First and foremost, apologies for the crap picture. It was late at night and I was using my camera phone. The cupcakes look more like tarts to me... hmm.
Anyway. I made these cupcakes for the staff at Melton Health's Paediatric department to say thank you for accomadating me during my clinical placement. Cupcakes are a great way to say thank you because if they're good, people will remember you for life.
The trend nowadays is cupcakes but unfortunately while they may look nice, many a times they taste terrible because the icing is too sweet and the cake at the bottom is dry. Cupcakes are essentially CAKES and I am of the believe that you have to get the cake right first.
This is a recipe that I have tried many times and made it my own. It is cheap to make because it uses the most basic ingredients and most importantly, extremely easy to make. It's not rocket science.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting (makes 15-20 cupcakes)
150g butter (softened)
155g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g self-raising flour
195g pure icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 drops yellow liquid food colouring
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Using an electric beater/mixer, beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. I suggest that you do not take this step for granted and exert patience when creaming because it affects the quality of the cupcakes!
3. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. When all the eggs are in, add in the vanilla essence and beat well.
4. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and milk alternately until combined. The mixture should not look lumpy but smooth and creamy. This step definitely takes more effort (read: sore shoulders) but again, more effort equals better results.
5. Spoon mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Because we've used self-raising flour, only scoop 1 heaped tablespoon of batter into one muffin case if not your cupcake is going to look... obscene. Make sure you try to level the batter with the back of your spoon so your cupcakes don't bake slanted!
6. Place the muffin tray into the oven for 15-20 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool.
7. Only when the cupcakes are nearly cool do you start making the frosting (it hardens if left unattended). Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually add the lemon juice, a few tablespoons of water, a few drops of colouring and stir with a spatula until a smooth paste forms. Taste the frosting and add more lemon juice or icing sugar (I personally like the frosting to be tangy). The frosting should not be watery and if it has become too watery, add some icing sugar (don't forget to taste again!). The paste should be almost butter-like where it can be easily spread on the cupcakes.
8. Spread the frosting evenly over the cupcakes using a butter knife. Set aside and allow the frosting to set.