It’s been a mad and wonderful time in the Flossie Pops kitchen.  Starting a business is always a risk, the great thing about a business like mine is it is more a reputational risk than a financial one.  Sure, I’ve invested in lots of equipment, created a website, business cards, flyers etc.  but really compared to so many businesses the start up costs are minimal.  Technically I can manage my workflow, fit it around the family, my husband’s business…I assumed it would take a while to build up a routine, and a customer base.  I hadn’t banked on the fact I have some fantastic, supportive friends who seem to enjoy cake and like talking about it!  So within a couple of months I find myself with almost too much work – of course, I can manage my workload though as it is my own business…well I could if I could manage one little word – NO.  But I can’t!  How can I resist the creative challenges that land in my inbox each week, a pheasant shoot…a mountain climber…a fairy hill to put a little girl’s favourite toys on…a kangaroo…a rabbit playing tennis…?  Every job is different, every job is creative, every job is exciting and every job gives the huge satisfaction of a happy face with a beautiful cake and someone happy to pay for something I created.  It’s so addictive and although it means rather a lot of late nights, it’s all working really well so far. 

Having fulfilled six orders this week and with an absent husband at an overseas conference, domestic issues have been somewhat overlooked.  This was particularly highlighted by the cake dome, empty but for a slightly dry and very lonely crumb, waiting expectantly in the centre of the kitchen table.  I got to Friday and once the beds were changed, the washing pile wrestled into a corner in the laundry room (not actually dealt with, but at least I can’t see it…until someone runs out of pants), youngest daughter and I felt it was time to prioritise and fill the house with yummy things we were allowed to eat!  I’ve been dying to try Peggy Porschen’s creamy caramel cake from her Boutique Baking book and rather than one larger cake, decided to bake it as cupcakes – dual purpose of course – some to welcome husband home and some to take on tomorrow’s hen do (and to placate recently arrived husband who will be in sole charge of 3 small children/hooligans tomorrow whilst I’m on said hen do). Smallest daughter and I then spent a lovely hour chatting whilst she rolled and cut out chocolate orange biscuits and I decorated the cupcakes.  Happy days.


Creamy Caramel Cupcakes

(adapted from Peggy Porschen’s Boutique Baking)

For the cake:

200g unsalted butter (softened)
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the syrup:

75g caster sugar
75ml water
1 tbsp brandy

For the icing:

100g softened unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
50g dulce de leche or caramel (I use Carnation Caramel or the Coop’s premium range Salted Caramel Sauce)
Pinch of salt (if not using salted caramel)

Method

Heat the oven to 160˚c (for fan ovens)


  • Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy (you should see the mixture look visibly paler).
  • Continuing to mix on a medium speed, gradually add the eggs, adding a spoonful of flour to rebind the batter if it begins to split or look curdled.
  • Add the salt, vanilla extract and sift in the flour, mix until you have a smooth batter but don’t over-mix as you want it light and fluffy.
  • Spoon or pipe into approx 24 muffin cases (as the batter is quite stiff, I find piping gives a more even fill) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly golden and the sponge bounces back when pushed gently with a finger.
  • Meanwhile prepare the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a small pan until dissolved.  Cool and add the brandy and vanilla and set aside to cool completely.
  • Once out of the oven, leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes or so before brushing the surface with a generous amount of syrup. Leave to cool completely.
  • For the icing – beat the butter in a stand mixer until creamy, then beat in the icing sugar.  I wrap a damp tea towel over my mixer to reduce the dust this creates!  When really pale and fluffy, beat in the dulce de leche.  I tend to fill a disposable piping bag with the icing and leave in the fridge until the cakes are cool then pipe a swirl (or whatever you fancy) on each cake and decorate with sprinkles.