This heartbreaking tale begins with a note in my inbox several weeks ago. Would I like to review a new book for brides and grooms: “Wedding Cupcakes”? Yes I’d love to. I could have a taste test and everything… it’d be so much fun!
So I replied, and within a couple of days this little beauty arrived in the post. I dashed out to Sainsburys with my shopping list ready to get stuck into one of those beautifully inspiring wedding DIY blog posts that all the top bloggers are so good at. I imagined I’d be as good at this as Lou from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings with all her expert tutorials and home made photoshoots.
I couldn’t have been wronger. As wrong as if you’d led me by the hand to the ‘wrong’ department in the wrong shop, tipped me upside down, painted ‘wrong’ on my forehead and dumped me in the wrong basket on the way out, as one of my expert reviewers might say. (but she’s better at this than I am.) Still, at least I was keen.
I began with the details: modelling icing for my cupcakes
I struggled with a few aspects of the ingredients list, and my weakness is always for enthusiastic but misguided improvisation. I couldn’t find ‘superfine sugar’ or ‘confectioners’ sugar’ so used icing sugar for both. I only had lilac and pink food colouring so I changed the colours in the recipes. All the sugar made me very thirsty.
I didn’t have a 3cm heart-shaped cutter so I used a small cookie cutter – which was waaaaaaaaaaay too big. Then I cut hearts by hand with a knife, which was messy. Then I made balls instead. They were easy (but some might say they looked a bit stupid). Nonetheless, I did my best to follow the rest of the instructions to the letter, and considering it’s been twenty years since I last had plasticine, I think I did OK.
I must emphasise that none of my misadventures were the fault of Joanna Farrow. Her publisher wasn’t to know about any of my previous baking experience – and credit where it’s due: a total idiot can follow the instructions in the book, so she did very well indeed there.
After well over an hour making hearts, flowers and balls, I move on to baking. My cupcakes are horrendous! People on twitter said they looked lovely! Thank you Instagram. 😉
The real challenge was baking, then hiding what emerged from my oven
The verdict: can I make wedding cupcakes? How did my first wedding blogger DIY project go?
My good friend and expert wedding cake designer Beth, from Cakes By Beth, was very kind (perhaps because she didn’t have to taste anything). We’d recently been discussing our favourite retro TV programmes and I suspect this influenced her review somewhat. Beth did suggest that my wedding cupcakes looked a little dry…
“As dry as an extremely dry desert that’s on holiday in Death Valley in middle of a heat wave, eating Jacobs Crackers”
and with all the icing, perhaps a little sweet…
“Sweeter than a teeny tiny baby kitten wearing a teeny tiny little bonnet, dipped in syrup, sitting in a sugar factory, sucking its thumb & saying “Hug me, I’m sweet”
To be fair, Beth was generous with her praise of my efforts. Thanks Beth…
When I told my other friend wedding photographer Jenny McAvoy I was making wedding cupcakes for my blog, she showed me her own “little” DIY challenge: to make a tiered wedding cake and then share it with other people. I’d love to show you pictures – but Jenny’s blog post had me crying with laughter and delight. She called it, Leave it to the experts! You have to see this.
Wedding Cupcakes – a book review
I should really review the book properly for you now! Wedding Cupcakes by Joanna Farrow has some lovely ideas inside. There’s a variety of cupcake styles for different weddings, and plenty of options for novice decorators to master (with a bit of practice – more than I had!).
Joanna’s ideas for decorating with flowers and tying with ribbons are nice, and with every recipe she shares pictures of how cupcakes might look in a little arrangement.
Some of the designs are a wee bit dated (but not enough to be vintage) in style if you ask me, and some are overly fiddly for beginners to be making by the dozen – see page 14! But overall I like this book for beginners – and I had loads of fun with it.
Wedding Cupcakes is selling on Amazon for less than the recommended retail price as I type – it’s £6.39 with free delivery. Try it and see! (send me pictures of your wedding cupcake masterpieces and I’ll share them on the blog!)
If anyone else would like to send me a book to review, please do! I really enjoy it.
(This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon. The book was offered to me free for review. I bought all the sugar and food colouring, marmite and other ingredients myself.)