Often described as the sense of eeriness and unease that accompanies sight of something that is almost but not quite human, the ‘uncanny valley’ was once a little-known idea relating to robotics design and how people’s reactions to robots changed as they were made to look increasingly humanlike. Entities often cited as falling into the valley include computer game characters where the appearance and behaviour are mismatched, department store mannequins with realistic faces but blank eyes, and animated characters where the synchronised voices are just slightly mis-timed.
That’s the opening paragraph for my thesis literature review. First draft. I’ve finally got a structure sorted out and now I’m deep in the throes of writing out each section. I have a timetable, I know what I’m going to be doing when and I know that The Plan is to finish it by the end of the month. I have the delightfully disturbing Stuart Maconie on the radio and plenty of coffee at my disposal.
I also have some cupcakes baking away in the oven. Yeah, couldn’t resist. I had some glacé cherries to use up and a half-bag of desiccated coconut and some freeze-dried raspberries and this sort of happened…
Coconut, cherry and raspberry cupcakes
- 175g self-raising flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 140g butter , softened
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp milk
- 160g glacé cherries
- 50g freeze-dried raspberries
For the icing
- 280g icing sugar
- 85g butter , softened
- 4 tbsp raspberry jam
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with deep paper cases or a 15-hole bun tin with cake cases.
- Tip all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat for 1-2 mins until light and fluffy.
- Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 18-20 mins (add a couple of extra mins for deep cases), until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
- Beat together the icing sugar, butter and raspberry jam to make a light, fluffy icing.
(Based on this original recipe)