Lifestyle Magazine

The Day I Killed Wedding Cupcakes (book Review)

By Claire

This heartbreaking tale begins with a note in my inbox several weeks ago. Would I like to review a new book for brides and grooms: "Wedding Cupcakes"? Yes I'd love to. I could have a taste test and everything... it'd be so much fun!

wedding cupcakes book cover
So I replied, and within a couple of days this little beauty arrived in the post. I dashed out to Sainsburys with my shopping list ready to get stuck into one of those beautifully inspiring wedding DIY blog posts that all the top bloggers are so good at. I imagined I'd be as good at this as Lou from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings with all her expert tutorials and home made photoshoots.

I couldn't have been wronger. As wrong as if you'd led me by the hand to the 'wrong' department in the wrong shop, tipped me upside down, painted 'wrong' on my forehead and dumped me in the wrong basket on the way out, as one of my expert reviewers might say. (but she's better at this than I am.) Still, at least I was keen.

I began with the details: modelling icing for my cupcakes

English wedding blog project diy cake icing

English wedding blog project: DIY wedding cupcake icing

I struggled with a few aspects of the ingredients list, and my weakness is always for enthusiastic but misguided improvisation. I couldn't find 'superfine sugar' or 'confectioners' sugar' so used icing sugar for both. I only had lilac and pink food colouring so I changed the colours in the recipes. All the sugar made me very thirsty.

I didn't have a 3cm heart-shaped cutter so I used a small cookie cutter - which was waaaaaaaaaaay too big. Then I cut hearts by hand with a knife, which was messy. Then I made balls instead. They were easy (but some might say they looked a bit stupid). Nonetheless, I did my best to follow the rest of the instructions to the letter, and considering it's been twenty years since I last had plasticine, I think I did OK.

I must emphasize that none of my misadventures were the fault of Joanna Farrow. Her publisher wasn't to know about any of my previous baking experience - and credit where it's due: a total idiot can follow the instructions in the book, so she did very well indeed there.

After well over an hour making hearts, flowers and balls, I move on to baking. My cupcakes are horrendous! People on twitter said they looked lovely! Thank you Instagram.


The real challenge was baking, then hiding what emerged from my oven

WEdding cupcakes book review pictures

English Wedding reviews 'Wedding Cupcakes' by Joanna Farrow - with shocking results

The verdict: can I make wedding cupcakes? How did my first wedding blogger DIY project go?

My good friend and expert wedding cake designer Beth, from Cakes By Beth, was very kind (perhaps because she didn't have to taste anything). We'd recently been discussing our favorite retro TV programmes and I suspect this influenced her review somewhat. Beth did suggest that my wedding cupcakes looked a little dry...

"As dry as an extremely dry desert that's on holiday in Death Valley in middle of a heat wave, eating Jacobs Crackers"

and with all the icing, perhaps a little sweet...

"Sweeter than a teeny tiny baby kitten wearing a teeny tiny little bonnet, dipped in syrup, sitting in a sugar factory, sucking its thumb & saying "Hug me, I'm sweet"

To be fair, Beth was gen­er­ous with her praise of my efforts. Thanks Beth…

How wedding cupcakes are supposed to look

How wed­ding cup­cakes are sup­posed to look. Pic­ture by

When I told my other friend wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher Jenny McAvoy I was mak­ing wed­ding cup­cakes for my blog, she showed me her own “lit­tle” DIY chal­lenge: to make a tiered wed­ding cake and then share it with other peo­ple. I’d love to show you pic­tures — but Jenny’s blog post had me cry­ing with laugh­ter and delight. She called it, Leave it to the experts! You have to see this.

Wed­ding Cup­cakes — a book review

wedding cupcakes by joanna farrow

I should really review the book prop­erly for you now! Wed­ding Cup­cakes by Joanna Far­row has some lovely ideas inside. There’s a vari­ety of cup­cake styles for dif­fer­ent wed­dings, and plenty of options for novice dec­o­ra­tors to mas­ter (with a bit of prac­tice — more than I had!).

Joanna’s ideas for dec­o­rat­ing with flow­ers and tying with rib­bons are nice, and with every recipe she shares pic­tures of how cup­cakes might look in a lit­tle arrangement.

Some of the designs are a wee bit dated (but not enough to be vin­tage) in style if you ask me, and some are overly fid­dly for begin­ners to be mak­ing by the dozen — see page 14! But over­all I like this book for begin­ners — and I had loads of fun with it.

Wed­ding Cup­cakes is sell­ing on Ama­zon for less than the rec­om­mended retail price as I type — it’s £6.39 with free deliv­ery. Try it and see! (send me pic­tures of your wed­ding cup­cake mas­ter­pieces and I’ll share them on the blog!)

If any­one else would like to send me a book to review, please do! I really enjoy it.

Claire x

(This blog post con­tains affil­i­ate links to Ama­zon. The book was offered to me free for review. I bought all the sugar and food colour­ing, mar­mite and other ingre­di­ents myself.)

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