Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Diary of an Honours Student, Week Four

What can you do when doing a Higher Degree by Research really starts to get you down?  If you're anything like me, this presents a special conundrum- reading, your usual pastime, is now a job.  You need to do something that doesn't involve straining your eyes.  Something that both indulges your neglected senses and vents your frustration.

My friends, I am here to reintroduce you to the concept of baking.

I'd never been big on cooking.  That had always been someone else's job.  I mean, eugh.  Doing the dishes?  NO THANK YOU.  I was too busy reading books.

When I discovered in the last year that I actually quite enjoy baking, I was a little worried.  "Self," I said to myself.  "You're going to get fat."  But, touch wood, it hasn't happened yet, and I believe that comes down not just to exercise (because I don't always do that) but to the fact that the act of baking itself is quite satisfying... by the time you have finished, you really only need to eat one.  Plus all the mixture you guzzle on the way.  (Seriously, guys, exercise is VERY important, especially with you spending all day in that office chair.  Go outside, you pasty thing!)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret now.

Are you ready?

Baking is cathartic.  Just like punching your pillow, or screaming into it, or hitting your siblings (don't hit your siblings), there is something about putting ingredients in your electric mixer and mixing the living daylights out of them that just makes you feel good.  That egg you just cracked?  It cracked perfectly, there were no guzzies in it, and most importantly, it didn't want to talk about transmodiology with you.  This is why baking from a packet simply won't work for stress relief.  Ripping open a packet, adding egg and water just isn't the same.  Baking is a science.  As History Boy often tells me (and perhaps it is a quote), baking is a science for hungry people.

Today, I made cupcakes from this book:

Okay, okay, so Marian Keyes isn't Nigella Lawson... but if you read the introduction, you'll see that Marian gets it.  She understands the stress and depression relieving qualities of making a cute cake.  

After having a read of this book, History Boy and I coined a phrase.  "Don't have a sad, have a cupcake."

So here is my attempt at Marian's Consistently Reliable Cupcakes, page 56.  You'll note that only one of them has piped icing, as I managed to split my piping bag... it was a bit cheap.  Also, the recipe makes twice as much icing as I would recommend for this many cupcakes.  Just a head's up.

Tea anyone?


  1. Well first of all I need to know who "History Boy" is. Is it Eric the great, or the fair Chris? The cakes look scrummy. I love pink. Used to cook, but books took away my life and ran away with it. Can I ever get it back? You have found the mystery of life, in a cupcake Emily. Love and pink icing... Muma Stalingradcarol. xoxoxo

  2. OM NOM NOM.

    This makes me want to bake more.

  3. Pink Cupcakes!! Eeee they're so cute and delectable!

    I'm glad to see you're taking up baking. It is a bit of a stress reliever :)


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