Life is settling down after the past week’s celebrations. I spent the past few days finishing some projects and posting a few gifts. I can show one, but the other will have to wait a few days until I know the gift has arrived.
Another WIP bag, which I so enjoy making. This is a belated birthday gift for my friend Marianne, who has the lovely Ladybird Diaries blog.
I’ve also started a new stitching project, my eye fancied these gorgeous jewel tones. I’m working on a Florentine embroidery project for the &Stitches blog. More about that next week!
Even though I gave my KitchenAid mixer a rest this week, I want to share some tips for the best buttercream frosting.
I’m a bit fussy when it comes to frosting – it can make or break a cake! I’ve tasted cupcakes topped with a grainy, greasy dollop of goo, I’ve even thrown out a cupcake that featured a salty frosting! Such a disappointment, when it doesn’t take much effort at all to turn out a lovely bake with a gorgeous frosting.
For the perfect, scrumptious, fluffy-as-a-cloud buttercream, just follow these simple steps using a standard frosting recipe (butter, vanilla, icing sugar and a touch of milk):
1. Use absolutely room temperature butter. It should be soft and squishy. An unsalted!
2. Use best-quality vanilla. The fake stuff just isn’t worth it.
3. Whip these two ingredients together a bit before adding the sugar. They should be combined and the butter slathered all round the bowl.
4. Add a tablespoon or so of semi-skimmed milk, then sift – yes, sift, this is absolutely key – the icing sugar into the bowl. It really does make a big difference (believe me, I’ve tried both methods, lazy cook that I am, and it really is worth the extra two minutes to sift the sugar).
5. Mix mix mix...and then mix some more. When you’re finished, mix again for a few more minutes. Honestly. You can’t overmix buttercream frosting. It just gets lighter and more whipped. I usually switch on the KitchenAid then tidy the kitchen, scraping the sides now and again. It will be pale, nearly white, and fluffy and lovely. Mmmm.
I prefer small dollops on top of cupcakes, or just a miserly swirl – the frosting shouldn’t overpower the cake, nor should it give the cake consumer the shakes from too much sugar. (Many cupcakeries should take note of this!) Glitter, on the other hand, well, one can never be *too sparkly*, I think...
I shall leave you with the latest birds to visit the garden:
A second fledgling blackbird is feeding happily, often with its twin. And even more exciting is this:
The woodpeckers are back! I was over the moon to see the female blackbird this week, for breakfast, lunch and supper at the peanut feeder! Today her darling husband came for a snack...
|He wouldn't turn his head round so I could snap a photo of his red crown!|
...which hopefully means we’ll see a young one soon! We loved watching the family last summer, you can see some photos here and here.
My mother arrived this morning from the States to spend the half term with her granddaughters – which I translate to mean “Chrissie has lots of time to craft!” I have a Coco pattern that beckons...
Enjoy the long weekend, and I hope to share more makes with you soon!