Saturday, 7 December 2013
Feelin' Festive: Cupcakes that look like Christmas trees, if you really, really squint...
Blogging. I used to do it so often once upon a time, but now, well, I think it is going to be a 'high days and holidays' type activity, and talking of holidays, Finn's class were in charge of the cake stall for the Christmas fair, and because the Christmas holidays can't come soon, I thought I would get into the mood for it all with some festive baking.
I realised that I hadn't made anything from the amazing Rachel Allen just yet (and this blog is already two and a half years old...) so as a fan of her gorgeous cakes I thought I would use her recipe for chocolate cupcakes and then adorn them with a green swirl and a few strategically placed dragees to make them look vaguely Christmas tree like, if you really, really squint...
I decided to finish them off with some sugarpaste stars, which I ambitiously decided to cut out by hand before remembering that my mum had given me my shapes that I used to use to cut out playdoh when I was a kid. In there, I found a cute little star cutter. Problem solved.
A few musings about frosting. I don't really follow a recipe to be honest. I mix unsalted butter, some vanilla extract, icing sugar and a bit of milk to slacken it off if need's be, but I have given some approximate weights in the recipe below.
Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting from 'Cake Diaries' by Rachel Allen
Makes 12 cupcakes
100 g (31⁄2 oz) butter, softened
150 g (5oz) caster sugar
125 ml (41⁄2 fl oz) milk
175 g (6oz) plain flour
25 g (1oz) cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
For the frosting:
200g butter, at room temperature
500g icing sugar (to be added gradually and to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 2 tbsp. milk
holly green food colouring
a little sugarpaste
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), and line the muffin tray with the paper cases.
Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds or just until mixed, then gradually add them to the butter mixture, beating all the time.
Pour in the milk and beat until mixed. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix gently to combine.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling each case two thirds full. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until well risen and lightly springy to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to finish cooling down.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. beat the butter in a mixer until it is very soft. Slowly add the icing sugar a bit at a time with a few drops of vanilla extract until you are happy with the sweetness and the consistency. You could add a little milk to slacken the mixture off or to reduce the sweetness a tiny bit.
You will need to beat the mixture for a while so that the icing sugar dissolves and the icing is smooth and becoming fluffy but spreadable (or pipeable... possibly a new word there...)
To decorate the cakes use a large star nozzle on a piping bag, and pipe a swirl on top of each cake. Then place some dragees and sprinkle some edible glitter on top of the swirls. In a final flourish, cut out stars out of sugarpaste and place them on top.