Sunday, January 23, 2011

Move over Nigella - New Domestic Goddesses have arrived!

How does a girl celebrate her 16th birthday? A barbecue with friends? An all girls sleepover? Well, not my daughter! Always one to think of something different, my daughter decided she would like to invite a group of friends to a Masterchef-style challenge to celebrate her recent 16th birthday. 
"Sure, honey!"
I just wondered how we would manage this one!
So, the invitations were sent but the actual challenge remained a mystery. All the girls accepted the challenge and although most had little experience in the kitchen, all were fanatical followers of the TV reality show.

A cupcake challenge would be the easiest in many ways. We decided on a basic muffin recipe because it is easily made without an electric mixer but can still be flavoured in many ways and iced and decorated creatively. The recipe cards were printed and some crazy, fun rules were made up. Ingredients were bought - spices, nuts, dried fruit, spreads, syrups and various forms of chocolate and sweets along with food colourings and assorted sprinkles- and displayed on the day of the big event.


The eight contestants were paired to make 4 teams and each received purpose made aprons in their team colour along with a wooden spoon and a measuring cup to help complete the challenge. Once the challenge was announced and the quite ridiculous list of rules read, the ingredients were unveiled. The teams were given 3 minutes to check out the ingredients and 2 minutes to brainstorm with their partner before the one hour challenge began in earnest. This is when the flour began to fly and the eggs and milk poured from the table onto the floor! 

Cupcakes (muffins) were baked and carefully checked!

And then the decorating began....



...and concentration was required!

Finally the proud result but the judging was still to come! My husband paraded as George Colombaris while my son became Matt Preston. But wait there was more... Maggie arrived! My sister threw herself fully into her roll as Maggie Beer discussing with her fellow judges the attributes of each entry, the crumb, the texture and the presentation. Matt threw his plate to the floor saying "That is disgusting......disgustingly good!"

Certificates were given in various categories - Best Plating, Most Creative Cupcake, Most Likely to Succeed and The Grand Prize which also took out the coveted trophy!

Everyone had a fun day and more food colouring, butter and chocolate was used in one single batch of cakes and icing than I thought possible!

Most Likely to Succeed - "Chocolate Insomnia"
espresso and chocolate)

Best Plating - "Contagious Choc Cherry Cupcake Creations"
(Chocolate and Cherry Ripe)

Most Creative - "Heaven Delight"
(white chocolate and butter)

Grand Prize - "Chocolate Extravaganza"
(Mars bar and chocolate fudge)

Basic Muffins

2 cups self raising flour (or all purpose flour plus 4 teaspoons baking powder)
3/4 cup fine white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Sift flour and mix with sugar. Combine egg, milk, oil and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Spoon into large cupcake trays. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.
Variations are totally your discretion!


  1. What a fantastic idea for a birthday party - might be an idea for a new business!!

  2. What a great idea for a party. I love the apron and that all of the individual cupcakes were pictured at the end. Each one seems to have its own personality. Clever!

  3. You are brave - such a wonderful idea for the party. I'll bet they all had a blast.

  4. This is so much fun on so many levels - the cupcakes are all delectable. The time together is "priceless." And the infectious nature of the evening is so celebratory.

  5. How creative and what fun! This was a fantastic idea and I'm sure it will be remembered for a long time to come. I'm sending belated wishes to your birthday girl. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  6. Great way to celebrate birthday :) Must have been funny and according to the photos I guess you had a great time :) Oh and the cupcakes/muffins are very nice!

  7. What a fantastic and creative idea for a birthday party! I would love to do something like this. If your daughter and her friends are anything like my 2 cousins who sometimes come over to bake, you are still finding sprinkles in the strangest places!

  8. This is such a fabulous idea for a party! I can imagine everyone would have had a ball! :D

  9. Ciao Marcellina, questoo è per te:

  10. That was a WONDERFUL idea! I bet the girls had tons of fun!
    I'd like to thank you so much for your visit to my blog and your always very encouraging and lovely comment. Have you not done the Jan DBs challenge?? I missed you at the forums!

  11. Oh WHAT FUN!! Well done you wonderful girls, time indeed for Nigella to move ovah! We have plenty of DGs in the making, and pretty good ones at that! My daughter would have LOVED to be there!

  12. This is very, very cool - I would have loved this for my 16th birthday party.

  13. Me again... I'm sorry, I just missed a few days of the forum due to my trip back to Korea and now that I'm going back to the first pages I saw your beautiful work. Can't wait to read your post about it!

  14. So much fun! A creative way of celebrating birthday :-) I would fall for the "Chocolate Insomnia"

  15. First of all, nice t-shirt logo and second, delicious looking cupcakes !

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Thank you for taking the time to comment and for letting me know what you think!