Who doesn’t love a cupcake? And as it’s National Cupcake Week, what better reason to celebrate these diminutive treats. Perfect for little hands, these Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing may not win any prizes for originality but they’re a guaranteed hit. The mini biscuits on top finish them off perfectly.
This week is National Cupcake Week so we’re getting into the spirit of things in the MoKL Kitchen. After all, who doesn’t like a cupcake? They’re relatively quick and easy to make and are perfect for kids – just the right size for little hands. And piled up or on a stand, they make the perfect alternative to a birthday cake. They’re also a great introduction to baking for children, who in my experience love nothing more than helping with the process – from making the cake mix, to filling cases and decorating. Oh and did I mention licking the bowl.
The other thing we love so much about cupcakes is their versatility. A quick glance at the recipes on the National Cupcake Week website shows that the sky really is the limit when it comes to flavours and designs – from Eaton Mess to Sticky Toffee Pudding, the insanely delicious sounding Strawberry Marshmallow Milkshake, and even a Mojito one for grown ups (hands off, that one’s mine). That said, I’m keeping it simple with this cupcake recipe. But that’s not to say it doesn’t go down extremely well – vanilla sponge with chocolate icing, what’s not to like?
As for the decorations on the top, I have a thing about mini biscuits – Jammy Dodgers, Oreos, Jaffa Cakes, whatever you can find in the supermarket. I think they finish off the cupcakes nicely and the kids, well they just love everything about them. Sticking a biscuit on top also simplifies the decorating process (and speeds it up if you’re making a batch for a party). All you need is a big swirl of icing, then a strategically-placed biscuit to hide a multitude of piping sins. Even the most novice of bakers will produce cakes guaranteed to make an impression.
Makes 12 cupcakes.
- 120g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 40g butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 120ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 40g cocoa power
- 40ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar and butter and beat with an electric mixer.
- In a jug, whisk all the wet ingredients together – egg, milk and vanilla extract – and gradually pour into your flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Spoon the cake mixture into paper cases until two thirds full.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. The cakes will be light golden when cooked and springy to the touch.
- Remove to a cooling rack. The cakes must be completely cooled before you ice them.
- Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a mixing bowl.
- Add the other ingredients and mix with an electric mixer, starting very slowly until the icing comes together, then turn up the speed and whisk for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- I use a piping bag with a large X nozzle to pipe a swirl of icing onto each cake, but you can also use a knife to spread the frosting over the cakes.
- Finish off with a mini cookie or decoration of your choice. I’ve used mini chocolate flake pieces and Jaffa Cakes. Mini Oreo biscuits also work particularly well.
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