Cooking up storm in a cupcake

Marion Lowrie with cupcakes
Marion Lowrie with cupcakes

CHOCOLATE and bacon or pear cider? These were the two fine contenders vying to win The Southern Reporter Jubilee Cupcake Challenge which closed on Monday, writes Sally Gillespie.

It was tough: chocolate is always a winner and of course, alcohol and hacks go together like coffee and whisky. Nevertheless, we Southern reporters and subs rallied to eat and judge our colleagues’ entries.

Editor Susan Windram at work on her cupcakes

Editor Susan Windram at work on her cupcakes

Sub Kevin Janiak came up with his special pear cider variety with mauve icing and pink sprinkly bits on the top. If you didn’t catch his video on how to produce these unique additions to the baking spectrum, see it now on our Facebook page.

Secret weapons: securing Mark Entwistle’s vote by using free range eggs from the Entwistle smallholding, and including a cute kitty in his vid.

The boss got my vote before she’d even cracked open the posh cooking chocolate. Inspired by BBC telly chef Simon Rimmer, editor Susan Windram rustled up some fluffy chocolate and bacon delights. She took a rather more conventional approach to icing (chocolate buttercream) than Kevin and topped them with pancetta. See the creative process on our Facebook page.

Secret weapons: taking care of our arteries by ruthlessly weeding out the fat bits from the pancetta, wearing a pinny and saying out loud what we all know: that the only reason to bake is to lick the bowl.

When the tally-up came, we received 57 votes from somebody called Kevin voting for Kevin Janiak and an honourable email from Susan saying she thought she and Kev should abstain. There was serious discussion in the newsroom, mostly centred on how we could keep them baking...

The official line is: “Following consideration, the balance just tilts in Susan’s favour but reporters particularly want to encourage Kevin to continue with his innovative baking.”

There were other cupcakes (mine) but I was on holiday last week and had got rid of the evidence by Monday... Cooking makes me nervous and following a sleepless night I started “baking” in my friend’s house at 5am on Friday.

After 10 minutes hard labour with a wooden spoon, the lumps were down to the size of strawberries. Pretty in their dotted cases, my cupcakes only had to be in the oven 10-15 minutes and, I’m not sure know how, but I completely forgot them.

Undeterred, I thought: ‘Patriotic icing will swing it.’ Hours later they stood resplendent, adorned with, among other motifs a collapsed crown, and a red dog poo.