Sugar rush

Friday, 9 August 2013

This is by no means an original recipe. In fact, its a bit of a mishmash of recipes I have tried and tested over the last few years.

We love cupcakes in this family - and I enjoy making them. I went through a bit of a phase of trying weird and wonderful flavours and combinations, but sometimes you just can't beat a good old vanilla buttercream cupcake.

  • 110g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120ml semi-skimmed milk (room temp)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract (not essence)

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees (fan).

  • Combine the butter and sugar and beat until mixture is smooth. I use a freestanding mixer, but you could easily use a handheld, or even a good old wooden spoon if your biceps are up to it!

  • Once the mixture is thoroughly combined and pale in colour, you can add your eggs one at a time and mix.

  • Put both types of flour and the pinch of salt in a bowl together and combine. Also add your vanilla extract to the milk. Then add half the mixed flours to the butter and sugar bowl and mix well. Follow this with half your milk/vanilla and mix. Add the last of your flour. Mix. Then the milk and give it a final mix.

  • Carefully spoon your mixture into the 12 muffin cases I should have already told you to put in a cupcake baking tray :) ! 

  • A good tip I was once given is to use an ice cream scoop with the squeezy trigger thing to release the ice cream. This gives the perfect amount of mixture and releases it smoothly so the top is relatively flat. I don't always do this, but find it does give good results.

  • Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25 mins (I usually check after about 20 mins and rotate the pan as my oven seems to cook the back row faster).

  • Once you can insert a sharp knife or skewer and it comes out clean, Bob's your uncle! Leave to cool in the pan for five mins or so then transfer to a wire track (I use one of the shelves from my oven).

  • Once completely cool, top with buttercream. I use this recipe:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g softened unsalted butter
  • 25ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • Beat two-thirds of icing sugar and butter together. Start on a very low speed to avoid kitchen resembling snow storm. Another useful tip is to cover your mixer with a clean tea towel before you switch it on - this catches the cloud of icing sugar when the mixer starts.

  • Once sugar and butter are well mixed combine milk and vanilla and add gradually (on a slow speed). 

  • The trick with frosting is to beat it for longer than you think you need to. The longer you mix, the fluffier it will be. I usually beat it using a free-standing mixer for at least five minutes, on high speed. 

  • Top your cakes with a good dollop of frosting and sprinkles, edible glitter, grated chocolate, sweeties.... whatever you fancy.

  • Enjoy :) (and prepare to scrape children off the ceiling should you choose to let them eat one too!)

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