After spending the day fooling around in the park with friends I got the sudden urge to bake. What can I say? I was in a good mood. And if I wasn't - cupcakes would set that right.
We were out of butter though so I prepped as much as I could until my sister returned home and had her go on an after school trip to the local store.
20 minutes later and equipped with butter, I was able to get going.
I wanted to try this technique I'd seen on a number of occasions on T.V. and a few blogs. You know the one where you streak a colour into the piping bag so when you pipe the cakes the frosting comes up alternating between white and your chosen colour? Yeah, that one. As you can see it didn't work out so well. I wanted it to alternate between red and white but instead the colours sort of meshed in the bag and produced a pink (with hints of white) frosting... Any tips on this would be great! Next time, I'll get it right.
Even though the frosting colours didn't turn out right, I still enjoyed making these and they tasted pretty good too.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
THE RECIPE: Preheat oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Makes 12.
For the cake
145g self raising flour
170g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
60g unsalted butter
145ml whole milk
A vanilla pod
A pinch of salt
260g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk
A vanilla pod
1. Preheat oven to 170 C/325 F/ Gas mark 3
2. Combine all of your dry ingredients together - the flour, the sugar, baking powder, pinch of salt and butter. I never use my handheld electric whisk for this because the ingredients just fly out and hit me in the face. every. time. So, instead I rub the butter in and mix everything together by hand. It takes a lot longer but it's a lot less messy and kinda therapeutic.
3. Grab a second bowl (in my case a jug because I couldn't find one ... use whatever you can!) and mix together the milk, egg and the vanilla. I can't use vanilla essence due to the alcohol content and so far I really hate cutting them open and scraping out the insides. No matter how hard I try to do it like Michel Roux I always get them stuck to my fingers.
4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and beat until well combined. Now, the whisk sees some action.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases and fill them up to about two thirds of the way.
6. Stick them in the oven for 20 -25 minutes or until they are a golden brown colour. Use a cake tester (or I've found the end of a small knife works well too) to test whether the cake is ready by inserting it into the centre. If it comes out clean - it's ready. Once you've taken them out, let them cool.
7. Next - the frosting! Weight out the icing sugar and butter and mix together. Again, I do this by hand because if you thought flour could fly then that's nothing compared to the damage icing sugar can do.
8. Combine the milk with the vanilla and then pour into the icing mixture slowly, a few spoonfuls at a time.Use the electric whisk now.
The more you whisk the fluffier it'll be. So while I made my sister stand there and fluff it up (she's more accustomed to hard labour) I did some washing up. I can't work in a messy kitchen.
I removed some of the frosting and added red food colouring and used this to create a stripe in the piping bag. I then filled the bag with the rest of the non-coloured frosting. Make sure the cakes are completely cool (or the frosting will melt) and pipe away!
Decorate however you like. I chose red sugar pearls purely for decorative purposes. They don't taste so good so I always pick them out. Does anyone actually eat them??