Updated march 2013:
This was my very first post on the cake-shaker and its one we all love to play with- cupcakes: they are the pop stars of the cake world !
So since I wrote this I have worked in a cupcake shop as creative designer & gone even further with designs, & there really is no end to the creative possibilities or even the popularity of these little cakes, Its still the most requested recipe I am asked for.
So now here it is in 2013 , still here two and a half years from when I started this blog, rebooted & ready to go.
Have fun, and the main rule is to use my recipe as a guide, and when you are confident start experimenting with your own style.
Now get creative peeps !
YOU WILL NEED:
A mixer with its paddle attachment or hand held electric whisk and bowl.
A muffin tray thats holds 12 cakes, and 12 medium cupcake cases.
An oven (well, derr !!)
Optional : Music in the back ground so you can pretend to be Nigella while baking, & a glass of wine in case it gets all too much 😉
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g plain flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder
tsp of sunflower or rapeseed oil.
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp vanilla Essence Or 1/2 a scraped vanilla Pod
100g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence or seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod
20g cream cheese
Dessert spoon of orange juice
METHOD : cake batter.
Beat your butter with the caster sugar , lemon zest and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Beat your eggs together & slowly add to butter mix in stages whilst still beating all the time- do not add to quick as you might curdle the batter. Always scrape down the bowl with a spatula after each time you add more egg, so no butter gets left on the side of the bowl.
Sieve your baking powder & flour together then fold into batter
Then add the oil & beat in gently ( this helps the cake stay moist )
Divide batter between cupcake baking cases in a muffin tray. Do not fill more than half way up the case or you could end up in Muffin territory, and we don’t want that ! (A medium ice cream scoop is a good gauge)
Bake on the middle shelf of your oven at 155c, (fan oven) or 170c ( conventional ) for 25 minutes. Time may vary slightly depending on oven, so check after 20 mins, and if they are a light yellowy golden colour & firm to touch you are probably there.
Place on cooling rack to cool whilst you make topping.
Firstly your butter should be at room temperature.
Beat the butter with the the sugar and cream cheese , add the vanilla and orange juice. Beat again.
Do not mix too much as it will be to soft to use, if your icing is to soft, just chill in the fridge for 15-20 mins.
Take each cupcake and cut a small shallow hollow in the top center of the cake.( a good tip is to use an apple corer ) Fill with your jam, and spread the rest of the surface around with more jam ( not too thick).
Get yourself a piping bag with a star tube and fill.
Now, if you have never piped before don’t worry. Have a few practice runs on a plate, or, if you prefer ,you can skip the piping and spread the icing on the top with a palette knife.
Start piping from the outside and work your way to the centre, building up to a nice little peak.
This is the part where you can get creative. All the major supermarkets stock extensive ranges of sprinkles and decorations- just go nuts and use your imagination.
There are also a lot of online cake decorator suppliers who have some nice ranges of cutters if you want to cut out sugar paste flowers or other shapes ( I will shortly post links to various websites that I believe stock the best ranges at the best prices).
If you do not fancy the icing topping, you can buy ready made sugar paste in most supermarkets that’s easy to work with. Just spread the jam, as above, then spread a thin coating of icing, then colour the paste, cut it to shape, and cover the top of the cupcake. This gives you a nice smooth surface to decorate however ever you like.
You can add some crushed raspberries to the icing for a fruity tang, or take out the lemon from the icing and add 30g cocoa powder and an extra 30g butter for chocolate.
A good variation is Take out the cream cheese from the icing & add 1 teaspoon of lemon curd and a squeeze of passion fruit juice, nice and tangy.
FOR CHOCOLATE CAKES:
take out 40g flour from sponge recipe, add 40g dark cocoa powder which you sift with flour.
Take out the lemon zest from the sponge recipe, add orange zest for a lovely chocolate orange base.
For chocolate icing:
200g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder (dark or extra brute is best )
1 teaspoon of milk
proceed as above for icing method.
If your sponge peaks and cracks in the middle your oven is to hot, or if it has a speckly appearance you have probably used granulated instead of caster sugar.
If your sponge has risen and then collapsed, you, or someone else, has opened the oven too soon during cooking. OR the temperature is to low. OR you have over done the baking powder.
When making the sponge mix and adding the egg, do not worry if it looks like its beginning to split. It can be bought back from the brink by adding a couple of teaspoons of the flour.
If your icing looks like its splitting, its either because the butter was too warm, or you have over mixed it. But don’t panic, just add a little more sugar or even a smidgen of corn-flour.
If your partner pulls a face when sampling your efforts, get rid ! – they don’t deserve your efforts! 😉
© The cake-shaker 2010