Saturday, 15 May 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes, in no way plain...

I recently read someone's personal blurb on their blog, that described them as "the kinda gal who thinks vanilla is a waste of ice cream". While I tend to agree that "vanilla" in the commercial sense of the word is sapped of all its heavenly goodness, I think it's such a shame that the flavour has unjustly been shelved as plain, boring and a last resort. Vanilla, in its true form, will satisfy an apatite for something rich, sweet and indulgent - would I dare say "even more than chocolate"? WOOPS - it just slipped out!

I made these (from the first click of my mixer motor to the last dollop of icing) in 30 mins, that includes the cleaning up (into the dishwasher anyway...) and while I admit that getting them done in such a wee wink has taken some practice, 45mins should see you well and truly done and dusted. I was in a bit of a hurry as I had friends for tea and, as such, neglected to take pics of the whole process. I did however manage to snag a few of the finished result.

Start with the frosting, as it takes a bit of time to cool in between mixing. It sounds a little crazy but its so worth making.

Preheat the oven to 180C, pop 12 cup cake cases into a muffin pan.

Whisk 2tbs flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small pot. Stir with the whisk over a medium heat until it forms a THICK paste. Spatula out into a glass bowl and cool in the fridge or freezer. You cant use it until its cooler than room temperature, so the fridge is a good bet (freezer if you have cupcake in the over already when you remember you haven't started the icing - me, do that? Never!). Get started on the cup cakes while it cools.

Cream together 70g of butter and 1/4C castor sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1 egg yolk and beat until combined. Then add 1C flour, 1tbls cornflour , 1 tsp of baking powder, 1/2C milk and 1tsp of vanilla essence. Beat on a slow speed until combined. Divide between 12 fairy cases or 9 muffin cases (fill to just under half of each paper case - do not over fill or you wont be able to soak them easily) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and the tops spring back when touched.

While they are baking, bring 1/2C sugar and 1/2C water to the boil to form a sugar syrup, to soak your cakes with. Remove from the heat and stir in 5ml vanilla essence. This is optional, but I really feel its worth the extra effort. When your cupcakes come out of the oven, spoon your sugar syrup over the sponges, and set them aside on a rack to cool.

While your cupcakes are cooling cream 75g butter and 75g of CASTOR sugar in your mixer until its VERY soft and light. Yes, castor sugar in icing... Add 5mls of vanilla bean paste, or vanilla essence if you cant get hold of the paste to the creamed butter and sugar and beat again. Now add your cooled flour paste (which should be below room temperature, but not frozen!) and beat on high for 45seconds to a minute until it resembles whipped cream. Spread generously over your cooled cupcakes.

For a little something extra sprinkle them with some vanilla sugar - although these humble little pies are perfect, just as they are. No extravagant decor required (unless of course you want to...) I'd be surprised if they hung enough long enough for you to get that far!


Please note that this is a halved recipe, perfect for just having a couple of friends to tea. If you have any trouble with any part of it, drop me a mail and I will check it again! I will make these again soon and be sure to take pictures of all the steps this time. Also, if you would like the FULL recipe for 2 dozen cupcakes, please leave a comment below and I will either post it up or email it to you!

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