Cupcakes are my favorite thing to make.  It is easy, delicious and you can’t be sad when you are holding a cupcake. Maryanne Radmacher (maryanneradmacher.net) said that  a little cupcake goes a long way.  That is the truth.  When I look at my finished cupcakes I always stand back and say to no one in particular: I bake … what is your superpower?[1]

Cupcakes are versatile, fun and easy.  It is perfect for any occasion and can be as grand, whimsical or plain as you require them to be. It is the ultimate crowd pleaser.  Someone once said that baking is love made edible. A cupcake is one of those baked goods which yells love.  It is the end of the year and the time when everyone starts looking for gifts. Have you ever given a gift of cupcakes? You cannot go wrong.

I have used many recipes for cupcakes and normally you can use any cake recipe to bake cupcakes. I share with you my favorite cake recipe for cupcakes.  Make sure that you do not miss the HINTS AND TIPS at the bottom of the recipe.

I got this recipe from the Afrikaans book Bakboek, Wenresepte (Huisgenoot), compiled by Carmen Niehaus. I have tried many recipes to make cupcakes, but this one always makes perfect cupcakes.

160 ml milk
60 ml butter
4 extra large eggs
375 ml caster sugar
5 ml vanilla essence
500 ml cake flour
2 ml salt
10 ml baking powder

      1.    Preheat oven to 200 °C. Place 24 paper cupcake liners in muffin pans.
2.    Heat the milk and butter to boiling point. Remove from the heat and stir until   
            butter has completely melted.
3.    Whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
4.    Add sugar gradually. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Mix in essence.
5.    Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Fold into egg mixture.
6.    Lastly add milk and butter mixture. Whisk.
7.    Pour batter into cupcake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
8.    Cool and decorate.

I am addicted to plain vanilla cupcakes.  My second favorite would have to be rosewater and third, chocolate.  This is why cupcakes are so easy and versatile to prepare.  You can magically transform a vanilla cupcake into something extraordinary, depending on the frosting and decoration.  I share with you a basic vanilla butter cream frosting that is quick and easy.

Cream 125 g soft butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add 250g confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar). Whisk until really light and fluffy. Add milk ( 15 to 25 ml) if necessary.  Lastly add color (if desired) and essence.  You can also follow this link http://www.twosisterscrafting.com/buttercream-frosting/ where a similar recipe is demonstrated with good pictures.

Now this is the fun part of baking cupcakes! Fairy tales DO EXIST! Just buy (or make) fondant.  Roll out and cut in different magical shapes.  Allow to air dry and use as toppers. The possibilities are endless. You can melt chocolate and pipe in interesting forms on baking paper. Allow to set and use as toppers. (Some helpful links: http://www.welivedhappilyeverafter.com/2012/08/chocolate-butterflies-using-wax-paper.html;
http://natashaskitchen.com/2013/01/15/decorating-cakes-with-chocolate/ )
Minnie Mouse Cupcakes for my daughter's fourth birthday.
A gift for a special young lady.

Butterfly cupcakes for a birthday celebration at school.

Yes, there is a cupcake under that dress! Princess cupcakes for my daughter's fifth birthday.

Fairy tale castles for my daughter's birthday.
Fondant tiara's for a play date.
Hints, tips and tricks

     1.    Cupcakes should be placed in a warm oven (about 200 °C).  This ensures that it rises well and evenly. 

2.    If you do have a food processor, you can make your own caster sugar.  Sometimes I prefer not to use caster sugar and use plain sugar.  (My point is, baking is for anyone. Yes, there is a reason why the recipe calls for caster sugar, but your cake, in this instance, will still be a success if you do not have caster sugar at hand.)

3.    You can freeze the cupcakes once it is cooled. Seal well. When you have no other option this works well. At my daughter’s market day we had the cupcake table for the past three years.  I start baking a month ahead of the date and freeze them.  On the day before the sale I take everything out of the freezer, allow to thaw and decorate. The butter cream can also be frozen. I usually freeze that separately.

4.    I prefer using rolkem powder color or gel color when I color my butter cream. But any color you prefer to use will suffice. Just be careful when adding color that you do not add too much (unless your goal is a dark vibrant color).

      5. If you are going to work with fondant here's a handy hint: sprinkle cornflour on the work surface and not confectioner's sugar.  The general rule is rather use confectioner's sugar since the fondant is not going to be baked and if you use cornflour it will "sit raw" on the decoration.  My reason for using cornflour is that the confectioner's sugar gets sticky and makes it difficult to work with the fondant.

      5.    If you want to transform the vanilla cupcake into a strawberry, lemon or whatever other flavour, do not add vanilla seeds or essence.  When I make rosewater cupcakes I add about a ¼ to ½ teaspoon of rosewater to the batter instead of vanilla and about a ¼ teaspoon to the frosting.  When working with rosewater rather add a drop at a time and taste, otherwise the taste may be overpowering.

6.    Do not be afraid to whisk your butter cream. The more you whisk it the better it will be.  You want a light fluffy consistency. I prefer to use Stork Bake in my butter cream. The butter cream can be frozen. Once thawed, whisk again and use to decorate. (Helpful link to demonstrate different decoration methods with butter cream: http://www.wilton.com/flower-gallery-cupcakes/WLPROJ-8292.html?crlt.pid=camp.MCC3yd3Gg0Tq#q=Flower-Gallery-Cupcakes&start=1 and one which demonstrates how to make the perfect butter cream swirl: http://bekicookscakesblog.blogspot.co.za/2011/07/cupcake-swirl.html)

     7.    I include Martha Stewart’s Cloud Frosting recipe hereunder.  It is super easy to make and tastes like marshmallow. The recipe will cover about 36 cupcakes.
Cloud Frosting
2½ cups sugar
6 egg whites, room temperature
½ cup water
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar.

Whisk until foamy.

Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 to 16 minutes.

Add vanilla and beat until combined.
Cloud Frosting

Now, you have no excuse whatsoever. Start baking cupcakes. Please let me know how it went!

[1] Quote from: BestFriendsForFrosting.com


Lollipop said...

Inspiration in a cupcake! 💗 Love it. And now I feel like eating something .... mmmmm maybe I will bake first!

Gerda Snyman said...

Thank you very much for your comment Lollipop. Yes, do bake! I still remember those Spanish cupcakes you once made. They were excuisite.