Someone asked me the other day as we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery just why cupcakes are so popular. It’s true, we really do have an obsession with cupcakes. While macarons, whoopie pies and marshmallows have all had their go and tried to become the ‘new thing’, the cupcake always wins. There are small (well kind of) and everyone loves little individual cakes but I think the real win is in their variation. There is a cupcake to suit everybody. Whatever flavour you want be that lemon, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, the list goes on. Covered in whatever frosting you like …. ganache, cream cheese icing, buttercream. Then of course they can be decorated however you want, be it with a quick dash of sprinkles or more elaborately with little fondant figures. It is no wonder everybody loves a cupcake. And that’s why when we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery we couldn’t help but be tempted inside by row upon row of absolutely perfect looking cupcakes and choose our individual, just what we want, cakes. Another thing…cupcakes are great fun to make at home and with a piping bag and a bit of simple decoration, very easy to make look professional.
This recipe is for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, for that time when you can’t decide which you want. The chocolate sponge is dark and moist and is covered with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. I finished these cakes with simple pink daisy, made from fondant icing.
To make the chocolate sponge (12 cupcakes) you will need:
110g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
125g caster sugar
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125ml whole milk
65ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water
Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, add the sugars, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. In another bowl beat together the egg, milk and sunflower oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The cake mix will be very runny so pour it into a jug so you can pour it out into the baking cases. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one half to two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 -25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Now to make the icing, you will need:
125g full fat cream cheese (cold)
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
450g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. If you are using an electric whisk or stand mixer then you might want to cover the bowl and whisk with a tea towel while you do this bit to avoid getting icing sugar everywhere. Now add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and whisk again. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined, if you whisk it too much then the icing will go runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. Fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (I used the Wilton 1M nozzle – my favourite as I’m sure you know by now!) and pipe big swirls of frosting on to your completely cooled cupcakes. Finish with whatever decoration you fancy!
And while we are on the topic of cupcakes here are a few cupcakes I came across recently:
How absolutely amazing are these gorgeous cupcakes that I found in the Whole Foods Market in Kensington!
And have you ever seen so many red velvet cupcakes in one place as at The Hummingbird Bakery in Soho??
Happy Cupcake Baking!