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200 Cupcakes

For those who follow me on Instagram, you would be aware that in the last few weeks I’ve been making cupcakes and cupcakes and more cupcakes.  It’s all because of Archie.  His best mate, the one Archie traveled with during his Gap Year was turning 21.  Ever-caring Archie rose to the occasion and said, ‘My mum will make your cake; she’d love to’.  And the Webowski (as he’s called) was very pleased to hear this and said, ‘That would be great’.

And Archie said, ‘Just tell mum what you’d like; she can make anything’.  Oh to have Archie’s confidence.

Neapolitan cake with chocolate butter cream icing

Neapolitan cake with chocolate butter cream icing before I’d written ’21’ in cream pearls

So a few weeks passed and then the Webowski’s mother phoned thanking me so very much for offering to make the cake (it’s amazing how a story can evolve), and she said she would be very happy to commission me to make the cake.  The Webowski had chosen the Neapolitan Cake and I was very relieved as no tricky shapes were involved.

Vanilla Cupcakes with white chocolate butter cream icing

Vanilla Cupcakes with white chocolate butter cream icing

I made the cakes and put them in my freezer ahead of decorating them on the approaching date of the party, but a week or so before the event I had a chat to the Webowski’s mother and we decided it could be quite difficult to cut up a Neapolitan cake and serve it as finger food on the night.  ‘So perhaps after the cutting the cake it could be taken ‘out the back’ and then some cupcakes could appear from ‘out the back’ for everyone to enjoy’, suggested the Webowski’s mother.

‘Great idea’, I said, ‘That would be so much easier than having to serve the cake’.  And then the Webowski’s mother said, ‘I’m glad you agree, could you make two hundred?’

‘Yes of course’, I said, ‘Not a problem’.

Chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate butter cream icing

Chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate butter cream icing – and ah yes, there’s one without the pink pearls!

And so it was settled.  And I started on the task of making 200 cupcakes for 200 20-somethings and somewhere during the process I realised I’d never actually made 200 cupcakes for one event.  My Kitchen Aid only has capacity to make around 40 at a time and so that’s a lot of batches of mixture and I was making them in three different flavours.

Task completed, I woke on the day of the party having to decorate first the cake and then the cupcakes.  I pride myself on my excellent time management skills but I had no idea what I was up for and I ran incredibly behind time.  I was working as fast as I could but the problem is, for these sorts of quantities, you need a commercial sized mixer because a double quantity of icing was all my Kitchen Aid could handle and I needed at least eight quantities and I just ran out of time (and ingredients!)

Adding to my time management dilemmas was the fact the party was being held on a country property three hours from Sydney and we promised we’d be there at 6pm, about two hours before the party started.  Well at 4.40pm I’d decorated the cake and 175 cupcakes only and was completely out of icing with no time to make any more.  And we were still in Sydney.

We packaged everything up (minus the remaining un-iced cupcakes) and I had a quick shower as I was still in my pyjamas and somehow I’d missed breakfast and lunch and we threw a few necessities like clean knickers into an overnight bag and out we went to the car.  In the pouring rain.  Another thing about transporting large numbers of cupcakes is that it takes time to load them properly into a car and so by the time Carl (yes, I gave that task to him) sat behind the wheel, he was soaked.  To the bone.  ‘Never mind’, I said, ‘Don’t complain; you’ll be okay, just start driving’.

Strawberry cupcakes all ready for their transportation to the party

Strawberry cupcakes all ready for their transportation to the party

When you have to go on a journey, it’s a good idea to have petrol in your car.  We didn’t have any.  And Carl apparently didn’t notice until we were on the Hume Highway where there wouldn’t be anywhere to fill up for about a thousand kilometres.  So in order to avoid coming to a spluttering holt, we had to take an exit and drive around and around and around with Carl screaming at me to look up google maps on the i-pad, and find a petrol station.  Where have they all gone?  In the good ‘ole days, they were on every corner and now you can’t find them.

After that 20-minute unnecessary (had someone thought to fill up the car before we left Sydney) excursion, we were back on the Hume Highway and beetling into darkness towards the Webowski’s country property, about two hours behind schedule.

Finally we were there and we pulled off the highway and turned onto a dirt road and drove up a long driveway that led to an amazing home built in 1820.  Now if you know your Australian history you would be aware that European settlement only started a few years before that so this was one of Australia’s oldest homes.

It was so incredible and Carl and I were shown to the guest suite that had once been the nursery and part of the nursery had been converted into a spacious ensuite bathroom and beyond the ensuite was the original school room that was now a children’s playroom.  Carl had trouble walking through the doorways as they were so low he would hit his head – people were so much shorter back then.  Underneath our rooms were ‘Stranger Rooms’ and these were rooms that didn’t have access to the main house and were given to ‘strangers’ who were traveling and looking for a room for the night.  It was such a step-back into Australian history when so many were involved in agriculture and lived on large stations.

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

The Webowski’s parents were wonderful and generous hosts (you find this in the country a lot) and our room had a king-sized bed and there were luggage racks and a fireplace and bottled water on the bedside tables and bathrobes hanging on the back of the bathroom door and toiletries on the dressing table and boxed soap and fresh flowers on the mantlepiece.  Yes, we were very comfortable.

Ensuite for the guest bedroom

Ensuite for the guest bedroom

Then it was down to the party that was held in a few adjoining sheds and there were fire pits to keep you warm and live music from a few different bands and pass-around food that continued all night long and the party went until the wee hours and then at first light the bar-be-cue was started up and all the 20-somethings who had stayed the night sleeping on swags and in their cars and anywhere else they dropped (making me glad not to be a 20-something anymore) were given bacon and egg rolls and bottles of water and cans of soft drink to see them on their way.

The ensuite bathroom

The ensuite bathroom

We stayed for the day and just enjoyed being in such a beautiful home that gave us a wonderful glimpse into what life was like back in the 1800’s.

We’ve been invited back for a weekend and they have an Agar stove with five ovens no less and they’ve asked me if I would like to cook on it.  I told them I would love to, (have never cooked on one before) and the idea is that I’m cooking confit duck.  Will let you know when it happens and I do hope to take more images of the property showing you the externals of an antique Australian homestead.

From the homestead and back to me, I thought I might mention that a few weeks ago, Hotly Spiced was mentioned on the Kidspot/Village Voices website as being one of the best Australian blogs for 2013.  Here’s the link to see the other blogs that also made the list.

And Hotly Spiced is now two!  Thank you all so very much for all your support – it’s been a wonderful, interesting, surprising and educational two years.



  1. haha, oh Charlie you always get yourself into (or I should say your children get you into) such amusing situations. What a gorgeous property you got to stay in though! I suppose it was maybe worth it 😉

  2. I was waiting for the 200 cupcake story! I am glad you and the cupcakes got there safely and got to stay in such a beautiful old house. Happy Blogiversary too!

    Nazneen xx

  3. You are amazing. I loved your cupcakes…. I could eat all of them 🙂 and what a beautiful rooms, this should be a wonderful experience. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  4. and congratulations on being best blogger list!

  5. Congrats on making the best Australian blogs list. I am not at all surprised. Your writing is entertaining, interesting and often humorous, all the right ingredients for blog posts that will hold reader interest.

    If you lived in Minnesota, I’d ask you to bake the sweets for my daughter’s wedding reception.

    Glad you, Carl and the cupcakes made the party on time, despite the detours.

  6. I remember making 70 cupcakes and the kitchen mess after that still haunts me, can’t imagine what it would have been like with 200. Hats off to you, they look beautiful!

  7. What a beautiful place to stay!! UUmmm, I have a king-size bed and it’s no where near that big! LOL I want one that size!! 😉 Your cup cakes look yummy! I love reading your stories!

  8. Congratulations on the 2 yr blog-anniversary.

    Sounds like another fun adventure for Charlie and her boys (and girl). I’m so glad that ‘the Webowski’s’ parents treated you so well in that luxurious suite. 🙂

  9. What a wonderful post! Loved seeing those gorgeous rooms…and loved all those cupcakes! I know how much work goes into pulling something like that off. You did beautifully!

  10. Aren’t you glad Archie volunteered you? Look what you would have missed if he hadn’t. You are truly amazing, 200 cupcakes and a cake too. How did you transport all those cupcakes?

  11. Happy second birthday! And you’re such a wonder. When you start you full-fledged catering company, hire me?

  12. I love how your kids volunteer you–and that they have total faith that you will come through, as you always do. I fear I was much the same with my mom and my son was with me, which is rather nice. The cake and cupcakes are gorgeous. Well done! And congrats on the blog kudos and birthday!

  13. You are the best! 200 gorgeous cupcakes! Congratulation on your 2nd year blog´s anniversary……..such a wonderful guess room you stayed for sure you deserved it after all the good work you´ve done ! 🙂

  14. I would be tickled to make 20 cupcakes successfully. You are such a wonder woman:) What a lovely home!

  15. I was wondering what you had gotten yourself in to!! Sounds like everything went well. And I’m so happy to see you back on her!

  16. You ARE one of the best blogs, so no surprise there 🙂 Congrats Charlie, no one deserves it more. And love those cup cakes, you are such a generous Mom. If I were Archie, I would have the same confidence in you 🙂 Though in the end it does look like it resulted in a wonderful getaway for you with more to come.

  17. What an adventure, gotta love your kids volunteering you. But it’s nice that they love your cooking so much that they want to share it around! Congrats on two years and being one of Australia’s best blogs.

  18. Charlie, what a GORGEOUS room! A well deserved treat after icing all those cupcakes! Lovely post, darling xx

  19. Wow you did it. Looks like it was worth all the effort. What a gorgeous home and congrats on the blog nomination. It really is a good read.

  20. Congratulations on being one of the best blogs. I must say I agree with them! Lovely story though rather harrowing. I hate being late like that because then everything goes wrong. It would be great to see more photos of that house. It looks amazing.

  21. Oh my gosh! How on earth you ever got so many cupcakes made and decorated, I cannot imagine. But what a lovely house you got to stay in. You have the best adventures.

  22. What innocent faith in you they all have Charlie, it’s actually very sweet- although perhaps naive- of them 🙂 It ALWAYS takes longer to decorate than you imagine, and I have catered many a function in a similar state to you before dropping it off with a smile and a “oh, it was no trouble at all” I guess we’re gluttons for punishment!
    You totally deserve to be in the winners circle for top blog sweetie, congratulations indeed and happy second Blogaversary too xox

  23. Dear Charlie,

    200 cupcakes???!! You are one superwoman. One could spend all day in an ensuite like that.

  24. You’re a better woman than I am Charlie – that many cupcakes would be the undoing of me! I love Aga stoves, but make sure to do some homework. Cooking on them is quite different than ordinary stoves – especially using the ovens.

  25. Well done Charlie! I don’t envy you. When I made 150 cupcakes for a friend’s wedding I vowed it would be the last time. We had to transport them as well and I’ve never been so nervous.
    What a beautiful house. I’ll look forward to seeing more of it!
    Congratulations on your best blog mention and happy blogoversary!!!

  26. wow great cakes and the party sounds amazing love staying in old homes

  27. My favourite cooking ever (the process and the results) was on an Aga. I love them as they are just the best stoves – and always hot! Not so good for summertime cooking though.

    Lovely job on the cake and the cupcakes. Well done Charlie!

  28. What amazing cupcakes and cake!

  29. I always knew you were one of Australia’s best blogs!!! Congrats! After reading your cupcake saga, I’m so relieved I said no to one of Tom’s friends who wanted me to make his wedding cake…a small groom’s cake, yes, but the idea of something of that magnitude spooks the heck out of me! You pulled it off marvelously, though, despite a little petrol scare and wet clothes. And, WOW, what a gorgeous home!!!!

  30. 200 cupcakes… my God, that is a lot! (well, 175 delivered!). Great job Charlie! Where did you find those transportation boxes by the way? Were they easy to come by?

    • Hi Charles; I phoned The Essential Ingredient and asked them how I would transport 200 cupcakes to a town three hours from Sydney (I was terrified of arriving and finding nothing but carnage). They told me about the cake boxes that come with a cardboard insert with the holes to hold the cupcakes. They ordered them in for me at around $3/box and each box holds 12. I’m sure you must be able to buy them in Europe – they worked brilliantly!

  31. So much to congratulate you on! Firstly the cupcakes and then the nomination and the two year anniversary! 😀

  32. 200 cupcakes? That is quite the accomplishment Charlie, congrats. The flavours look delicious.
    And congratulations on your lovely anniversary, I can’t believe it’s two years already. It’s great that you were also one of the Best Australian Blogs, that’s very nice publicity.
    My dear Dad used to run on fumes driving my dear Mum mad. I recall several occasions running out of gas.
    What a lovely guest house, it looks like you had a gorgeous room, and it’s so nice to be invited back to cook, I’m looking forward to that post.

  33. 200 cupcakes and a cake! Wow, that is some work, but boy do they look delicious! Our kids think we are wonder women, and we are! Lovely blog 🙂

  34. So many happy’s to share. Happy blogipshere! Happy best blogging in Australia! Happy Birthdays and wow wee, 200 cupcakes to boot. They are beautiful. Did you think that your arm might fall off as you were frosting and decorating all of them. I am glad that you were able to stay in such a beautiful place and maybe soak your arm in the tub to re-coop from making over 200 cupcakes.

  35. Congratulations for the mention Charlie 🙂 You definitely deserve it!

    And well done for making 200 cupcakes! I have been asked before but I didn’t have the courage and wasn’t sure If I was going to be able to pull it off so I just rejected it hehe ~ But good work! They all look delicious as well as the cake YUM!

    I love old historical houses like the one you visited and stayed in 🙂

  36. The mere thought of making and icing 175-200 cupcakes is beyond me, so I bow to your ability to do so and have them come out so beautifully. And what a grand place, like a five star hotel. That will be so much fun to go back and try out the stove! Happy two year blogaversary and congrats on your mention. Well, well deserved!

  37. How you were able to frost a cake and 175 cupcakes is beyond me. You said you were good at time management but this is more miracle than management. What a wonderful place to call home and such a fascinating history to go with it.
    Happy 2nd anniversary, Charlie, and congratulations for being publicly recognized for being something we’ve known all along. 🙂

  38. wow good on you for completing 200 cupcakes! and for them mention for best blog! well deserved!

  39. What a great success story – wow! and the cupcakes look really sweet. I bet they were devoured pretty fast.

  40. That’s fantastic about being a top blog. I knew it from the first post I read.

    Now about this time management thing. I suggest you start from the first post and read up until today and you’ll see what we all see. You fit way more into your life than a normal person can accomplish. 🙂 We love you heaps. The ccakes were really cute and that property sounds amazing.

  41. You are seriously one awesome lady – 200 freaking cupcakes! Bloody hell! lol. Happy 2nd Blogoversary hun xx

  42. I already knew you are one of the best Australian blogs 😀 – Congratulations Charlie!
    WOW, 200 cupcakes, don’t think I would be able to handle that many myself – I don’t have a kitchen aid so would only be able to manage half of what you do per load – oh heavens – don’t even think my kitchen is big enough….
    The home you stayed in is beyond gorgeous – I cannot wait to see more shots when you go back for a weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  43. Oh Charlie – 200?! My sister wanted about that many for her 21st, but we divided them up! I think I did 4 batches (88 I suppose) and that was more than enough. I’m very impressed, especially as this wasn’t even for family! I’m glad you got some country generosity in return.

    Happy 2 years, too! You seem far more experienced at blogging than just two years – clearly you’re a natural 🙂

  44. Charlie, I’m not surprised you are a VIP blog! And congratulations on being “two years old.” You have done amazing things for only being a toddler! You comment on how generous Archie is, but I think he learned that from you. To have pulled off this event with that much baking, and the cupcakes are beautiful, is impressive by any standards. I really don’t know how you do it. You have my admiration. The country guest house is better appointed than my home…I’m agog!

  45. This is a fabulous post. I was totally intrigued from your skill as a baker – beautiful smooth frosting on the cake – to the time and effort to make the cupcakes – also gorgeous – to the history of Australia and its ‘stranger rooms’! And what a fabulous house. The guest room looks amazing. No wonder you were chosen as a favorite blog! And by the way, the men in America don’t put gas in cars until they are running on fumes. It annoys me to no end. There is nothing worse than heading out to discover there is too little fuel. Yikes!!

  46. All that wonderful baking, an interesting story (I’ve had crazy busy days like those), but then you top it off with an award?! That’s just the best news ever, Charlie! Although I’m not surprised at all, I love your blog!! Congratulations!! xx

  47. So many cupcakes!!! Awesome blog keep up the great posts and recipes!!

  48. You are such a great mom! You’re obvious the mom that your kids friends always come to as well. Look at that cake and all those cupcakes! And then you had move them?!?! Like I said – great mom. 🙂 Congratulations on making the great blogs list! That’s awesome!

  49. Wow, wow, and wow…the cupcakes look beautiful Charlie…I am very impressed 🙂
    And congratulations for making to the blog list…

  50. I love the property you stay at, it is so gorgeous. …and the bath tub! WOW! All the cupcakes look so delicious too!!! MY tummy is grumbling, I wish you could make me some too 😉

  51. Congratulations!!!! well done not only making the blog list but wow all those cupcakes. I started to hyperventilate when you were running out of time and still icing cakes! They looked great and what about that house. Oh for an age – can’t wait for your duck recipe.

  52. Congratulations on being one of Aurtalia’s blogs. Very well deserved Charlie. It has been a true pleasure to discover and follow your wonderful blog:)
    Happy second birthday tooo Hotly spiced 🙂
    Back to the cupcakes. hats off to you for making 200 AND a cake! wow! I don’t even think I can make half that much!
    I LOVE old houses, the history and the details in them are enchanting

  53. 200! Holy crap that’s epic. Go you for pulling it off and that amazing cake!! Looks like an awesome place to stay too. No ghosts though? FI xxx

  54. wow that sounds like an epic baking session not to mention the transportation – glad you had a comfy bed waiting for you at journeys end

  55. At least you made it to the party, that is good news. How nice if your room for the night – very generous. I hope the cake and cupcakes went down well at the party.

  56. OH MY GOSH. I am so jealous!!!! I would LOVE beyond words to see such a house and experience that bit of history – how fantastic for you, Charlie!!! I’m glad it all worked out in the end! And congrats on two years of blogging and on your recognition! You so deserve it.

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