Tuesday, 12 January 2016

"The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook" by Jean Blacklock | Book Review

The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook by Jean Blacklock
Publishing Date: January 12, 2016
Pages: 128
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Links: Goodreads | Indigo | Kobo

Jean Blacklock, owner of Prairie Girl Bakery (now with multiple locations in downtown Toronto), grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan baking everything from bread to cookies to cupcakes, watching people's faces light up when they took a bite. Baking had always been a passion of hers, but she decided to pursue a career in law. About twenty five years later, she opened the first Prairie Girl Bakery.

I love making cupcakes and I pretty much take every opportunity to make them. Like Jean, I love seeing people's reactions to the little delectable treats. So when I found out that this cookbook was going to be released soon, I had to get it!

Most of the ingredients involved in these recipes are pretty simple household items you can get at the grocery store, although there are a few exceptions. Jean is very honest about the ingredients they use, including their (not-so) secret to delicious fruity icing - powdered freeze-dried fruits. Quite a few recipes involve these ingredients and as far as I know, they're not available in stores so you'll have to order them online at places like Nuts.com, where Prairie Girl Bakery gets theirs. I was a little disappointed to not be immediately able to make some of the delicious-sounding recipes like Blueberries 'n' Cream Cupcakes and Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes, but I'll probably be ordering the freeze-dried fruits at some point...or visiting the bakery. There are also vegan and gluten-free options for those of you with dietary restrictions!

Irish Cream Cupcakes...mmm!
And now, onto the recipes I made!

First up, I made Irish Cream Cupcakes...if you know me in real life, you know I love me some Irish Cream. Let me start off by saying, the chocolate cupcake is delicious. I tried making "Prairie Girl-size" cupcakes, which are essentially 1.5x the size of a regular cupcake, but they didn't rise properly in my pans, I'm not sure why. The icing recipe makes a whole lot of icing (I was able to ice them all, then ice them all a second time). Now, I'm not a huge icing person because they're generally too sweet for me, this one included, but it's all subjective and really depends on how much icing you like! Next time I make these (and there will be a next time!), I'll be using more Irish Cream because I couldn't really taste it. The technical things like chemistry were a little off for me on this one, but they were quite yummy so I'm still going to be making them again.

Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes - with a lemon curd surprise!
The other recipe I made was for Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes...these are SO good. With four recipes involved in making these, they're also a LOT of work. It sounds daunting and it is, but these are so freaking delicious that I think they were definitely worth all the effort. I found all of these recipes pretty easy to follow and they mostly involve household items, although you might need to go egg-shopping afterward as in total, the lemon cheesecake cupcakes require 11 eggs (mostly the yolks to make lemon curd). The only trouble I had with these is that the Classic Cream Cheese Icing (which is so delicious!) was a bit soft even after chilling it for about 30 minutes, so it was sliding off the cupcakes a little. These cupcakes are definitely my favourite of the two I made, because the lemon is so refreshing and heavenly - and I love the little lemon curd surprise in the middle!

All in all, I enjoyed making and eating these cupcakes and there are a ton of other recipes I want to try. When I'm able to order some freeze-dried fruit, I'll definitely be making a few more recipes! There are recipes for a variety of skill levels, so whether you're a beginner or an experienced baker, there's something in here for all cupcake-lovers alike.

*This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.

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