Move over, Nigella. My Cupcake Addiction’s Elise Strachan, aka Aussie cooking queen, is whipping up a culinary storm with the launch of her latest sweet treat!
Queensland’s golden gal, mother of two and the creator and host of one of the world’s most widely viewed online baking shows, My Cupcake Addiction, has amassed a fan base of more than 9 million – and she has just added the icing to the cake.
Elise’s long awaited debut cookbook, ‘Sweet! Celebrations’ has finally landed!
It’s a jam-packed collection of her most delicious and creative dessert recipes, ingenious tips, step-by-step photos and even DIY projects for every level. Yep, even cream-puffs like me will be able to dish out sweet and impressive desserts that’ll leave the cake bake school mums salivating!
Here, Elise takes time out of the kitchen to talk about her family meals, managing our Martha Stewart moments and tips for the culinary-challenged. (Oh and P.S. Elise probably shouldn’t play favourites, but she also reveals her favourite recipe from ‘Sweet! Celebrations.’).
Q. How did your love and passion for cooking develop?
A. “I remember being a kid and discovering that a few simple ingredients combined in the right way made chocolate slice! I was hooked and that love or making sweet creations from commonplace ingredients never subsided.”
Sweet & Sour Fact: Elise may be known for her sweets, but she wasn’t allowed a great deal of sugary snacks during her childhood. When she was a kid, Elise and her siblings were allotted only $1 per week to spend on sweets. However, young entrepreneurial Elise quickly learned how to get around this limitation and came up with a simple solution. Naming herself the official baker of the family, Elise spent her weekends baking slices, cakes and cupcakes, taste-testing ingredients and snacking on the toppings, then sneaking off with the leftovers to add to her own secret stash to satisfy her sweet tooth for the week. Clever cookie.
Q. What do you feed your family for brekkie and lunch?
A. “Likely, exactly the same thing as most Mums! My kids get great birthday cakes and I nail a bake sale, but we have cereal or toast for brekkie and I usually pack fresh fruit, sandwiches, crackers and cheese with a popper for the most part.
“On Fridays, they get a sneaky chocolate treat tucked in a special pouch of the lunchbox!”
Q. Any tips for parents with crumby culinary skills to make cake art?
A. “Don’t feel like you have to ‘Martha Stewart’ every aspect. Baking from scratch is great if you have the time, but don’t beat yourself up for cutting corners to save some time!
“I still pull out a box mix on occasion and there are so many simple decorating techniques available online. There’s no need to spend all night on a 6 tier 3D fondant covered minion cake when a flat 2D frosting version will likely yield the same reaction.”
Q. Do you ever feel overwhelmed baking with lots of steps and ingredients?
A. “I tend to steer away from overly complicated recipes. If something calls for a crazy amount of ingredients or multiple complex steps to create it, I’ll look for another option that’s similar but easier to re-create.
“At the end of the day, I want amazing creations but like many, I’m a time poor mum. I need to optimise my time in the kitchen to achieve a ‘wow’ without the overwhelming aspect of trying to live up to world class pastry creations.”
Q. What shortcuts do you take?
A. “I bake in advance where I can and often freeze whole cakes, frosting and cookie dough so I can launch straight into the decorating!”
Q. What was your favourite ‘Sweet! Celebrations’ recipe?
A. “Oohh, that’s so tough! I love them all but if I had to choose a favourite it would be the rustic Tree Stump Cake. It’s a beautiful wedding or engagement cake, can easily be transformed into a fairy garden or woodland themed dessert and it would be perfect for a lumberjack or camping themed event. I’m all about options!”
Q. What’s next for cupcake Queen Elise?
A. “This week my debut Food Network show ‘Sweet Smarts’ airs in the USA, but I’d love to not have to travel so far away to find these kinds of opportunities. I have a huge audience in Australia and would love to find some projects to work on in my own backyard!”
ABOUT: Elise Strachan is a household hit with almost 3 million sweet tooths tuning in to My Cupcake Addiction channel. The Aussie cooking queen and trained pastry chef divides her time between her Gold Coast home, Los Angeles and New York. Elise’s impressive background and accessible approach to all things sweet have led to her global reputation as the ‘People’s Baker’.
‘Sweet! Celebrations’ is Elise’s first book. It uses the same accessible approach, with recipes for classic cakes, icings and toppings that will make any novice baker feel like a pro’. There’s also innovative drinks, tips for adding extra wow factor to a party or celebration, DIY projects, fancy cakes, ‘small bakes’ and even ‘no bake’ recipes.