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Cupcakes for a cause

As you may already know I never seem to need an excuse to bake something as it is one of my favourite hobbies.  However, when there is a good reason for doing so it makes it that little bit more exciting.  Last Monday was National RSPCA cupcake day here in OZ.  So what is cupcake day all about I hear you ask.  Cupcake Day for the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the biggest bakeoff in the Southern Hemisphere and involves Cupcake Cooks around Australia baking cupcakes and hosting a Cupcake Party to raise vital funds for the non-profit community organisation. 

My workplace was fully supportive of the project with several groups holding morning teas to sell their wares and donate funds raised.  I spent about 8 hours on Sunday making over 120 cupcakes, icing my last one at 10.30pm.  While many people made some amazing, decorative and elaborate designs (which gave me cupcake envy) I decided to make three different flavours each with their own special icing. 

G & I packed everything up on Monday morning and did our best for this fabulous cause, eventually raising over $150.00. 

To digress slightly, I must admit that I am not a big cupcake maker so when it came to finding some recipes to bake I went hunting far and wide.  The internet came up trumps with so many good recipes to choose from.  In the end I settled on vanilla with coloured glace icing, chocolate with chocolate butter cream and banana pecan with maple syrup butter cream.  I can’t tell you which flavour was favourite as they were all devoured by the end of the day. 

We must thank all those who purchased and/or donated to the cause, our little girl is very proud of you all! 

High 5 for a job well done!

 

vanilla cupcakes with glace icing – (recipe from Exclusively Food [1])
makes 12 cupcakes.
 

Ingredients
125g (4ozs) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (150g/5.3ozs) caster sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (188g/6.6ozs) self-raising flour
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
Icing
1 1/4 cups (175g/6.2ozs) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (5g) butter, softened
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (22ml) boiling water 
 
Preparation
For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 180°C  (350°F/Gas 4) or 160°C  (325°F/Gas 3) if using fan-forced oven.  If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven. 

Line twelve 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan holes with cases.  I used paper-lined foil cases. 

Using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl, starting on low speed and increasing to high once the sugar is incorporated.  Beat until the mixture is pale and creamy, stopping the machine once or twice during beating to scrape down the side and base of the bowl with a spatula. 

Add one egg to the butter mixture and beat for about a minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the side and base of the bowl.  Repeat with remaining egg.  Sift about one third of the flour over the butter mixture.  Stir with a spoon or beat with the electric mixer/beaters on very low speed until the flour is just incorporated.  Add about half the milk (about 1/4 cup) and stir or beat on very low speed until just combined.  The mixture will probably look curdled at this stage.  Repeat the process with the remaining flour and milk, making sure that you finish with flour and do not over mix the batter. 

Divide the mixture evenly among the cases (about 1/4 cup batter per case).  Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes are light golden. When they are ready, a skewer or thin-bladed knife inserted into the centre of a cupcake will come out without any batter attached, and the cupcakes should spring back when lightly pressed in the centre.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about five minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely. 

When cupcakes have cooled, make glace icing (see instructions below). Use a knife or offset spatula to spread the cupcakes with the icing.  If you wish to attach decorations, do so before the icing sets. 

Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.  The cupcakes can be made up to two days before serving.  If sprinkles are used, the colour may bleed into the icing over time. 

For the icing, stir icing sugar, butter and boiling water together in a small bowl until smooth.  Use the icing immediately.  If it starts to set before you have finished the cupcakes, stir in a few drops of hot water.  Add colouring as you wish. 

My tips/alterations:  *To make sure that your cupcakes are light and fluffy always making sure you alternate the flour and milk when mixing the batter.  You should also always start and finish with the flour.  *If the batter looks curdled at any stage don’t worry just keep going.  Once you add a little of the flour it should start to come together.  *To ensure that all cupcakes have the same measure I like to use an ice-cream scope to put the mixture into the cupcake cases.  *If you want your cupcakes to come out flat on top make sure that you don’t fill them above halfway up the cases but remember you will get more cupcakes from the recipe, but I don’t see that as a bad thing :).    

 

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate butter cream – (recipe from Cadbury Chocolate Cupcakes [2])
makes 12 cupcakes
 

Ingredients
100g (3.5ozs) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (150g/5.3ozs) caster sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (150g/5.3ozs) self-raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

125ml (1/2 cup) milk 
Chocolate butter cream
60g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1¼ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoons milk

Preparation
For the cupcakes, use exactly the same preparation as above.  The only difference being when you sieve the flour, sieve the cocoa and bicarbonate of soda with it.   

For the chocolate butter cream, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. 

My tips/alterations:  *These cupcakes are very similar to the vanilla recipe with just a little less butter and the addition of cocoa.  Therefore the same tips/alterations will apply as they did to the previous recipe.  *The bicarbonate of soda gave them a crunchy topping but the middle was still light and fluffy.  *The chocolate butter cream asks you to sieve the icing sugar and cocoa.  I skipped this step and just put these two ingredients in the food processor first and pulsed them to break up any lumps then added the butter and milk and blended to make it smooth.  

 

banana pecan cupcakes with maple butter cream – (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought)
makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
A.
125g (4ozs) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (110g/3.8ozs) caster sugar
1 large egg
B. (dry ingredients)
1 1/4 cups (188g/6.6ozs) self-raising flour
1 cup (120g) pecan nuts, finely chopped 
C. (wet ingredients)
550g (approx 3 medium/5.3ozs) very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup milk  
Maple butter cream
60g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1¼ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoons maple syrup
 
Preparation

For the cupcakes, use exactly the same preparation as for the vanilla cupcakes.  The only difference being the dry ingredients will be the flour and the nuts while the wet ingredients are the banana and milk mixed together.  So when alternating wet and dry ingredients all these will be included.  Remember to always start and finish with dry ingredients.  

For the maple butter cream, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. 

My tips/alterations:  *These cupcakes are similar to the Banana bran muffins [3] that I have made previously but with a few adjustments the mixture becomes lighter and smoother.  I mix the nuts in with the flour so that the flour slightly coats the nuts and this prevents them from all sinking to the bottom of the mixture.  *The butter cream recipe asks you to sieve the icing sugar. I skipped this step and just put it into the food processor first and pulsed it to break up any lumps then added the butter and maple syrup and blended to make it smooth.  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

ease: 9/10.  Basic cupcake recipes.  The more you do the quicker you get, trust me 🙂
prep time: 30mins. 
cooking time: 20-25mins.
total: 55mins.           

taste: 9/10.  These all came out light and fluffy and were exactly what they said on the box.  That is, the vanilla tasted like exactly vanilla cake and the chocolate ones exactly like chocolate, and although they were not as rich as some cupcakes I have eaten in the past I really liked them for exactly that reason.  They weren’t too sweet or too rich, they were just lovely.  My favourite were the banana pecan and the maple syrup butter cream complimented them perfectly. 

would I make it again:  Yes.  Anytime for a good cause. 

 

Can I have a cupcake......please?!