“Cupcake makers, your time is up”, yells Master of the Universe from his high chair. I’m not sure what studies on toddler exposure to food television indicate – but I’m sure they show increased numeracy and literacy skills!?!
Given how much I like a competition, I thought I’d see if I could turn out iced cupcakes in the 45 minutes the show Cupcake Wars allow contestants (albeit, a tad more complex for them with random ingredients to add). Could I do it? Well, with Kenny at my side, I’m beginning to find that almost anything is possible.
As I’ve ascertained three or four times in the last couple of weeks, Kenny makes cupcakes in lightening speed – so fast it is to whip up the batter that you are left waiting for your oven to come to temperature to get them in. Here’s the basic recipe I used (adapted from Edmonds) – of course, if can be made without the help of the Big K.
To make 12 regular sized or 30-36 mini cup cakes:
160g plain flour
2 tsp baking
125g butter, preferably at room temperature
120g caster sugar
2 eggs (I use size 7)
1-2 tsp vanilla essence (I prefer the lovely one with seeds in it or a tsp of vanilla paste)
100-125ml milk (I often warm it very slightly)
Turn your oven to 180C and prepare your tins – lining each with paper cases.
Sift the flour and baking powder together.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each egg so it doesn’t curdle.
Fold the sifted flour into the mixture. Or, if using Kenny, pour the dry ingredients in and mix on a low speed until incorporated (won’t take very long).
Stir in the milk (again, you can use Kenny). I find you usually need the full 125ml (1/2 cup), but until you get used to the texture, you may want to start with a little less. What you want to avoid is over mixing.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared tins. I’ve noticed the Cupcake Wars bakers tend to use ice cream scoops – I find two teaspoons or tablespoons work just fine.
Bake for 8-11 minutes for mini or 12-15 minutes for larger cup cakes. The cakes should spring back when you touch them with your finger, or a testing utensil comes out clean. (I find that my cup cakes cook more quickly in metal containers than in silicon.)
Take out of the oven and rest for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
While the cakes are baking, make your icing/frosting. While there are so many pretty colours around, I am trying my best to find colour replacements whenever I can (after reading Wendyl Nissen’s Supermarket Companion). So, it’s been with some excitement that I discovered Fresh As products a year or so ago. What you get is pretty much pure fruit or vegetables, dried and powered. Specialty food stores such as Ontrays, Moore Wilsons, Farro Fresh etc will stock a selection of the range, or they are available via mail order.
Use a standard butter cream icing: 60g softened butter, creamed (in Kenny or by hand). Add in 2 tablespoons of milk and 250g of sifted icing sugar and mix until it is of a spreadable consistency. (I add the icing sugar in roughly three stages – especially if doing it by hand.)
For these little beauties, I split the icing and left half white. I mixed through a teaspoon of Fresh As strawberry powder in the other half, then put both frostings in a bag and got piping for a gorgeous result and lovely light strawberry flavour.
The great thing about this recipe is that it freezes well (even with the icing) – so one batch of mini cupcakes will do several ‘bring a plate’ functions.
I’ll leave the final words to my friend Bridget who, after my last post, so aptly wrote, “Congratulations Marija! I’ve been having a relationship with Kenny’s grandfather for over 40 years now. They’re a great family & I’m sure Kenny will fit into your life superbly!”.