Freelance writer and blogger. Visit my interior design blog at homeandheartaustralia.blogspot.com
Published January 7th 2011
Cupcakes have experienced a major resurgence over the past few years. Previously reserved for children's parties, they're now turning up at all sorts of parties, baby showers, and even weddings, in lieu of cakes. Everyone's jumping on the cupcake bandwagon - you can even become a fan of cupcakes on Facebook (so far 72,935 people have!). Judging by the crowds of nine-to-fivers lining up at cupcake shops around Melbourne every morning, eager to pick up the fashionable breakfast of a cupcake and a coffee, Melbournians are really embracing the trend.
A number of these shops have popped up around the CBD in particular. My favourite is The Cupcake Bakery. They have a couple of locations around Melbourne CBD, including 495 Collins Street. The Cupcake Bakery do gift boxes complete with ribbons to suit any occasion, as well as catering. They have dozens of different flavours, and even 'maxi cupcakes' that can feed up to twelve people.
These beautiful cupcakes are a sure way to impress next time you have guests. However, if you're game, you can recreate what the professional bakers are serving up yourself. Making cupcakes at home is a great weekend activity for children, and gives them an opportunity to get really creative. To make your cupcakes, specialised pans similar to muffin tins are available to buy, however I prefer to use cupcake liners. You can get these at the supermarket, or at any party store, in lots of different colours. The recipe I use is an old favourite, and works a treat. You'll need:
125 grams butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Start by creaming the butter, vanilla and sugar until it's light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift flour and baking powder together, then fold into the creamed mixture. Stir in the milk. I find it easier to put the cupcake liners into small muffin tins to bake; you'll need about 18 for this recipe. Spoon the mixture evenly into the paper cupcake liners. Bake at 190C for about fifteen minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, it's time to decorate them! This is where you can really transform the plain cupcakes into something fantastic. I use a butter cream icing recipe. You'll need 150 grams of softened butter, 250 grams of icing sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla essence and two teaspoons of hot water. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric beater, then add the vanilla and water. Beat again until it's smooth and creamy. A few drops of food colouring makes it easy to create colours and themes for your cupcakes. Pink or light coloured cupcakes are great for a little girl's birthday party, or red ones with white edible hearts would be perfect for Valentine's Day. Piping bags are available with nozzles of different sizes, so you can vary the dollops of icing.
A multitude of sprinkles and toppings are available at most supermarkets, which will really add to the theme of your cupcakes. It can be a little fiddly in the beginning, but with a bit of experimenting, you'll create some really impressive cupcakes. Good luck!
By sandr121 - reader Monday, 9th of May @ 10:28 am
Cupcakes are so much fun to bake and decorate. There are just so many creative options. One of my favourite flavours is chocolate cheesecake; super sticky, and lots of finger licking to follow. I love that cupcakes are making their comeback in Melbourne. Thanks for the recipe!
By Lisa Williams - senior reviewer Monday, 30th of May @ 05:14 am