Leeds Has A Sweet Tooth (published November 19, 2011 on http://www.leedsuncut.co.uk)
Strolling along to the Adelphi on a Sunday night it would have appeared that I was just heading to a boozer on the back end of Briggate. But the signs that pointed upstairs led me into a cosy, sleek little room softly lit with an array of fairy lights. A warm reception was laid out and I was greeted by a sticker labeling me as an ‘eater’ as opposed to a ‘baker’, which as I feasted my eyes on the dozens of delightful cakes was definitely the preferable option. I even got a free drink from the bar. A wonderful little perk of this unique event. I popped myself down on a sofa, got comfy and let my mouth start to water.
The Iron Cupcake event didn’t take long to get into full swing. The monthly bake-off has a very bohemian feel and a friendly atmosphere that makes it an attractive night out. Not to mention the rising popularity of cupcakes. Founder Zoe said ‘I seem to have started it just at the right time because it seems over the last couple of years there’s just been a massive boom in cupcakes. They’re just so easy to do and some of them just look absolutely amazing.’ And she’s not wrong. The tables were bursting with colours, all along the bonfire theme. An abundance of orange, red, peach and yellow frosting was decorated with sparklers and sprinkles. Little apples made from icing and candy bonfires fashioned from matchstick chocolates were testimonies to how much effort people had gone to.
The rules are simple as Zoe explained, ‘the bakers obviously bake according to the theme set every month and the judges just come along and taste each cake and then rate according to taste and appearance’. We were split into two teams, one blue and one green and each given a score card and a paper plate. The different cakes were divided into the same colours. We all set out greedily grabbing up the little bites and choosing which one was the most delicious. Some people couldn’t resist temptation and sneekily snatched up a piece of every one.
After many sticky fingers and a lot of empty plates later the winner was announced. Rosey’s Bonfire Night Parkin Cupcakes were the clear favorite and proud first time baker Claire Rose walked away with a goody bag filled with a voucher for Hummingbird Kitchen and Bar, a cookbook and free entry to the next competition. Not half bad for an afternoons work.
I caught up with a beaming Claire afterwards to find out her culinary secrets. She told me ‘A lot of people have used traditional parkin recipes using oats but for me that just made it parkin. So I wanted to make them parkin flavoured cupcakes. If you put in the oats it makes it quite heavy and stodgy and I wanted to keep it light. So I just added in the ginger and spices for it. The recipe I used was a method where you beat the egg whites separately. So it makes it really light and fluffy. I made my own cinder toffee to go on top which again was flavoured with ginger and mixed spice. ‘
For more information on the Bonfire contest click here.
The next Iron Cupcake event is on December 4th at the Adelphi and tickets for bakers and judges are only £5. Make sure you don’t miss out on this kitsch cake competition by clicking over to ironcupcakeleeds.co.uk. Appropriately the next theme is Christmas so expect lots of festive flavours and December delights.
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