To find a decent cafe or tearoom selling just the sort of cakes you adore, is a Very Fortunate Thing Indeed. The tea is as you like it, the coffee is proper, not just brown water, and there's this sort of ambiance that makes you want to stay for a natter, settle down for a good read or just do nothing but watch and nose on other people's conversations. It's a safe place. A comfortable place. A relaxing place. For Georgie, her decent cafe, where all the above is fulfilled, is conveniently located at her workplace.
Cupcakes at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown is the story of Georgie Hart, a personal shopper, who runs the handbag concession at Carrington's Department store. She loves her job and her colleagues, particularly Sam, Eddie and Ciaran, and is very happy there. Her life finally seems to be going in the right direction. Then the recession begins to bite and the store has to try a lot harder and bring in expert help in order to part the customer with their hard earned pound. This expert help arrives in the form of the glamorous Maxine.
Maxine intends to shake up the store. This shakes up Georgie and causes real unease throughout the store. But the worst thing is, she now has to compete for her job. It's no wonder she likes to pop to the Carrington's cafe her best friend, Sam, is running, to console herself with a red velvet cupcake or a vanilla slice (or millefeuille, as Sam corrects her). It doesn't really matter what she eats, the very act of walking into Sam's cafe makes her shoulders drop and her whole body relax. It is her 'oasis of calm' after the busy-ness on the handbag concession or the stress of dealing with a rich Russian and she cherishes her moments there. Plus, of course, she gets to chat with her mate.
The arrival of Maxine and the corresponding stress means she needs these calming cupcakes more than ever. But it is not just department store life which is causing her anxiety. What Maxine had inadvertently done is make Georgie face up to a certain aspects in her life. Uncomfortable aspects that really, honestly, should be faced head on.
Fortunately, a red velvet cupcake is not far away.
To make the delicious red velvet cupcake pictured above with a cream cheese frosting I used the Hummingbird Bakery recipe. Tasty.