There is a certain baking etiquette for most situations. Birthdays require cake, book groups or sleepovers call for brownies or slices, afternoon tea (because obviously I have that so often) needs biscuits, presents should always involve cookies.
Okay, yes I did make up half of that. Feel free to use it as your staple baking etiquette guide from now on. I live to serve.
You may remember my unfortunate tendency to come up with bizarre ideas. I'm insanely lucky that in my friend group, when I send an email round saying 'WE SHOULD BUILD A TREE FORT!!' I get a load of replies emailed back - not saying, 'er, what have you been smoking?' or even, 'haha, that would be mildly amusing', but saying 'sure, let's do it on ____ at ____'s house!!' XD.
The point is, my amazingly definitive baking ettiquette guide doesn't cover tree-fort building.
Addendum #1: If in doubt, make cupcakes.
When I think of cupcakes, I always turn to this book, and the first thing that caught my eye was lemon coconut snowballs. Everything was merry and bright (I sometimes like to throw in phrases like this when people aren't expecting this; I'm just adding a bit of Julie Andrews to my corner of the blogging world) until I realised that when I added the frosting we were talking about at least nine egg whites here. Bollocks to that, I thought (sorry Julie). Nine egg whites is nine egg whites. What the buggery am I going to do with nine egg yolks? (that is a hypothetical question, by the way, before you all start shouting 'ICE CREAM' at me XD)
Anyway, I flicked through the book a bit more and came across another white cupcake recipe that was almost exactly the same but with just three egg whites in the cake. I also couldn't be doing with the 'let's-make-lemon-filling-even-though-you-could-just-use-lemon-curd-but-shush' malarky that the filling is all about, so (unsuprisingly) I just used lemon curd. To summarize; I've bastardised this recipe to the nth degree (and that's not even including my dodgy conversion). But God, it tastes good.
I seem to be effing and blinding all over the place now (if by 'effing and blinding' you mean 'using three very mild swearwords', which I do). Over-compensating for the Julie Andrews moment, I think. I'm very insecure.
These are pure white cupcakes with a chilled lemon filling, covered in the mystery that is seven-minute-frosting (the first time I've had it - it's not buttercream, it's not whipped cream, it's not meringue... what is it?! Crazy, that's what it is. Crazy good) and sprinkled with tons of coconut flakes. One of my friends described it as 'more or less the best thing in the world', which I think says it all and then some. ('And then some' being that I have the greatest friends XD)
adapted to save egg whites from Cupcakes by Elinor Klivans
Makes 12 regular cupcakes (I had enough left over to make a couple of mini ones too, but that was cause I didn't fill my case enough D=)
White cupcake recipe:
175g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
180ml milk (it says whole milk, but obviously if you're making these cupcakes you're crazy-healthy and only have semi-skimmed in the house. Right? Yeah, me too)
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g caster sugar
3 large egg whites
Jar of lemon curd
Seven Minute Frosting:
150g icing sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 cream of tartar (I lived without)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Looads of dessicated coconut to sprinkle ^__^
1. Oven to 180C. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners. 'Sift' (ha! I do not sift) the flours, baking powder & salt into a bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, stir the milk & vanilla together.
2. In a large bowl (get your kitchen mixer out) beat the butter and sugar until smooth and light, until it's sugary and in large clumps. Sounds attractive, hnn. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, alternating between the two - so you start and end with the flour. Mix just until the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites nice and fast with clean beaters until they look shiny and smooth, and the beaters form lines in the egg whites. If you stop mixing and lift up the beaters, the whites should cling to them. Stir about 1/3 of the beaten whites into the reserved batter, and use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining white until just blended.
4. Fill each paper liner with however much mixture it takes to fill all twelve. We go in for accuracy, round here. Hint, you shouldn't have enough to make mini ones as well X__X. Bake for about 20 minutes until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and leave to cool.
5. To make the seven minute frosting, put the sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl and beat with a handheld electric mixer (I don't have one, so used one of the handheld mixers that you beat by hand. I fail at terminology. It was bloody hard, is the point) until opaque, white and foamy (about 1 minute).
6. Put the bowl over (but not so the bottom's touching) a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a soft peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them; about 7 minutes, hence the name. Remove the bowl of frosting from the water, add the vanilla extract, and continue beating for 2 mins more to further thicken the frosting.
7. To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1 inch across & 1 inch deep) out of the middle of the top of each cake, and keep them aside. Put a spoonful of lemon curd into each hole and replace the cake pieces. Immediately frost the cupcakes (you might need another quick beat of your frosting if you've left it while you filled, here. This is where another person would be good).
8. Put a plate underneath to catch falling coconut before you start frosting. Holding a cupcake in the palm of your hand, dollop a thick layer of frosting over the top and sides of each cupcake. Sprinkle coconut generously over the frosting, letting any extra fall onto the plate to be recycled for another cupcake XD.
The cupcakes can be refridgerated for up to 2 days. If you're spending one of these days tying pirate flags to trees in the freezing cold, they should pretty much survive.
I'm entering these in Cupcakes Spectacular , just because I can. ^__^