Last Sunday I spent all day running a stall at a local craft fair in Masham, which is about a 40 minute drive from where I live. I love visiting Masham, it’s such a pretty market town. When my children were younger we would often drive up into the Dales and stop in Masham on the way back for an ice cream. It seemed a perfect venue to try out selling my cupcakes and cookies at a bit further afield.
This last Sunday, sadly was a disaster. There was a very poor turnout due to the dreadful weather and the Olympics. The weather started off quite mild and fine but by the afternoon had turned into torrential rain and we had a thunderstorm. We ended up with a powercut followed by a fire engine speeding off down the road, perhaps a local substation had been hit. Luckily the power came back on almost straightaway! With the fantastic gold medal achievements of Team GB over the weekend who could blame people for staying in and watching the TV? The other stall holders were lovely, a really friendly bunch and I enjoyed chatting with them. They really made me feel good about my cupcakes and cookies even though I had a lot left over!
For me though, baking for a stall means I have to sell everything, especially the cupcakes as they cannot keep. I had baked over 80 cupcakes along with brownies, shortbread, flapjack and various types of cookies. Really and truly I should have done my homework and not made so many cupcakes but I thought Masham was a tourist town. I only sold 20 out of the 100 cupcakes and all of my cookies. It was awful to drive home with a bootful of cupcakes, I thought everyone will be laughing at me.
Thankfully a dozen cupcakes went up to my husband’s office in Boroughbridge and he shared them out with his work colleagues and the other staff in the building. He said they went down very well and brightened up a Monday in the office. Another box is going to my daughter’s dance teacher today who has asked for some. The rest ended up being donated in one which way or another.
BUT every cloud has a silver lining! I had a huge bowlful of strawberries at home which needed using up so I wondered how I could incorporate them in my baking. In the past I have made my vanilla cupcakes with a swirl of plain buttercream or freshly whipped double cream then topped with a whole (washed, but not hulled) strawberry on top. I was worried about the fresh cream on a stall and also had enough plain vanilla cupcakes to sell.
So, once again it was back to my Primrose Bakery cookbooks which have been an absolute favourite of mine. I saw that there was a strawberry cupcake recipe in their first book “Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery” and I immediately had a lightbulb moment. I would bake these but adapt them to suit my own tastes.
First I had to wash, hull and chop up around 250g of strawberries. I don’t mind doing this at all, strawberries are heaven to me. Sadly my own small crop has now gone at home so I had to buy these from my local supermarket. They still taste fab though.
The cake batter ingredients were all mixed together in my Kitchen Aid, I was pleased with the way the batter came together. The recipe suggested crushing the strawberries but I left mine as chunks.
The recipe served 12 but I found that there was a little bit of batter left over, this to me seemed strange. Perhaps they were meant to be muffin sized cupcakes, mine were standard sized ones. I used some pretty strawberry patterned cupcake cases I found last year when I was in Thirsk.
Once the cupcakes had cooled down on the rack I set to with the buttercream. I used my own buttercream recipe and coloured the icing with some pink paste. Luckily I didn’t get too heavy handed with the food colouring paste as I have done sometimes. Then, on with the strawberry decorations.
I’m pleased to say that even though I only sold 20 cupcakes on the day, 8/12 of the strawberry ones sold, closely followed by the coffee ones! Of the four that were left, my husband ate two of them even though me says he doesn’t have a sweet tooth! They seemed to appeal to the adults who bought a cupcake, the children all liked the vanilla and chocolate ones.
I will definitely make these again, it was a lovely recipe to bake and the result looked attractive especially when placed on the stand.