I love cupcakes. A whole cake is great for company, when you know everyone is going to have a slice. But for an elevenses treat, nothing beats a cupcake. No-one is going to notice if one cupcake is missing – where as a slice out of the perfect Victoria sponge is definitely going to raise eyebrows at tea.
And they are so versatile! You can literally put anything in a cupcake. Even bacon. Aaand, the recipe is super simple. Have I convinced you yet? There’s even a celebration of cupcakes, its this week. So you really have no excuse not to make them this weekend.
For a basic, no frills, but still yummy cupcake
110g caster sugar, 110g butter, 110g self raising flour, 2 eggs (Makes 12)
Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs one at a time, using a whisk. It really doesn’t matter if it curdles. I have tried everything, and still it seems totally random, some times it curdles, sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t panic. Once the eggs are mixed in fold in the flour with a metal spoon, being gentle so all the air stays trapped in the mix. Put 2-3 tsp of mix in a cupcake case, pop in the oven at 180 C for 15-18 mins. Easy peasy. From this you can pretty much make ANYTHING you like…substitute a little flour for cocoa powder for chocolatey ones, add chocolate chips, or nuts, or both. Add a dash of coffee when you beat in the eggs. The opportunities are endless.
Peanut Butter and Jelly (jam) Cupcakes
110g sugar, 55g butter, 55g peanut butter (chunky or smooth whatever you prefer), 110g self raising flour, 2 eggs, raspberry jam
Cream together the peanut butter, sugar and normal butter. Add eggs, whisking as you go. Fold in flour. Now to get the jam in the middle. Not as hard as you might think. Put two tsp of mix in the case, making a well in the middle. Put half a tsp of raspberry jam in. Put another tsp of cake mix on top and smooth it to meet the sides of the well. It takes some practice, but you’ve got twelve to go so keep at it…
For a topping for these I either mix icing sugar with a little jam for a pink, sweet topping (then add sprinkles, for the girlies of course), or you could make a frosting from smooth peanut butter, icing sugar and butter or mascarpone. Beat the peanut butter and butter/mascarpone together with a whisk to make it light and airy. Add a little icing sugar at a time until the desired consistence is reached. Let the cupcakes cool before icing or you will end up with a messy puddle of icing ALL OVER THE KITCHEN….
Toffee Apple Cupcakes
The perfect Autumn treat. These are warming, sweet and oh so moreish. Make two batches, I warn you now.
110g sugar, 110g butter, 110g self raising flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, apple cut into tiny cubes, toffee pieces
Cut up the apple and mix with the cinnamon and nutmeg, leave so the apple takes on the flavours of the spices for about half an hour. Cream the butter and the sugar, whisk in the eggs. Put the apple pieces in the flour and then fold into the batter mix. Put a couple of tsp of cake mix in each case, sprinkle in a few pieces of toffee, then add another tsp of cake mix and top with more toffee. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes at 180 C. Top with caramel icing.
Death by Chocolate Cupcakes
For the chocoholics only, these are pure chocolate heaven at eleven. There are a few additions to the basic recipe above but I assure you, these are so worth it.
110g butter, 50g dark chocolate, 55g cocoa powder (good quality stuff not Nesquick…), 110g self raising flour, 2 eggs, 110g brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, pinch salt, full fat milk.
Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a bowl over boiling water in a saucepan. Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water or the butter/chocolate may burn. Combine the flour, salt and the cocoa powder together in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and the sugar together until pale. Add the chocolate/butter mix and whisk until smooth. Fold in the flour adding a little milk if the mix gets too stiff. Mix until *just* combined, don’t over mix it as all the air will get knocked out and they won’t rise. Pour into the cupcake cases and bake at 180 C for 18-20 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
For a chocolate icing, heat double cream until boiling, turn off the heat and place in bowl. Break dark chocolate into it, stirring until melted. Pop this in the fridge until its thick and glossy. It is even more delicious if you add a tbsp of honey to the cream with the chocolate. Spoon onto the cupcakes once they are cool and then, if you’re feeling really fancy (or showing off to someone special), shave white chocolate onto the top and possibly add a raspberry or a piece of candied orange. It really does depend on how much you love the person they’re for really as to be perfectly honest…they probably won’t last until said person gets home from work. Om nom nom!