Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The markets and me.

Ive mentioned a few times how i had my own market stall now, and im sure, there are people suffering from this, suffering from curiosity! I know, its mad and exciting and its just plain wrong that ive kept it from you all for this long. Well im here today to tell you that you need wait no more, its market stall time. (much like hammer time but with tighter pants). A couple of times this year people suggested that i get a stall at the markets, but i never really considered it, so much effort, dont know how to go about it and all that. Then one thursday i got a flier in my mailbox saying that market stalls at the sunday markets down the road were only $10, and that if you bought the flier, you got a dollar off at the sausage sizzle. the cheap stall got me thinking, but the latter was definitely the clincher. That night I made a list of the cupcakes i wanted to make, then started the mad task of figuring out what ingredients i needed to buy, what extra things i would need (gloves, plates, plastic bags and all that jazz). After that i went onto the woolies internet shop and did HEAPS of maths and figured out how much it was going to end up costing me per cupcake so i could figure out how much to charge. and even though i was watching back to back episodes of true beauty, it was not a fun night. Friday and Saturday the shopping was started and finished, with much restless sleep and worrying that I'd forgotten something in between. Then came the baking. Oh me oh my, so much baking! I'd gotten the cookies out of the way on the friday night, but that still left the cookie dough cupcakes (which i had to make the cookie dough for as well as the cake!), the black bottom cupcakes, the brownies (i wasnt sure if i would be able to cut them into pretty enough squares so they became cupcakes too!), the chocolate banana cupcakes (my mum always made chocolate banana cake for my birthday, these HAD to be included!) and lastly, the upside down strawberry cheesecakes (which i shall be going on about today!). I started around 2pm (too late!) and transformed into a baking MACHINE (sigh, i wish i were speaking literally here). organise ingredients - mix ingredients - bake - clean - repeat alot untill you have sufficient baked goods. Baking for me stopped around midnight or so, then the icing began. Here was where i had to ask for help, cut to me sitting at the dining room table covered in icing sugar decorating the cupcakes while mum made signs and used the leftover cookie dough to make sample cookies with some weird movie in the background starring Isabella Rossellini, man that woman is hard to understand, or maybe it was the icing sugar in my ears? By two thirty in the morning the table looked like this. I was done. It was a miracle. Maybe not on the same miracle level as like, baby jesus and his immaculate conception, but still, it was pretty amazing. Five thirty i was back up and practically lying on the heater while eating toast. Dad was lovely enough to walk down to the markets super early to secure me an awesome spot and set up the table and brollie. He did astoundingly well! I got a spot with no stall on the other side, so everyone was either looking at me cakes or straight ahead, and i greeted all of them. My voice was hoarse and my cheeks aching from the constant smile by about 10am, i was so perky it literally hurt! But it also helped me to make moolah, and encouraged a man to let me play with his itty bitty pug puppy, adorable times a zillion. It was fun to see the trend of excuses for not buying my cupcakes as the day went on... 7am - 8:30am: "oh ho ho hoo no, i haven't had breakfast yet!" 8:30am - 10am: "oh ho ho hoo no, i've just had breakfast!" 10am - 1pm: "oh ho ho hooo no, i shouldnt, im on a diet!" All responses were accompanied by a pat of the belly. I wish i would have filmed it, i would have pitched it to david attenborough and we could have worked together to inform the world in a classy accent about this strange species: the market goer. Finally the end of the day came, and packing up began. I was just about to throw out the display samples when my friend and my mum's friend turned up, circling the table... me - well i guess it's time to throw these babies out. my friend - what? you arent going to sell those?? me - theyve been sitting out uncovered for 6 hours, people have been breathing on them, lots of people. my friend - *incoherent cupcake chewing sounds* mums friend - yoink! *chewing noises continue* they may have possibly gotten cooties, but on the plus side their "oh yuuum!" noises bought customers over to buy the last few cupcakes, good for me! So thats pretty much the end of my cupcake stall story, it was long, i know, im sorry, im not so good at the summarising... but yeah, to finish up, we went home and counted our moolah, minus-ing the float to see our profit and counted up 92 dollars. this was quickly followed by me looking devvo'd and whispering "but i spent ninety FIVE dollars... i worked for days to LOSE three dollars???" (i never was a good sport...) much relief was felt when mum remembered she hid some money in my car incase we got mugged by a gang of market goers. so all math mistakes aside i ended up selling $210 worth of cupcakes, a total profit of 110 bucka! not so bad huh? probably ended up at like $2 an hour for my (super intensive) labour but i didnt care, i made profits, i got to bake HEAPS without the worry i was fattening up the fimfam, and i got to hang out with my mum and see what it was like to be on the other side of the market experience. The markets were in town again last sunday, i got the flier again, i considered it, then decided to end on a high note. I want to be that mysterious girl who only came to the markets that one time, that everyone hopes will one day come back and smile fondly at their belly patting. Here is my little stall all set up, and my pretty pokey (my car) in the background. Oh! and mum sneaking in in red on the right! See how dewy the ground is? it was so early and cold! Now back to (nearly) the beginning. The actual making of the cupcakes. I picked this one to make cause it was my favourite, plus i took the most photos of it! Market baking day didnt leave much time for photo taking so a few of these photos are from when i cooked them before. Doesnt this strawberry just look derish? In the cases. It may look like alot of strawberries but it turned out really well, they kind of smooshed together and into the cake, its making my mouth water just looking at it! OH! and when you make these, make sure you put some of the strawberry pieces on a spoon and dip it in the mix and eat it. Its one of the best things i have ever tasted. for serious. Here they are cooling, arent they pretty! You can see the strawberry peeking through, trying to say hello! Here they are all nice, iced, and decorated with crushed gingernut biscuits, ready to go to market. Upside Down Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (pretty much the best cookbook i have. everything i have made from it has become an instant favourite, i highly recommend it!) Makes 12 (I think i only ended up with 9 or 10 cupcakes each time and there wasnt that much cake in each of them, so dont try and spread it out to make 12, they'll be lame).
  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (im sure that instead of the baking powder and plain flour you could just use self raising, but im too scared to try it!)
  • pinch of salt (i think its so silly that so many of these recipes tell you to use unsalted butter and then add salt. I always just skip the salt and just use normal butter)
  • 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk (i used low fat, they were still awesome to the max)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces (i chopped up a whole punnet which was like, 12 small strawberries and it was too much)
  • 200g digestive biscuits (i used gingernut biscuits because i use any excuse i can get to put ginger in everything. I blended like half the packet and it was WAY too much, so dont waste good biscuits!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C, place paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  3. pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases. Spoon the cupcake mixture on top until 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in to centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Roughly break up the biscuits and put them in a food processor. Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of finely ground biscuits.

Cream Cheese Icing

Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes - double the recipe for a 20cm cake

  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g cream cheese, cold

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on medium slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. (this really isnt alot of butter, so it was really hard to get it to mix through the icing sugar, so i always just end up putting the cream cheese in early and it still ends up great)
  2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium high speed and continue beating until the icing is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not over beat as it can quickly become runny.


  1. This is great! Thats not a bad effort for your first market attempt I think. Even if you didn't make a huge profit I'm sure it was a labour of love.

  2. yeah, i was pretty happy with it, any profit is a good profit for a first timer i reckon! there was a bit of love in there, but also alot of sleepyness, about half half...