On Monday night my sister and I went to our first Wellington on a Plate event – the way sold-out (they added a couple more sessions even) Cupcakes and Cocktails at Martha’s Pantry. Given that neither of us is a slouch in the kitchen or bar, we weren’t sure how much we’d actually learn from the event, but since cupcakes and cocktails are two of our favourite things, we thought we’d give it a go. And when we walked in the door and saw that the McKenzie brothers were doing the mixing, we knew we were in safe hands.

I figure I’ll do this post basically just a series of cupcake porn photos. You don’t mind, do you? Good.

This was what was waiting for each of us at the tables – sandwiches to nibble on, cupcakes, icing and the cupcake recipe. We were also given Winter Pimms Punch to drink.


We had a couple of demonstrations about different ways to pipe, and were let loose on our own cocktails.


You can see here that we had varying techniques and levels of success with that.

Then, before too much icing could accidently end up in our mouths, Justin McKenzie, wearing one blue glove that was kind of creepy let us in on the magic formula for cocktails: two parts strong, one part sweet, one part sour. It’s so simple, I wasted all that money in Hooch and Hawthorne and Cuckoo for nothing!

cocktail ingredients

So here we have lime juice, Damson Plum & Vanilla puree, and Stolen Rum. Stolen Rum actually fits the whole Wellington on a Plate (or in a glass) theme really well, as one of its two creators, Jamie Duff, is a part-time Wellingtonian – when he’s not off plundering the Caribbean, that is.

shake it

So you shake all the ingredients together, and you get this:

Yum! I suspect if you don’t want to make it yourself, you might be able to get it at one of their bars. Then it was time to get decorating our cupcakes, by piping white chocolate shapes onto templates drawn under wax paper:

piping decorations

This comes in handy if you want your cupcakes to act as instructional manuals. “Jo, eat me”

jo eat me

We also learnt how to form flowers from royal icing

roses on cupcakes

So we ended up with a box of ridiculously overdecorated cupcakes to take home, and man, they were delicious!

box of cupcakes

I would dispute the event’s billing itself as “there will be plenty of cocktails”, but I guess sometimes you have to go for quality over quantity. It was a lot of fun, and I am super keen to make my own cupcakes with piped icing now.