It’s true that I own an embarrassing amount of cookbooks. It’s a compulsion that lures me into every second hand bookstore I pass. There are cookbooks for baking with yeast, Danish sandwich making and Pritikin diets. Most are curiosities, mostly unused. But amid the novelties are essentials and the Sally Wise cookbooks are ones I refer to over and over again. Possibly because her food is a perfect fit for me and how I cook. Family food. Flavour over fancy. No smears, no complicated reductions, just page after page of family winners. Her gluten free book should be a first port of call for those of you needing help in that area. Her slow cooker book is fantastic and her preserves books are the only ones you will need (should that be your thing).
So I was keen to get her new book, ‘Sweet’. It’s perfect for those of us heading towards a spring season of cake stalls and fete days.
Our school fundraiser was last weekend and I’d pledged 24 cupcakes. Thinking I’d be making my life easier, I went to buy a packet mix. Looking on the back I saw I’d need to add my own eggs, oil and milk. Soooo…. ummmmm…. what exactly is in the packet then? Just flour, sugar-like substances and a stack of preservatives, thickeners and colourings. I popped it back, pretty sure I could do better.
So straight to Sally and she came to my rescue. This cake mix is SO incredibly easy and the cakes were really good.
Sally Wise’s Chocolate Cupcakes (from Sweet!) My comments are in italics.
Makes 10 (although I made a triple batch and ended up with about 3 dozen).
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
90 g butter, melted
Heat oven to 160C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.
Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for two minutes until thick & creamy. (YES, TRULY, THIS IS ALL YOU DO!!!!)
Fill cases to 2/3 full and bake for 12-15 minutes or so until the middle of the cake is springy (IN MY CRAP OVEN, THE COOKING TIME WAS ACTUALLY JUST OVER 20 MINS)
Cool completely, then ice.
180g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp softened butter
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl, mix in the butter and enough boiling water to make a smooth consistency.
I dipped my iced cakes in sprinkles and topped with a tiny teddy. I noticed during my time of the cupcake stall that lollies and really colourful toppings were MUCH more popular than the more measly, spartan looking ones.