Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cupcake cuties

Cupcakes are so cute aren't they?  Even cuter when they're mini-cupcakes.  It's rather strange that my kids never seem to be able to finish a full-size cupcake but will happily munch down two or three mini cupcakes!  I think it has something to do with the fact that the icing is in every bite =)  I just love the fact that they bake in less than 15 minutes and that it takes just one squeeze of a piping bag fitted with my biggest star nozzle to ice them.

I'm one of those that believes that home baking beats shop-bought any day.  I like to add as little sugar as I can get away with without spoiling the consistency of the bake because I think that too much sugar just takes away the taste.  I love baking with almonds and yoghurt because I like the moistness they lend to sponges.  I mix my cupcake mixes up in a huge jug which I then pour into a piping bag (a food bag will do just fine) so I can squeeze my mixture into the cases because I am far too lazy to use spoons to portion out the mix.  As for icing, I am not a fan of butter icing and much prefer a mascarpone icing not just because it's tastier but also because it doesn't go solid in the fridge.

These cupcakes are perfect for icing because they come out quite flat.  If you prefer your cupcakes not to rise above the paper cases, simply put less mixture into the cases.

Cupcake mix 
Makes approx 45 mini-cupcakes that will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container or, simply freeze them un-iced for up to a month

175 g unsalted butter
150 g natural yoghurt
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
140 g self-raising flour, sifted
100 g ground almonds
150 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
  • Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5 (190°C/170°C fan)
  • Melt butter and leave to cool before adding the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla extract and combining well
  • Stir together the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined
  • Pour the mixture into mini cupcake cases until approximately 7mm from the top
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from tin, then leave to cool completely on a rack before icing

Mascarpone icing
This should be enough to ice 45 mini-cupcakes, but it's hard to tell because the kids 'test' so many cupcakes before they're iced and love licking the icing spoon.  Also, I don't like too much icing so you may want to make up a bit extra.  If you like a sweeter icing, simply add more sugar!  Unlike butter icing, it can be left in the fridge until you're ready to use it because it won't harden up very much.

40 g unsalted butter, very soft
125 g mascarpone
140 g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract (or more if you like it to have a really ice creamy taste)
  • Beat all ingredients together until the mixture is thick and leaves a trail

The kids love various sprinkles on their cakes (don't all kids) but hubby doesn't like the texture so I just add a little dusting of edible glitter for glamour =)

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