Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello Lovelies,

How are you going? It’s wonderful to be back after a couple of busy weeks. I’ve had ongoing health issues and more excitedly, my first cupcake market stall last weekend. There is lots to catch up on and more to tell about my marvellous outback adventure to Broken Hill in coming weeks. Not to mention this delicious, delicately flavoured cupcake recipe I created to share with you. So grab a cuppa, get settled and let’s chat.

I want to thank you for all of the lovely comments and support for my market stall last weekend. It was quite an experience. After working hard all week, I was armed with almost two hundred cupcakes in nine different  flavours and gorgeous boxes of cookies. Awesome hubby hooked up my darling Dorothy vintage caravan and loaded my cute Danish glove counter turned cupcake counter onto his ute, and off we went.

Long story short, after a few logistical hiccups, leaving Dorothy out on the kerbside and changing set up locations three times, almost giving up, wanting to bawl my eyes out and come home, we finally got set up, albeit way after the market started.  

Legendary number one son and his beautiful wifey saved the day by starting to serve customers, whom I noticed in between breaths into my paper bag, were beginning to line up to buy my cupcakes! (just kidding, I wasn’t quite at complete breakdown point). Oh my heart, they loved them! There was a fairly consistent line up throughout the morning and we pretty much sold out of all cuppies. Woo hoo! The cookies were slower to sell, but that’s ok. I learnt so much. Who would have thought carrot cupcakes and scrumo blood orange would be the least popular flavours?  While lemon meringue and cute rainbow cuppies with meringue daisy pops would be a sell out!

And so the market was a success. I am looking into perhaps doing a regular monthly market, as soon as I can figure out how to stop my lovely cupcakes from melting in our ridiculously hot Summers. How exciting!

When I went away on my solo road trip out West a few weeks ago, I would frequently stop along the roadside, grab my secateurs and take samples of the native flora. In one town I came across the most exuberant wattle tree in full bloom. Being one of my favourite trees, I gasped out loud, raced to snip off a billowing branch, giggled at my latest stolen treasure and promptly put it on the dash board with my growing collection of cotton, sunflowers and shrubs.

It wasn’t long before my mind, unhindered by constant interruption, began thinking up cupcake flavours made with native bush food. Wattleseed and lemon myrtle immediately came to mind, and I managed to buy a bag of wattleseed on my way home. You can usually get them at health food shops. 

Not being very familiar with the use of wattleseed in baking, I did a bit of experimenting and research. Surprisingly, wattleseed has more of an earthy, nutty flavour than I realised. I was thinking about paring it with lemon, but quickly changed my mind, deciding to let the wattleseed be the star of it’s own show, keeping it simple by only adding vanilla bean.  It turns out this was a great decision. The flavour is so subtle, barely there in it’s delicacy, but you won’t miss it. I lightly ground the seeds in a mortar and pestle, adding a generous four tablespoons to the cupcake mixture, and two tablespoons to the Swiss meringue buttercream. These delightful little wattleseeds look gorgeous in the frosting and bring cohesion to the flavour of the cupcake. 

Vanilla Wattleseed Cupcakes


A moist vanilla cupcake infused with Wattleseed which gives it a delicious, subtle flavour and earthy, nutty note. Topped with vanilla bean and Wattleseed Swiss meringue buttercream, this is a delicate flavoured cupcake which is super quick and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 4 tsp Wattleseed, lightly ground in a mortar and pestle Wattleseed can be found in health food stores
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

VANILLA SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 300 grams butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp Wattleseed, lightly ground

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with 18 cupcake papers
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, whip eggs until combined
  • Add sour cream, oil, water and vanilla bean paste. Whisk carefully until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients. Add Wattleseed. Whisk until well combined.
  • Carefully pour wet mix into dry mixture. Whisk until well combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  • Bake in moderate oven 18 minutes or until brown and firm to touch.
  • Leave on a wire rack to cool. Frost with Swiss meringue buttercream.

Vanilla Wattleseed Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add egg whites and castor sugar. Whisk until combined then put bowl over a saucepan on the stove with an inch of water in it (or use a double boiler). Whisk occasionally until all sugar is dissolved.Feel it between your fingers.
  • When sugar is dissolved, remove bowl and put into the electric mixer on high. Use whisk attachment if you have one. Whisk until mixture looks like meringue with stiff peaks.
  • Turn mixer onto low. Add butter a few cubes at a time. Add more as butter dissolves into mixture.
  • The mixture will deflate, look soupy, then change to look like scrambled eggs. This is normal. The process can take up to 15 minutes. Eventually it will come together into silky smooth Swiss meringue buttercream.
  • Add vanilla bean paste and Wattleseed. Mix until combined.
  • Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes.

These photos are pretty special to me, because I used props from the farm I stayed on at Broken Hill. On one of my morning walks I found some scrap tin, rusty old horse shoes and bits of metal, perfect for rustic styling. This is also the wattle that dried on my dash board and travelled over a thousand kilometres with me. You can even see some of the red dirt on the corrugated iron backdrop. 

It feels like a lifetime ago I was driving through the wide open spaces all alone, peering at the barren landscape trying not to miss any of its beauty. The freedom to chase sunlight,  capturing the perfect afternoon glow, to linger in an old abandoned pub finding the best vantage point for my photos…ahh, a world away from the responsibilities of motherhood.

I have come home feeling more content from having had my adventure. Each time I get in the car and look at my foliage filled dash, I am pleasantly reminded of my journey and how generously it filled my cup.

While I cannot go back out West any time soon, I am determined to find ways to bring creative meaning into my every day. The older I get, the more I realise how much mothers need to invest in self care to make the long haul for ourselves and our families. It’s so important to have our cups full enough to draw from. 

With that in mind, I may bring you another delicious cupcake recipe next week, or delve back into my glorious outback adventure. I’m slightly obsessed with my lemon meringue cupcakes at the moment (or maybe I just love playing with the blow torch!) so if you would like the recipe, make sure to leave a comment. 

Until next week,

Love Anna xx

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