My name is Lana and I am addicted to cookbooks.
Yes, it’s true. I have an absolute obsession with any book related to baking and cooking.
I have been living in the UK for about nine months now. It wasn’t until I had to pack up my entire cookbook collection when we moved from London to Manchester that I realised how infatuated I truly am. In six months I had accumulated eleven cookbooks! Eleven beautiful cookbooks might I add. I have a couple of Jamie Oliver’s, one from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers a couple of Donna Hay’s…the list goes on.
Of course, they aren’t all brand spanking new. The charity shops here are my best friends and whilst most people are searching for that fab new dress, I skip straight over to the book section to see what I can get my eager little hands on!
My favourite part about buying a cook book second hand is that many of them have lovely, little inscriptions on them. Like the following:
“To Dear Ilse,
Wishing you a happy
birthday and many hours
of wonderful cooking.
Gerald and Hazel”
Judging by the pristine condition of the Marie Claire book I’m guessing that Ilse wasn’t so keen on getting messy in the kitchen. But never fear, it is now in loving hands, covered in flour and’ kitchen debris’. Thank you very much Gerald and Hazel!
I love these little insights into the history of my cookbooks. I am glad I can put to good use something that may have been in the back of someone’s cupboard, or collecting dust on the bookshelf. I am thankful that they decided to pass them on!
My first favourite cookbook was one of my Mum’s. ‘The Margaret Fulton Cookbook’, a delightful old book first published in 1968. This wonderful book has been well loved by my family. We have used it so much over the years that it literally fell apart. It is now held together by masking tape and staples and is still just as loved.
This recipe is one of my favourites from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook and one that I have been baking for years. It yields the most delightfully fluffy and light cupcakes. It is my go to recipe for a last minute dessert as they take little effort to throw together but are rather impressive when decorated with some silky ganache or covered with rich buttercream icing.
You could, of course, top them with a very simple, but nonetheless delicious vanilla icing which I have included alongside the recipe. Or just sprinkle them with icing sugar. They are so good that keeping it simple works perfectly too!
Makes 12 Pretty Cupcakes
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups self raising flour
A pinch of salt
2/3 cup milk
For vanilla icing:
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
A few drops of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 165˚C fanforced. Line a muffin tin with patty pan cases.
In a medium bowl, cream butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add vanilla. Add the eggs in gradually and beat well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together three times and then fold this into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk to make a smooth dropping consistency.
Pour into prepared cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes until very lightly golden on the top. Remove them from the tin and Place on a wire rack to cool.
To make the icing, sift the sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the boiling water, butter and vanilla and mix until smooth. Spread the tops of the cooled cupcakes with a spoonful of the icing. If you desire, decorate with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts etc. before the icing sets.
Recipe adapted from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook