I am a renewed cupcake fan. After last week’s excitement, I am on a mission. Inspiration, as it is, takes lots of different forms. What inspires me can be a number of things. The smell of bread baking in the oven. The changing colours of autumn. The colour of the jacarandas in spring. A newspaper or magazine article that made me think. A good book. A touching movie. My girls’ musings – quiet and not so quiet. Friends. Families. Food. Trees. Art. Life is inspiration in itself.
What is inspiration? What is it? It is stimulation of the mind and emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. To inspire means to invite your inner senses to create. And so I must be inspired. I am inspired to take on the sweet, sweet road and conquer cupcakes. This inspiration actually started a few weeks ago as I started planning for the girls’ 7th birthday. And while it takes a simple plan, to make a simple party, I do take a bit of effort when it comes to the little details such as cakes. And so while browsing through heaps and heaps of cake shops online, I came upon the latest in cupcakes – the maxi cupcake! Which is what I plan to purchase for their birthday party. Hey, I have an excuse! I don’t have this maxi cupcake mold tray, alright?! But with a cupcake mission in the horizon, it is my goal to bake mini cupcakes to supplement the maxi cupcake plan. And I plan to do this with utmost creativity and flare, ala Jacques Torres and the inspiring Adriano Zumbo.
Meanwhile, in the home front I have had the oven busy. In the past week alone, I’ve made 2 batches of the Brownies Bonanza for personal consumption, and the savouries in this post were baked for the MSCW Open Day last Sunday. The choice of bringing savouries over sweets was because I have had too much brownie baking that I thought maybe it would add a much needed change in a table full of sweets. Much to my expectation, it was indeed an ocean of sweets – from beautiful cupcakes to caramel slices, cookies, cakes and everything nice. I was part of the Year7 parents who raised their hands up to help on the day – to bake and to sell. And I was standing there, watching all the other pretty sweet little things sell out for a $1 a piece while my savouries melt from embarrassment. The poor little things. Not that they weren’t good – they actually are filling and tasty. It’s just that I realised this now, that when the call to “BAKE” comes, it usually means “SWEETS”. And so I was there, sweating from the beautiful warm autumn Sunday, signalling to the girls and A to … “Buy my savouries, or else!”. Well, we left before the Open Day concluded (to run off to one of B’s games which was at Minto NSW on that day) and driving off, I was thinking about my ham, cheese and tomato muffins. “ I’m so sorry darlings, Mum needs to go. You can do it. Someone will want you, some time, soon. Hug, hugs. Kiss, kiss. Au revoir.”
This experience has kindled my cupcake mission to a higher level. And to my excitement I ordered several baking cups, cupcake kits including a Donna Hay Chocolate Cupcake kit and found that the world can never get enough of these sweet, sweet, little things. Check out all these lovely sites selling cupcakes like My Little Cupcakes in Neutral Bay, Cakes and Cupcakes in Seaforth, Lushcups in Concord and the Cupcake Factory in Drummoyne, and cupcake suppliers like Little Betsey Baker are just a few of the hundreds out there. As the Easter weekend and school holidays are coming up, I already have recipes lined up to read, try, bake and share with friends and families, which shall be for another post.
And while I am enroute to my cupcake mission, I am still proud to have baked something different and savoury for a change. Even though these savouries faced embarrassment this week, I have made them before for Lolo’s 68th birthday morning tea at church last year and they were a hit. Here is a great recipe taken from taste.com.au – an easy recipe to make for picnics, lunch boxes, school functions or even for tea. I believe a bigger version of this mini muffin is actually filing enough to be lunch.
Ham, Cheese and Tomato Muffin
Recipe by Kate Murdoch
- 90g shaved ham, chopped
- 2/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup self-raising flour
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Place self-raising flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Place egg, shaved ham, cheddar cheese, olive oil, milk and flat-leaf parsley in a separate bowl. Mix until combined. Pour the ham and cheese mixture into the flour and fold lightly until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 12-hole mini muffin pan. Press a cherry tomato half into the top of each muffin. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes & tips
- Muffins will keep for two to three days stored in an airtight container.
* The baked muffins in the photos are presented in cupcake/muffin cups, but the muffins were baked straight onto a lightly greased muffin pan. An additional note would be that it might be best to grease the pans heavily as when lightly greased, the muffins tended to stick to the pan especially there is cheese in the mixture. I had to scrape them from the pan with a butter knife.
Here are other sites of cupcake supplies which might come in handy in the future. Cupcake House, Baking Pleasures and Bakers Cups