Travel Write. Email your entries to her by 1st May.