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Sugar Sugar (do do do do do do)

Posted 1st June, 2010 by

Im not named Clara Cupcakes for nothing you know.  Baking cupcakes is pretty much part of my DNA.  In fact, if you cut me open I wouldn’t be surprised if I bled pink buttercream icing.  I just bake them for friends, fun and the Retro Market.  Because cupcakes are all about sharing.  In that cupcakey spirit, I’d like to share some of my favourite recipes with you, starting with my (and hopefully soon to be yours) favourite.

My vanilla cupcakes never fail to put a smile on people’s faces.  Something about the spongy yellow cake, soft pink icing and pastel sprinkles brings out the happy 5 year old in everyone.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

Vanilla Butter Cake

– 125 grams of butter (approx
– 1 cup of caster sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 1 1/4 cup of flour
– 1 teaspoon of baking powder
– 1/2 cup of full cream (whole) milk
– 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (natural, none of this imitation nonsense)

This is my lovely assistant, Cherry Darling.  I couldn’t do it without her!  She never complains and is super cute to boot!


– Take your butter out of the fridge 2 hours in advance atleast.  You want it nice and soft.  If you have forgotten (tsk tsk) or need to make cupcakes in a hurry, you can soften the butter in the microwave on a very low setting.  Chop it into largish cubes and put it in for a minute (on a low setting!  Don’t forget that!) and then keep checking it every 15 seconds so it doesn’t get all melty.  It my start to get a little runny but that’s okay as long as most of the butter has kept it’s shape that is fine.

– Preheat your oven to 180′ degrees and line your 12 hole patty pan with some cupcake liners.  I like to use plain white ones for my vanilla cupcakes but you can get some pretty darn tootin’ cute ones out there.  I may have to wrangle some of those petal ones.

– Sift your flour and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.  Fell free to use a super cute sifter like this one!  I love it and it works way better than the modern one I have.

– Mix you milk and vanilla together and set aside as well.

– Take you soft butter and pop it in your mixing bowl and hand mixer or stand mixer* and beat it (cue Michael Jackson dance number)!  Beat it a whole lot on the highest setting making sure that you scrape down the sides bowl on a regular basis until it looks super light, pale and glossy.

– Add the sugar slowly in thirds, beating on high speed for a minute inbetween each addition and again stopping scraping down the bowl as you go (this is very, very important).  This is called creaming. Once you have added the last of the sugar, beat it for a little longer until the sugar is completely incorporated and the mixture looks light and creamy.

– Add your eggs one at a time.  I like to crack mine into a bowl first because I am pretty much the worst person ever for getting egg shell in things.  Beat well between each egg.  By now it should look really light and fluffy.  If it doesn’t don’t stress!  As long as your sugar is incorporated you will be fine!

– Add a third of your flour and mix in on a low speed.  The reason we have changed speeds is you don’t want to overwork the gluten in the flour.  If you mix it too fast you will end up with tough cupcakes which, just like tough cookies, are no fun.

– Add half the milk/ vanilla mixture and mix it in, again on low speed.  Make sure that you are scraping bowl down after each addition so things mix evenly. Add flour, milk, flour until it’s all combined.  Keep it on that low speed but if your ingredients aren’t quite looking combined give the mix a quick burst on high speed to combine it properly.

– Divide the mix between the patty pans with two spoons.  Try not to eat all the mixture (I believe in you!).  You want to have the patty pans just a little under 3/4 full.

– Pop them in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back.  Take them out and cool them on a wire rack.  Don’t even think about trying to ice them while they are still warm.  This will result in a cupcakepocolypse and you being very sad.

Now, to make them pretty!

Super Soft Vanilla Icing

– 125 grams of butter
– 3 1/2 cups of icing sugar
– 1/4 cup of full cream (whole) milk
– 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
– pink food colouring (the gel/paste ones from Wilton are the best)
– lots and lots of sprinkles!

– Again, you want nice soft butter.   And you want to whip it a gain till is nice and pale.
– While this is happening, sift your icing sugar into a bowl and mix you vanilla and milk together.
– Add 1/3 of the icing sugar and mix it in, making sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl on a regular basis.
– Add half the milk/vanilla mixture and mis it in.
– Repeat until you have added all the milk and sugar.  It should be light pale and fluffy.
– Now for the colour!  you can use whatever colour you like but I use this Pink Terracotta from Wilton.  Add as much as you like but remember that these pastes are really string so add them a little bit at a time.

– Whip in the colour, making sure again that you keep scraping down the sides of the bowl.
– Pop the icing into a piping bag with a large star tip.  I like to put the bag in a large cup to fill it up.  It’s much easier than trying to hold it.

– Carefully pipe it onto the little cupcake in a nice even swirl.  I couldn’t get any photos of this, sorry!

Here is the final result!

SO CUTE!!!  I hope you enjoy this little recipe.  I really love it and it always turn out perfectly.

Until next time sweets!

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