I have! I have! I have!
And in keeping with last year (I made chestnut cupcakes), this year I've got reindeer cupcakes.
I stuck on the pretzel antlers with melted chocolate, and for them to set I had to rest them against whatever I could find. Yes, that does include that jar of chilli sauce you can see on the right.
I found a recipe for this form BBC Food, but I adapted it slightly to add Baileys and a bit less milk because otherwise it would become to muffiny and not cupcakey enough. It's also incredibly sweet so I'm going to cut the amount of sugar in the recipe. Hey, it's good for you! They rose really well though, so much that I could cut a cheeky slice off to 'test it'. Ahem.
I also made an icing from icing sugar and cocoa powder (ran out of real chocolate to melt) and added flour to the icing I had left and baked more cookies! I don't have any photos though because they came out lumpy and ugly and obviously you always have to eat the evidence in these kind of situations.
To photograph the cakes, I don't have a real photo box or anything and can't afford £400 to spend on buying real equipment and flashes, so I used some help from mother nature and a bed sheet to set up a photoshoot in the conservatory (the red tinsel didn't make the final cut unfortunately):
I think the photos came out ok... really, I don't understand why Topshop won't just use a really big bed sheet and do all of their photo shoots outside. I bet they'll save a ton of money.
On other news... anyone else out there reading this and got a graduate job application open in another tab? I totally know how you feel.
Today (well, the day I was writing this bit) I kind of realised a realisation. It was after about the billionth email from some bank/finance campus recruiting people saying that they thought I 'worked hard to get to this stage' (but obviously not hard enough to get an offer), I thought, I'm too tired to stress over what happens now. I've given it my best (you don't stay up till 3am on that essay just to go to that banking networking event two train journeys away if you don't really, really, REALLY want it), and it's come to the point where I have to take my phone in the shower with me in case I miss a call back for another interview. I jump every time I get an email. I flinch every time my phone vibrates. I can practically recite my competencies backwards. In Finnish.
Well, I will if that's what it takes.
This is how I feel sometimes. Like a big brown pile of... ahem, mush.
And this goes out to anyone reading this who is in my position, whether you are a student or not: Who knows what will come your way now? Jump at any opportunity you have, but this might even be a blessing in disguise :)
but er, p.s., I also just wanted to get out there: I'm a student! I'm cheap labour! I will work until 3 am to write that stock pitch AND run half a mile to get you double espresso nonfat vanilla latte! What more could you want???
p.p.s I'm very lucky in that I've had a lot of help with how to go about trying to get a job... a big big big thank you and sorry for being such a massive pain! You know who you are!
I'm really sorry if you can here for a recipe on Reindeer Cupcakes and Christmas cheer, I'll stop and let you listen to Michael Buble's Christmas album. I hope this makes up for my rant!
Adapted form BBC Food
Makes 12 rather large cupcakes
125g/4½oz butter, softened
150g/6oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
200g/7oz self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50ml/3½fl oz milk
100g/3½oz dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate, melted
3 tbsp Irish cream liqueur
For the chocolate icing
75g/3oz butter, softened
120g/4oz icing sugar
75g/3oz cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp milk
giant chocolate buttons
white chocolate and milk chocolate drops
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until combined. Fold in the milk, melted chocolate and Irish cream liqueur, if using.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, cocoa powder and one tablespoon of the milk and beat until creamy. Beat in more milk if necessary to loosen the icing. To decorate the cupcakes, spread the icing over the top of the cupcakes.
Press a chocolate button onto the cake as a nose, then stick glace cherry (cut to size) on top of the chocolate button. For the eyes, melt some white chocolate (30 second bursts in the microwave) and droop them on. Stick a milk chocolate drop on top for the pupils. Stick on the pretzels as the ears, using milk chocolate as glue. Leave to harden.