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Monday, December 14, 2009

Elvis Cupcakes and a Sydney Food Bloggers' Christmas Party

How big is Sydney's food blogging community?

It numbers at about 112 according to research by Suze and I. We know this because this was the number of invitations we sent out for the first all-inclusive Sydney food bloggers' event, a Christmas picnic in Hyde Park.

A gluttony of 50 food bloggers descended on the day, each bearing a plate of sweets or savouries for our afternoon tea. I revelled in the opportunity to bake, yes, more cupcakes.

With my current salty-and-sweet obsession showing no signs of abating, I continued the theme, this time inspired by Elvis' favourite suppertime snack, Fool's Gold, a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with a pound of bacon, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of grape jelly.

I adapted my usual Nigella Lawson cupcake recipe by adding a touch of maple syrup and a filling of bacon, then piping in a surprise splodge of strawberry jam. I paired the cupcakes with a soft peanut butter frosting that was garnished with shards of super crispy bacon. A sprinkle of salt flakes gave a savoury edge.

Elvis cupcakes

Elvis cupcakes

200g bacon rashers
125g salted butter softened
125g sugar
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp maple syrup
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Peanut butter frosting
125g unsalted butter, softened
200g smooth peanut butter
200g-250g pure icing sugar
salt flakes (I used Murray River salt flakes)

Preheat oven to 170C or 150C if using fan-forced.

Pan-fry the bacon until crisp or use your microwave. To microwave bacon, line a plate with two sheets of paper towel. Place a single layer of bacon on top and then cover with two more sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high in one minute bursts until cooked - the bacon will go crunchy when it cools down. Mine took about three minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, maple syrup and eggs in a food processor and blitz until well combined. If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, maple syrup and eggs and beat until well combined.

Add one tablespoon of milk and blitz/beat. Add the second tablespoon if the mixture still looks a little thick.

Distribute the batter evenly across twelve patty pans in a muffin tin. I usually dollop out a tablespoon in each.

Dice the cooked bacon into medium-sized squares. Reserve the fattier pieces (the streaky bacon) for the garnish. Push in about 3-4 pieces of the meatier bacon pieces into each patty pan. Use a spoon to smooth the batter over the bacon so it is submerged.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

When the cupcakes are cool, use a piping bag with a plain tip to squeeze a small dollop of strawberry into the middle of each cupcake. Pipe over with the peanut butter frosting and garnish with shards of the crispy bacon. You may need to microwave the bacon for an extra minute or two to make sure it is brittle and crunchy. Add a sprinkle of salt flakes for the final touch.

Peanut butter frosting
Using an electric mixer, cream the unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, until you are happy with the consistency. I kept my frosting quite soft. Season with salt to personal preference.

Makes 12 cupcakes


Combine 50 food bloggers with a picnic and you are guaranteed to have a feast of food on offer. These are just some of the treats we gorged ourselves on all afternoon:

[Bloggers - let me know if your dish has been featured but unidentified or if you have any corrections or further details]

Kids' high tea of fairy bread, honey joys and
chocolate cracklers by Chocolatesuze

Gingerbread cookies by Jacq

Cinnamon scrolls with caramel sauce by Yasmin

Chocolate cookies with white chocolate icing by Peter

Sweet potato latkes by Jessica

Apple and pecan cupcakes by Arwen

Roast duck wonton cups by Ellie

Fruit mince tarts, cake, hotdogs, cupcakes and gingerbread hearts

Champagne and longan jelly with gold leaf by Billy

Mini cheeseburgers and Korean chicken wings by Simon;
white chocolate rocky road by Yaya's Yum Yums

The amazing Momofuku Bo Ssam 5-hour slow roast pork by Billy
Billy's recipe)

The traditional anonymous food blogger group photo

Thank you everyone for attending and making it such an amazing afternoon. It's great to see such a friendly and supportive food blogging community thriving in Sydney - long may it continue to grow with passion and appetite!

The 50 food bloggers that attended were:
http://www.ladyironchef.com (visiting from Singapore)


Congratulations to the following Grab Your Fork Freebie Friday winners:
Timmy has won a gift box of new harvest achacha fruit;
Tresna has won a copy of MasterChef Australia: The Cookbook.

Don't forget to enter the Freebie Friday competitions still open to entries. You could win:

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic 2010
32 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/14/2009 02:44:00 am


  • At 12/14/2009 4:36 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Love the anonymous group photo!

  • At 12/14/2009 6:02 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    Ahhh such an awesome day! And your Elvis cupcakes were super delish! I think i could eat a whole bowl of that icing mmm

  • At 12/14/2009 7:33 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Definitely a fun day Helen! Loved all the food but those Elvis cupcakes were extra special. Thanks to both you and Suze for organising the party!

  • At 12/14/2009 7:41 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    Thanks for organising the picnic with Suze! Had heaps of fun.

    Those Elvis cupcakes were your best yet! No surprised that they all disappeared by the end :)

  • At 12/14/2009 8:13 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    I didn't get to try your cupcakes! Damn! I keep seeing photos of food that I didn't get round to, such a shame. Lol. Thanks for organising yesterday, it was a great day!

  • At 12/14/2009 8:35 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Thanks so much for organising this Helen! I had so much fun and I'm sure everyone who came did as well :) Your cupcakes were so popular, they were definitely the ones that disappeared the quickest!

  • At 12/14/2009 9:16 am, Blogger AY said…

    Thanks so much for organising the day with Suze, Helen! The picnic was amazing and being the first little event that we've been invited to - it was great to put name to face to so many blogs and just meet all these people who share the same passion :)

    Loved the KK and of course the food that everyone brought - especially your Elvis cupcakes. Absolutely delish - will need to give them a try someday myself!

    Thanks again Helen - looking foward to the next one!

  • At 12/14/2009 9:35 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    Yeah I didn't get to try your cupcake too! And you telling me not making enough pork for everyone?! LOL...
    Thanks to Helen and Suze for organising it! So, when is the next foodblogger event? :P

  • At 12/14/2009 10:27 am, Blogger KPB said…

    So bummed I missed it - and didn't even know about it!

    The ultimate lesson in networking and keeping up with other food bloggers.

  • At 12/14/2009 10:40 am, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    Such a great day, and I loved your organised touch with the nametags. It was a great turnout, and lots of beautiful food.

  • At 12/14/2009 11:17 am, Blogger Kate said…

    What an amazing group of people! Congratulations Helen on organising such a wonderful event. I only wish i was techno-savvy so I could join in on the blogging fun. I'll just have to indulge myself on your site (not hard).Your cupcakes look great!

  • At 12/14/2009 11:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a fun event and absolutely love your elvis cupcakes! Too bad, I couldn't stay tll the end but it was still great to have a chance to meet so many awesome food bloggers.

  • At 12/14/2009 11:56 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    I'm very disappointed I missed out on your cupcakes (and the party, of course!). Glad you all had a great time. You and Suze are super organisers!

  • At 12/14/2009 12:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great work you 2 for hosting the party ^^! and BOOOOOOO I didn't get to try these cupcakes X( /cry and lots of other stuff too haha

  • At 12/14/2009 12:14 pm, Anonymous Yas (aboutthefood) said…

    Awesome photos, and I'm still dreaming about all the food! Sigh. There was enough food to last all week.

    Thanks again for organising, it was a super dooper event.

    Yas (aboutthefood)

    PS Oh, and it's Yasmin, no 'e'. Thanks!

  • At 12/14/2009 12:43 pm, Anonymous Trisha said…

    Look at that food, and all of us! We've grown exponentially in the past few months, haven't we? Anyway great great job Helen (and Suze!) - it was such a fantastic picnic party!

  • At 12/14/2009 1:05 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Thank you once again for organising this awesome event with Suze. It's so easy to entertain food bloggers - just gather round some food and we'll be there! And I'm glad I got my hand on one of your Elvis cupcakes =)

  • At 12/14/2009 1:48 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    It was fun and there were food bloggers that I've been dying to meet and finally did :P

    Thanks to you and Suze for organising this. And I'm still gutted that I didn't try your cupcake yesterday so this recipe will be put to good use!

  • At 12/14/2009 6:40 pm, Anonymous Trissa said…

    Thanks for arranging the whole event Helen. I had lots of fun... your cupcakes look really good - unfortunately I wasn't able to give them a try! Maybe next time as I heard you have a reputation - you are to cupcakes what zumbo is to macarons!

  • At 12/14/2009 6:58 pm, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Such a great event it was! And great turn out!
    Thanks to you and Suze - it was great meeting other bloggers for the first time as well as catching up with you guys!

  • At 12/14/2009 7:43 pm, Blogger Swee San said…

    oh yum the cupcakes look good!! would love to try them. thanks for sharing :)

  • At 12/14/2009 9:20 pm, Blogger WX said…

    Thanks for organising such a great day! The amount and variety of food everyone came up with was simply amazing.

  • At 12/15/2009 9:29 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh my freakin' gosh - times like these when I really wish I was a food blogger. Look at all the shenanigans you food addicts get up to! Ellie's roast wonton cups look heavenly..

    Who knew Sydney had over 100 bloggers!! And that anonymous food blogger photo is awesomesauce <3

  • At 12/15/2009 1:58 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    I had such a great time at the picnic - thanks to you and Suze for organising! I was lucky enough to sample one of your cupcakes and they were pure genius! I loved the surprise bacon and jam in the middle :) Btw the gingerbread cookies are mine ;) hehe thanks for taking a photo of them!

  • At 12/15/2009 9:04 pm, Anonymous lance said…

    Love the anon group photo too like Joey said. It reminds me of the old Oral B toothbrush ads "This man is a dentist, so we can't show you his face" - the Chaser put that myth to bed.

  • At 12/15/2009 9:19 pm, Anonymous ladyironchef said…

    thanks helen for organising the food blogger picnic, it's massive! hee

    and also for doing the rowdya lebanese food outing, it was great to meet up with you guys that night! hope to see u all in May (either u guys stop-over in Singapore, or i see whether i can join you all for one city in Malaysia) :)

  • At 12/16/2009 12:54 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    you did an amazing job in organising. thanks so much for a very fun food day out! :-)

  • At 12/16/2009 3:12 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Joey - lol. It's a bit of a tradition!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - The icing was pretty tasty - I may have had a few tastings along the way, for research of course!

    Hi Peter G - So glad you could make it - and hurrah for annual leave!

    Hi Simon - Ahh good to hear you managed to get a cupcake, and best yet? Duly noted!

    Hi Betty - Oh no, sorry you missed out. Glad you enjoyed yourself, and yes, I agree, too much food, not enough stomach!

    Hi Stephcookie - It was great to meet so many people and oh the amount of food was phenomenal. I was surprised the cupcakes went so quickly - but ha, always nice to see your food get eaten :)

    Hi AY - Thanks so much for coming. Always good to put names to faces and yes, I find it inspiring to meet others with similar passions. Definitely recommend you give the Elvis cupcakes a go - they are too easy to do!

    Hi Billy - Your roast pork was crazy good. A pity you missed out on the cupcakes and lol, give us a minute or two? Or maybe a month? lol

    Hi Kim - We did make several tweets about the event and trawled the net for all the Sydney food blogs we could find. I've added your details for the next event when it gets organised!

    Hi Arwen - I think the nametags were essential with the number of people involved! The turnout exceeded my expectations and yes, the spread was amazing but unsurprising!

    Hi Kate - A food blog isn't hard at all! You should definitely join in the fun! In the interim, always glad to have readers, and do give the cupcake recipe a go :)

    Hi Ellie - We were grateful to have you there if only for a short while. December schedules are always crazy :)

    Hi Belle - A shame you couldn't make it. It was great to see so many food bloggers gathered together - hopefully you'll be able to make the next one!

    Hi FFichiban - Oh noes, next time you'll have to be quicker off the mark with cupcake kidnapping. lol. Loved your eggnog btw and thanks for your help with the garbage removal!

    Hi Yas - Argh, so sorry about the typo. My bad! Your cinnamon scrolls were divine - I wish I'd nabbed more to take home with me :)

    Hi Trisha - Ha yes I think we've all grown since food blogging, but I like to think it's all muscle. lol. Glad you had fun!

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - Yes give us food and we are easily entertained. lol. Happy you found an Elvis cupcake too :)

    Hi Karen - Argh, sorry you missed out on a cupcake. Recommend you try out the recipe too - you could make a batch that is half popcorn and half Elvis! lol

    Hi Trissa - Oh a shame you didn't get a cupcake! And reputation? lol. I hardly put myself in Zumbo's league! Cupcakes are much more forgiving than macarons!

    Hi Yas - Glad you had fun. Thanks for helping with the clean-up and yes, always fun to catch up with you!

    Hi Swee San - The cupcakes were reportedly enjoyed by all :) You should try the recipe - it's easy to do!

    Hi WX - Glad you enjoyed yourself. It was lovely to meet you and the food feast was quite phenomenal, I agree!

    Hi Margaret Tran - Yep, you should definitely start a food blog and join in on all the fun. lol. It's great to see the Sydney food blog scene really growing in leaps and bounds, and lol, the anonymous photo is tradition.

    Hi Jacq - Thanks so much for coming and glad you had fun. I was hoping there'd be an element of surprise with the jam :) And thanks for letting me know about the gingerbread cookies - will fix that now :)

    Hi Lance - Haha, yes I remember that Oral B ad! Next time we should hold props of some sort...

    Hi Ladyironchef - So lovely to meet you and hope you enjoyed your stay in Sydney. We should definitely try to catch up next year!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - Glad you enjoyed yourself - we hope to organise more events in the future!

  • At 12/17/2009 4:49 pm, Anonymous Anita said…

    Oh - I wish I could have made it.... looks like such a great spread of food and a wonderful afternoon tea. I hope I can make next year's one (or any coming up beforehand)

  • At 12/18/2009 10:08 pm, Anonymous PlanningQueen said…

    What a fabulous blogging community you guys have. The spread looked amazing!

  • At 12/21/2009 9:10 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Belated thanks (I didn't want you to think I was stalking, hehe) to you and Suze for organising what has to be an annual function from now on!

  • At 3/04/2010 2:42 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anita - You'll have to come to the next one. We hope to organise more in the future!

    Hi Planning Queen - I think that's why I love most about food blogging - the wonderful people you get to meet. A bounty of delicious food is a bonus too!

    Hi YaYa - Yes I think this should definitely become an annual event. Hopefully we can organise more in the interim too.


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