Sunday, 20 July 2014

have you ever?

i'd offered to make some cupcakes to take to a friend's house warming party on the weekend..i know..that's no big how come then i got there two hours later than i'd planned..part of the problem was with how i cook..instead of making something i'd cooked before i jumped in with no idea of the final outcome..the other problem was that i'd underestimated how long it would take me..i don't know whether it's because i think i'm better than i really am or that i just have really poor make matters worse my cakes really needed to be served on a plate and eaten with a fork so they were unsuitable for the party that my friend had had catered for with delicious and elegant looking finger food..i cringed as i watched people trying to eat my squashy oozy cakes..and i've no idea of how they tasted either because by the time i got there i was so wound up that i couldn't eat a thing..not even all the other delicious looking food on offer..

lemon curd and almond praline cupcakes
tea with hazel
makes 12



125 gms self raising flour sifted
30 gms almond meal
155 gms castor sugar
155 gms unsalted butter
2 eggs
75 mls milk
1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla extract

lemon curd*

3/4 cup castor sugar
60 gms unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
100 mls lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon juice

almond praline

1/2 cup castor sugar
2-3 tablespoons (tbs) water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup slivered almonds


~ cream butter and castor sugar until pale and fluffy
~ beat in eggs one at a time 
~ add flour, almond meal, milk and vanilla and beat until mixture is smooth
~ place mixture in a 12 hole cupcake case lined tin and bake at 180 deg c for approximately 15 minutes or until golden and cooked in the centre 

lemon curd

~ beat sugar and egg yolks until creamy and thick
~ place in saucepan with other ingredients and cook over a pan of simmering water stirring constantly until just coming to the boil and the mixture is thickened
~ cool before use

almond praline

~ place almonds on baking paper lined tray and cook at 180 deg c until slightly browned
~ set aside to cool
~ place water and lemon juice in a saucepan and stir until the sugar crystals dissolved brushing down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in boiling water
~ once the sugar has dissolved increase heat and cook until the sugar turns a medium caramel colour
~ remove from heat and immediately pour over the almonds
~ once cooled process the almond toffee finely leaving a few small pieces of toffee


~ remove a large conical circle of cake from each cupcake
~ trim the cake off close to the cake top, cut shapes from the tops (i used heart and flower shapes), and dust the shapes with icing sugar
~ fill each cupcake to the top with curd
~ sprinkle the curd generously with almond praline
~ dab a small amount of lemon curd on the bottom of each shape and place one in the centre of each cupcake

note: * adapted from stephanie alexander's lemon curd recipe in 'a cook's companion'

have you ever? come on..please tell me i'm not the only one..


  1. Oh dear...They look sooooo good and I bet they tasted great! Shame you'll never know! :) Karen x

    1. thanks gj..good excuse to make them again.. :) x

  2. They look pretty good to me Jane, actually they look beautiful! Love your words, they made me smile.

    Just last weekend I planned a simple morning tea of fresh pikelets to coincide with my mother-in-law visiting. Normally I can make these with my eyes closed and I actually use her recipe. But, this particular morning I was tired and busy trying to clean the toilet, clear the washing pile and get my kitchen into some kind of order and then when I finally turned my attention to the pikelets I was running late. They were edible but doughy and too dark on the outside. Just as you said...sometimes we get a little ahead of ourselves. Happy cooking x

    1. thanks for your kind comments jane..your pikelet saga sounds typical of me too..when i'm making things for other people i have a tendency to worry more and that can impact on the final outcome of what i'm making..x

  3. Hands up from me here, you're not alone!

  4. I don't know if you watch television but there is an advertisement where a family is being invited to a party and the hostess casually flings off "don't bring a thing..." and when she has gone the husband says "SWEET!" but the wife says "we can't not bring "something"... our common condition as wives, as mothers as ladies that do lunch, is that anywhere where there is a group of us swirling around together and food becomes an issue it is immediately a Masterchef competition whether the other "ladies" know it or not. You end up hauling some obscure and most difficult to recreate creation out of the annuls of Escoffier/Child fame and of COURSE you don't try to bake it prior to the event...that would be's all in the sweat, the panic, the terror of the moment...the having to watch the oven and spray/remove and turn/tap-dance while holding aloft to inflate the crumb, it's never easy or allows you to watch the television while it bubbles/cooks away. Its a measured study in insanity and we all want to attempt it..."Oh DARLING of COURSE I will make you 45 different kinds of macarons for your party...I call it spur of the moment competitive superwoman madness. You agree and then you head home to regret and lament at your leisure. Like that commercial I am SO tempted to just buy a box of chocolates for my next event and just keep my mouth shut ;)

    1. i love cooking so much that i'll always offer to make things for friends future i just need to make tried and true recipes and get my timing right..but knowing me i'll continue to take the less safe option sometimes..x

  5. Hi Jane, they sure look good. I don't do anything too fancy for gatherings as I don't really think people understand how much effort is involved are care for that matter.

    1. thanks's ok with me if people don't understand or care because i get a buzz out of doing what i's all about me! :) x

  6. Have I ever? Often. But all stuff ups are good because we learn from them, right? And your cupcakes looked very pretty, and I'm sure they were thoroughly enjoyed, so don't worry too much, love.. :)

    1. thanks for your kind comments celia..i agree with you about the learning thing..i need to move on! :) x