You might think, ‘Bloody hell, these look complicated!’
The truth is, I have NEVER iced cupcakes with buttercream before. This is my very first attempt! I have iced heaps of cupcakes with fondant and heaps with chocolate ganache, but never buttercream. So believe me when I say that this might look tricky, but even a novice like me could do it. Pretty and pretty easy. 🙂
This is a basic vanilla muffin recipe I’ve been making for years from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander. Since I needed 2 dozen muffins, I doubled the quantities. Here is the original recipe.
VANILLA CUPCAKES (makes 12-14)
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk or milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Line your cupcake tray with cupcake cases. I used a medium sized, 12-hole tray.
I also like to spray the cases lightly with oil spray as I feel this makes less batter stick to the cupcake liners.
Pre-heat your oven to 160°C.
Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, it is very easy to make. Just squeeze 1 tbsp of lemon/ lime juice into a measure cup. Now top this with full cream milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. Magic happens as the acid reacts to curdle the milk.
Getting back to the cupcakes…
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
For the wet ingredients, I like to mix them like this: Take a large measuring cup (1 litre/ 1 quart / 4 cups). Measure out the oil to the 3/4 cup stage. Then top this with milk so that your liquid ingredients in your measure cup reach 1 1/2 cups. Now add the egg and give it a good mix (a fork does the job nicely).
Make a well in your dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into dry ones – do not over mix. The batter will be quite liquid-y. (I know, it’s not even a word, but you get what I mean.)
Using a silicone spatula, scrape all your batter back into your big measuring cup. You can now easily pour your batter into individual cupcake patty pans with no fuss.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
I prefer to bake these a day earlier so that they have cooled completely (and so that I’m not running around like a headless chook!) before I decorate them.
BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (enough for 2 doz. cupcakes)
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups (600g) icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tbsp (60ml) milk
1 tspn vanilla extract
One thing’s for sure with icing sugar: there will be clumps. So the first thing you need to do when you’re making buttercream frosting is to make sure that your icing sugar is sifted well and is free from all bumps and lumps.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until pale.
Now add the icing sugar, half a cup at a time, beating with each addition.
Add the milk and vanilla to form a smooth buttercream icing.
Take 1/3 of this buttercream icing and colour it any shade you wish with food colouring. I chose burgundy from my set of Wilton gel pastes. It gave me this vivid pink colour. Be careful if you are using liquid food colouring as this could alter the texture of your buttercream.
Leave the remaining icing white.
If you are using a disposable piping bag, snip off the tip and drop a Wilton 2D closed star nozzle into your piping bag. Since I did not have a 2D nozzle, I improvised by gently closing the prongs on my 1M open star nozzle.
Open your piping bag and spoon some coloured icing into it. Squish the icing inside so that it coats the piping bag all around (not right to the top, of course).
Open the bag once more. Make space down the centre and spoon a heap of white icing in it.
Push all the icing towards the nozzle. Twist at the top.
Using the pressure from your working hand, start piping the rose icing.
Your first couple of cupcakes will only have dark-coloured roses, so use them to practise.
Starting at the centre, with your piping bag held straight up (not at an angle), squeeze out the piping in a circular fluid motion, tapering off when you get to the edge of your cupcake.
You will need to refill your piping bag the same way a few times over until you have iced all your cupcakes. Leave in a cool, dry place to set.
So tell me, have you ever told your partner something you now wish you hadn’t? Do you like roses? What plans do you have for Mother’s Day?