I received a cupcake cookbook I’d ordered today, Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, which was very inspirational. It’s a lovely little book, it has a decent basic recipe and then lots of variations in both flavours and toppings. Not only is there the simple recipe but lots of other recipes like gluten and dairy free or polenta based. All in all a good book. However, there is no way that I can see that her 115g recipe will make 12 muffin tin cupcakes unless the cases are very short. My basic recipe uses 200g and usually makes 13, I like to ‘test’ the extra one to ensure quality control! With a 12 hole muffin pan I usually put a muffin case in a ramekin dish et voila, an extra space! May be I’m just using extra large paper cases but either way I ignored her recipe today and went with my own.
The reason I was making cupcakes was because it was the dog’s first birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not really that kind of person but it seemed a good excuse for cake! He has a very sweet tooth so he got given the 13th cake with peanut butter as icing and chocolate dog treats to decorate. Naturally he got a candle too but he wasn’t allowed to eat that!
200g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod*
2 tbsp milk
150g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
natural pink food colouring
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with paper cases and a ramekin with one case.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. If your sugar is lumpy use the back of a spoon to break it up before adding the butter to make things easier for yourself.
– In a separate jug beat the eggs and vanilla seeds.
– Add the egg to the mixture a bit at a time beating thoroughly between each addition. If it curdles then add a tbsp of the flour and carry on.
– Add the flour and fold it in.
– When thoroughly combined stir through the milk.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the cases. I use an ice cream scoop, one of the ones that you squeeze and a little metal bit runs round the inside, to measure out the mixture.
– Bake for 18-20 minutes then remove and test with a skewer, the skewer should come out clean.
– Place on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
– To make the icing mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together. It should be spoonable but not too runny. If necessary add more lemon juice a few drops at a time, it’s better to add a little at a time as you can always add more but you can’t take it out!
– Divide the icing into two and add a cap full of food colouring to one bowl, Mix well.
– Place a heaped teaspoon of icing on each cake and use the back of the spoon to gently guide it. Place your decoration of choice on top immediately.
* To get the seeds out of the vanilla pod carefully split it lengthways and then use the back of the knife to scrape along gathering up the seeds as it goes. #
The dog’s birthday cake: