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Very Indulgent Cupcakes

These are the ultimate girls’ night in treat, but, it has to be said, they are equally delicious to enjoy over morning coffee, afternoon tea, at a celebration or even as an alternative to dessert. In fact, it’s hard to think of a time when they aren’t suitable.

Recipe taken from In the Mood for Entertaining, Girl’s night In.

Makes 12

1 hour 20 minutes

for vanilla cupcakes

175g caster sugar

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

175g self-raising flour

for vanilla icing

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You will also need a deep muffin tin and twelve paper muffin cases, and a piping bag with a wide star nozzle

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.

To make the cupcakes, beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract using an electric mixer until the mixture is wonderfully light and fluffy. Give this plenty of time because the creamier the mixture, the lighter the cakes. Add one egg at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop the mixture from curdling. Finally, mix in the remaining flour.

Spoon the cake mixture into twelve muffin cases sitting in the muffin tin. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until it is light and creamy. Place in a piping bag with a wide star nozzle and pipe a wonderfully generous swirl on top of each cupcake.

PS . . . If you are making the cake mixture in a food processor, then it is worth adding 1 teaspoon baking powder to the mixture to ensure the cakes rise nicely.

Customize Your Cakes

Here are a few ideas for some other flavours for the sponge:

Chocolate Substitute 40g flour for 40g sieved cocoa powder.

Lemon Beat the grated rind of 1 lemon, plus 1 tbsp lemon juice in with the sugar.

Orange Beat the grated rind of 1 orange plus 1 tbsp orange in with the sugar.

Spice Stir 2 teaspoons mixed spice into the flour.

And a few ideas for flavouring the icing:

Dark chocolate (best cupcake match – chocolate, orange or vanilla).

Add 100g melted dark chocolate.

White chocolate (best cupcake match – chocolate, vanilla, orange or spice).

Add 100g melted white chocolate.

Orange flower (best cupcake match – spice, vanilla or lemon).

Add ½ teaspoon orange flower water and a few drops of orange food colouring (or red and yellow combined).

Lemon (best cupcake match – orange, lemon or vanilla).

Add the juice and grated zest of 1 small lemon, plus a few drops of yellow food colouring.

Rose (best cupcake match – vanilla, lemon or orange).

Add ½ teaspoon rose water and a few drops of pink food colouring.

Mint (best cupcake match – chocolate or orange).

Add 1 teaspoon natural peppermint extract and a few drops of green food colouring.

Coffee (best cupcake match – chocolate, vanilla or spice).

Add 1 tablespoon coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water.

Cinnamon (best cupcake match – orange, vanilla, chocolate or spice).

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, depending on how strong you would like the flavour to be.

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