I nearly didn't make the post office because I had a disaster with my first attempt at Steve's cake. Because Steve's partner needs to have gluten free, dairy free sweets, I thought this chocolate nut cake from La Tartine Gourmande fit the bill perfectly. Umm, it would have too, if (a) I had not managed somehow to burn it; and (b) it had not stuck to the bottom, so that I ended up with a cake in two bits, each with a very brown bottom. Trying not to think of the ground almonds and chocolate going to waste, I sadly tossed this cake in the bin and started again.
Now by this stage, I was running out of time, and I needed a cake that was quick and simple to make. My thoughts then turned to a birthday present I had received from my brother, the Sunbeam Pattie Cupcake Maker:
It claims to make 6 cupcakes in 10 minutes. I was sold! I removed Pattie from her box, flicked through the recipe book that came with her, and settled on the recipe for banana cupcakes. The beauty of this recipe is that it is a one bowl, one step recipe. This recipe was neither gluten free nor dairy free, but I fixed that by subbing gluten free flour in for the self raising flour and Nuttelex for the butter. This may have had some impact on the flavour, but they still tasted fine to me.
Pattie is like a muffin tin with a heating element underneath and a cover on top. You fill your cupcake cases on the bench, then place them in Pattie. Here are the cupcakes before baking:
and after baking:
The recipe gave me lovely little domed banana cupcakes that were reasonably moist. Once the cakes were cooled, I iced them with chocolate flavoured water icing, sprinkled them with gold disco glitter and piped "Steve" all over them. The latter was probably one ambitious step too far, as my royal icing resolutely refused to thicken up properly, so that my neat piping ran a little - or perhaps that was the result of piping it onto slightly damp water icing. Nonetheless, Steve was delighted with his cakes - and I made the post office with twenty minutes to spare.
The recipe for these cupcakes (which could be made in a conventional oven at a longer baking time, say 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes at a pinch) is as follows:
2 cups self raising flour (I used GF flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ripe mashed banana
2 lightly beaten eggs
125g melted butter or Nuttelex
Preheat your oven or cupcake maker. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl, and combine them using an electric mixer on low speed; once combined, increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute or until all lumps disappear. (But don't overbeat it otherwise you'll get tough cakes!)
Turn the cakes onto a wire rack to cool before decorating.
Seguing into a totally unrelated topic, I went to the Paris to Provence Melbourne French Festival after visiting Steve. There was a lot of stalls selling French wares and apparently some music and dancing, but due to an unpleasant and unprovoked incident with an ill-informed woman attending the festival, I left ASAP. However, before I left, I managed to pick up these lovely macarons from the La Tropezienne stall:
Aren't they beauties? There was (clockwise from top left) coffee, rose, chocolate, milk chocolate (I think!), raspberry, lemon, pistachio and blueberry. My favourite was the blueberry that was filled with some kind of juicy blueberry filling. Yum!
And I will leave you with that thought - have a great day.