There is something so childlike about cupcakes that I just love. Maybe it is because they are mini-cakes. Or maybe it is because you can use different cupcake casings to personalize any occasion. Or maybe it is because of the pretty pastel-coloured frosting that makes you want to devour each and every one of them, based on their cuteness alone. Whatever it is, I LOVE CUPCAKES!!
When I first arrived in Vancouver I went totally bonkers over the store Cupcakes. Like really bonkers. The concept of a store selling just cupcakes was fairly new to me. Although I had been to the famed Magnolia Bakery in New York, where they are famous for cupcakes, I was having a hard time believing that there was a store like this in my own city!! I owed it to my inner-baker to eat numerous cupcakes regularly over my first few weeks of arriving. It didn’t take long for the novelty to wear thin. I found that these cupcakes were too sweet and were covered in way too much frosting for me to enjoy them. As a result, I rarely indulge in “Cupcakes” cupcakes anymore, which is why I have resorted to baking my own.
I found the following cupcake recipe on www.taste.com.au, which is a fantastic Australian website that is definitely my favourite recipe library. The butter cream frosting recipe comes from the amazingly talented Brown Eyed Baker (an excellent baking blog/reference guide). As a tip, I highly recommend baking with cake flour (you can find this at larger grocery stores) as it creates a very soft and fluffy cake. Also, do not refrigerate the cupcakes as that seems to dry them out. This recipe is now my go-to recipe for cupcakes.
Birthday Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting – Makes 24
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups self-raising flour (I amended this to plain flour, with a small amount of baking powder)
1 cup milk
Buttercream Frosting (by Brown Eyed Baker)
1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
Assorted sweets, to decorate
Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition.
Add ½ the sifted flour and ½ the milk and stir until combined, then add remaining flour and milk and stir until combined.
Line two 12-hole muffin tins with paper cake cases. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into each paper case and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool cakes in tin.
Place butter, icing sugar, and vanilla in a food mixer and mix with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy (or follow the more detailed instructions at Brown Eyed Bakers blog).
Feel free to add colouring. Spread the frosting over the tops of the cakes and decorate with assorted sweets, if desired. Un-iced cakes can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.