Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cars and cupcakes

Well, yesterday I had a marvellous day. You know how you sign up to things with enthusiasm and then when you actually have to do it you think, hmm? I signed up for two adult learning workshops on Car Maintenance for Woman, and Cupcake Decorating (never let it be said I'm not well-rounded) and then I had a hell of a week last week and didn't really have the energy. But I dragged myself out and it was really worth it.
It's like a rose. Do you see?
This is my cupcake. I have been trying hitherto not to get into the whole cake decorating thing because I live just with Partner*, and unless you time your cake decorating so that you only do it when you've got cake-loving visitors you end up with a lot of cake for two of you. But sod it. I'm going to be looking in Tesco for some plastic icing bags and a great big nozzle. The one above is piped buttercream (centre to outside) with what I think was a 1M nozzle (a really big one), dusted with coloured sugar, and I think I might have sprayed it with (edible) silver spray paint. I am not sure I am going to venture much beyond this in terms of cupcake decoration but I thought that looked nice and I shall make it again.

It was a great workshop and I learned loads about different techniques, etc. I feel like just baking a load of buns and sitting with a tub of buttercream one afternoon experimenting. These are my adventures in fondant.
I would agree with what you are probably thinking here that the black and red one is an aesthetic fail
I have not used fondant before and I am not convinced about it. It feels like Plasticine, and also, whereas buttercream is always handmade and is delicious, with fondant it comes out of a packet and I am just not sure whether you are putting the look of it above the taste. And the taste is the point in a cake! Anyway I have not actually eaten one of these yet so I am again pronouncing on things of which I know nothing, and you can certainly get some nice effects so I shall experiment. I just wonder if I might be more of a buttercream/ royal icing girl. I think it's important to have a cake decorating philosophy. (Although I thought these looked rather nice so perhaps I can be persuaded).
Marbled fondant and orange flowers! Partner rejected these in favour of the Ones With Loads Of Buttercream
Car Maintenance for Women was an utter delight. My relationship with the small blue Punto is basically that if it sounds unhappy or won't start I pray to the Horned God and take it instantly to the man down the road who is trustworthy, while I have a vague feeling that I should be engaging with things like Checking Levels in a more adequate way than I am able. However now the lovely man down the road has retired and so I decided to seize things by the horns and do you know, it was so useful. We did how to do all the basic checks (windscreen wiper fluid, coolant, oil, tyre pressure and gauge, lights etc), how to change wiper blades, how to change headlight bulbs and all things like that. I can appreciate this doesn't sound a particularly thrilling way to spend a Saturday morning but the teacher was lovely and all the other course members were loads of fun. I had such a great time!

If you are thinking, why would it be Car Maintenance for Women, well, I wish it had been for men too because I would have sent Partner and stayed in bed as he has more of an interest than me and knows where we keep the manual. However, lots of the women on the course said how nice it was that it was just women, and certainly I did think some people were quite - not defensive at the beginning, but definitely scared they would not be able to pick it up. So I wonder if, if we had had men there, it would have been a different dynamic and less accessible for people. (Although, they would have been men with absolutely no knowledge of cars! I can assure you Partner would not intimidate anyone with his superior knowledge of the internal combustion engine). I certainly felt I could ask my stupid questions with impunity. I could see the teacher thinking, oh good Lord when I said 'and where does oil go to?' (it burns away. I should know this) but he was non-patronising and I learned so much.

So today Partner, who was in a frenzy of excitement yesterday when I returned because he was waiting for a cupcake, is going to receive a lesson on how to check the brake fluid etc. Thus I disseminate things I learn, including the fact that we have a spare wheel and that the foglights are not where I thought they were (this would have been useful last winter). And I shall buy a magazine on cake decorating and try with all the power that is in me not to acquire another hobby. I MUST NOT!

* Although I do have a friend with four children. NO I MUST NOT FORCE MY CUPCAKES ON OTHERS


The Foggy Knitter said...

If I lived closer I would come round so you could force cupcakes on me, though like you I do think that fondant (unless in fondant fancies) sacrifices taste for looks. Buttercream on the other hand is heavenly.

Well done on the car maintenance, I cannot even drive and my knowledge stops at what colour it is and checking if it has all four wheels. When I was little one of my nanny's went on a mixed car maintenance course (she was the only woman) and learned nothing because all the men did everything for her.

Vivianne said...

The black and red one is your burlesque side coming out in food :-)
Or early practice for Hallowe'en ;-)

J.G. said...

You have awakened in me the desire to know more about cars and eat cupcakes more often. And the rose one is truly lovely! Well done!