A few of you have asked for the recipe that I use to make my basic vanilla cupcakes so here you go. This recipe will make about a dozen cupcakes.
Basic Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
For the cakes
4 oz (110 g) Self raising flour
4 oz (110 g) Caster sugar
4 oz (110 g) Unsalted butter
1 tsp Baking powder
2 Large free range eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the buttercream
5 oz (140 g) Unsalted butter
10 oz (280 g) Icing sugar
Food colouring (Optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F / Gas mark 3. Don't forget that all ovens vary so you may need to adjust the temperature and cooking time accordingly.
2. Line a cake or muffin tray with your paper cake cases.
3. Mix the butter with an electric whisk until it is light in colour.
4. Add the sugar and whisk again until soft and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix again.
6. Sieve the flour and baking powder into your bowl and mix one more time.
7. Divide the mixture between the cake cases and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes. The cakes are cooked when they are golden brown and they spring back when touched. Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool.
8. To make the buttercream whisk the soft butter and gradually add the icing sugar a bit at a time. Add some colour if you fancy it and mix well. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle with the buttercream and pipe a swirl of it on top of each cake. Decorate as you wish!
~ Take the butter out of the fridge to soften for an hour or so before you start baking.
~ I use golden caster sugar. I prefer the flavour of it to standard caster sugar.
~ Use Lurpak unsalted butter for the buttercream. It's a nice pale colour.
~ Try cutting out a small piece of cake from each cupcake and fill the 'well' that is left with jam or lemon curd. Replace the little bit of cake you removed before icing.
~ When adding food colouring to the buttercream use a cocktail stick to transfer the colour to the buttercream. You only need a little touch as the colour goes a long way.
~ There are endless ways to decorate your cakes. Visit your local sugarcraft shop if you're lucky enough to have one nearby or check the baking aisle of your supermarket for lots of decorations and icingy things. Have a look at this wonderful website for inspiration and supplies.
~ Make sure you eat any leftover cake mix and lick any spoons and spatulas clean. (And yes, I know cake mix has got raw eggs in it but I've been eating cake mix since I was about three and it's never done me any harm!)