The Recess Cupcake…marking milestones and creating memories.

Today has been just a tad emotional for me. My son Liam left school today and after 13 years, it seems surreal that this part of his life is all of a sudden over. I attended the final school assembly for year 12 and being a natural “sobber”, started tearing up as the first words of farewell left the school captains mouth. I kept saying to myself, am I at the right presentation day? Surely he is still in primary school? Wasn’t I just helping him with the prototype “fax television for the visually impaired complete with braile print out” assignment in Year 8. But alas as I looked over to him and saw the wonderful young man he has become, resplendent with his “Grizzly Adams beard” , I knew it was  me that also needed to say goodbye. To say goodbye to the little boy who happily attended his first day at school, to say goodbye to Saturday morning soccer games and sausage sizzles, to say goodbye to birthday parties with lolly bags, to say goodbye to canteen rosters and sports days, to say goodbye to eagerly awaited school holidays, to say goodbye to ironing school shirts and shorts, to say goodbye to carefree days of changing friendships, hormonal surges and awkward growth spurts. My boy was at last a man……

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And yet as I sit here and blubber my way through this piece there has been a constant in his life. One that was there at the start and again here today. Recess cupcakes! Those morsels of dense vanillary goodness, topped with melted white choc and the compulsory sprinkles (even in Year 12). I suddenly realised I have been making cupcakes for the last 13 years for play lunch, little lunch and recess. I have been making them before they become the cake de jour. I have been making them since cupcake companies and dedicated market stalls have popped up in our lives. They have always graced the lunch box and have also made appearances at birthday parties, P and C events, and sporting carnivals. They are Liam’s preferred lunch box treat and I dare say will follow him into adulthood…. nothing could please me further.

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The recipe is such that a batch can easily be whipped up on a Sunday night and make a decent amount, depending on your preferred size of cupcake. As Liam has grown, I have taken to making larger muffin size cakes for his ever increasing appetite. The recipe is a “bung it all in” type and mix for 4 mins. That’s it. So easy.

So as an ode to the completion of 13 years of fine public education schooling….I happily share my favourite cupcake recipe with you. May many others share their school memories whilst eating one of these at recess!

Enjoy …..Proud TBH xx

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Jackie’s Chocolate Cake – Worth a 100 bucks!

So here is the second of my high rotation chocolate cake recipes. Fondly known as “Jackie’s”, this recipe came from my friend Katherine in Brisbane and was in celebration of my baby boy turning 1. Katherine sent me a copy of the recipe so that I had a decent choc cake for creating those damn childrens birthday cakes, that tend to lose their complexity as the child gets older. Jackies makes a huge slab cake, perfect for sculpting and cutting into 3D Ninja turtles or characters from Frozen at 2am in the morning, prior to the onslaught of 5 year olds the next day. My son will be turning 18 very soon and no doubt I’ll cook a Jackies….it will be simply iced and if lucky a spray of sprinkles and “18” shaped by smarties will be placed lovingly on top!

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The other part to this little story is about Jackie herself. ‘Jackie’ sent in this recipe to a women’s magazine and promptly won $100 for her “original” recipe. However according to Katherine, she had seen the recipe elsewhere and felt Jackie was not really deserving of the prize…Katherine wrote this on my copy, along with the fact that my baby boy at the tender age of one, would be quite happy with an iced shoe box, but that this recipe would come into its own one day…..and so it has. The recipe has been copied in its entirety (including Katherine’s scathing words regarding Jackie) to many family and friends, resulting in children all over the world eating a “Jackies”. Perhaps she deserved the 100 bucks after all!

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Once again it is a very simple melt and mix recipe and the fudge icing makes a good topping. Its dense and flavoursome, and though lacking the intensity of the melted chocolate flavoured cakes, the 5 years don’t seem to mind!

Enjoy! TBH xx

Thelma’s Chocolate Cake – a quick go to cake

As Easter is just around the corner and thoughts are turning to chocolate, I thought I would share the four chocolate cakes in my life over the coming weeks. Despite not being an avid fan of chocolate like some, (my preference is the brulees, pannacottas, and citrus tarts found on menus) I do enjoy a slice (aka large door-stopping wedge) of chocolate cake at children’s birthday parties and with a cup of tea! Thelma’s chocolate cake recipe is one of the many things the food techy brought to our marriage. There are many quirkier things he brought but wine needs to be involved before discussing and disclosing those items.

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From all accounts Thelma was a past employee of the food techy’s workplace and made this cake for staff morning teas. It has become a favourite in our family and the recipe has been passed to many friends to continue the tradition. I will honestly say, it really is just a “jujjed” up version of a packet cake and I make no apologies for sharing that information. Sometimes we all just need a quick and easy go to recipe when chocolate cake is required within the hour.

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To my friends in the northern hemisphere climes, a word of warning……this recipe calls for a packet of instant chocolate pudding. This is NOT the self sauce variety. Your pudding mix should only have 1 sachet inside! Here in Australia I use the Cottees brand of instant choc pudding.

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I also tend to use a higher quality cake packet mix, and if you can buy one with the frosting included, all up this cake comes out at a very economical price with a good flavour. I bake it in my kugelhopf cake tin but have also had success in the standard 20-22 cm round tins.

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Enjoy! TBH XX