Of Bears and Butter

21 Nov

Pudsey Bear is the face — the adorable, wounded, fluffy, cake-baking, yellow and spotted face — of BBC’s national “Children in Need” fundraising campaign.  Frankly I think the United Way could learn a thing of two from the BBC.  Helping Hands are nice and all, but how do you turn down an injured teddy?  Even worse, every little child instantly becomes a development officer for Pudsey — ‘It’s for PUDSEY, Mom!  It’s for the children!  You don’t hate teddies, do you?  You don’t … hate children?”  And there go the pounds and fifty pence pieces, one thrilled clutched fist at a time, flowing in a stream of golden clinking to the massive till where Pudsey sits and grins behind his pirate patch.

Anyway.

Along with encouraging children to rummage through their parents’ wallets, Pudsey also encourages children and parents to bake.  That’s more like it.  There are even recipes on the BBC website for various Pudsey puddings.  With Pudsey day and a parent-powered bake sale coming up at the kids’ school, of course we had to make cupcakes.  With Skittles on top, I was firmly commanded.  We at first followed a British recipe but the cakes came out a little strange … more on that in a minute.  So I pulled out a tried and true all-American vanilla cupcake recipe, and then made some pumpkin muffins for good measure.

Pudsey’s American Cousin Cupcakes
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2/3 C milk

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs.

Continue adding wet ingredients, mix well.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl then incorporate with the wet — and here’s the batter.

Fill cake cups 2/3 full and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes and there you go.

Now, you may notice that some of these cakes are not like the others.  Without thinking much about it we first tried out a British vanilla fairycake recipe and noted the lack of some elements I’m used to seeing:  no milk, no salt & no baking powder!  The cakes were very tasty (can’t go wrong with butter, sugar, and flour in any form) but a different texture entirely — sort of crumbly — and not poofy and plump.  Let’s look in close:

American recipe on the left, and English on the right.  Really, what can I say but: “USA! USA! USA!”

Leave to cool down and then decorate.

Skittles, as ordered!

There’s always that one cake that’s your favorite, isn’t there?

Cheers, Pudsey!  You’ve got a good thing going, and you gave me a good excuse to bake up loads of cupcakes and muffins on a Sunday evening — I think we can be friends.   Here, have another 50p.

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8 Responses to “Of Bears and Butter”

  1. Sarah November 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I’ve always been a baker instead of a cook, but I have nothing on this magic.

  2. Venus November 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Heh, some English puddings are desserts are better than others. ;-) I never thought I would be, but I actually like Treacle pudding out of the tin. Go fig. I’m also a fan of digestive biccies, but I guess that’s really another class of food entirely.

    Hooray for American cupcakes! :-)

    P.S.: I do like how European (ACK! Yes, I lumped England in with Europe) recipes use weights instead of measures. It’s so much more reliable, so long as one actually has a kitchen scale.

    • Monique November 25, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      OO, um, treacle pudding, eh? I’ll put it on the list … haven’t ever had it. Scared of the oversweetness … then again, I like tres leches cakes, so, how much sweeter could it be than that? (Dare I ask?)

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