Two-part blog: ribbon chalkboard and marbled cupcakes for hungry cyclists

I haven’t been very active in finding interesting or useful things to hang on the walls of our flat, partly because as we’re renting, I don’t feel like it’s really ‘ours’.  However, the other week I thought it would be useful to have a chalkboard in the kitchen to write lists of things on, so I don’t forget to buy another tube of toothpaste for the fifth time.  Mark, always happy to oblige if sawing, drilling, and painting are involved, found a suitable piece of wood and painted it with chalkboard paint, drilling two holes for string.  My job was to source the string; I completely forgot and in a fit of desperation/inspiration dug through my box of ribbons and found the perfect silky black ribbon to hang it up with, so much better than a piece of rope!

I hope you’ll agree it looks smashing.

You might also notice the message I came into the kitchen this morning to find….

I had mentioned to Mark that I might want to bake something this weekend, as my sister Lizzie bought me the Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ cookbook for Christmas.  He was pretty excited and obviously thought he’d make sure I remembered my plan for the day!

I settled on marbled cupcakes, and after a temporary but very alarming setback in which my set of scales went bonkers and started lying completely about what things weighed (unopened 500g bag of sugar weighs 871g, apparently?!) which was only resolved by a quick trip to the local hardware store for a replacement, all went smoothly.  The recipe is fiddly and a bit unusual but worth following, as the sponge came out incredibly moist (a crucial factor) and the icing was very fluffy, although I much preferred the vanilla to the chocolate icing.

As soon as the last cupcake was iced, four hungry cyclists turned up wanting tea and cake!  Although cyclists are not exactly tough customers where sweet treats are concerned, the cupcakes certainly disappeared very quickly.