At a local cafe today I bumped into one of my former random recipients. It was Ronya, the candy girl (see Random Acts of Cupcake blog entry: The Candy Girl Can, 13 May 2010), who appeared to be doing a double act as a waitress. We recognised each other straight away; I said "Hi candy girl!", to which she responded "Hi cupcake lady!" and it gave me a little spring in my step. One less stranger in my world! 

So this afternoon as I was about to start making the latest batch of random cupcakes, another lovely bit of randomness occurred. I got a phone call from another one of my random recipients, You Young (see Random Acts of Cupcake blog entry: The Spice of Life, 21 April 2010).

We'd been playing phone tag for the last week or so, trying to find a mutually convenient time to meet up and have a hot beverage together.  Young phoned to see if I was busy and I told her that I was about to start making cupcakes but she was welcome to drop by my place anyway. I gave her my address (by a random piece of luck, it turns out we live in the same neighbourhood) and started baking.

A couple of hours later, the last batch of cupcakes were about ready to come out of the oven and all I had to do was add the glaze. Young hadn't showed up and I was thinking that I'd been a bit naive inviting someone I hardly know to just drop by my place for a spot of afternoon tea and if it were me in her shoes then of course I wouldn't show up either. There are, after all, axe-wielding loonies in this world. 

However, Young did eventually turn up. And she had very sweetly brought a Korean dish (the name for which she tried patiently to teach me but eventually gave up), which was made of beef, onion and cabbage. I've just tried some now and it's delicious - sort of sweet and meaty at the same time.

Anyway, so Young, my husband and I sat in the kitchen, chatting and eating the freshly-baked  cupcakes. Afterwards, I showed her around our house, introduced her to the dogs and took her around the garden. She was pretty excited to see that I had a trampoline and immediately pounced on it, squealing with delight as she jumped up and down. I remember thinking to myself, anyone who digs trampolining as much as me is quite possibly going to be a friend for life.

So I'm really glad Young took the plunge and dropped by. And thanks to Random Acts of Cupcake, we're no longer strangers anymore.

And the recipe this week? Blueberry and Lime. Here's the recipe (thanks to 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly):

For the base you will need:
115g cooking margarine
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
115 ml low-fat milk
225g SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g blueberries (I used frozen.)
1 tbsp grated lime zest

For the glaze you will need:
115g caster sugar
2 tbsp grated lime zest
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp boiling water

This is what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases.

2. Cream the margarine and sugar with an electric beater. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.

3. Add the vanilla essence and milk. Then add the sifted flour and baking powder and stir until just combined. Finally, stir in the blueberries and lime zest.

4. Spoon the batter into the paper casings and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cupcakes on a rack to cool.

5. Make the glaze by putting the sugar, lime juice, lime zest abd boiling water in a saucepan and simmering for 5 minutes. Wait for the glaze to cool slightly before spooning over the cupcakes.

Makes about 18.
 
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Anyway, dear reader, this is me signing off for now. I hope that you enjoyed this week's blog and that the coming week brings you lovely coincidences of the random variety.
 
Just back from my random mission. Goal: find a random cupcake recipient. And I'm happy to report mission accomplished. I spotted Bruce standing on a busy road, looking as though he was waiting for someone. So I approached him, introduced myself and told him about my blog project. Bruce accepted the cupcake and we proceeded to have a little chat. I had assumed that Bruce was a local because he was wearing what looked like work clothes (either that or he was just a big fan of a particular brand of funky vacuum cleaner, I thought). It turns out that he's actually visiting from Newcastle. He's been a bus driver for 40-odd years and had come to town for work. Anyway, he was waiting for his wife to pick him up and I only wished that I'd packed an extra cupcake for her. But that's the beauty of the Random Acts of Cupcake, I suppose. You never know who you're going to meet and how many cupcakes you're going to need.

Bruce seemed like a nice, friendly sort of bloke and it was cool chatting to him.

Anyway, if you and your wife happen to be reading this, Bruce, I truly hope that you enjoyed your cupcake and that the rest of your time here is great!  And remember, if you stick around until you see the usually dry river flow three times, you're a local for life! (Just thought I'd remind you as it looks like it could rain today.)
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And now on to the intricate workings at the Random Cupcake Kitchen aka Random HQ. This week's recipe was Jaffa. I love Jaffa, don't you? The combination of sweet chocolate and  tangy orange flavours just makes my taste buds sing. It also brings back fond memories of scoffing packets of the sweets in the cinema when I was younger and my metabolism could take that kind of hammering. Please note: I, unlike many other youngsters at the cinema, refrained from that time-honoured Aussie tradition of rolling Jaffas down the aisle. For crying out loud, what a waste!

But I digress. Here's how you make Jaffa Cupcakes. The recipe has been purloined (and then adapted) from Cupcakes: a fine selection of sweet treats, which is a cupcake cookbook par excellence.

Here we go.

For the base you will need:
165g SR flour
30g cocoa powder
110g sugar (I halved the amount in the original recipe)
2 eggs
170 ml milk
125g unsalted butter, melted
grated zest of one orange

For the icing you will need:
200g icing sugar, sifted
60g butter, softened
2 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice

This is what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line your cupcake tin with paper liners.

2. Sift the flour and cocoa into a big bowl. Stir in the sugar.

3. Add the eggs, milk, melted butter and zest and beat with electric beaters until you get a nice smooth, soft batter.

4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes. Put on a rack to cool.

5. To make the icing, put about half the icing sugar in a bowl with the butter, zest and orange juice. Beat with electric beaters and add a little of the rest of the icing sugar until you get the consistency you want.

6. Put the icing in a piping bag and pipe just a little blob onto the top of each cupcake.

7. Enjoy with a nice cuppa tea or coffee. Marvellous!
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Well, that's it from me this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog entry as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm off to sample one of my cupcakes.

May your week be filled with strange, wondrous and random happenings.
 
After a two-week holiday-inspired hiatus from Random Acts of Cupcake, I have to admit I was finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. As I was cooking, the usual worries started to cross my mind. Would I be rejected ? Would someone think I was a crazy lady? And would I end up feeling a bit silly about this whole cupcake-give-away caper and go home and scoff all my cupcakes home alone?

However, when I walked into a local movie/snacks event this evening, I spotted my random recipient right away and just KNEW that I had the right person. She was a young woman, dressed in red from head to toe and just looked kind of really interesting. Anyway, when I explained my project and offered her a cupcake, the delight on her face made me wonder why I keep on having reservations about Random Acts of Cupcake.

Ronya (I hope I have spelt that right) was delighted to be this week's random recipient and ate the cupcake on the spot, as this photo attests: 
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No umming and ahhing, no asking if I'd laced the cupcake with laxatives, no "she's a crazy lady who's clearly off her meds" looks. No, Ronya, brave and open soul that she is, simply tucked in and gobbled down that cupcake.

So we had a wee chat and my hunch that I'd chosen an interesting random recipient turned out to be right. At the event, she was doing a tour of duty as a candy girl. I would love love LOVE to be a candy girl. I guess in a way, I kind of already am, but in a somewhat strange, random and unofficial way.  OK, enough about me and back to Ronya. She's about to hold an exhibition of her paintings and soon she's trotting off to the UK to spend quality time with her granny. When she returns, she plans to study to be a primary school teacher. I'm sure, Ronya, that you will be every kid's favourite teacher.  

Okeedokee. So on to the cupcakes. This week I made Plum and Ricotta cupcakes, the recipe for which I swiped from Gourmet Traveller  magazine and adpated slightly. The original recipe calls for a layer of crumble on top. I ended up ditching the crumble because I ran out of baking time (was running late for a very important lunch date with an amiga). Anyway, so here's the recipe:

Plum and ricotta cupcakes

90g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
1/2 orange rind, grated
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
50ml milk
100g plain flour
80g hazelnut meal
1 tsp baking powder
350g ricotta
6 stewed plums

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line cupcake tray with pretty silver cupcake cases.

2. Beat 180g of the sugar, all of the butter and the orange rind until pale and creamy. Then add the eggs one at a time. Add the milk and mix well.

3. Stir in the flour, hazelnut meal and baking powder and combine.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cases. Smooth the tops and put aside.

5. Put the ricotta, the rest of the sugar (40g) in a blender and hit the disco button. You should end up with a lovely, smooth mixture.

6. Pour the ricotta mixture on the top of each cupcake. Top with slices of stewed plum.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Don't worry if they overflow the cases and start to look scary. It's all part of the fun.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. The ricotta will set and they'll end up looking great. Promise.
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Well, that's all for now. Thanks for tuning in. And until next time, may there be a little bit of randomness in every one of your days!