Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I've got the Electric (red, white and) blues

Well my contribution to celebrations of "The Wedding of the Year" (TM) was naturally going to be cupcakes, what with a new book of recipes, and a new stand I had to do something. Although that does lead me on neatly to an aside. No, I'm not getting married,  It's about cake!

When I started this blog (waay back in 2007) I was in love with cupcakes. I still am. I love that you can pair a simple vanilla cake with amazing decorations to make them more special, let my Brownies decorate them themselves, easily work out your portions for feeding lots of people. I like jazzing them up, adding chocolate chips, food colouring so they're surprisingly PINK! making them chocolate, hiding marshmallows inside. All sorts of things, but I have come to realise that, like the aunt who insists on wearing her blue eye shadow and paisley kaftan I am somewhat behind the times (I would like to note that I do not own blue eyeshadow and am currently sporting yoga pants). It seems that today is all about macarons (sadly not the almond macaroons, much beloved of my childhood), cake pops and whoopie pies. Out of that list, macarons excite and scare me in equal measures as they clearly require a steady hand and some expertise, although I like the flavours people are experimenting with. Whoopie pies look like the sort of things my Guides would adore, and the marshmallow-ey filling does spark my interest a little. But cake pops. Not so much. It's just cake decorating mainly, and lots of the recipes I've seen rely on boxed cake mix which quite frankly doesn't do it for me. Clearly I need to get my thinking hat on, also my glasses and do some more reading on these, and with any luck some of them will be found in the pantry before too much longer.

So yes, back to the wedding of the year. Being under Doctor's orders to rest, Friday morning meant a lie in, and a planned picnic. Only, well - did you see the weather? It was freezing! So wrapped up in layers, Mark and I popped out for a little drive and a potter around Bletchley with regular sit downs for me and stops for tea for us both. When we stopped for lunch I had made him sticky sausages (in the traditional Good Housekeeping style) with rolls, and a Greek salad for me. Only I had left his sausages at home. Clearly I am a picnic failure. Still I had made cupcakes, to my much loved Magnolia Bakery recipe. Which I have just realised I don't seem to have ever posted. My bad. Here goes.


Makes 24 cupcakes (in a muffin tin, to make it go further for parties and fetes use a fairy cake one)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
I use cups for this recipe, but work on the basis that a cup is 250g for conversion.

1.5 cups of self raising flour

1.25 cups plain flour

250g unsalted butter, softened

2 cups caster sugar

4 large eggs at room temp

1 cup of milk (I've successfully substituted double cream for this as it's what I had in but usually use either semi or skimmed milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners
  2. Combine your flours in a bowl you aren't going to make the batter in 
  3. In your mixing bowl cream the butter until smooth (I use an electric handheld whisk for this. Or did until it broke last week)
  4. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until fluffy - even with electric beaters this takes a good 3 minutes
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour to stop curdling and beat well each time
  6. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract
  7. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases (I normally use 2 dessert spoons per case)
  8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until they're springy and golden
  9. Cool the cupcakes in their tins for about 15 minutes, and then cool the rest of the way down on a wire rack.  
Now ice. It's sad, but true to say that my icing and cake decorating skills are negligible. I really have to find the time to book myself onto a course of some description - Ideally a one day one. With some money off. On Groupon or similar. Or for free. That would work too!


 So anyway, decorating, I normally just frost with buttercream and dip into sprinkles, but obviously wanted to do something a bit more special for "The Wedding of the year" (TM) so decided to investigate union flags. Initially I had thought about using a stencil, but that was a bit complicated, so I cheated. I know. My bad. But I'm not well, and paying someone else 99p to print me union flags onto rice paper meant that I didn't get my knickers in a twist over it. I am so going to sweet talk M into showing me how to get my printer to do that when he fixes it. 


I made a little bowl of glace icing - 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 of water mixed up until smooth and spread a little on the top of each cake before using that to stick the topper on. Et voila! Red, white and blue cupcakes. *Curtseys*


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