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Showing posts from 2008

Cupcakes in the market

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We are off to market again this week, with four new products to add to our range. We've had a great response so far to our three key products - chocolate, strawberry and vanilla cupcakes, but we decided we'd try a "flavour of the week" approach, and found that when ever we introduced something different, it sold out!
Last Friday we tried chocolate meringues - they were gone by 11.30am! Then last Saturday, we tried raspberry passionfruit cupcakes, and again, they completely sold out. Our conclusion: variety is the spice of life. So this week we are bringing the raspberry passionfruit cupcake and chocolate meringues, along with a date and walnut and a banana cupcake to market. We're excited because it means we now have eight products! Hopefully we now have something for everyone. Even gluten free folks!
If you're in the neighbourhood, do drop by and see us! We'll be at the Organic Food Market in Bondi Junction Mall, Sydney, Australia, from 8.30am to 5.00pm …

Date & Walnut Cupcakes

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My husband has always enjoyed the flavour of caramel more than chocolate, so last year when we went to Brest in Brittany, France, he was delighted to discover that caramel was also the preferred flavour in that region. On our first night in Brest we had the great pleasure to dine at a traditional Brittany restaurant with our friends and hosts.

Of course crepes were the main item on the menu, and both Mark and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I forget what I had for dessert because it paled in comparison to the confection that Mark accidentally ordered. When he ordered a bowl of caramel icecream for dessert he had no idea that there would be anything else in the bowl other than icecream. Imagine his surprise (and my utter envy) when the waiter placed a massive bowl of caramel and vanilla icecream covered with delicious, hot, runny, buttery caramel sauce, topped with whipped cream? Mark’s eyes nearly popped out of his head!

In fact, it wasn’t just caramel that was so important to the…

Newsflash - Cadbury Snaps Snapped!

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We interrupt this blog to announce to chocolate and cupcake lovers every where that Cadbury Snaps are no longer available in Australia!
Regular readers of Kitchen Alchemy will be familiar with our Double Dutch Chocolate cupcake, the crowning glory of which has been a Cadbury Snap. But no more! After an extensive search of the retail outlets in South Centennial and Pagewood, we can confirm that Snaps are no longer available on supermarket shelves. Rather than wonder in silence we decided to go straight to the source and find out who is to blame!
A quick call to Christine at the Cadbury consumer information line confirmed what we at Kitchen Alchemy had long suspected: Snaps are a limited product only available at certain times of the year. In fact, Snaps are imported from the UK, where they come in additional exciting flavours like organge, hazelnut and honeycomb, as well as the flavours seen here: mint, caramel and of course the original.
So, we are very sorry to announce that our Snap to…

Lets do it again!

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Flush from the success of our first market stall, we've decided to plunge in the deep end and do it all again this weekend!

It was hugely exciting to take our cupcakes to market last weekend. We were up and running by 8.15am, but didn't serve our first customers for at least another half an hour. When I finally relented and went off to get a latte, Murphy's Law kicked into play and Mark made our first sale in my absence.
But further sales were fast to follow. It's great to see people we don't know happily purchasing our product and enjoying it! Apart from the odd homeless person (pickled in Jim Beam) we found the Bondi Junction Organic Food Markets an extremely pleasant place to spruike our wares. So we'll be there again this Saturday, July 12. Hope you can make it down to see us this time - and of course partake in a little piece of cupcake heaven.

We're going to market!

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We are thrilled to announce we are taking our cupcakes to market!

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, Kitchen Alchemy will unveil its cupcakes at the Bondi Junction Organic & Grower's Market. The market opens at 9.00am and closes at 4.00pm. It's located in Bondi Junction Mall, which is on Oxford Street, right near the ramp to Bondi Junction train station.

We'll be selling our vanilla cupcakes, topped with delicious strawberry or vanilla buttercream, our Double Dutch Chocolate cupcake, plus a limited number of our mini cupcakes (all vanilla with an assortment of buttercream toppings).

We're really excited about this next step in our cupcake venture. If you've been a reader but never a taster, we especially hope to see you there!

When idiocy takes hold

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One of the main items I keep in my pantry is the full range of essences and colourings made by Queen Fine Foods. If you live in Australia you probably know them really well yourself - they are famours for their Natural Vanilla Essence, and in more recent years, their range has expanded to include flavourings like Almond Essence, Orange Essence, Rose Water Essence and so on.

I recently went to my local Food For Less store, which is owned by Woolworths, to stock up on vanilla. I looked up and down the baking aisle for the vanilla essence and strawberry flavouring but never found it. I thought nothing of it until I mentioned it to my neighbour who told me Woolworths had removed the essences because of the recent scare mongering in the media over kids buying the stuff instead of booze.

What????

I thought the exact same thing. So the next time I was at the supermarket I asked the checkout guy whether they were now keeping the vanilla essence and pink food colouring behind the counter - wit…

Unexplained icing failure

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If you have ever been to France and have had the great fortune to gaze into the windows of a Parisian patisserie, you would know that the French have taken cake baking to a whole other level.

France, of course, is the home of cordon bleu cooking, upon which the best recipes in the western world are based. The French work wonders with pastry. They whip this, they fold that. They think of the most profound things to do with ingredients in order to produce a gastronomic feast. When I was in France last year I naturally gravitated towards every patisserie I passed. While macarons are my absolute favourite, I am also fascinated by the detailed little cakes that can be found everywhere.

One of the key ingredients of these cakes is French buttercream. Now I have talked extensively on this blog about buttercream icing, which I use on most of my cupcakes. As I’ve said, the first people I saw using buttercream was a couple of Mormon missionaries. But buttercream icing bears no resemblance to Fren…

Don’t be ripped off

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I heard a shocking story yesterday of how suppliers of cupcakes for weddings have been ripping people off. The story came to me via a friend about a customer who had two daughters get married in the space of two years. One of them decided she wanted cupcakes to serve as dessert, so she sought out a supplier for a quote. Can you believe she was given a price of $15.00 per cupcake?

Luckily she wasn’t sucked in by this shocking price, so they sought a second quote. Can you believe the second supplier quoted $7.00 per cupcake? When the woman commented on the price being a little high, the supplier justified themselves by saying, “Well, they are very fiddley and quite time consuming you know.”

That’s utter rubbish!!! For everybody out there who is looking for cupcakes for a wedding, please note the following:

1. When you say “wedding” to any supplier, the price immediately doubles. Hide this fact for as long as you can.

2. The base price for a cupcake should be between $3.50 and $4.50. If some…

Back to basics

I recently had a breakdown with my chocolate cupcakes – they simply wouldn’t rise in the middle of the cake. I found this really hard to understand, because this is a recipe I have been using for years, and I was convinced I knew it like the back of my hand.

I had one batch of chocolate cupcakes dip slightly in the middle of the cake and I thought nothing of it. But the following week I was in a serious hurry to cook a batch of chocolate cupcakes to fill a café order. Imagine my horror when I took the tray out of the oven to find all but two cakes with massive great holes in the middle – and I knew I had accidentally put double the amount of bi-carb soda in the mix, so there was no reason for them to sink.

I took my recipe book to bed that night and studied the directions very carefully. The base of the recipe is a chocolate syrup made out of water, cocoa, sugar and butter. It also calls for bi-carb soda, which aerates the mix. But I had been leaving that out of the process until much l…

Sydney Your Cupcakes Are Ready!

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We at Kitchemy Alchemy are proud to announce the launch of Cupcakes By Kitchen Alchemy - our new sideline designed to feed the cupcake fanatiscism that has swept Sydney, Australia and many parts of the Globe!

For some time now our cupcake efforts have been coming to the boil - where ever we go we've brought our cupcakes with us. People wanted to know how they could get more, so we decided to make it easy for them - voila: Cupcakes By Kitchen Alchemy. Now instead of just reading about them, you can order them and eat them!

Check out the Cupcakes By Kitchem Alchemy website over here at http://www.cupcakesbykitchenalchemy.com/

Can't wait to order your own? Then hot foot it down to Anise Cafe at 381 King Street, Newtown - currently our exclusive stockist of Cupcakes By Kitchen Alchemy. You can read more about Anise here: http://www.eatability.com.au/au/sydney/anise_newtown.htm

The final word on bench top mixers

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If you’re a regular reader you might remember this time last year I did a road test for the Sunbeam Mixmaster and the Kenwood Patissier bench top mixers. And I lamented in that story that I’d never bought a Kitchenaid when I should have.

Well late last year I was fortunate enough to score a second hand Kitchenaid KMS90 for a bargain price – one which had only ever been used twice. I’ve been working with my Kitchenaid for about six months now, and I’ve decided it’s time to report on the performance of this machine.

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

That’s the only way to describe it. Because it was second hand, the Kitchenaid showed up with no manual and only one attachment – the standard whisk beater. Having seen what can happen to the same attachment on the Kenwood Patissier, I quickly bought the flat paddle attachment from Pulp Kitchen and installed it as the default attachment.

The number one thing I use my Kitchenaid for is making…

Lemon Tartletts

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In 2004 I had a grand vision of growing lemons in the back yard of my apartment building, and producing so much fruit, I’d be able to put the lemons in a big basket at the front steps and share them with everyone that lived around me.

So I went to the plant nursery near my mother’s house and bought myself a young lemon tree. The tag said it would fruit three seasons of the year. This was very exciting news! I took the tree home and planted it on a mound of dirt in the corner of the back yard, which was theoretically communal, but which was only used by me.

Each morning I came out onto my balcony and surveyed my fledgling lemon tree, and was overjoyed when it sprouted some blossoms. My dream of an abundance of lemons was on its way to coming true!

Some weeks later I was entertaining friends from France. As I pointed proudly to where my lemon tree should have been, I was horrified to discover there was nothing left of it but a stick of a stump. Some person had cut my lemon tree off below …

Vanilla Buttercream

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When I was 11 years old my family moved from Newcastle to Penrith to try to pursue all the opportunities we might find in the ‘big smoke’. Not that Penrith was the big smoke, but it was a damn sight nearer to Sydney than Newcastle ever was.

It was tough for me leaving the only school friends I'd ever had, but the change was made a lot easier by a girl called Nicole who lived around the corner from our new house. Even though Nicole has just completed sixth grade, she was repeating – I think it was because she was too young to go to high school. What ever the reason, I was lucky to have a neighbourhood friend who was in the same class as me at school.

Nicole and her little sister were what you call ‘latch key kids’ - their parents worked during the day, and weren’t there when Nicole and her sister arrived home from school. Eventually my sister and I would also end up as latch key kids – much to the detriment of our burgeoning predilection for squabbling (we weren't nice to each…

Creative Christmas Icings

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This year I set out to create Jennifer Graham's Oh Christmas Tree! cupcakes for two family Christmas events. First I realised the cake recipe didn't meet my standards, so I altered it and my recipe is published in one of the posts below. But the Christmas cupcakes were always meant to be iced.
A few weeks back my husband and I were mucking around in the kitchen (not that kind of mucking around!) when I wondered out loud whether pink icing could be turned to green. Mark said no, based on colour theory he studied at TAFE last year, but I decided to give it ago anyway. Using Wilton Leaf Green paste, I produced a vibrant lime green icing. I just so happened to have a few Christmas cupcakes left in the freezer, so I thawed them out and topped them with the green icing. With their red Confeta cup papers, they looked very festive - but unfinished.
So I took out my container of single colour non-pareils, which I imported from America earlier this year. I mixed red and white together, t…