I have difficulty making anything that surpasses the good looks of a cupcake. They really are just so pleasing to the eye - making them both irresistable to make and eat. The trouble with cupcakes though is they can be overly dry and the icing overly sickly. So I am always on the lookout for a moist cupcake recipe as well as an icing that works with it. This recipe has a very unusual method but is easy and moist and yummy. I was alerted to it by Gail at The Claytons Blog who posted about them. The Claytons Blog has four regular contributors, so the posts are varied and prolific which makes it a really great blog to visit! These cupcakes were also raved about by my fellow foodie friends on Violets Pantry, so I decided they were a must try. My good friend had a birthday so I found some pretty toppers and tinted the icing a nice lime green (as it is a favourite colour of hers). I used the icing recipe that goes with the cupcake recipe and was indeed impressed with it. I whipped it up (as advised by Gail) for a good 10 minutes in the cake mixer and it was light, fluffy and gorgeous. I added cream cheese to it for some depth and tang, a nice addition. I also added lemon zest to the cupcake recipe and made them extra moist by topping them with lemon syrup as soon as they came out of the oven.
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 medium egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract -
1 quantity vanilla icing (see below)
hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
Have ready a 12-18-hole cupcake tray (depending on whether you’re going for big, US-sized cakes or standard UK ones), lined with paper cases. Preheat the oven to 170C/140 fan/325F/gas 3. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched (smaller cupcakes will need 3-5 minutes less baking time.
A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out on to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter at room temperature
25ml whole milk
a couple of drops vanilla extract
Beat the icing sugar and butter together in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow.
Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture 2 tbsp at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high. Continue beating until the icing is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer it is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.