I have to admit that I’m somewhat of a Christmas-aholic – I’m a sucker for decorations, lights, tasty treats and all things pretty. And slowly, very slowly, my house is finally beginning to resemble something festive.
Tomorrow could even be the day to dust off those CDs reserved for December and have a little sing-a-long. Thankfully for the neighbours, my two-year-old can out sing me and, unlike his mamma, is even on key (no comments please family).
The decision to post about cupcakes was helped in part by a recent decorating class I attended at Cupcake Sweeties. Set in a suburban Hutt Valley street, the unassuming shop front hides a thriving business, fun-filled classes and, despite the store’s diminutive size, hours of shopping as one agonises over which moulds and icings to buy.
I booked out the class (minimum of 6, maximum of 9) for a group of friends. At $35 each for two hours, it was a bargain. Two cupcake enthusiasts/makers talked to us about fondant and chocolate moulds, how to use glitters, food paints and all manner of things sparkly and demonstrated butter cream making.
Along the way, we made our own decorations and created six cakes to take home (the photographs show some of my attempts). A clever bonus was the $5 discount on purchases of over $20. Of course, we all shopped up large.
While they had pre-made chocolate cupcakes for us on the night (sensible given we were there to learn to decorate not bake), we did leave armed with a recipe. I thought I may as well give it a go last night and am glad that I did.
Preheat your oven to 170C (although I might try 180 next time). Sift together 150g caster sugar, 150g self raising flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons cocoa.
Separate two eggs. In the yolk bowl, add 175ml milk, 125ml bland oil (eg. canola, ricebran), 2 teaspoons each golden syrup and malt vinegar and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or paste.
Beat the egg whites until stiff (this is me holding the bowl upside down. I tend to beat the egg whites first so I don’t have to wash my beaters.). Then give the bowl with the wet ingredients a quick beat to combine the ingredients.
Add the yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix. Then fold in the egg whites.
I decided to go all Christmas-y on it and made up a batch of green butter cream and piped Christmas trees with using a star nozzle – no photos of the piping as I got a bit excited as to how easy they were and forgot to take any snaps. I used tweezers to add some coloured edible decorations to give the look of baubles.
The butter cream is super easy: 60g softened butter, creamed. I did it by hand, but you can use a mixer. Add in 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 250g of sifted icing sugar and mix until it is of a spreadable consistency. I added the icing sugar in about three stages.
Give these a go, they are simple to make and are a pleasant change to the more common butter laden cupcake. The result is a moist and soft cake that makes the perfect base for decorating. And, if you live in Wellington, give the gals at Cupcake Sweeties a visit. Better still, book yourself in for a class – I’ll be booking in for another one in the New Year.