Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Naturally coloured and flavoured strawberry buttercream made with freeze-dried strawberries. Your summer isn’t complete without a taste of these cupcakes! 

Recipe originally shared July 2015, updated June 2017. 

Fruit based buttercream is a summer favourite of mine and the yummy addition of freeze-dried strawberries creates the beautiful pink colour in this buttercream recipe I’m sharing with you. I’m personally not really into unnaturally coloured foods so often when I want to make a buttercream that’s coloured, I’d rather look for alternative ways of naturally colouring mine.

This recipe is based on a classic buttercream recipe except freeze-dried strawberries are ground to fine powder in a food processor and then the strawberry powder is incorporated into the buttercream. Incorporating freeze-dried strawberries into buttercream adds amazing natural strawberry flavour and it also tints the buttercream a faint pink colour.

To allow this strawberry buttercream to be the star of show I sat it atop a basic vanilla cupcake. Strawberry and vanilla happen to be my two favourite flavours, so combing the two had to happen sometime! My vanilla cupcake recipe is easy to make as it doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients such as buttermilk or yoghurt, which are ingredients you might not happen to have in your kitchen. This vanilla cupcake recipe however uses your everyday baking store cupboard essentials such as butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.

You might be wondering about why I choose to use freeze-dried opposed to fresh strawberries? Fresh fruit is great to use in some buttercream recipes, but strawberries in particular have a high water content so using fresh could produce a runny buttercream that’s impossible to pipe. The fruit and moisture levels are more concentrated in freeze-dried fruit compared to fresh, so when following this recipe you won’t have to be concerned that your buttercream will curdle or won’t be able to be piped.

What better way to celebrate summer and the strawberry season than with these cupcakes! They’ll be a hit at summer picnics, parties or barbecues or even served as part of an al fresco afternoon tea.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:

150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

3 medium or large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g (1 and 1/4 cups) self-raising flour, sifted – you can sub with 150g plain flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

Strawberry Buttercream: 

170g (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature

12g (1 cup) freeze-dried strawberries

2 tablespoons double cream (heavy cream), chilled

230g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C Fan / 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one along with the vanilla and mix to combine. Using a spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold in the flour and mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Be gentle and try to not over mix the batter.
  3.  Now evenly distribute the cupcake batter among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are a light golden colour and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove from the tin and transport the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and using a spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, continue to mix the butter for a further 3 minutes until it’s creamy and pale. In a food processor pulverise the freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground (wait for a moment to allow the air in the powder to settle). Add the strawberry powder to the creamed butter and stir through until combined. Now add the cream along with the icing sugar and again mix until incorporated. Whip the buttercream on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
  5. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a piping tip. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • Butter will need to be at room temperature for both the cupcake and buttercream recipes. Take butter out from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour. You’ll know your butter is ready to start baking with if when you press your finger gently into the butter it leaves an indentation. Either salted or unsalted butter can be used, typically I always use unsalted, but this time I used salted and it worked just as well.
  • Please note humidity can affect the outcome of your buttercream. The best way of avoiding your buttercream curdling is making sure your butter isn’t too soft (follow my tip above when softening butter).
  • Freeze-dried fruit can usually be located down the baking aisle of most supermarkets or sometimes, they can also be found in some specialist bakeware shops, but if you’ve had no luck looking in store you can order over the internet.
  • If you don’t own a food processor you can crush the freeze-dried strawberries in a resealable bag using a rolling pin until they’ve reached a fine powdery consistency.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If it’s humid where you live I’d recommend storing these cupcakes in the fridge and when ready to serve take the number of desired cupcakes out and allow them to sit a room temperature for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

jess

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 Moist carrot cupcakes topped with a luscious and tangy cream cheese frosting. 

carrot-cupcakes

I first shared these cupcakes a few years ago on my blog back in 2014, it will be nearly three years since the recipe was first published and I still enjoy these just as much as I did the first time round. The older recipe deserved an update and I’ve decided to share it again with brand new photographs. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and if I had to I would definitely pick carrot cake over a slice of chocolate cake any day!

Easter is nearing closer so these cupcakes I am revisiting today will be the ideal recipe to celebrate the occasion with.

The addition of spices in carrot cake is an absolute must and I can’t even contemplate a carrot cake/cupcake without cinnamon added. Along with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon I also like to add a full teaspoon of mixed spice as well. Mixed spice is another spice popular in many Easter bakes, it’s the British equivalent to pumpkin pie spice and it’s frequently used in many of our traditional recipes such as hot cross buns and teacakes.

carrot-cream-cheese-cupcakes

I wish I could tell you that these carrot cupcakes are healthy because they contain vegetables but unfortunately they’re not! Carrots and other vegetables such as courgette/zucchini are a popular addition in many savoury and sweet recipes. They add moistness and I like to put quite a lot of grated carrot into my cupcakes, this is so I can ensure that there’s carrot in each and every bite. There’s nothing more disappointing than taking a bite from a carrot cake/cupcake and not being able to taste any carrot!

To decorate I decided to top the cupcakes with a classic cream cheese frosting. I’ve trialled several different cream cheese frosting recipes and I’ve found this one to be the best as it holds its shape when piped and really compliments the flavour of the cupcakes.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcakes:

175g light brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Zest from 1 large orange

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150ml sunflower or vegetable oil

200g (approx. 2 large) carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

65g chopped walnuts, plus extra for decoration

Cream Cheese Frosting:

60g unsalted butter, softened

200g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

1.  To make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven 160 degrees Fan / 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and the orange zest.

2. In another smaller bowl or jug whisk together the eggs and oil until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the grated carrot and walnuts and stir until completely combined. Evenly divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining – mine took the full amount of time to bake. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transport them to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. To make the frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 5 minutes or until really pale in colour – stop the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

4. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and beat on high speed for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth.

5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired by piping or spreading the frosting onto each cupcake. Further decoration is optional, I chose to top each cupcake with extra chopped walnuts and a carrot made from royal icing. The carrot decorations can be purchased from most major supermarkets or online but just be sure to decorate just prior to serving. Cupcakes will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • To adapt the recipe into cup measurements please see my conversion tables page for help.
  • You can adjust the amount of spice or play around by adding different spices to these cupcakes. If you can’t find mixed spice where you live you can substitute it with pumpkin pie spice or alternatively use a different combination of spices.
  • Adding walnuts to the batter is optional. If you want you can leave them out entirely or swap them for pecans, raisins or desiccated/shredded coconut.
  • Leave the cream cheese out at room temperature for an hour prior to making the frosting. The cream cheese needs to be soft to ensure the frosting is smooth and all the ingredients incorporate completely.
  • Don’t add any additional icing sugar to the frosting as this will make your cream cheese frosting too runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. To get perfect cream cheese frosting my best tip is to measure your ingredients accurately using the metric system for the perfect results every time.
  • The way you choose to decorate these cupcakes is totally up to you. When I shared the recipe the first time round instead of decorating the cupcakes with chopped walnuts as I did this time I sprinkled the tops with coconut and dusted a few of the cupcakes with cinnamon.

carrot-cake-cupcakes-recipe

Enjoy!

jess

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Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Spiced apple cupcakes with caramel buttercream. A quintessential autumn treat in cupcake form! 

cupcakes-with-caramel-and-apple

I swear this year has been a complete blur and I just haven’t been able to keep up. I feel like it was only yesterday I was finishing my culinary diploma and straight after that I went on summer holiday. It’s Halloween today, later this week it’s Bonfire Night and very soon after that we will be celebrating Christmas. I’ve already had my taste testers reviewing some recipes I am hoping to share on the blog in time for Christmas. I can’t help myself as Christmas is my favourite time of year with all the sparkly lights and festive food, it’s just a fun and magical time spent with the closest people in my life.

On my last blog post, I spoke about how much I crave summer and warm weather, however I do still enjoy autumn. With cooler and shorter days, the crisp and chilly weather is a great excuse to have a cosy day in front of the TV watching way too many episodes of your favourite box set, sitting back and relaxing with a film and a giant bowl of popcorn or dedicating an entire afternoon to do some baking.

Recently I’ve been enjoying embracing autumn with bakes that combine cosy, warm spices. So today I’ve turned a quintessential autumnal treat into cupcake form. It’s no lie that I like baking cupcakes. I say like, but it’s more like love.

apple-cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are not only fun to bake, but also delicious to make when you’re feeling in need of an indulgent treat. Best of all this recipe includes fruit, so technically these cupcakes are kind of healthy?

The cake itself isn’t too overly sweet, so the caramel buttercream enhances it perfectly. These cupcakes aren’t like the usual cupcakes I tend to make as they have more of a denser muffin-like texture opposed to a buttery, fluffy cupcake. However, they are still delicious and successfully incorporate the taste of apple and subtly warming spice flavour from cinnamon and ginger in each bite. The flavour and texture of the cupcakes is best on the day of baking, but they will keep at room temperature for a few days – we all agreed that the cupcakes were just as tasty, if not tastier after a couple of days.

To decorate the cupcakes I wanted to pick a buttercream flavour that complimented the apple. When considering ideas, caramel buttercream sprung straight to mind, so I stuck with that idea.

This caramel buttercream is made with a smaller quantity of butter, but as caramel/dulce de leche changes the consistency of buttercream, I like to add just a touch extra icing sugar to make sure it was thick enough and would hold peaks when piped. The buttercream requires only three ingredients, plus one extra if you decide to add a pinch of salt like I did. For me, just the smallish pinch of salt evens out the sweetness.

You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well I’m thinking more along the lines of a cupcake a day keeps the doctor away! I’m not sure about you, but I like that logic!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Apple Cupcakes:

175g (1 and 1/4 cups) plain/all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

200g (1 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1 large free-range egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

90ml (6 tablespoons) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 medium apples (approx. 1 and 1/2 cups), peeled, cored and grated

Caramel Buttercream:

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened

375g (2 and 1/3 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix for a further minute until incorporated.
  4. Add the buttermilk along with half the flour ingredients and mix until a few lumps of flour remain. Add the remaining flour and fold to combine. Finally, fold through the grated apple.
  5. Evenly divide the cupcake batter between the paper cases, fill each cupcake case about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are risen and are starting to take on a golden shade. Check the cupcakes are baked all the way through by inserting a cake tester into the centre, if it comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining then the cupcakes are ready.
  6. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully transport to a wire rack. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature.
  7. To make the buttercream: Place the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter for 2 minutes until smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar in two batches and beat until combined. Cream on medium speed for 5 minutes, stopping the mixer halfway though and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure everything gets combined. Finally, add the caramel and a generous pinch of salt and continue to mixing for another minute.
  8. Fill a large disposable piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the buttercream. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and finish by decorating with a drizzle of caramel and some fudge chunks if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used cox apples to make these, however you can use braeban, bramley, gala or granny smith. You want to go for a relatively juicy apple, but not too juicy as this will affect the texture of the cupcakes and they may not bake correctly.
  • If you want you can dice the apple instead of grating/shredding it. Just be sure to cut the apple up into a small dice.
  • Buttermilk needs to be at room temperature. Leave the buttermilk out for at least an hour prior to baking the cupcakes.
  • If you don’t want to get too fancy you can decorate the cupcakes by spreading the buttercream on rather than piping it if you’re not confident enough.
  • Omit the spices if you’re not a fan.
  • Decorating is optional, we loved the extra caramel drizzle on each cupcake and the fudge chunks. You could definitely be decorate these in many different ways, so have some fun and get creative!
  • Recipe can easily be doubled to make 24 cupcakes if you’re wanting to make a bigger batch.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cupcake recipe from Chowhound

apple-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream

Enjoy!

jess

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream. These are for chocolate lovers only! 

white-chocolate-buttercream

It is National Chocolate Week. This is one of the UK’s biggest chocolate events and I don’t know about you, but I’ll take pretty much any excuse to eat chocolate. To celebrate I baked cupcakes, not just any cupcakes, divine dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

If you’re a chocoholic just like me, then these scrumptious cupcakes will definitely be right up your street!

The recipe starts with Cook’s Illustrated ultimate chocolate cupcakes, a recipe I cannot stop raving about it. With rich chocolate flavour, each cake is gloriously fluffy and will just melt in your mouth. There’s no denying that this is my favourite chocolate cupcake and I’m sure it will soon become yours too. The cupcakes also have the perfect flat top and that means you can decorate each cupcake with a nice, generous swirl of buttercream. I have tried many chocolate cupcake recipes, all of which had claimed to the best, but it was Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe that ticked all the boxes for my taste testers and myself.

It wouldn’t be a cupcake without the buttercream after all. A creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream sits atop a seriously fudgy and moist chocolate cupcake.

To make the buttercream, start by creaming your butter for a few minutes. You’ll want to have left your butter out overnight to ensure it’s really soft. Bear in mind the softer your butter is, the airer and lighter your buttercream will be. Once you’ve whipped your butter add the sifted icing sugar (in two batches) and slowly combine into the butter to avoid a sugar cloud and icing sugar going flying everywhere! Add the vanilla and continue to whip the butter and icing sugar together for an additional five minutes until the buttercream is really fluffy and light. Finally add the melted white chocolate and the cream or milk and try your very hardest to resist eating spoonful after spoonful…

chocolate-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-frosting

I wasn’t successful resisting eating the buttercream before icing the cupcakes. Yes, maybe I did eat a couple of spoonfuls, but who can blame me because homemade buttercream is addictive!

And the finished cupcakes? It was love at first bite. I did however refrain myself from eating cupcake after cupcake by giving the majority of the cupcakes away to my good friends and a few family members. Anyhow, I know another batch will definitely be happening in the near future!

I’ve listed some tips in my recipe notes, those can be found just below the ingredients and method. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful and enjoy the cupcakes!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Buttercream: 

230g (1 cup) salted butter, softened

250g (2 and 1/2 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g (6 ounces) white chocolate

60ml (4 tablespoons) double cream or milk

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the frosting: Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in a microwave in 20 second intervals. Leave to cool. As the chocolate cools, cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar in two batches along with the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. Mix in the melted chocolate followed by the cream/milk.
  5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, I guarantee you these cupcakes won’t last that long!

Recipe Notes:

  • I highly recommend using caster/superfine sugar when making these cupcakes. If you only have granulated sugar on hand, you can blitz it in a food processor for a few seconds to make it superfine.
  • Adding a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or powder adds to the intense chocolate taste. If you’re not a fan of mocha flavour, then just leave the coffee out of the recipe as it will work fine without.
  • For this buttercream I prefer to use salted butter rather than unsalted. This is because the white chocolate is very sweet, if you want you can use unsalted butter, but you might want to add a pinch or two of salt to the buttercream as you mix it.
  • You’ll need to use pure white chocolate and the best quality you can afford. Don’t substitute with white chocolate chips as they have stabilisers added and that will affect the texture of your buttercream.
  • I prefer to use double/heavy cream in my buttercream rather than milk. Cream will make a creamier, fluffier and richer textured buttercream.
  • Decoration is totally up to you, I decorated my cupcakes with triple chocolate curls which I purchased at my local supermarket. I also think decorating with milk or white chocolate buttons, chocolate shavings or sprinkles would look lovely.
  • To decorate these cupcakes I used a large closed star tip. It’s my favourite piping nozzle and makes the buttercream look like a Mr Whippy (soft serve) ice cream.
  • This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously ice 12 standard sized cupcakes. I did have a little buttercream left over, so you’re not a fan of too much buttercream then I would half the recipe.

chocolate-cupcakes-white-chocolate-buttercream-recipe

Are you a fan of white chocolate and want more cupcake recipes?

Make my Biscoff Cookie Butter Cupcakes next!

cupcake biscoff

Enjoy!

jess

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Vanilla Bean Buttercream

The best ever vanilla bean buttercream. Super creamy, fluffy and amazing swirled high on your favourite chocolate or vanilla cupcake! 

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Want to learn how to make the fluffiest, most perfect vanilla bean buttercream? If so, you’re at the right place!

I finally have a new bake to share with you. I haven’t been baking much lately so ease myself back in gently I decided to put a spin on these vanilla cupcakes, a recipe that I can always count on to work. The cupcakes are named “perfect” for a reason and that recipe is a must try for baking beginners because it’s straightforward and doesn’t require any out of ordinary ingredients.

This buttercream is one of first recipes I created for the blog way back when I first started it. I’d always loved making buttercream but I could never seem to get it super creamy and fluffy. Over the years (I’m only 20 but I make myself sound really old!) through experimenting, I’ve perfected an easy and simple vanilla buttercream that’s fail-proof and will work well every time you make it.

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Good old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes are definitely a favourite cupcake flavour of mine. I don’t think you can really go wrong with the classics. This beautiful buttercream suits all kinds of cupcakes, my favourite way is to top vanilla cupcakes with the buttercream but it would also be well suited swirled onto a fudgy chocolate cupcake if you fancy doing that.

As I mentioned, for this buttercream I used my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe as a base. I took the opportunity to do some retesting and update the original recipe ever so slightly. The only changes I made was this time I used margarine in place of butter because I find it gives a more even rise and I also used cake flour instead of regular self-raising flour. Another step I did was I reduced the oven temperature slightly so the cupcakes would rise more evenly and not dome.

Baking is a real science and those adjustments made a definite improvement!

To make my buttercream a touch extra special and treated myself to some vanilla pods. I love adding Madagascan vanilla pods in all kinds of desserts, whether that’s homemade ice cream, cakes/cupcakes, cookies and of course, buttercream and frosting. I particularly love adding it to batches of buttercream because it adds a gorgeous natural vanilla flavour and also I think the flecks of vanilla beans look really beautiful.

vanilla-bean-cupcakes

I could easily devour this buttercream before decorating the cupcakes – it’s really difficult for someone like me with a massive sweet tooth to resist! 😉 The finished cupcakes taste exactly like something from a high-end bakery, give them a try and you’ll see!

Ingredients:

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened – leave it out overnight and allow to soften at room temperature

300g (3 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Seeds scraped from 1 large vanilla pod

2 tablespoons double cream or milk, add extra if needed

1 x batch Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Method:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment beat the softened butter for 2 minutes until creamy and pale in colour.
  2. Add the icing/confectioners’ sugar along with the vanilla extract and the scraped vanilla beans. Combine on a low speed and then turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue to beat for 5-7 minutes until fluffy and a light colour. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything gets incorporated evenly.
  3. Finally, add the cream or milk and continue to mix for another minute until it’s combined fully. Use the buttercream to decorate a layer cake or frost 12 standard sized cupcakes.

Recipe Notes:

  • To scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, simply take a sharp kitchen knife and slice the vanilla bean directly down the middle and pull apart to open. Using the back of the knife, carefully scrape the seeds from the pod. I find this detailed post helpful. 🙂
  • Adjust the consistency of the buttercream with a couple of tablespoons of double/heavy cream or milk. I recommend picking cream over milk as the buttercream will have a more airy and creamier texture.
  • Recipe above yields enough buttercream to decorate 12 standard sized cupcakes or a small two-layer cake such as a Victoria sandwich. Depending on how much buttercream you use to decorate, you could possibly decorate a few more than 12 cupcakes.
  • If you can’t find vanilla pods where you live or they are too expensive for your budget, you can substitute the vanilla pod for an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract in this recipe.
  • If buttercream is too sweet for your liking try adding a pinch of salt or substituting the unsalted butter for salted.

dsc03542

Enjoy!

jess

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Malt Buttercream

Make your Monday a little sweeter with these intense chocolate fudge cupcakes with decadent vanilla malt buttercream. This cupcake recipe will be perfect for your next baking project! 

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I love sharing all my new cupcake creations on the blog, so this time I turned to another of my absolute favourite chocolate sweets.

You may be familiar with Maltesers? They’re malt balls covered in a thin layer of milk chocolate. They’re crunchy, sweet and I could definitely eat an entire sharing bag all to myself!

For these cupcakes I used my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. It’s made using a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder for rich chocolate flavour. Don’t be alarmed when you’re making these cupcakes because like any good chocolate cupcake the batter will be very runny. Through experimenting I’ve found a more liquid batter leads to a fudgier and far moister cupcake. My tip is to use an ice cream scoop (mainly for ease) when distributing the mixture between the cupcake cases – this way you won’t make any mess!

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Each cupcake is swirled with a generous amount of vanilla malt buttercream. The best thing is the buttercream tastes exactly like the centre of a Malteser. I have to admit after I finished the first cupcake I was reaching for another straight away!

I’m pretty sure you’ll have the same problem when you make these! 😉

If you are a Malteser lover just like me then you’ll love this cupcake flavour combo. Bake the cupcakes for parties, a girls evening in or even for afternoon tea. They are sure to be an instant hit! The cupcakes got a resounding thumbs up from the taste testers, particularly one who had just come home from a long day at work and devoured two of these cupcakes in one sitting!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

35g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

180ml (3/4 cup) hot brewed coffee or boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

170g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

½ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Malt Buttercream:

227g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I leave mine out overnight)

250-300g (3 cups) icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar), sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

38g (1/3 cup) malt powder (such as Ovaltine or Horlicks)

4 tablespoons double cream or milk, plus extra if needed

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee/water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160 Fan / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture and finally add the flour and continue to whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Divide the batter between the paper liners – I find using an ice cream scoop or a jug best for doing this. The batter should only fill about halfway up each cupcake case. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  5. To make the buttercream: Cream the softened butter, icing sugar and vanilla until fluffy and pale for 5-7 minutes. Now add the malt powder and beat until combined. Finally, add the cream and continue to mix until it has been fully incorporated. Fit a piping bag with your favourite nozzle and fill with the frosting. Pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake. Decorate each cupcake with crushed and whole Maltesers before serving. The cupcakes will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • Room temperature eggs are required for this recipe. To quickly bring eggs up to room temperature, place the eggs in a bowl or glass of warm water and leave for 5-10 minutes.
  • The cupcake batter will be very liquid. I like to use an ice cream scoop or jug to distribute the batter into the cupcake cases.
  • If you don’t have bread flour, it can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour.
  • Adjust the icing/confectioners’ sugar depending on how sweet you like your buttercream.
  • I prefer using double/heavy cream rather than milk in my buttercream as it results in a creamier and much lighter texture. As instructed in the recipe, you may need to add more cream/milk until you reach your desired piping consistency.
  • The cupcakes are decorated with whole and chopped Maltesers (Whoppers are the US equivalent). I used a sharp knife to cut the Maltesers up into smaller pieces – be really careful doing this.

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More cupcake recipes you might like to try!

cupcake biscoff

Biscoff Cookie Butter Cupcakes

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Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Enjoy!

jess

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Gingerbread Cupcakes

Spiced gingerbread cupcakes with tangy and fluffy cream cheese frosting. A festive cupcake perfect for Christmas time!

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It doesn’t really much more festive than these homemade gingerbread cupcakes! Lightly spiced with festive flavour packed into each bite, these cupcakes are just perfect for the season!

I’ve revamped a classic sponge recipe by adding light brown sugar for a delicious caramel taste, and festive spices for warmth. The frosting is my go-to cream cheese frosting. It’s completely fail-proof and works perfectly every single time I make it. I use mascarpone for a slightly creamier consistency and it also makes the frosting lighter. Together they are the perfect Christmas combination without being too sweet. A quick note: if you want you can half the frosting, as it makes an ample amount – but if you like a generous portion of frosting just make the whole recipe as I’ve written it.

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When I first tested these cupcakes out we ate them warm with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with toffee sauce – sounds delicious, right? These cupcakes are very versatile, so you can serve them either warm or at room temperature. I personally think serving one of these warm with a generous scoop of ice cream on the side, whipped cream or custard would make a super indulgent dessert!

To decorate the cupcakes I used these adorable mini gingerbread men that I found at the supermarket. But feel free to decorate with your own homemade gingerbread, or simply with sprinkles. These are sure to be a hit with your family and friends at Christmas.

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(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cupcakes:

150g unsalted butter, softened

150g light brown sugar

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Small pinch of grated nutmeg (optional

1-2 tablespoons milk

Cream Cheese Frosting:

500g full-fat cream cheese (I used a mix of cream cheese and mascarpone), softened at room temperature

150g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

225ml double cream, chilled

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 180 C /160 Fan. Line a cupcake/muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix to incorporate. Sift together the flour and spices, and add the to the batter. Continue to beat until no lumps of flour remain, then finally stir through the milk.
  3. Equally distribute the cupcake batter between the paper liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and when inserted into the centre a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the frosting: cream the softened cream cheese with the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the cream in batches and whisk until it’s just starting to thicken. Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your favourite tip.
  5. Pipe the cupcakes with the frosting and then decorate just before serving with mini gingerbread men, gingerbread sprinkles or any your other favourite sprinkles.

Enjoy!

jess

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