i love cupcakes. i do. but i love cream cheese frosting more. sometimes the cake part is really just a way of eating loads of frosting, in a more legitimate way than just licking it straight off the spatula. anyone else, too?
but these cupcakes? frosting or no frosting, they’re stand-alone amazing.
they manage to be both light and fluffy, and deliciously dense at the same time. oh and most importantly, since they keep so well overnight, you can whip them up the evening before a party so there’s one less job to do on the day itself!
the recipe for both the cupcakes and frosting is from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. the quantities as listed in the recipe book only make about eight large cupcakes, so i like to double it for a more sizeable amount ;)
for the cupcakes
200g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
280g caster sugar
3tsps baking powder
a decent pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
240ml whole milk
half a teaspoon vanilla extract
for the frosting
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
450g icing sugar
190g cold full-fat cream cheese
n.b. the amount of sugar required in this icing is sickening. but that’s what makes it taste like heaven, so just don’t let on to your guests and noone will be any the wiser ;)
1. preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius/ 325 fahrenheit/gas mark 3.
2. put the flour, cocoa powder, caster sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding mixture. give the mixture a stir through with a balloon whisk, to get rid of any lumps. add in the butter, and beat the mixture (with a handheld whisk or freestanding mixer) on a slow speed until it reaches a sandy consistency.
3. whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl or jug, and slowly about half into the flour and butter mixture. beat to combine, then turn up the speed to get rid of any lingering lumps.
4. turn the speed down again, and add in the remaining milk mixture. don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you don’t miss any! continue to beat for about a minute or two longer, until the mixture is light and aerated.
5. spoon the mixture into muffin cases (traditional english cupcake/fairycake cases are too small) until about two thirds full, and bake for about 20-25 minutes. you can test for ‘doneness’ by gently pressing on the top of a cake, and if it bounces back- it’s ready! or, poke a skewer (i use a strand of raw spaghetti!) into one of the cakes, and check to see that it comes out clean.
6. whilst the cakes are cooling, make up the frosting. cream together the butter and sugar (drape a tea towel over your mixer to catch the sugar dust!) then add in the cold cream cheese in one go. beat until combined, then turn the speed up and continue beating for a good couple of minutes. this makes the frosting lovely and light!
7. pipe, palette knife, or spoon icing on top of each cupcake, and decorate with sprinkles of your choice! i had a little hunt around online for a decent ‘how to’ piping tutorial, but couldn’t find one i liked. i’m by no means an expert, but maybe i should make one?