If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know what a huge fan I am of “minifying” recipes, especially sweet ones. With only two of us in the house, it’s not realistic to bake full recipe amounts of many of the recipes I make from cookbooks (see: Tuesdays with Dorie and French Fridays with Dorie participation). To be honest with you, I actually really love the challenge of seeing if I can make things into smaller, cuter portions 😉 (Of course, when I am recipe testing I make full recipes, multiple times so I’m one of the most popular people on my street and at my work place!)
When it comes to buying treats for myself, I also tend to gravitate towards “mini” versions as well – basically because, well, if it’s smaller that means I can have a couple, right? And cupcakes are a prime example of when less is more in that sense. Over the years I’ve lived in Canada, I’ve watched the size of cupcakes grow to ginormous proportions, which I find a shame. If I’m going to have dessert, I want to taste more than one flavour, you know?
Enter Prairie Girl Bakery, established in 2011 by Jean Blacklock, (from Saskatoon and proud of her Prairie roots, hence the name) who offer their cupcakes in adorable mini size – perfect for mini-fans like me (and a great way to sample more than one flavour!) as well as two other sizes to satisfy any degree of hungry! They bake the old-fashioned way using quality ingredients (like real butter, fresh eggs, milk, cream and 70% Belgian chocolate), and (one of my favourite things about the bakery) send all their end-of-day baked goods to Toronto’s Second Harvest for distribution to people in need. With online ordering, delivery service and “treats of the week“, it’s pretty much a cupcake-lover’s dream bakery.
For those who want to try their hand making Prairie Girl cupcakes at home, The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook was released last month. I loved reading Jean’s story about her baking career and how it started from a very early age (um, there was an All-Bran pizza in there somewhere!) and her path from the corporate world to opening the first Prairie Girl location in April 2011. Jean’s philosophy is simple – use great ingredients and appeal to people’s sense of nostalgia for home baked goods “like they used to be”.
Containing over 50 recipes (including gluten-free and vegan) the book also offers tips and techniques to help you make Prairie Girl quality cupcakes at home. Inside, you’ll find Everyday Cupcakes and Icings – classic, nostalgic recipes for childhood treats (remember classic Golden Buttermilk?), Treats of the Week – some of their most popular featured flavours (Fruity, Decadent, Adults-Only, Seasonal, For the Kid at Heart) as well as Gluten Free and Vegan – really, recipes for every occasion. There’s also advice on how to wrap, package, display and decorate your cupcakes.
Something I always look for in a baking book is the section about ingredients and baking tools and Prairie Girl doesn’t disappoint. There’s a comprehensive Pantry Items section outlining the exact ingredients you’ll need for success with the recipes and a useful Baking Tools and Techniques chapter. Here, you’ll find information about “must-have” items that will help you achieve optimal results as well as tips and techniques featured in the recipes. If you read these two chapters before you begin baking, you’ll be set up for excellent results.
The recipes themselves are fairly straightforward. You won’t see any difficult-to-source ingredients and, in fact, most of the ingredient lists are very short. When you use high-quality ingredients, you don’t need much! The recipe directions themselves are straightforward and easy-t0-follow. It’s a great book for a cupcake enthusiast and experienced baker but younger bakers with a little experience would have no problem with these recipes. Personally, I was interested to see how the cakes are made and to figure out why they are so deliciously moist and how the icing is so fabulously creamy. Basically, use great ingredients and you’ll get a fantastic result. A decent recipe helps, too!
I have only made one recipe so far but more are bookmarked! The Banana Cupcakes which I topped with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing were a huge hit at my house and I am sure later today my colleagues will be thanking me too 😉
Win a copy of The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook
Thanks to the kind folks at Appetite by Random House Canada, I have one copy of The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook to give away to one lucky Canadian reader! Perfect to get some inspiration to participate in National Cupcake day 2016 to raise money for animals in need!
How to enter:
There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).
1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me what your favourite cupcake flavour is.
2. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @prairiegirlbake #PGBathome on @eatlivtravwrite from @RandomHouseCA (Canada) Details: bit.ly/PGBathome then come back to leave a separate comment letting me know you did.
Eligibility and contest rules:
– Contest begins on Monday February 8th 2016 at 5.30am EST on and closes Monday February 15th 2016 at 6pm EST.
– Prize consists of one (1) copy of the The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook (RRP $19.95CAD)
– Open to readers or the age of majority with a Canadian mailing address.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winners will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Monday February 15th 2016 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email Tuesday February 16th 2016 and will have 48 hours to respond to the email.
– Winner will be required to answer a skill testing question.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook from the publisher for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book and have not been further compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.
Please note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!