Mental Cupcakes

I love the excuse to bake birthday goodies and with two friends celebrating this weekend I was in my element! I was a bit short on time and as I needed to produce enough for 2 people I decided to do a big batch of cupcakes as they are so quick and easy. I use the vanilla cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. It sounds quite simple and boring right?? but you’d be surprised how much simple cupcake recipes can vary….this one ALWAYS produces moist, delicious cupcakes. Now that I know this recipe is a dead cert I can have lots of fun with colouring….

I have christened these creations my ‘Mental Cupcakes’ – red (vanilla) cupcakes with black (chocolate) butter icing and just because I didn’t think they were quite gaudy enough I topped them with edible gold stars 🙂

And this is what you see when you crack open these bad boys……

Here’s the recipe for you…

Vanilla Cupcakes

120g plain flour

140g caster sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter

120ml milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The Hummingbird bakery say that this recipe makes 12 but when I use the standard cupcake cases sold in all good supermarkets I can only get about 10 out of this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat on a slow speed with an electric hand whick until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla and left over milk together and then pour into the flour mixture. Continue beating until all incorporated but don’t over mix! At this stage I added some concentrated food colouring from Lakeland as it doesn’t water the mixture down and you don’t need to use too much to get a vivid colour.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases until two thirds full and bake for 20-25 mins (I usually only do 20 as I like them good and moist). They should be golden brown and spring back when touched. If you’re in doubt, insert a sharp knife or skewer into the middle of one and it should come out clean.

Leave to cool before decorating.

Chocolate Butter Frosting

300g icing sugar

100g unsalted butter

40g cocoa powder

40ml milk

Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder in a bowl with an electric hand whisk at a slow speed. I always get in a huge mess at this stage and am saving up for a freestanding electric mixer like this KitchenAid beauty which comes with a shield so that my kitchen won’t get liberally sprinkled with icing sugar dust every time I bake :). 

Add the milk a little bit at a time. Once it has all been added and mixed in, turn the blender up to a high speed and continue beating until light and fluffy. Apparently the longer you beat it for the fluffier and lighter it becomes. 

If you want black butter icing it’s best to start with a chocolate base so that less food colouring is needed to get a deep colour.

I use an icing bag with a large plastic nozzle as I love the over the top cupcake look!

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