I Love cooking..and although not much of a sweet tooth, I adore baking and have done since I was very small. Our grandmother is French & we have been exposed to a passion for food that has assisted my desire to create it (and unfortunately eat it!!). It began with sponge cakes, moved to meringues, melting moments and profiteroles...but the sweet delights which I make constantly, almost as a meditation, are cupcakes.
I have been making cupcakes for many years, not just as a passing whimsy but as a relatively serious undertaking... So much so that one of my best friends, many years ago, bought me a cupcake carrier for my birthday which she had to ship from the states! (This is well before they became commonplace in OZ). Thanks Danielle...I still use it constantly!
I have baked thousands of cupcakes maybe even 10’s of thousands...for friends, family, work colleagues & events. Originally, however, I started baking these little morsels of delight for school cake stands, complete with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Gradually the recipes have evolved and now I have been left with one recipe that I revere above all others (well for the last few years anyway!)...and here it is...
THE CRABAPPLE BAKERY VANILLA CUPCAKE RECIPE
2 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup milk
preheat oven to 170C.
line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.
Add caster sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition.
After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.
Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each minute or until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process.
Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat or the mixture will toughen.
Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
(Makes enough for about 24 cupcakes)
220g softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar
Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.
Add milk, vanilla extract, and half the sifted icing sugar, and beat for at least 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency.
Add extra milk if the mixture is too dry, or extra icing sugar if the mixture is too wet.
My little hints & tips for a perfect cupcake..
1. I only ever bake one cupcake tray at a time. I don’t like to overcrowd the oven. I also turn the tray once during the cooking process to ensure even cooking . (I had a very old oven for a while!)
2. Personally I prefer a smaller cupcake, not mini’s, but more the American patty cake size. These trays can be harder to find and fit the cheap patty cases you find at the supermarket in the generic brands or the rainbow colours.
3. Don’t be scared to pipe your icing! It really isn’t hard...even if you make a small mistake people will be impressed that you piped and besides a cupcake topper covers a multitude of sins!
4. I always use baking cups, but for decoration only. I prefer to bake into patty cases and then place these into baking cups when cooked.