I Discover Kookery and a Quick & Tricky Thermomix Buttercream Icing

Recipe, photography and styling by Tanya Zouev.

kitchenalia : “miscellaneous kitchen utensils, pieces of cooking equipment, and other items typically found in kitchens”.

Those who know me well know that I am somewhat nuts about kitchenalia and use any excuse to go off rummaging in op-shops in search of it. I have a peculiar penchant for vintage kitchen items and am always on the look out for additional pieces (as if my burgeoning collection needs more).

Another thing I am equally nuts about (aside from Game Of Thrones and the little white socks on my cat’s paws) is icing, particularly buttercream icing. There is something about the creamy butter in combination with powdered sugar and vanilla that works magic on cake, and that is indeed a wonderful thing. My four year old son agrees whole-heartedly with this statement. In his books, icing and cake go together like cheese and lasagne.

This week I decided to bring two of my favourite things together in the same post, so in addition to a recipe I would like to introduce to you a fantastic range of vintage kitchenalia-inspired tea towels by Kookery, designed and owned by the lovely Amy Palmer-Millin. I met Amy a couple of months ago at a Sydney trade show she was exhibiting at and we hit it off immediately. We found we had a mutual love of vintage kitchenalia, tea towels, baking and coffee so how could we possibly not get along?

Amy told me how she draws inspiration from vintage graphic design and kitchenalia, pairing her designs with food-inspired witticisms so that everyone can “quirk their kitchen”. I was immediately drawn to the Two Scoops Are Better Than One design, screen-printed onto gorgeous Russian linen which softens and becomes more beautiful with each wash. Her designs come from pieces of found kitchenalia photographed then rendered into silhouettes to show off their vintage shapes. In her own words, the (in my opinion) very clever quotes come from “a mind that is as smitten with humour as it is with souffle.” A kindred spirit indeed.

Kookery Two Scoops Tea Towel

Now as much as I adore spending time in the kitchen, cooking (and gazing at my kitchenalia collection), sometimes I like to get things done quickly. Ever since I discovered that mothers of small children can’t always gourmet around in the kitchen as long as they would like to, I have developed certain techniques to cook with speed and efficiency that can get the job done faster.

For example, I used to labour over buttercream icing. I won’t settle for mixing a little icing sugar with water and dribbling it over a cupcake. I want the real deal and I want it to taste like it came from a really good cupcake bakery, like New York’s Magnolia Bakery. Ever since I saw an episode of Sex and The City where Miranda and Carrie bite into their huge fluffy cupcakes, I vowed I would one day do the same. But until I actually have the opportunity to visit the bakery in person, I will have to be satisfied with their cookbooks alone.

I have made Magnolia Bakery’s buttercream icing many times. You see, it’s a process: cream the butter, add the sugar and alternate with a little milk, add a little more sugar then a little more milk and so on. On one particular day I was feeling impatient. It was late evening and the next day was my son’s birthday. His preschool had asked me to bring in cupcakes for all his little friends so they could celebrate and sing happy birthday. It wasn’t the actual cupcakes I was baking that were testing my patience, it was the buttercream icing.

So I went against convention and decided to bung it all in the Thermomix, turn the machine on and throw caution to the wind. What happened next you ask? Minutes later I was making perfect little swirls of buttercream icing on my son’s cupcakes and I couldn’t have been happier (and ditto for Marc and his buddies the next day at morning tea). The only thing that perhaps could have made me happier would have been to stumble across another fabulous kitchenalia find, or buying more Kookery tea towels.

On that note I’m signing off this week to go op-shopping. Or maybe I’ll “quirk my kitchen” some more at www.kookery.com.au. After all, two (or more) Kookery tea towels are better than one.

Kookery Tea Towel Tanya Zouev


3.5 cups icing (powdered) sugar
225 grams room temperature butter (salted or unsalted is up to you, I like salted)
4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

If you want chocolate buttercream add a 1/2 to 2/3 cup cocoa. I used Dutch cocoa to create the chocolate buttercream icing in the photographs above.


Place all ingredients into the jug of a Thermomix, mix at speed 5 for three minutes.

* Please note that I have also made this in my stand mixer with almost the same results (the Thermomix icing was a little smoother), hence the decision to leave the sugar measurement in cups rather than grams for those who don’t own a Thermomix.


Styling notes:

It was only natural that I team Amy’s gorgeous tea towels with some of my kitchenalia pieces (or props as I like to call them, it seems more professional and then I can convince my husband that the fifty-fifth vintage tea cup I brought home is for work). All of the props came from local op-shops and out of council hard rubbish collections. The only light used in the images is window light. A big thanks to my neighbour who let me use his ancient Hills Hoist washing line (much to his amusement) for the shot of the Two Scoops tea towel.



17 thoughts on “I Discover Kookery and a Quick & Tricky Thermomix Buttercream Icing”

  1. I am also a proud Kookery owner… but thanks for your tip about making it a “prop”, that might work for me, too! ;-) Thanks also for the recipe. I have quite an aversion to the Thermomix, but am still quite partial to a wee bit of buttercream icing. x

    1. Hi Karen, yes Kookery is so cool! The “prop” tip is a great excuse, but only if you actually use the “props” for work reasons (like I do). Sorry to hear of your aversion to the TM, we love ours but have found over the time we’ve had it I’ve gone back to doing some things the old-fashioned way (but that’s another story). Enjoy your buttercream and have a great weekend. Regards, Tanya

    1. Thanks Sarvani! Lovely to see you around here again and to read your comments. :-)

  2. These Kookery tea towels are funny and beautifully designed !
    Props addiction is hard to fight ! And when it comes to ice cream I’m also for two scoops ;)

  3. You have some great pictures over here! Great pics + Delicious recipes + Amazing stories = Wonderful Blog! Congratulations!

    1. Hello Ana, thanks for taking the time to comment and give feedback. Glad you like my blog and are enjoying it. Best regards, Tanya

  4. Beautiful pictures, nuts here about all vintage too. Love buttermilk nd wud love to try this recipe soon. bart

    1. Hi Bart, thanks for your feedback. Yes vintage is a never ending obsession, and the hunt never ends for the perfect pieces either. Regards, Tanya

  5. Beautiful things yet again.

    It’s not easy finding vintage kitchen pieces that are still in good condition. I was the fortunate recipient of some things a few years ago, as a result of a not so fortunate death of a family friend, and I have decorated my kitchen with a few things (some that I can’t even identify).

    If you want a try at some vintage recipes, I have my grandfather’s and great grandmother’s handwritten cookbook (it’s an address book with recipes). The tricky part is most have ingredients, but no method. The even trickier part is some are in old German and bad handwriting. :)

    1. Hi Vicki, lovely to hear from you again. The vintage recipes sound wonderful, I would love to see them, it would be an honour! Regards, Tanya

  6. Gorgeous styling and tea towels, Tanya. I LOVE buttercream icing but have discovered the kids and I are better off without dairy in our diets. So I will be madly experimenting to come up with a passable substitute before my daughter’s birthday in August.

  7. Hi Tanya, I’ve never made buttercream before, but it’s my daughter’s first birthday this weekend, so here I go…. how far in advance can I make this frosting? If I make it Wednesday night, ice the cake on Friday night for the party on Saturday, will it still be OK, or does it lose some of its gorgeousness? I also need to colour it yellow before icing if that makes a difference. Thanks :-)

    1. Hi Jen, I’m not sure how far in advance you can make the icing because if it’s too far it will set and you’ll be unable to spread it. I’d say you could safely make it the night before and put it in an air tight container. Icing which has sat around a bit becomes more grainy and loses some of its smoothness and silkiness. As long as you don’t mind this you would be alright making it the night before. I can’t see colouring it prior being a problem. I hope this helps and your daughter has a great 1st birthday. Regards Tanya

  8. As a proud TMX owner and Kookery owner/seller, it was a delight to discover you on Food Gawker…beautiful inspiring pictures. (And what can one say about buttercream, other than yummo?)

    1. Hi Tenina, what a pleasure to have you stop by my blog! I’ve referred to your website on a number of occasions, it’s wonderful. You truly are a powerhouse of knowledge when it comes to the Thermomix. I do hope you enjoy my posts, I post once a week, usually on a Thursday (though I’m finding it difficult to keep this up at the moment as I’m shooting so much professionally.) Thank you for your lovely feedback. Regards, Tanya

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