Cola Cupcakes

I've had some free time so I decided to flick through my recipe books and find something new to try.

I landed on Cola cupcakes from the book "The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days: Recipes to make every day special".

The recipe was pretty obvious really, simply adding a dribble of cola syrup (the kind you would use in a Soda stream) in to the cake mixture.

I'm a big fan of the Hummingbird recipe books but I have to be honest, I wasn't too keen on these. They weren't horrid, just a bit odd really, almost like the flavour didn't belong in a cake. Perhaps I used the wrong type of flavouring? Or maybe it was just me as Mr Chris was still happy to eat them.


The challenge, should you choose to accept it...

I thought I'd get off lightly for my Dad's birthday as he doesn't have a sweet tooth and isn't a great lover of icing (fondant or butter cream). However he does like my Coffee and Walnut cake and I have made this so many times it is easy peasy and stress free. What I didn't count on is my Dad, still looking for moments to push me in to reaching my full potential, setting me a challenge and being quite specific about what he wanted for his birthday cake.

Dad's challenge:

As a lift engineer my Dad requested a cake with stairs and a banister, and a stair lift. He also wanted a little model of himself repairing the lift. Personally the last thing I would want is a cake that reminds me of work but this was his challenge.

Challenge accepted!

From my experience (or should I say Mr Chris' experience) carving the spiral cake for Mr Chris' Dad, I know it is important to have the right type of sponge. The sponge for the spiral cake was a little tricky to carve as it was very light and fluffy, and chunks would crumble away during the carving. 

This time I did a bit of research and found some good
carving tips from Lindy's Cakes. Following the tips I made a madeira sponge using a square cake tin as I thought it would make it easier to cut out the stairs. FYI, Lindy's Cakes also provides a handy chart to calculate recipe quantities for different size and shaped cake tins.

I didn't freeze the cake as Lindy's tips suggest because it wouldn't fit in my freezer, but 
Mr Chris tells me it was indeed easier to carve (yes, I chickened out). The unusual shape made it harder to cover with fondant but I took it slow, working from top to bottom and smoothing small sections at a time. It did tear in a couple of weak spots around the stairs, but these were covered with the stair lift so I wasn't too bothered. 

As for modelling my Dad, this was not a problem because I've done it before. I remember as a child making a similar model out of plasticine for Father's day, the only difference now is the belly has got a little bigger :D

Some quotes from my Dad: 
"I've got more grey hair then that"
"What model stair lift is that then?"
"My tool box isn't red"

Overall I think he was pretty chuffed with it.


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