Winter Cupcakes

It’s July.  And here in Perth, the temperature is plummeting.  Brrrrr!!

I used to love Winter.  The chilly nights, the rainy days, the gorgeous coats and knee high boots.  But now that I’m a mum of young children, I love the warmer weather.  Warm days mean fun outings to the beach, picnics in the park, laundry that dries in a flash and less sniffles and coughs.  Cold wet days means cranky kids (and cranky parents) stuck inside.  Boo :(.  (On a side note, I still love winter fashion:))

I’m missing the warmer days and sunshine.

Hey winter cupcakes…..you make me smile. 🙂

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Winter Cupcakes Recipe 

Ingredients

125 grams butter (softened)

150 grams castor sugar*

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract**

225 grams self raising flour (sifted to remove any lumps)

125ml milk

*To make castor sugar, blitz white sugar in the Thermomix for 3 seconds on speed 9.

**Do use vanilla extract or vanilla paste where you can.   Avoid vanilla essence like the plague….it really pales in comparison to the extract or paste.

Equipment

Cupcake cases (12-18 depending on the size you’ve chosen)

Baking tray

Wooden spoon

1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon

1 round scallop edge cookie cutter

Fondant cutters

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius if you have a fan forced oven).

I’m using my Thermomix here, but you can use a stand mixer, electric hand mixer or an old school manual hand mixer.

Insert butterfly into the Thermomix and cream together butter and sugar on speed 4 for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides.

While the blades are running at speed 4, add eggs into the Thermomix one at a time through the measuring cup hole, then add your vanilla.  Mix on speed 4 for about 30 seconds or until eggs and vanilla are mixed through.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Remove butterfly, add flour and milk and mix on Speed 6 for 9 seconds.

I use a spatula or wooden spoon to manually stir through any bits that haven’t been mixed through. The batter should just come together. I tend to leave it a little under mixed rather than risk an over mixed batter which results in tough cupcakes.  It’s ok if you see a few sprinkles of flour that haven’t been mixed in.

Lay out your cupcake cases on a baking tray.  I like using the smaller thicker paper cups for my cupcakes.  DSC_0754I find the translucent traditional pleated cupcake cases tend to look greasy and are often either too big or too small.

The thicker cups hold their shape well, are a good size and they come in some lovely colours and designs.  They’re cheap too.  I normally buy them for around $2 for a packet of 24 in discount stores.

Using 2 spoons, I start filling the cases.  I load a large spoon with batter, and scrape the batter into the case with a teaspoon.

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Depending on the mixture, I usually fill my cases to the halfway mark.  Don’t be tempted to fill the cases to the top as they need room to rise as they bake.  Over filling your cases will result in cupcakes that look like volcanoes….not the look you’re going for ;).

I filled 18 cases.

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Pop them in the middle rack of the oven to bake for about 15 minutes until they’re golden.  I find with my oven that the back row tends to brown faster than the ones nearer to the door, so I like to turn the tray around the 10 minutes mark so that the front row is now the back row.  This gives them the chance to be roughly consistent in colour.

You know they’re about ready when you smell that delicious buttery vanilla perfume in the air.  Take them out of the oven at the 15 minute mark.  To test if they’re done, I gently press the top of each cupcake.  If it’s quite soft and leaves an impression, it’ll need a minute or 2 longer to cook.  If it bounces back, then it’s ready.  You can also use a wooden skewer to check each cupcake.  Pierce each cupcake with the skewer and if it comes out clean, it’s cooked :).

Once I know the cakes are cooked and while they’re still hot, I take a clean glass and gently press down on each cupcake so they are left with a relatively flat top.  Personally, I find it easier to decorate if they’re flat instead of domed.

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Leave the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack.

Now onto the fondant icing!! (Yay!) I buy my icing from our local supermarket.  They come in small boxes and are my favourite way to decorate cupcakes.  I find icing messy and there’s so much waste particularly if you use a piping bag.

For me, fondant is the way to go. You get a fantastic result in less time and it’s so much tidier than icing.

Break off about half of your fondant mixture.  Sprinkle some icing sugar on your bench and start rolling out your fondant.  I like to roll it pretty thin to around 2mm.  Using your scallop edge cookie cutter, start cutting out your rounds.

DSC_0777 DSC_0778DSC_0779My fondant round doesn’t quite cover my cupcake so I gently roll out the cut round before placing it on my cupcake.  How pretty is that scallop edge. 🙂

Take a quarter of your fondant mixture and put a few drops of blue food dye on the fondant.  Carefully fold the fondant around the blue dye.  I find this way the fondant will absorb the dye rather than my fingers.  Start kneading the fondant until the dye is worked through.  It shouldn’t be streaky but uniform in colour.

Roll out your blue fondant and begin cutting out the large flowers with your fondant cutter.

Cut out the smaller flowers from your white fondant.

I like tinting and rolling the fondant on a silicone mat as it’s less likely to stick and my countertop isn’t going to be stained by food dye.

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I bought the flower fondant cutters (a set of 3) from a kitchen-ware store, but I have others which I bought from eBay for a measly $1 for a set of 3 with free shipping!! (Be still my beating heart! ;P).

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Lay out the large blue flower on your cupcake and top it with the smaller white flower.

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Don’t they look darling!  I hope these brighten your day too :).

BecX

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3 thoughts on “Winter Cupcakes

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