Birthday Vanilla & Chocolate Cupcakes

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It was my husband’s birthday this week, and tradition in his workplace says you bring in some cakes to share with your co-workers. I said I’d make some this year to save him having to buy them like he would do usually.

I’d also decided I’d part cheat my way through this as I had some cans of frosting in the cupboard that I wanted to use up – vanilla and chocolate, so I decided to make vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. I took the recipe for the cupcakes from my ‘500 Cupcakes & Muffins’ book by Fergal Connolly.

The cupcakes are really easy to make, and they last for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or freeze undecorated for up to 3 months.

Instead of making two batches of cakes, I made the vanilla mix first, split it in half and then added cocoa powder to one half to make the chocolate ones – the recipes are both exactly the same – but of course, the chocolate ones need the cocoa powder.

Here is the list of ingredients to make the vanilla cupcakes…

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To turn half the mixture into chocolate cupcakes add 2 tbsps cocoa powder.

I had bought some festive gold cupcake cases and I placed one in each of the spaces of the cupcake tin.

Preheat the oven to 175C. The recipe says that this will make 18 cupcakes – I managed to get 24 out of the batter.Place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and pale – about 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the cases – I just use a dessert spoon, but some people use an ice cream scoop to get equal quantities into each one.

Once half the mixture was in the cupcake cases, I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the remaining batter and folded that in.

With cupcake cases filled with the cake batter it was time for them to go into the oven for 20 minutes.

I always test a cupcake to make sure that they are cooked through by inserting a cocktail stick – if it comes out clean, they’re done.

Then onto a wire rack to cool down before the decorating fun begins!

After the cupcakes had cooled down, I placed them into an airtight tin to decorate the next day.

I decided to carry through the gold theme into the decoration of my cupcakes – having bought some soft gold pearls (which are so much kinder to teeth than those silver balls you used to be able to buy!) and some gold shimmer spray. I’ve never seen this for sale in the supermarket before and bought it on a whim a little while ago to try out at Christmas. Now was the perfect opportunity!

To decorate the cakes I had:

  • 1 tub Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Icing
  • 1 tub Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing
  • 1 can Dr Oetker Shimer Spray – gold
  • 1 tube Dr Oetker Soft Gold Pearls

Of course, I didn’t use ALL of the ingredients here – there is enough left over to make several dozen more cupcakes!

The ready made icing is gooey and thick – it is okay to use with a piping bag and nozzle, but on this occasion I just spooned it on the cupcakes.

I covered the vanilla cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and the chocolate cupcakes with the vanilla frosting – just to mix things up a bit! Taking a big dollop out of the tub with a teaspoon, I place it on top and spread it out thickly, swirling it a little bit to add texture.

After covering each cupcake I placed the vanilla topped ones on some kitchen paper and shook up the can of shimmer spray. Not knowing what to expect, or how fast it would spray out of the can, I took a softly softly approach and it was so easy! They coloured well and I will definitely use this product again! They also sell it in silver.

For the chocolate iced cupcakes I dropped the soft gold pearls on top – easy peasy!

I decided to leave the gold sprayed ones without sprinkles.

I wanted hubby to be able to take his cakes to work safely on the train and I had cupcake boxes that I bought a long time ago from eBay – I was all out of the ones that hold a dozen cakes, so had to make do with the ones that hold 6 each!

So with the cupcakes all securely placed in their holders inside each sturdy box, they were bagged up for hubby to take to work! I heard that they went down really well! However owing to some people not being in work, a few made the journey back home as well, so my son and I got a taste too – they were delicious!

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