Monday, 24 September 2012

Baking Delight - Cupcakes

Yesterday saw the end of National Cupcake Week so I have rummaged around for some of the best looking cupcakes designs around, and I have been completely spoilt for choice.

There are so many to choose from, simple and sweet, extravagant to elegant and some really great creations for kids.     However, before I get to the fun design part, we all know that the most important factor of a cupcake is the taste.  I have tried numerous recipes, from the cupcake powerhouses of The Hummingbird Bakery and The Primrose Bakery, to recipes given to me by family and friends.  However, I must admit the easiest and quite frankly the tastiest sponge recipe I have found is from Rachel Allen.  It is one of those delightful recipes that means you can, pretty much, throw all the ingredients in to one bowl.  

Here is her chocolate cupcake recipe that I have used time and time again.  

To make 12 cupcakes.


150g Plain Flour

25g Cocoa Powder (I usually use Green & Black's drinking chocolate)

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

125g Caster Sugar

100ml Milk

75g Butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs


1.  Preheat the oven to 180 c (350 f).  Gas mark 4.  Or if you use an Aga like me, pop in the hottest oven.  Line the muffin tin with paper cases.  

2.  Sift the flour, coca powder, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Beat together the milk, eggs and butter and add to the dry ingredients, pouring in a little at a time and stirring to give a smooth batter.  

3.  Divide the mixture between the paper cases, filling them quite full.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until just firm to touch.  

4.  Remove from the tin and leave to cool before adding the topping. 

For the Frosting

Now the buttercream frosting is a delicate mix which I have tried to perfect (well to my tasting) for a while.  I must admit that the process has been a lot of trail and error, however, my fail safe recipe is by the masters of cupcakes, The Hummingbird Bakery.  Here is the recipe.


250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk
A couple of drop of extract*

1.  Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth.  

2.  Add milk and extract (*vanilla is always great) in to a separate bowl and add a teaspoon at a time to the butter mixture.

3.  Once all the milk mixture has been added continue beating the mixture for another 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  The longer the frosting is beaten the lighter and fluffier it becomes. 

Hope you find this recipe as easy as I do, and you'll be able to whip up a batch of cupcakes in no time.  Happy baking!  

Now, for the design.  Below are some of my most favourite cupcake designs.  I hope they inspire you too.  

I just love the meringue topped cupcake in the cupcake mood board, this is definitely something I will be trying in the coming weeks, especially with a lemon curd filling.  Yum.  Oh and the children's designs are adorable.  Which one is your favourite?

If you are a messy baker like me, unfortunately my cook books are covered in batter mixture and sticky figure prints!  You'll just love this new recipe book stand by Butterfly Lane.  Practical and will look lovely in your kitchen...bonus!  

£24.95 from Butterfly Lane

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