Vanilla Cupcakes(Makes 12)
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1½ level tsp baking powder
175g (6 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g (5oz) butter, softened
300g (11 oz) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Edible food colouring(s) of choice,
optional Sprinkle(s) for decoration of choice
You will also require 12 holed muffin tin lined with 12 paper muffin cases
Method Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and then add the butter, caster sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Beat together until well mixes, trying not to over mix the mixture. Spoon the mixture equally into the prepared paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out to completely cool on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and stir until it’s just mixed in, then add the milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Divide into as many bowls as you want different colour(s) and add edible food colouring (you only require a few drops). This is purely optional should you wish to leave out the edible food colouring(s) and keep the buttercream natural. Spread the icing on thickly with a palette knife on top of each cupcake or put the icing into a piping back and make a large swirl on top of each cupcake. Decorate each cupcake with your chosen sprinkle(s).
Well, they lived up to their reputation - the 'chuck it all in a bowl then mix' method was very simple, and they were in the oven within 5 minutes. I was very aware of the smell of baking powder as they were cooking, but this could just be my current state of super-senses kicking in again (I'm pregnant)!
They didn't take very long to cool, and pretty soon Louis and I were icing them. The recipe said the icing could be piped or spread on, and seeing as the rest had been pretty simple I thought I would try piping for the first time. I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but I think the icing was too thin to pipe it - as you can see from the photo, they're not perfect! Louis was helping by sticking his fingers in the icing once I'd piped it on, and "catching the drips"!
The cakes are really lovely - nice and light, and the vanilla in the icing takes over any baking powder flavours I was worried would be present. The icing had a very foamy texture to it. I think if I make them again I will try adding half the quantity to milk to the icing before adding the rest little by little until it has a firmer consistency.