Basic vanilla cupcake recipe
125g butter (I use salted butter bought in a block)
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp Queen vanilla bean paste with vanilla seeds
1 1/2 C self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 C milk
Have the butter at room temperature then beat it with the sugar until it is paler than originally. Add the vanilla (you can use 1 tsp vanilla essence instead) and one egg and beat well. Add the other egg and beat some more. Remove the beaters and grab a spatula.
Sift in 3/4 C of flour with the extra self raising flour. Add half the milk and mix gently through. Add the remaining flour and fold in gently. Add the remaining milk from the 1/3C and mix in. The mix should hold a peak but not be too stiff - add a smidge more milk if you need to get it to "plopping" consistency.
Half-fill cupcake liners in your patty pan and bake at 180-190C for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them - they are done when slightly golden brown on top. Remove from over, remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.
Some notes on ingredients:
- I'll never ever go back to imitation vanilla essence. If you're going to bake, please use the best you can find. I love the paste I've linked to and while it's expensive, I use 1/2 the recommended amount for a recipe and it gives such an amazingly real, vanilla, homemade flavour. It also adds extra liquid to the mix which tends to keep the crumb happy.
- Use the best ingredients you can find. Cake making is about making love in little patty cases so don't scrimp on it. I use generic sugar, but I do use the best flour I can find at the time.
- Play around with patty liners and pans. I like the stiffer paper ones rather than the really cheap thin ones. I also love love love individual silicone ones that you remove afterwards - great for mini bite sized ones! I tend to fill 12 of the paper cases and then use the rest of the mix in the silicone cases.
- Use good eggs. I use free range ones locally produced and bought. I find that battery hen ones are pale, insipid, and watery. Yuk.
1T salted butter
a dash of lemon juice
a dash of hot water
Put the butter in a small bowl. Add a heaped teaspoon of icing sugar and mix in. Add a few drops of lemon juice and mix in. Add more icing sugar and mix in. Add a dash of hot water and mix well. Taste. If it's not sweet but it buttery, add more sugar. If it's sweet and only sweet, add more lemon juice. If it's too lemony, add a smidge more hot water. Colour and apply.