finds me becoming increasingly well-acquainted with my oven, and my trusty Edmonds cupcake recipe.
In the last two days I've two double batches of cupcakes - one lot for Max's birthday celebration at kindy (yes, he continues to celebrate his birthday, a full two weeks after the event), and the other for Lola's birthday (which is today, happy birthday sweet little Lolly!)at the Chinderhuus. Max requested chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing and red flowers, and Lola got vanilla cupcakes with pink vanilla icing and white flowers (no photos, as I was too busy trying to fend the kiddies off the cupcakes, but trust me, they were delicious, even though I forgot to put the proper quantity of baking powder in one lot).
Cupcakes are a Good Thing when it comes to these kindergarten-type birthday thingies, because they a) look cute; b) do away with the need for plates; and c) do away with the hassle and mess of cutting and distributing. But, when it comes time for the big birthday bash, I think a proper whole cake is still nice.
Last night I also made a quince and almond cake, cos few people have asked me for the recipe and I didn't want to post the recipe without some pics. This weekend we are having a joint birthday party for Max and Lolly, so guess what I'll be up all night making! Another cake!!! Still haven't decided if I will attempt a shape (last year at Mum and Dad's in Oz we had a dinosaur park and a pink pigcat - it was meant to be a pink pussycat but was decidedly pig-like) or just do a big, round confection with sprinkles, candles, lurid piped icing, ringing bells and whistles, and maybe some fireworks for good measure.
Now, I love a good butter cake but taking this weeks' cake bonanza and last weeks' chocolate chipper fest (I made up a quadruple batch) into consideration, I think I have overdone it, and have the tightening pants to prove it. Oh well, there's my winter layer of blubber.
Tried and Tested
Kitchen: Fail-safe cupcake recipe, via the fabulous Edmonds Cookery Book
1 tsp vanilla essence (thank god my mum sent me so many bottles of vanilla extract, unavailable here)
1/2 cup of castor sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of milk
- Pre-heat oven to 190°c and prepare cupcake trays and cases.
- Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar together until creamy and pale.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Don't worry if it looks like it is starting to separate, in my experience it all turns out the same in the end.
- Sift flour and baking powder into the buttery eggy mix and fold in until combined.
- Slowly stir in milk (too quickly will splash milk everywhere!) to achieve a soft dropping consistency (you might need to add a little more).
- Spoon evenly into paper cases, then bake for 15 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
- Let cool on a wire rack then ice or decorate as you please.
- Makes about 12 cupcakes
- This recipe can be doubled, tripled, 1.5'ed, made into tiny cupcakes (just cook for around 10 minutes, they cook very quickly so keep an eye on them), chocolated, lemoned, oranged etc etc.
- For choccy cupcakes (and keeping in mind that these are NOT going to be a super-rich, fudgy type of chocolate cupcake), just replace 3 tablespoons of flour with the same of cocoa and continue as above.
- For orange or lemon cupcakes, add the zest of an orange or lemon to the butter, and continue. Ice appropriately.
- Take the butter out of the fridge well in advance of when you want to use to allow it to come to room temperature. It is SO much easier to work with, and makes the batter quite voluptuous.
My method of icing is somewhat haphazard, involving as little measuring as possible. Works for me, but I realise some people like things to be a little more specific than ' take a lump of softened butter and mix it with some icing sugar, lemon juice and a bit of hot water'. So here for your edification is the Edmonds butter icing recipe, which is pretty much the basis for how I make up my icing anyway.
100g softened butter
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups of sifted icing sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons of hot water or lemon juice (a mix of both is what I like)
- Cream butter until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and then gradually beat in icing sugar.
- Add sufficient liquid to give a spreading consistency - go slowly, because icing doesn't need much liquid. Many a time I have been left with runny icing and no more icing sugar in the house!
- Spread onto cupcukes with a knife momentarily dipped into hot water.
- Add smarties, flowers or any other sundry assortment of marzipan, chocolate, marshmallow etc etc decorations that your darling child has professed a liking for.