Cupcakes and kisses, flowers and chocolates, you would be forgiven for thinking I am a hopeless romantic, that February 14th is one of my favourite days of the year – alas no, it’s not me but our two youngest daughters aged 8 and 10 who are obsessed with Valentine’s Day!
Browsing in shops in La Rochelle this week there was very little evidence of Valentine’s Day. Just a glimpse here and there of a red heart, a little reminder delivered with understated elegance.
The chocolatier offered exquisitely presented chocolates
sometimes with a hint of passion
The Florist, the Parfumerie – so simple, so chic, so French.
Our 14 year old is currently making stunning little figurines with oven-bake modeling clay and I borrowed some of the red and sat and made kisses and hearts, lots of them, it was strangely therapeutic! I put them in a little box which I covered and decorated and the next day they went in the mail to our eldest daughter at University in the UK. I told her a little package was on it’s way and she must not open it until Saturday, “but why not until Saturday Mama? I don’t understand” she said. We message and send a long line of kisses everyday but I just wanted her to feel extra special, to have a few extra kisses.
On the subject of kisses, how it tugs at the heart-strings when our little ones don’t really want to go to school, don’t want to leave us for a few hours, what do you do? Sometimes I blow them a couple of extra kisses, they catch them, it’s a routine we know well. I tell them to pop them in their pockets for later, so that when they feel a little low, a little insecure, they have those extra kisses warming their pockets – they can take them out and use them when they need to.
Sometimes, I write a little message in the palm of their hands, whilst they are struggling with something at school sitting at their desks they can take a little look, knowing I am thinking of them, knowing they are not alone – feeling loved always.
Do we ever need an excuse to eat cake? Probably not but this was an excuse to be a little more creative than usual. This is my standard cake recipe, I use it regularly whenever I make cupcakes or cakes. I always use spelt flour, we love the slightly nutty flavor it gives, but this recipe works just as well with plain or wholewheat flour. The cakes are a very light and fluffy sponge, not heavy at all as is sometimes the case with wholewheat flours. I don’t normally spend hours piping icing onto my cupcakes, they don’t usually last long enough to warrant such effort and to be honest they taste so much nicer without the extra sugar! However, these are special occasion cupcakes, I colored the butter icing with a little juice from some defrosted frozen raspberries and it produced a fabulous color without any artificial chemicals and gave the icing just the smallest hint of raspberry.
6ozs/170g butter, softened
6ozs/170g wholewheat spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons water
(if using Spelt flour or Wholewheat flour I add 1 tablespoon milk)
Ok, so this is where I break all the baking rules. I put all the ingredients together in the mixer and beat on the lowest setting until everything is combined. Then I beat at top speed for about 30 seconds until the color changes and is lighter. You will just have to trust me on this one, I have been using this recipe, which is my own for many years and it always works, the cakes are mouth wateringly light. Place in cupcake holders and bake at 180C/350F for 12 – 15 minutes.
For a classic Buttercream Icing
5ozs/140g butter, softened
10ozs/280g Icing sugar
1- 2 tablespoons warm water
a few drops of vanilla essence
For the Pink Icing, I replaced the vanilla essence with the juice and pulp of a handful of frozen raspberries. I let them get really soft and then pushed them through a sieve straight into the icing mixture.
I then used a standard icing nozzle for the vanilla icing and a petal tip nozzle for the roses.
A little decadent but worth every second to see the smile on my children’s faces
X X X
10 thoughts on “CUPCAKES AND KISSES”
Great blog entry & photos Susan – Happy Valentines Day to you all -Those buns look yummy scrummy –
Thank you, same to you!
How fabulous these cakes look and I love how you have used raspberries to colour the icing.
Writing a loving message on your child’s hand is such unique concept. I love it.
Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I am off for a run to our beach at Indian Rocks Beach Florida and we shall then visit our local French bakery, Cafe de Paris where Valerie and Xavier will again have baked all night for our pleasure.
Thank you, enjoy Florida in winter and your run.
Hello Susan, I have written two previous comments, which seem to have vanished into thin air. (wordPress is demanding ha ha) hope you and your family have a wonderful Valentine’s day. I love that you have included your recipe for cupcakes and how you have sweetened the icing with raspberries is of particular appeal. I am off for a run on the beach and will stop at our favourite French cafe, Cafe de Paris where our French friends Valerie and Xavier will have the most delectable treats freshly bakes.
Helen, enjoy the Cafe de Paris, sounds divine, there is little to beat a cafe creme at a French Patisserie sitting outside, in my opinion! and I am sure the pastries will be divine, not too sweet, but mouth wateringly delicious – enjoy and have a lovely weekend
Great inspiration for Valentine’s Day!
Thank you Mili, fun simple things the children loved being involved with
Looks yummy, hope you had a lovely Valentines day, we spend part of it in the company of 2 French Giants (and about a million other W.A. Residents) much love to you all
Heather and Rogerxxxx
Thank you Heather and Roger, sounds as if you had a great day! Lots of love to you both xxx