The cupcake has been the ‘it dessert’ of the last few years, but with all its themes and variations, how does one make this simple treat remain exciting, asks Eimear McGovern?
Magnolia Bakery and Famous Cupcakes have both made their fortunes on elaborate decorations of the cupcake, along with many other bakeries of their ilk. In the world of blogging, 52 Cupcakes, Bakerella, and Cupcake Bake Shop are proclaimed to be focused on baking, yet they centre on just one basic treat – the cupcake.
While you may look upon establishments such as the Magnolia Bakery with envy, practice makes perfect, and it is not hard to make a cupcake your signature treat once you have perfected icing and other toppings. Sesame Street’s Elmo is recognised around the world, by nostalgic college students and children alike – to make him even more appealing, his face is easy to recreate on the top of a cupcake.
To make twelve cupcakes you will need:
- 100g self raising flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g butter, softened
- 2 eggs (beaten)
For the topping you will need:
- White buttons
- Fruit Pastilles
- 250g icing sugar
- Red food colouring
Prepare the icing first, so that it has time to thicken. Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of hot water until you achieve a smooth, drizzly consistency. Add the red food colouring for a bright red colour (be careful not too add too much immediately, as a little goes a long way).
For the cupcakes, pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Line a twelve-hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases. Beat the sugar and butter (preferably with an electric whisk) until smooth and pale. Gradually sift in the flour and then add the eggs. Mix until fully combined (you may need to add a drop of milk to loosen the batter if it’s too stiff). Divide the mixture between the twelve cupcake cases, pop into the oven and cook for twelve to fifteen minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
When the cupcakes are cool, coat them in red icing. Leave for a minute or two until the icing has begun to set, and then attach two white buttons for eyes, a Fruit Pastille for a nose, and an Oreo cut in half for a smile. Otwo used a crumb of Oreo for pupils, attached with a drop of white icing; however a raisin would also work.