I was trying to decide what to do on a cold bank holiday Monday and decided upon baking some cupcakes to cheer us all up. I took inspiration from a fab book my nieces got me at Christmas and the Range Master competition and decided to have some fun.
Although I like the idea of a vanilla base, I couldn't resist adding some mixed spice and cinnamon into the base flavour in order to give them a seasonal Hot Cross Bun feel.
The trick to cupcakes is that the bases should be easy to make and the toppings should be fun. :-)
Spring Time Cup Cakes Recipe (For 24 small cupcakes)
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 level tsp mixed spice
1 level tsp cinnamon
185g self-raising flour
60g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6
- Lay out cup cake holders on a suitable tray or two. We went for pretty spring coloured cases.
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and chop the butter with a knife into small bits, then using a wooden spoon cream them together.
- Next crack the eggs into a separate small bowl and whisk them with a fork. Add this mixture gradually to the butter and sugar but keep stirring. If the mixture looks like it is going to separate add a tsp of flour to help it.
- Next add the vanilla, mixed spice and cinnamon, and gradually add both types of flour, do it slowly and add the milk a little at a time too.
- Spoon this into the cup cake cases and bake for twenty mins, or until they look lovely and golden.
- Allow them to cool in the tin for five minutes, before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Next is the fun part – I bought a lot of inspirational goodies, sprinkles, sweets, natural colourings, readymade icing decorations and thought I’d see what took our fancy.
First up we made some plain butter cream icing to get us started. We simply mixed 250g butter with 500g icing sugar and a dash of milk and a tsp of vanilla extract. This went into a piping bag, and we smoothed some on the cakes. We sprinkled on some coloured sugar strands and added the pre-made bees to giving them that perfect spring touch. We were ridiculously pleased with the results!
Next up we went for the Easter themed ones. This time we topped them with the readymade chocolate cupcake icing, added sprinkles to give them a nest like feel and two chocolate mini eggs to complete the look! Perfect edible spring time birds’ nests.
The next was a genius idea, we had made hot cross bun flavour bases, so we would transform them into Hot Cross Bunny cakes!
We used the butter icing to create a topping, but sprinkled this with coconut to make it look more like bunny fur! Next splitting some of the marshmallows I picked up made a near perfect set of bunny ears. We used the sugar dots for eyes and the chocolate coloured buttons for noses. Some candy cola laces were chopped down to make whiskers too – and again this was a very simple to put together look with fabulous results. They looked too good to eat!
Finally we wanted to play about with the food colourings, and chose to turn what was left of our butter cream icing green, by adding a capful of colour. It’s only a light spring time green, but it added a nice tinge to them and it was just for a bit of fun. As these were the last batch, we decided to just use up what we had left and had a play about with the sprinkles, and more chocolate mini eggs.
All that was left was to get them eaten, and give some away as seasonal gifts. I think the trick to this was to just have lots of bits available to play with and then see what the imagination can come up with!