So the other day my lovely friend English Mum, in between raising thousands for Haiti with Shelterbox, gave me her patented recipe for cupcake icing. It’s basically 300 g of icing sugar to 150g of butter, add a little milk if you must, a drop or two of vanilla essence and food colouring à volonté.
‘Don’t forget to send me a photo,’ she said.
Well, since then, we have consumed hundreds of cupcakes at Divorce Towers (I prefer to call them fairycakes but somehow, unfortunately, I’ve got out of the habit. ‘Cupcake’ used to jar badly. Alarmingly, now it doesn’t seem to any more. It’s a slippery, butter-icing encrusted slope. Soon, when people say, ‘how are you?’ I know I’ll be saying ‘Ah’m goooooood,’ like I’m blummin Hanah Montana or something, instead of the proper British response of a mumbled ‘fine’). Yes, we’ve made hundreds of cupcakes. We’ve also eaten hundreds of cupcakes so, rather shame-facedly, I only got round to photographing the stragglers from the last batch this morning. They’ll be gone by this evening, I guarantee it.
As I snapped them, I got to thinking. Your cupcakes really say a lot about you. In a restrained household, they would probably sit around for weeks, looking graceful. Chez Divorce Towers, they are lucky to make it through the night unravaged. Icing is particularly telling, I find. Here is one iced by Child Two:
As you see, she favours a ‘pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap’ approach, leading inevitably to a ‘munch ’em fast’ approach to consumption.
Child One, two years older and with a steady hand on the icing, produced this lovely creation:
I’m afraid I am frankly just going to show off with mine, because I’ve finally more or less learned to control my Lakeland icing bag. For weeks, it has raced around the kitchen like a half-blown cartoon balloon, zipping hither and thither and spraying icing at the walls. Then, last time, I held it firmly, gave it a good talking to, and made this:
Yay! What does this say about me? Well, I’m certainly a trier. If at first things don’t succeed, I’ll get very depressed, drink a lot of Chardonnay, moan on at anyone who’ll listen – and, eventually, pick myself up and keep on going until I get there. If it works for cupcakes, it’ll work for the rest of life too, won’t it?
There, I’ve shown you mine. If you feel inspired, I’d love to see yours.