Cup cakes for Labour Day

5 Sep

Yesterday, Monday 3 September is celebrated in north America as Labour Day and since Mr Kim was busy with work (Labour Day is obviously meant to be a day off work but he is very busy at the moment) I decided to begin the baking experiments in our Canadian Kitchen.  I gave myself an easy start, a straightforward sponge and frosting recipe from the Kitchen Aid cook book that came with the mixer.  Since we don’t yet have any weighing scales this was a good chance to get used to the north American practice of measuring quantities in cups, with my trusty and very retro looking Fire-King glass jug, and also to try out the new Kitchen Aid beater with a pliable edge, a bit like a rubber spatula built into the beater.

I’d rate my efforts as ‘okay, with room for improvement’.  The texture of the cakes was light but quite dense (was this because I used superfine sugar instead of plain granulated?) and my icing (or frosting, must remember that’s what it’s called here) skills, as you’ll see, definitely need work.  The end result didn’t look too bad, an appropriate mix of red, that traditional workers’ colour, and white (apparently an old tradition in Canada and the US suggests that people shouldn’t wear white after Labour Day, presumably as a concession to the passing of summer).

The initial ingredients.  You can see the Arthur Hocking Fire-King jug in the centre, filled with flour.   It’s not an image which shows off its retro font to best advantage which looks very 1940s/50s (which is when it was invented) but I’ve seen similar ones in grocery stores just last week.  Whether the one in our kitchen is retro or original is difficult to tell.  Also on view the Five Roses flour and, just to the very left, the Redpath superfine sugar.

Very clever; just as I was getting ready to pack down butter into the Fire-King to get my ½ cup of butter I discovered that the butter came in neat sticks, each of which was handily a ½ cup of butter.  Much less messy than I had been expecting.

Cake mixture all ready for the oven, you might just be able to make out that the mixture’s in deep pink and white paper cases, in keeping with my Labour Day theme.

The new Kitchen Aid beater.  I was very impressed with this.  It seemed to mix the ingredients more successfully than the standard KA beater, where sometimes I’ve got to the bottom of the mixture and found that it’s not successfully combined.  Definitely a pleasing addition to the kitchen.  Here it’s being used to mix the icing.

One of my sorry early attempts at the frosting (with a 2nd one peaking in from the right) which as you can see was far too liquid to keep any sort of a shape.  In fact looking at this you’d have no idea that I’d actually piped the frosting.

Even if the picture quality wasn’t improving,  at least the frosting was.

The finished articles.  You’ll see that I need to sort out more even cake coverage; this may be because I filled the paper cases too full.  I’m also annoyed with myself that I frosted them too quickly; if I had been clever I would have remembered to put in some homemade raspberry jam that I was kindly given as a gift.  Not only would it have fitted perfectly with the Labour Day theme, it would also have given them a lovely sharp tang to the centre.  With those I’ve been eating at home, I’ve belated been cutting the cupcake in half and spooning some jam into both halves.  The final touch on the cakes are some red Mike and Ike, an iconic north American fruit sweet brand. 

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