A little lesson I learned last week was that you can make orange, lemon & cola syrups by simply reducing fizzy drinks in these flavours until all you are left with is a sweet smelling sugary syrup. This is a useful trick if you have fizzy drinks to use up, and recipes that require sugar syrup. I had both of the above, so I set about making Lemonade Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery's new book. They sounded like the perfect treat for a Summer's Day, so I made some with high hopes that some Summer sun might come our way.
Now, I have to say, 99% of the time, I love Hummingbird's recipes. But on this occasion, things felt wrong from the start of making these cupcakes. The quantities were unusual for a cupcake batter and the method was more like the muffin-making method, where the focus is on gently combining wet & dry ingredients, rather than on making light & airy cakes. Yet in my mind, these cakes should have been as light as air & perfectly lemony. Unfortunately, they were not. They were pretty heavy & definitely lacking in an airy quality. Their one redeeming feature was the use of popping candy / space dust on the icing to give them a pop-fizz quality. The only problem was that I could only find colour changing space dust, and I put it on the cakes well before they were eaten. By the time they were served, they had blue splodges all over them and had lost their pop.
All in all, this recipe was a bit of a disaster! But hey, I've learned a few things in the process, like trusting my baking instinct & adapting recipes sometimes. (That is not to say that the Hummingbird Bakery don't know what they were doing, because they clearly do!) And that my baking has no effect whatsoever on the weather - it poured with rain the whole time these babies were baking!