The whole world seems to be in love with cupcakes. Maybe it's their cute size and shape, or the fact that they feel less indulgent than a big slice of cake, or just that they seem to invoke a party atmosphere. There's been a spate of cupcake books recently featured in the food news, so it seems the trend is definitely not over.
My mothers' group recently held a joint first birthday party for our babies. In between reminiscing about our first meeting, lamenting how quickly the first year had gone and that our little newborns were now toddlers, and chasing said toddlers around the playgym, we of course found time for birthday cake. I was one of the designated cake makers and what better choice could there be than vanilla cupcakes iced with bright green, pink and yellow icing?
Jennifer Graham, of Crabapple Cupcake Bakery fame, recently published her cookbook book, which spilled the secrets of her fabulous little cupcakes. The basic vanilla cupcakes were delicious little morsels, loved by both adults and children alike. I made and tinted a basic butter icing, rather than Jennifer's buttercream, which seemed too rich for our little audience.
2 3/4 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Sift flour and baking powder. Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the caster sugar one-third at a time, beating for two minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until light and fluffy and the sugar is almost dissolved. Add the eggs one a time, beating for one minute after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract.
Add one-third of the flour and beat on low speed until combined. Add half the milk and beat until combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk, finishing with the flour. Be careful not to overbeat or the mixture will toughen. Spoon the mixture into cupcake papers until they are about three-quarters full. Cook for 18-20 minutes. Turn out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe from The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake cookbook