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American themed birthday cupcakes

As I mentioned in my last post, it was 2 of my best friends’ birthdays this week.  For Sasha’s birthday she had an American themed party at her house (as her and her husband have recently been to New York).  I dressed up as Sandy from Grease!  Here I am with Sasha (I’m on the left!) eating a slice of cheeseburger flavoured pizza (I didn’t even know that existed!!):

I wanted to make cupcakes as they’re very ‘New York’ – after watching Sex and the City.  So I was trying to think how to make them even more ‘American’ so I thought red, white and blue and stars.  So I spent ages cutting out all these stars from regal icing:

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The Hummingbird Bakery cupcake recipe is by far the best tasting cupcake I’ve ever had.  Here is the recipe:

4½oz/120g plain flour

5oz/140g caster sugar

1½ tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt (I left this out but used slightly salted butter)

1½oz/40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

4½floz/120ml whole milk

1 egg

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 quantity vanilla frosting – see below

Stars to decorate!

A 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

  • Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.
  • Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  • Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  • Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
  • Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
  • A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting (see next recipe) on top and decorate.

And here is recipe for the tastiest frosting

Vanilla frosting

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes.

9oz/250g icing sugar, sifted

3oz/80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1fl oz/25ml whole milk

A couple of drops of vanilla extract

Food colouring to suit (optional)

  • Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  • Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  • Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
  • Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
 Here they are pre-star decoration:
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The frosting tastes divine!!  And here they are all glammed up:
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Thank goodness for my little star plunger cutter!!
These went down so well at the party, I think everyone had one in the end, and Sasha was sad there wasn’t many left over at the end of the night for her to eat!
I actually find the cakes themselves are very moist and so satisfying 🙂
Give them a try, you won’t regret it.
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Party cupcake time

My best friend and her husband often have parties/gatherings/soirees at their house and always provide lots of delicious nibbles for us all. So instead of ‘bringing a bottle’ I decided to bring some cakes. I dipped into my new Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book and found these indulgent looking chocolate cupcakes too tempting to ignore.

These are very rich and went down very well at the party! In fact, my best friend is coming over this weekend so we can make them together as she liked them so much 🙂

Ingredients for the sponge:

80g unsalted butter

280g caster sugar

200g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

1tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

240ml whole milk

2 large eggs

Ingredients for the frosting:

400g icing sugar

100g cocoa powder (I only used 50g as thought 100g was a bit excessive!)

160g unsalted butter

50ml whole milk

Chocolate stars, sprinkles, shavings etc to decorate

Instructions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 190° C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases

2) Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric mixer) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3) Whisk the milk and eggs together in a bowl then slowly pour 3/4 of this mixture into the flour mixture, beat on medium speed to combine, and add the remaining liquid mixture in continuing to beat at medium speed to get rid of any lumps but do not over-mix.
4) Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5) To make the chocolate frosting, whisk the icing sugar with the cocoa powder and butter on low speed until the mixture is a sandy consistency. Pour in the milk, then increase to high speed until soft and fluffy.
6) When the cupcakes are cold, pipe or spoon the chocolate frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles.
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