I think they look adorable! As a scientist, I also require objective data about the taste. But this time, subjective data had to do and they taste pretty great as well. Somehow, the incredibly sweet icing cuts down on the sweetness of the cupcakes. No, I don’t understand how it works either.
While I think this looked awesome and I will show you how, I think the decoration alone looks great and I might just have a plain cake underneath next time.
As a note, even though I am English, I mostly bake using American cup measures.
If you have the time on your hands to make this, you will need:
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour
- 1tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (or use salted and half the amount of additional salt) at room temperature
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 large eggs (medium will do in a pinch) at room temperature
- 1/2 cup full-fat milk (though I used Kallo coconut milk substitute. I don’t like milk)
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract (or half a vanilla pod if you are rich or, like me, know someone from Madagascar)
- food colouring. Gel is better, but I use liquid for some colours if that’s all I have.
- Baking cups. I bought mine on eBay
- Disposable piping bags
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk
- food coloring
- sugar crystals. Again, eBay
- small plastic spoons. I liberated mine from an ice cream kiosk
There’s method in my madness
I’ll start off with the sugar crystals as they’re a bit more unusual. Apparently, they’re more of a big decorating thing in the states but I imagine you could get them in a proper baking shop here. Since I didn’t want to buy three colours, I just bought clear ones and then coloured them like so.
Here are the plain crystals. Pretty and sparkly. Just as a note, I bought 50g, which was not enough to cover 10 cupcakes, and just about managed 8.
The colouring is very easy, just add a very small amount of either liquid or gel colouring and mix. Go slowly, you can always add more later, but you don’t want oversaturated crystals that clump together and taste of colouring.
I got a bit paranoid that mine were too damp and dried them out in a ceramic bowl in a low oven, but I think this step was unnecessary.
Once I stopped playing with sugar, it was time to start baking properly.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- Line up your cups on a baking sheet so that the lips touch. This will help when you are filling them later.
- Using a mixer or hand blender, cream the butter in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add the sugar in three parts and beat until pale and fluffy (5mins). Start on medium and move up to high speed. This was what I decided ‘pale and fluffy’ meant.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Sift again.
- In another jug, combine mils and vanilla. (I know, a lot of washing up. I cheated and just added the vanilla to my cup measure once I had put some of the liquid into the batter.)
- Add the dries to the batter in four parts, alternating with the milk mixture. Beat well after each addition and begin and end with the dries.
- Divide your batter into three (or more, if feeling ambitious!) and colour as desired. The blue looks a bit off in this picture, but baked nicely. Now for the tricky bit!
- Stand three piping bags up in glasses. Then carefully pour in your batter.
- Twist the bags shut and then put the glasses in the order that you want your cakey stripes. I found it helpful to use a large clip to hold the bags both closed and together. Either way, make sure you clamp those tops so the batter doesn’t go everywhere! Also, tape the three bags together near the bottom like so.
Now for the tricky bit. Get yourself next to your tray with the cups on it. Then, snip the ends off all three piping bags. Be conservative and only cut a little bit off. Otherwise, as happened to me, the batter will flow so quickly that it is hard to fill the cups evenly. Fill each cup using a back-and-forth motion and then hop quickly to the next cup up. This should give you nice, even stripes like this
Clean up around the edges carefully as these will show once decorated.
You can see that my edges are not perfect. Do as I say, not as I do!
Now, for the frosting.
- Beat butter and vanilla.
- Add sugar slowly and beat until combined.
- Scrape down the sides and add milk a teaspoon at a time. Mix until smooth and creamy.
- Divide the frosting into three bowls and as a little food colouring so that when you cover it in sugar crystals, there isn’t any white showing through.
This recipe makes enough to frost twelve cupcakes easily.
Now to decorate! I used a mini spatula that I got in some kind of decorating pack.
Then dip in crystals again, tilting so the colour stay separate.
The little scoops just add the perfect finishing touch.