I got this recipe from the Sainsbury’s magazine years ago, when cupcakes were at their most popular.
I’ve used it ever since, not that I make these light-as-air cupcakes very often – they are strictly a special occasion bake!
I tend towards the lemony flavours for the icing, to cut the sweetness, I suppose. There are variations in the NOTES section at the end of the recipe. The cinnamon one is very good too..
- An electric beater
- cupcake paper cases (medium muffin size)
- 12-muffin or tart trays.
- Weighing scales
- Small saucepan
INGREDIENTS: For the Cupcakes:
- 200g butter
- 200g sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 200g self-raising Flour
- Capful of vanilla extract
- +/- the grated rind and juice of a lemon.
For the Sugar Syrup:
- 75g caster sugar
- 5 tablespoons of water
For the Frosting:
- 200g cream cheese
- 100g unsalted butter
- 600g icing sugar (sifted)
METHOD: This usually gets me about 12-15 cupcakes
- Put your muffin cases into the muffin trays (I always do this first so that I’m ready to go once the cake mixture is ready)
- Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees Fan
- Put the sugar and butter into the mixer bowl and beat together until light and airy
- Add, a little at a time, the beaten eggs. Don’t panic if it starts to curdle – just add a teaspoon of the flour
- Remove from the mixer, and start to sift in the flour in batches, folding in gently but thoroughly,between additions.
- Add the vanilla extract, and lemon juice and rind, and fold in.
- Add 1-2 dessertspoons of the mixture to each paper case, and level off.
- Cook at 170 for 15-18 minutes until they’re a pale golden colour and bounce back when gently pressed with your finger.
- Let them cool for a few minutes in the trays, then remove them to a cooling rack
- If you’re adding the syrup ( see NOTES) now’s the time to do this.
- Can I recommend that you put some newspaper or an old tea towel underneath the cupcakes to absorb the spills? This will save you a load of sticky cleaning up.
- Make up the syrup, and spoon it gently over each cake, then let them sit for a while, then you’re ready to make the icing.
- Weigh the cream cheese and butter into a bowl and using either a wooden spoon, or an electric beater, combine them together until completely mixed.
- At this stage, add your flavourings ( see NOTES)
- Weigh out the Icing sugar separately, then add it to the cheese/butter mixture, and mix until light and fluffy.
- It’s really important that you sift the icing sugar – otherwise you’re making a lot of work for yourself..
- Then either fill a piping bag, and go all artistic on me, or just spread it on with a knife (see notes below).
- Decorate with sprinkles and seasonal decorations ( it’s obviously Easter for these ones, but a little food colouring and festive sprinkles can make them Christmassy, and individual candles suitable for birthdays.
- I always find the icing quite soft, no matter how much icing sugar I put in, so I tend to keep these in the fridge before serving.
- a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon, or to taste
- A capful of vanilla extract, or a teaspoon of vanilla paste, which has the seeds in it.
- Grated zest and some of the juice of an orange or lemon.
- Cupcakes are supposed to be flat on top, but mine often aren’t! Don’t panic, the frosting covers a multitude, and they taste so good that I don’t believe you’ll hear many complaints!
- I sometimes don’t bother with the syrup, if I’m trying to reduce the over-all sugar content. However, I tend to (again!) add some lemon juice to cut the sugar. If these were for adults only, a drop of home-made Limoncello wouldn’t go amiss 😉
- I have to confess that I’m the world’s worst at dealing with icing – I get into a complete tizzy when I’m confronted with piping bags. So these days I just slap it on with a flat-bladed knife ,give it a bit of an artistic swirl, and hope that sprinkles and chocolate eggs will distract the punters!