Gar’s 5 Step Yummy Summer Cupcakes!

I absolutely love cupcakes! And if you’re reading this, I am guessing you do too 🙂 I have only been making them for around 6 months and have learnt so much during that time. I never knew there was so much to it! But don’t let that put you off, that’s why I wanted to put this blog together so you could quickly get up to speed and start enjoying the best part – Decorating and eating them!

1. The Cup Cakes: A Simple and Tasty Recipe!

I have tried so many different recipes and it turns out the simplest is the best:

Ingredients / Equipment:

175g Self Raising Flour
175g Caster Sugar
175g Unsalted Butter
3 Large Eggs
1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
Vanilla Extract (Or any other flavour you fancy, they all work with this recipe!)
Food Processor / Whisk
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl
12 Cupcake Cases
Oven Tray / Cupcake Tray

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 170c / 338f
  • Chop the butter into cubes and throw them into a large mixing bowl
  • Add the 3 large eggs
  • Add the sugar and blitz it with a handheld food processor until smooth (or if you have a strong arm and patience, use a whisk – I have neither :P)
  • Drop in the baking powder
  • Add the sieved flour and continue blitzing till smooth
  • Add a generous dribble of vanilla extract or any other weapon of choice! (To gauge if you have added enough, take a big sniff. The stronger the smell the stronger it will taste!)
  • Place 12 cupcake cases on an oven tray (preferably a cupcake oven tray as it helps hold the shape of the cake)
  • Spoon in the mixture so each cupcake case is half full (or half empty, depends on your perspective in life of course :P)
  • Throw them in the oven for 20-22 minutes

2. The Frosting: Sweet Tooth Satisfaction!

The frosting is most certainly the sweetest part of the cupcake. As with the cake, you can use any flavours you like:

Ingredients / Equipment:

250g Bar of Unsalted Butter
500g Pack of Icing Sugar
Cupped Hand of Water (Loving these crude units of measurement?)
Vanilla Extract (Or of course anything else you may fancy. Did someone say lemonomnomnom?)
Food Processor / Whisk
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl

Instructions: (No weighing needed!)

  • Chop the whole bar of butter into cubes and chuck’em into a large mixing bowl
  • Sieve and add the bag of icing sugar
  • Throw in a handful of water
  • Beat together with a food processor or with a whisk if you’re a crazy person
  • Add the extract once the mixture is smooth and fluffy and finish of with a final mix

Top Tip: As the frosting mixture contains no egg, you can taste to gauge the amount of extract to add. If you don’t fancy that (weirdo!), just take a big sniff and the stronger the smell the stronger the flavour.
(You probably want to take those cupcakes out of the oven by now if you have forgotten! Let them cool for at least 40 minutes before moving on to the next step. Why not spend the time preparing the icing?)

3. The Secret Centre: Everyone Loves a Surprise!

I recently got hold of some piping bags and a wonderful nozzle from http://www.lakeland.co.uk It cost about £3 and finally I can inject some flavour right into the heart of my wonderful cupcakes!

Ingredients / Equipment

Any Filling Your Heart Desires
Nozzle Thingy
Piping Bags

Instructions:

  • Fill the piping bag with anything you want! Chocolate sauce, lemon curd, honey etc
  • Press the nozzle about half way into your cake and give it a generous squeeze and you’re done!

Top Tip: You may want to bake a few extra cupcakes to practice this on as getting the right amount can be tricky! Once you have created a few testers, just cut them in half and see how well you did.

4. The Decoration: Time to Get Creative!

My favourite part! For these designs I wanted to use 6 different colours – Yellow, purple, pink, green, white & black (and yes, white and black are colours :P) This is how to prepare the modelling icing:

Ingredients / Equipment:

300g of Readymade Icing (This is my favourite! Not too sweet or sickly – Here)
4 Teaspoons of CMC Powder (A pain to get hold of, but invaluable in modelling, it’s what makes the icing stiff enough to retain detail and shape – Here)
Icing Colourants (I found these to be great – Here)
A Large Food Bag
Icing Pens (These are great – Here)
Edible Glue  – Here
Small Paint Brushes – Here
Leaf / Flower Cutters – Here
Veiners – Here
Cocktail sticks
Rolling Pin

Instructions:

  • Knead the CMC powder into the readymade icing.
  • Fully incorporate the two together (about 5 minutes of kneading)
  • Place the icing into a food bag and leave somewhere cool for a few hours (ideally overnight)
  • Divide the icing into potions ready for colouring
  • Add a drop of food colouring using the cocktail sticks and knead until incorporated, adding more as you go to reach the desired colour (Do this over the kitchen sink as the colours can be very hard to wash out if dripped!)

Once you have all of your coloured icings, it’s time to get creative. This is how I make my bees:

Bees:

  • Roll a ball of yellow icing and then squash it slightly so it’s cubed with rounded edges to make the body
  • Draw 3 lines with the icing pens onto the body (I double back on myself to make them thicker)
  • Roll up 2 little black eyes and stick them on the yellow body using the edible glue
  • Now get 2 small balls of white or yellow icing and squish them so they are flat and oval shaped to make the wings. Push the 2 wings together at their base then attach to the back of the yellow body using the edible glue.

Lemons:

  • Roll a ball of yellow icing and then squash it into a lemon shape (d’oh)
  • Use the cocktail sticks to prick lots of small holes all over the surface of the lemon
  • Roll up a little black ball to use as the stalk and stick it to the lemon with the edible glue

Leaves:

  • Roll a small ball of green icing and squish it into an oval shape (or be lazy and use a leaf cutter)
  • Place it in the centre of the veiner and push down

Flowers:

  • Take any coloured icing you like and roll it out
  • Use the cutters to…cut the shapes (obviously)
  • Use the veiner to…add the veins (Even more obviously)

5. The Final Result: It’s All About the Presentation!

You now have all the parts! Time to put them together 🙂

Instructions:

  • Either spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes
  • Place the icing models on top of the cakes, slightly pressing into the frosting to help hold the design together
  • Take pictures, post them to Facebook, then eat those lovely cakes!

Top Tip: Are you a chocoholic? Then add about 50g of high quality cocoa powder to the cake mix when you are adding the flour! Also add the same amount to the frosting.
Top Tip: The darker the colour, the more chocolaty the flavour!

Follow me on Twitter @GazzMills

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