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Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

For the last few weeks we have been meaning to get out and enjoy the Pick Your Own season – it’s just been a matter of finding the time. Yesterday we found ourselves with the morning free before heading to a birthday BBQ in the afternoon so we headed out to Stanhill Farm which was bursting with blackberries & raspberries along with a slightly smaller crop of strawberries (still coming through) and gooseberries. I have never picked gooseberries and the plant itself is pretty protective of the berries so I have a fair few scratches on my hands to show for my efforts! However we came away with a good stash of summer berries that will be / have been put to good use – jams, crumble, summer pudding, cupcakes, smoothies …and my personal favourite – just a simple bowl of summer berries with some natural yoghurt – yum!

When we got home I decided to try out a Martha Stewart recipe for Strawberry cupcakes – James was a willing helper and so it became a joint effort. My friend Mer made these for her daughter Isobel’s birthday last year and they were delicious so thought these would be nice to take over to Tina’s birthday BBQ. These would also help make a dent in our bowl of freshly picked strawberries!

Our PYO stash!

Strawberry Cupcakes (courtesy of Martha Stewart Cupcakes)

Ingredients:-

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour (I have no idea what this is and what to substitute so I just used plain, not self raising, flour)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick = 113g)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 large  whole eggs, plus 1 egg white

1 cup milk

2 cups finely chopped strawberries (about 20) plus about 10 more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated , scraping down the side of bowl, as needed.  Reduce speed to ow. Ad flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes, turn out cupcakes and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.

To finish, fill a pastry bag with a large open-star tip with buttercream. Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Just before serving, thinly slice remaining strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into buttercream.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:-

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz) rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped

4 large egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into Tbsp, room temperature

Puree strawberries in a food processor (oops missed this part – so that would explain why my small bits of strawberry kept blocking up the piping nozzle!)

Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on low-medium speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment, continue beating on a low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until combined . Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

I really liked the meringue icing – the absence of the icing sugar took away alot of the sugar sweetness that can be quite full on with cupcakes. The recipe states that it makes 34 but I found that it made 24 standard size and 12 mini size which are perfect for little people!

Happy Birthday Tina!

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While I was home with Izzy this week I had a little more time than usual to prepare a week day meal. I am still in love with my new LEON cook book and I had been wanting to make the Leon Gobi – basically it’s a cauliflower curry.

Unfortunately even with extra time my timings were out and it was not ready in time for Izzy so I can’t comment on her reaction. I am not sure she would enjoy this – I believe ‘Mummy…too spicy….’ would be the likely reaction. Perhaps just leaving out the chilli would make it more family friendly. The other spices are the flavour as opposed to the heat.

Post dinner verdict? – even the most ardent and dedicated carnivore will not miss meat in this dish – it is warming, fulfilling and delish! Oh and cheap……Serve alongside a portion of brown rice.

This recipe did not disappoint – another thumbs up for LEON!

Leon Gobi (courtesy of LEON)

Ingredients:-

1 medium onion, halved and thickly sliced

1 carrot, thickly sliced

2 Tbsp sunflower or peanut oil

1 red chilli (go for a bird’s eye if you like it hot – some do)

2 thumb sized pieces of root ginger, washed but not peeled

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large tsp Madras curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp black onion seeds

1 medium sized sweet potato, washed and cut into 2.5cm dice

4 heaped Tbsp ground almonds

a good handful of sultanas

1/2 a small cauliflower, broken into florets

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

150g frozen peas

juice of 1/2 lemon

a really big handful of coriander, roughly chopped

salt

2 heaped Tbsp desiccated coconut, to serve

In a big and well loved saucepan cook the onion and carrot over a medium to low heat in the oil for 15-20 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.

Blitz the chilli, ginger and garlic to a paste in a food processor. Stir the paste into the onions once they have begun to soften, along with spices (including the onion seeds).

After another 5 minutes, season with salt, add the sweet potato chunks and the almonds and mix well so that everything is well coated.

Turn the heat up a bit and stir in 500ml water and the sultanas.

Bring it up to a simmer and leave it to bubble away gently for about 10-15 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally.

Add the cauliflower florets and the cocnut milk and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes covered.

Check that the sweet potato and cauliflower are both cooked, and then turn the heat off and stir in the peas. It’ll need more salt, plus the lemon juice and chopped coriander to finish it off right. We serve it with a sprinkling of dried coconut on top.

Lastly, Izzy spent Friday with her Aunty Amy (who chipped in for Pox duty!) and when we walked in the door from work the smell of cupcakes was in the air.  Mmmmm……my favourite smell. One of Izzy’s favourite books is Pinkalicious – the story of a little girl who changes colour after eating one too many pink cupcakes. If this was true Izzy would be another colour as I type this! As we have already established Izzy does enjoy a cupcake (like her Mum!) and yesterday she ate 1 or 2 with Aunty Amy and then later on she disappeared quietly for a couple of minutes…………only to be found behind the door in the hallway halfway through her third!! So, cupcakes are off the menu for a little while!!

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One of Izzy’s teachers at nursery asked me if I would make her sisters 21st cake. I was flattered to be asked but nervous as well as I would hate to disappoint. I can follow a recipe and do basic icing but that’s about it. But I gave it my best shot and had fun doing it!! Of course every cake should be accompanied by some matching cupcakes! Izzy also had a lot of fun licking the spoons…..

For inspiration I turned to the trusty WI – who better to turn to for fail safe recipes?

Chocolate Fudge Cake (courtesy of Liz Herbert – Cakes Women’s Institute)

Ingredients:

80g dark chocolate

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

175g soft butter or soft margarine

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g soft light brown sugar

3 eggs, separated

175g self-raising flour

For the chocolate fudge icing :-

225g plain chocolate

8 Tbsp double cream

225g icing sugar, sifted

2-3 Tbsp recently boiled water

Grease and base line two 18cm sandwich tins (I doubled the recipe and used 24cm tins). Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the chocolate cocoa powder, butter or margarine and vanilla extract in a bowl and melt over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly.

Cream together the sugar and egg yolks until light and creamy. Fold in the chocolate mixture, followed by the flour.

Stiffly whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold one Tbsp into the cake mixture to loosen and then add to the remainder.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Smooth the surface, leaving a small hollow in the centre of each. Bake for 30-35 minutes until risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat and gradually beat in the icing sugar. If the mixture becomes too stiff, add enough hot water to make it a spreadable consistency.

Use a third of the chocolate fudge icing to sandwich the cakes together. Smooth the remainder over the top and sides.

The best place to lick a spoon is in the bath!

Mmmm...Chocolate Fudge Cake

More spoon licking! What a mess!

I must have made hundreds of these vanilla cupcakes – so easy and with different cases, decorations and colourings they can be different each time but just as delicious! I have given the recipe before so just click on this link if you want to give them a go.

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So it’s been a while since my last post. We have just had a lovely week with our good friends Jen & Steven and their beautiful girls Keira & Kayla in sunny Abu Dhabi. Just what we needed! Was wonderful to hang out and also for our girls to play together. Maybe one day they will be watching their kids play together just like Jen & I were! Was over too soon and we went from 29 degrees to 6 degrees in just 7 hours – is taking some time to adjust back to the cold! My little bit of colour lasted about 3 days!

The girls at the pool

A day on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi

Daddy & Izzy on the beach at Aquavenutre, Dubai

Once we got back home I had to hit the grocery store as we had run out of just about everything. To be honest I just could not bear the thought this week of making lists and sticking to menus etc so I opted for an ‘off the cuff’ shop selecting a variety of random meat, veg, pasta and soup. It’s all been about quick & easy this week (fish & salad, soup, steak & stuffed mushrooms, stir fry) and so nothing much to share recipe wise.

However, just before we headed off on hols the girls at work took our colleague Carolann out for lunch to celebrate the beginning of her maternity leave. In honour of Carolann’s impending departure I decided to bake some baby themed cupcakes. Carolann knows her bundle of joy is a little boy so that meant I didn’t have to stay neutral.

I decided on lemon cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery cookbook with lemon buttercream icing. There are so many fun and varied cupcake recipes in this book – a must for any cupcake fan!

Lemon Cupcakes (courtesy of Cupcakes from The Primrose Bakery)

Ingredients:-

110g, unsalted butter, at room temperature

225g caster sugar, preferably golden

2 large eggs

150g self-raising flour, sifted

125g plain flour, sifted

90ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp sour cream

Grated zest of 1 lemon (you need 1 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 160C (fan) / 10C and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cases.

in a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.

Combine the 2 flours in a separate bowl and combine the milk, lemon juice and sour cream in a jug. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added, incorporating the lemon zest with the last third of the flour. Don’t worry if the mixture starts to curdle: simply add another spoonful of plain flour and beat well.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes – it should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 mins before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they are completely cool, you can ice the cupcakes with lemon buttercream.

Lemon Buttercream Icing (courtesy of Cupcakes from The Primrose Bakery)

Ingredients:-

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated vest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons (you need 2 tsp)

500g icing sugar, sifted

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and half the icing sugar until smooth – this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy. At this point I add some food colouring paste and beat again for an even colour. I would have liked a pale blue colour so note to self – next time add just a little bit at a time instead of a big lump!

Everyone seems to have a different way of icing cupcakes but I like to use a piping bag – is quick and easy. I found some cute cases on Cakes, Cookies & Crafts as well as some teeny weeny feet as decorations.

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Lately I have been on a bit of a cupcake hiatus – it was becoming a case of too much of a good thing!! So Halloween seemed as good an excuse as any to break out my box of cupcake goodies!

This may surprise you but I managed to steer myself away from the Hummingbird Bakery and turned to a new addition to my collection ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery‘ – so many cupcakes, so little time….or should I say so many cupcakes, too many calories!!!

The Primrose Bakery book has a different recipe for every occasion and from the outset this book might just surpass HB in the cupcake stakes! Watch this space!

So, it’s Halloween and so obviously I flip to the Halloween section and well it was quite obvious really  – Pumpkin cupcakes!!

James had a few days away this week and so when Izzy & I got home on Thursday I said to Izzy ‘Do you want to have a bath or make cupcakes?’ –  do I even need to tell you what her answer was?!?

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Child labour!

Izzy and I managed to make 2 dozen cupcakes, most of which went to her nursery teachers on Friday. Then on Friday I made another 2 dozen to take along to Harry’s Halloween party. As you may know now, I love pumpkin and so these are a winner for me!!

Pumpkin Cupcakes (courtesy of Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery – Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas)

Ingredients:-

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

240g soft light brown sugar

2 large eggs, free range or organic

1/2 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract

100g pureed pumpkin (sold in tins)

125g self-raising flour, sifted

120g plain flour, sifted

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

125ml buttermilk (or 120ml milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 12 hole muffin tray with the appropriate size cupcake cases (this is Izzy’s job).

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, which should take about 3-5 minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and beat until just combined.

Combine the flours, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and beat again until just combined. Repeat these steps until all the flour and buttermilk have been added.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of he cakes – it should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before placing carefully on a wire rack to cool.

Once they are completely cool, ice the cupcakes with spiced cream cheese icing and decorate with a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg on the top or some Halloween decoration, if that’s the occasion. (I went for orange colouring and a sprinkle of silver dragees).

Spiced Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:-

175g cream cheese

450g icing sugar, sifted

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly combined and the icing is smooth and pale.

This icing must be stored in the fridge as it contains cream cheese, but will keep well. Before re-using, let it come to room temperature and then beat again.

I always like to use a piping bag to ice the cupcakes – gives them a nice finish and is super quick too.

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Happy Halloween!!

 

 

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Today was the annual Macmillan Coffee Morning and so I thought it would be a good chance to raise some money for a great cause (whoever came up with this idea at Macmillan is genius!) and ask all the girls in the office to get involved. I sent out an email to all the girls requesting cakes (baked or bought), and I know it seems a bit 1950’s of me to only send  it to the girls, but meet the guys in my office and you will totally understand. Not a baker amongst them!!

So it was awesome when everyone (except one – who is a right misery!) bought in a plateful of goodies to sell. There was rocky road, flapjacks, lemon loaf, about 4 different types of cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts and brownies. A right sugar smorgasboard so needless to say that within an hour there was a considerable sugar high spreading throughout the office. One of my colleagues, Carol, was happy to admit that she was not a baker and years ago this had been confirmed by her effort at rock cakes when she mistakenly substituted salt for sugar. Well turned out great for us as Carol had purchased home made cupcakes from a lady in the next village – they were beautiful and looked amazing. I didn’t get a chance to try one as they went like hot cakes!! I have looked up the cupcake lady online – Janes Cupcakes – so if you are ever looking for a supplier check her out.

Word spread quickly around the building and we had colleagues from other departments and floors coming to visit us in support of Macmillan. Not only was it great to raise money for an important cause but there was a fantastic sense of comraderie in the office. People were laughing and joking with each other and the atmosphere was fun so Macmillan were not the only ones to benefit.

So, how much did our team of ladies raise? Well I was hoping that we might make 50-100 pounds and our final total was 216.95!! How awesome is that!!! There was no set donation and so all this was raised through the generosity of all my colleagues!

So, what did we (James & I presented a joint effort!) make? Well there is a bit of funny story here… Yesterday morning I went to work and was chatting away with Louise who was despairing over her baking efforts the night before  and I was reassuring her that one of my efforts had gone in the bin so I was not having much luck either. We continued moaning and then I mentioned that I had made lemon loaf…well ends up Louise had made the same thing from the same book – total coincidence!! Made us both feel so much better….must have been the recipe then 😉 Louise salvaged hers and iced it (and it was yum!) but my issue was the lemon syrup for the top as I failed to taste before pouring it all over – like sunlight liquid! yuck!!!

So anyway, that was our failed attempt so we reverted back to our tried and tested cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook….All I can tell you is that they smelt good and they were complimented but I never tried them – too full from tasting everyone elses efforts!! I made the Pumpkin cupcakes and James very kindly whipped up Strawberry Cheesecake cupcakes. We also made Chocolate cookies that are filled with M & M’s and Peanut M & M’s – this was half a success but still delicious and so we will be working on this one.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes (courtesy of Tarek Malouf – The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Makes 12

Ingredients:-

120g plain flour

140g caster sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120ml whole milk

2 eggs

200g tinned pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 170C. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment (or use a hand held electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Gradually pour in the milk and beat until well mixed. Add the eggs to the mix and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Stir in the pumpkin puree by hand until evenly dispersed.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 mins, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (courtesy of Tarek Malouf – The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Makes 12

Ingredients:-

120g plain flour

140g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces

200g digestive biscuits

Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder & butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand held electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Pour in the milk & vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.

Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases. Spoon the cupcake mixture on top until 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in the food processor. Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of finely ground of biscuits.

Cream Cheese Frosting (courtesy of Tarek Malouf – The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:-

300g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand held electric whisk) until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light & fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not over beat, as it can quickly become runny.

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Cupcake anyone?

Well, I have had a busy couple of nights and right now I am ‘Cupcaked Out’!. Today is fun day at Izzy’s Nursery  and I offered to make cupcakes for the 75 children. Cupcakes are quick and easy and with a piping bag to ice they look like they took longer than they did. Most importantly, they are delicious!

First step was to find some cool cupcake cases and colour pastes. I have been using http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk as they have a good range of cases, sprinkles and colours.  I decided on football & dinosaur cases for the boys and flower & pink cases for the girls, plus I have some jungle cases left over from Izzy’s party.

Once Izzy was in bed on Tuesday  I  got started and made 84 cupcakes ready for icing on Wednesday night. Once again turning to my trusty Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook for the tried and tested Vanilla cupcake. I thought best to keep it plain in order to keep the sugar high for 75 kids as low as possible….

Vanilla Cupcakes (courtesy of HB Cookbook)

Makes 12.

Ingredients:-

120g plain flour

140g caster sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the flour, suar, baking powder,salt & butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (I have a fan oven and so 20 mins is perfect), or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Vanilla frosting on top (I use a piping bag) and decorate with hundreds and thousands (or whatever you want to decorate with).

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Now, the icing is where it got messy. No doubt I will find icing sugar in every corner and on every surface in my kitchen for the next month – no matter how much I try and clean it now! A couple of hours and the plain cupcakes were transformed……….

Vanilla Frosting (once again, courtesy of HB)

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:-

250g icing sugar, sifted

80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

25ml whole milk

a couple of drops of vanilla extract

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

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