Oh lord, can I please tell you all how amazingly motivated I am after this weekend?! I am literally bursting with ideas – ideas for recipes, posts, projects, videos, businesses, you name it, I am motivated to do it! Seriously, I feel like I just came back from an intense Tony Robbins workshop, but instead I just spent the most amazing weekend at Food Bloggers Connect. A whole 3 days of meeting fellow food bloggers, laughing and crying with them (no, actually, no crying, just lots of laughing), listening to informative talks about how to improve your food photography, write recipes, build up traffic and most importantly, have fun whilst doing it.
Yeah yeah, you hear the word conference and think ‘booooring’. In fact, some of my friends were referring to my food blogging weekend as “the geek conference”. Hello?! Yes, geeky maybe a tiny bit, but geeky with tons of food and wine. Still sounds like a boring conference? No? Though so!
The weekend kicked off with a wine tasting – and a test! We had to guess what countries certain wines came from, what grapes they were made of and what vintage they were. Hmmm, glad it was multiple choice, so I could just close my eyes and circle one option (and like this I got 4 out of 6 right!). Yes, I’m not a wine conoisseur at all! I love drinking it (loads), but have no idea about anything more than if I like it or not. I’d love to pair up with a wine buff to take Anne’s Kitchen to the next level and suggest wines to go with my meals. Anyone out there? Preferably male, good-looking and single! Ha, just kidding!
The tasting was followed by a great Skype conference with Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, whose enthusiasm was just amazing and rubbed off on everyone! Afterwards we all gathered outside again for more wine and some food. It was the most beautiful, warm summer evening – a real precious rarity in London. So, thanks weather gods for squeezing in some sun and warm temperatures (on Monday after the conference it started raining again!).
The coolest thing about FBC was hanging out with all those fabulous people!
I had a blast talking to Kerrin of My Kugelhopf (honestly, who doesn’t have a great time with that girl?! She’s the most entertaining person in the world, hell, make it the universe). I was quite surprised to hear that she nearly moved to Luxembourg instead of Zurich, and I seriously wonder how My Kugelhof would have turned out if set there. Maybe it would have been called “My Luxemburger”?
I had a fabulous time talking to the ever so lovely Mowie of Mowielicious. His amazing photos still blow me away, even though he let me in to some production secrets… I think I’ll have to go over to his place one day and watch the master at work – and eat his cakes!
Found out that Sarah of Maison Cupcake had been at the same casting for the TV baking show (and didn’t make it either – we’re both happy to have missed out on that stress!). Then chatted to Rachel of Cookyourlife and found out that she is actually going to be a contestant on a British TV cooking show, so fingers double crossed for you girl!
Bumped into Bron of Feast with Bron, and recognized her from the Food and Drinks Journalism course we took 3 years ago! Good to see we’re still both passionate about it!
A big thumbs up to Sari of Cooking your Dream, who let four international bloggers crash at her place! Great to meet the lovely Tiina of Sparkling Ink and the real Cooking Ninja! Shared many laughs with the delightful mother-daughter bloggers of Peanut Butter and Jealous, and met the lovely Reena of Coconut Raita. And I finally got to touch an iPad thanks to Nando of Cuca Brazuca.
I was also very happy to get some great chocolate and beautiful spoons from Julia of Always Leave Room For Dessert. She brought them all the way from Canada! Can’t wait to use them as props in my next shoot!
And last but not least, a massive thank you to Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets for all her hard work in organizing this event!
Anyway, so much to share and tell, so many amazingly lovely people I met. I can’t name them all, but have a look at my blogroll on the right hand side and see how many new links are there? They’re all fabulous, so please click on some and explore their blogs!
So, since I haven’t been able to bake all weekend, or last week, I decided to go back to my recipe archive (yes, I have a whole library of recipes stacked in some folder on my computer), and pull out this lovely passion fruit cupcake recipe. Passion fruit for passionate people. Makes sense, right?!
What struck me about this cupcake recipe is that it is in fact quite unusual for a cupcake. It’s not your usual sponge base topped with loads and loads of butter cream. The secret to this cupcake is its lightness and its freshness that comes from the use of cream cheese. It’s quite a fluffy cake, more on the soufflé side than on the sponge cake one.
Don’t be surprised that the cupcakes collapse when you take them out of the oven. Really, no need to shed a tear for that imploded middle bit! Because that’s where your superhero, the frosting, comes into play! We’ll be able to hide that hole with a good slap of frosting, just like the best concealer can cover up those dark rings under your eyes on a hangover day.
Trust me, magic’s in the make-up and in the frosting! ★
Passion Fruit Cupcakes
Makes about 12
For the cupcakes:
185g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g cream cheese
2 passion fruits (get 5 in total, since you need 3 more for the frosting)
125g self-raising flour (if you can’t get that then use normal flour with 1 tbsp baking powder)
30g plain flour
For the frosting:
250g icing sugar
100g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
3 passion fruits
Preheat the oven to 180°.
In a big mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the cream cheese and the passion fruit pulp (including the pips) and beat until smooth.
Now add the flours alternatively with the milk to the passion fruit mix. When it’s all smooth and mixed, distribute the dough in the 12 cupcake holes (which you have lined with cupcake cases).
Bake for 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Let the cupcakes cool down for a bit until transferring onto a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile make the icing: Mix the butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Gradually incorporate the icing sugar (in small batches! You don’t want your kitchen full of exploding icing sugar dust!). This will take about 5 mins. Once it’s smooth, beat in the pulp (including pips) of 1 and 1/2 passion fruits. Beat for 2 minutes until it’s all nice and smooth. Put in the fridge until the cupcakes have cooled down completely.
Once the cupcakes are cold, take the icing out of the frige and let it warm up for 5 minutes (so it’s easier to spread). Either spread the icing on with a spoon or, like I did, use a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle to make a nice shaped icing. Top all the cakes with a bit of the remaining passion fruit pulp.
I would recommend eating these on the day they’re made, or the next day, but don’t keep them for longer since they will only disappoint.
Voila, the perfect cupcake for passionate people!