Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Slice of Cherry Pie's The Snow Day Bake Off - Pretty Tea Party Cupcakes


Finally, after much holding of breath and panic-stricken trips to the supermarket, we have snow. Not the huge weather-warning deep-up-to-your-knees snow we'd all been ready for, but snow nonetheless. And so I took the opportunity to join in The Snow Day Bake Off hosted by the blog A Slice of Cherry Pie and make these gorgeous little cupcakes.




Soft, pale, bouncy cakes topped with sweet plain white icing and then a decoration of choice - a red glace cherry or sugar flower. It's too cold and snowy for an outdoors picnic and these are just right for snuggly cosy tea parties inside, sharing them with a little circle of fuzzy teddy bears, as my two-year old is doing now. Actually, to be honest she's not really sharing them, and I don't blame her.

Pretty Girly Cupcakes
This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's vanilla cupcakes in How to Be A Domestic Goddess. I fiddled about with the sugar and substituted half of it for soft light brown sugar. This way, the cakes have a much more mellow flavour instead of the tooth-aching sweetness when just caster sugar is used.

Ingredients (makes 12)
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 60g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (I use medium organic)
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • half a teaspoon vanilla extract
  • splash or two of milk

For the icing you will need icing sugar - approx 200g - and a few teaspoons of boiling water from the kettle, as well as a teaspoon of cocoa powder for the chocolate icing. Dig around for some sprinkles - sugar flowers, glace cherries, maltesers - anything you can find that will look lovely on top.

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, and then beat in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, add the vanilla extract and mix to form a smooth batter. If it is too stiff, trickle in a couple of drops of milk to loosen.
  4. Fill the cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until firm and golden.
  5. Cool on a rack.

To make the icing: 
Tip the icing sugar into a bowl and trickle in the boiling water - just a few teaspoons will do - until the icing is fairly stiff but spreadable. Top the cooled cupcakes with the icing and before it sets, gently push a decoration on top. Alternatively take a teaspoon of the icing and drizzle it over the cakes, for the striped effect.
For the chocolate flavoured icing, do exactly the same as above but add a teaspoon or two of good quality cocoa powder (I use Bourneville) to the icing sugar before adding the hot water.


 

Keep warm, folks!

Here's the book that taught me how to make cakes just like these... check it out on Amazon (affiliate link)