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    Entries in black (25)


    Art by D.L. Giles

                                       'We three' D.L. Giles

    We weren't hillbillies... but when I was small, my Mum, my Uncle and my cousin would doodle and draw on the loo wall. It was an outside toilet at my Grandparents house that was sort of built into the house (I repeat we were not hillbillies I swear!!), the toilet itself had a rusted chain that you pulled to flush and wooden boards for the walls. It scared me as a child as there were always "giant" (or so they seemed) spiders spinning their webs just waiting for chubby little blonde girls to enter. 

    If only I had overcame my fears and "doodled" on that wall and I might have come away with at least some of the talent for drawing my cousin Debra possesses!! 

    More art works by cousin D.L. Giles can be viewed here 


    Baking Straight Cupcakes

                              peace on earth cupcake

    I was thrilled to be invited to give a ten question interview on the gorgeous blog "Haniela's", pop on over and read the interview here and whilst there don't miss Haniela's too, too beautiful Christmas cookie collection!! 

    "Ignorance is bliss"

    Wow, if you use gmail you'll know it stacks your emails under what google call "conversation" view. I turned off conversation view today and now I'm feeling sick! I've only answered the first and second mail from each batch coming from The Lone Baker, I didn't realise there was more mails in the "stack". I think we can safely say that I'm being cursed all around the world for not answering the July wedding emergency emails! Sorry ):

    One of the most popular questions is "how do you bake your cupcakes to look so straight". I do like the look of straight sides on a cupcake and really came across how to do it when I was tackling the other most asked question "cupcake case fall". 

    There is three elements to baking cupcakes with straight sides; 

    Firstly the cupcake tin/pan... I use Wilton, it's not the heaviest/best quality tin on the market but the cup holes have straighter sides.

                        Wilton cupcake tin

    Secondly the liner... You're looking for liners that have straighter sides, higher too if possible.


                the centre liner has higher sides

    the centre liner is less flared & perfect for straight cupcakes


                               the fit of the liner

    These cupcake liners in the pan demonstrate liners "fit", the black fox run liner fits perfectly into the tin, the donna hay liner will drop into pan hole with the weight of the batter and the last one is a Wilton case that does not fit the Wilton pan! Note the folding around the edges that happens once it is weighted, this is exactly how they bake with over half the cupcakes I baked with these liners having folds around the side. 

    Thirdly the batter... You need a cupcake batter that isn't too high in fat, (butter, cream, oil, chocolate) so the double choc sour cream cupcake won't be as straight as a sponge or standard cupcake batter. Also avoid the liquid batters that you pour into the cases if you are after straight cupcakes. 

    All these elements will also reduce to eliminate "case fall" too. Other tips for reducing case fall is to remove the cupcakes from the tin as soon as possible to reduce "sweating"; moisture from being left to cool in the pan and humidity can both lead to case fall. Also you might be tempted to under-fill the cases with cake batter so you have more decorating room once baked, however under-filled cases can lead to case fall simply because the case doesn't have enough cake batter to grip onto. 

    Those dreaded minis and that "case fall"

    Alas too late??  I've found a type of mini cupcakes cases that don't fall... I've tried three batters in them, left them to dry, tested refrigerated and froze/defrosted and they've stayed in place. They are the "minis" part of the High Tea range.

    Since they have the same base diameter, it has to be the height of the case that is keeping the case on. 

    Now we come the "alas" part; I went to buy more and I can't find them now, the standard sized 'High tea' range is everywhere but not the mini's... if you have spotted them please let everyone know. 

    It's always nice to get thank you emails and this is an especially nice one from Sophie;

    Subject: Thankyou
    Message: Hi,
     My name is 
     I am 11 years old,
     I would just like to say thank you for giving me this great advice on how to clean my toffee pan because I couldn't find any other way.
    So Thank you

    Thank you Sophie, glad I could be of some help :) 

    Clean you toffee pan the easy way

     You may also be interested in Twirly Swirly Chocolate Decoration ... fab for New Year & Celebrations; 

    Lastly, thank you everyone who phoned/text/messaged/emailed condolence messages on the passing of our beloved 'Marvin the Pug'. He was our darling boy. 

    Back mid week with more Christmas goodies. Happy Baking :)


    Dove cupcake pick by Birchcraft has now been discontinued... a shame, their metal cupcake picks were lovely... today's dove I painted the toothpick with blue lustre edible paint. Do look for metal charms, scrap booking pieces or metallic dresden's to turn into cupcake picks, you'll end up with something unique & perfect for gift giving. 

    Wilton cupcakes tins ; Australia Everten Online  UK Cakes, Cookies and Crafts  US  


    Thor Cupcake

    fondant and modelling paste bust of Thor cupcake

    Thor's Hammer ;

    The Prose Edda gives a summary of Mjöllnir's special qualities in that, with Mjöllnir, Thor:

    ... would be able to strike as firmly as he wanted, whatever his aim, and the hammer would never fail, and if he threw it at something, it would never miss and never fly so far from his hand that it would not find its way back, and when he wanted, it would be so small that it could be carried inside his tunic.


    Short post today with this special cupcake for my stepson Dan. I'm so behind the times, Daniel kept talking about that his "dream cake" would be Viking metal and Star Wars combined. I thought that meant the "Vikings" would be metallic, but no... "Viking metal" is music apparently! 

    Guess this means I'll have to learn the whole Star Wars saga whilst listening to Viking metal before I make Dan a cake ;)

    rough torso and adding nonpareils to hammer

    part way through working on the head of the Viking supported by a box of currants

    almost finished painting

    fondant and modelling paste coloured grey with americolor super black, painted with sliver food paint and finished with silver lustre dust.

    Today's cupcake was my first attempt at a "human" head, l learnt a lot and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you in a future post, but for now I'm back to Christmas baking.

    Happy Baking :)


    Pumpkin Man Cupcake

    pumpkin man cupcake pick, mini pumpkin cupcake with swiss meringue butter cream frosting

    Peter Peter pumpkin Eater

    Had a wife but couldn't keep her;

    He put her in a pumpkin shell

    And there he kept her very well.

    As a child I never liked this rhyme, creepy Peter putting his wife in a pumpkin shell. As an adult it came as little surprise when I found out the rhyme possibly has murderous origins. 

    The first appearance of 'Peter Peter the pumpkin eater' was in the American Mother Goose, however from Europe we have Eeper Weeper a rhyme/song about a chimney sweep who murdered his wife and shoved her up a chimney. 

    Eeeper Weeper,

    Had a wife and couldn't keep her.

    Had another, didn't love her,

    Up the chimbley he did shove her.

    We can go back further to an earlier rhyme, where yet again we see the demise of the "wife". 

    Peter, my neeper,

    Had a wife,

    And he couidna' keep her,

    He pat i' the wa',

    And lat a' thet mice eat her.

    Whether kept in a pumpkin shell, shoved up a chimney or the mice having a nibble it's a suitably creepy Halloween conversation ;)

    Now on to cupcake picks, I've spoken before about my love of German dresden's and paper scraps, I just love the old world charm of these bits and pieces. My latest dresden the 'pumpkin man' is die cut and embossed on thin shiny card, these little oddities quickly become cupcake picks with the addition of a coloured toothpick.

    attach a toothpick with sticky tape or non-toxic glue 

    I purchased my pumpkin men from SilverCrow Creations a fun online store that carry a large range of dresden's and paper charms. 

    Your might also be interested in;



    Shaping Knife

                                             victorinox shaping knives

    Tool time the kitchen tools and gadgets I love.

    One of most useful and least expensive tools I own is my red handled shaping knife. I use this small Swiss made vegetable and paring knife for a multitude of baking and decorating jobs; the curved blade is perfect for cutting the centre out of cupcakes ready for filling, shaping fruit garnishes & I use it to trim the rough edges from fondant, chocolate and candy work.

    They are super sharp so be careful wielding your blade, other than that a fabulous little knife that is ever so useful & in case your struck with a "cheffy moment" you can turn potatoes with it too ;) 

    I bought my Victorinox knife for $3.95 at Everten (Australia)

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