Jennifer Graham

You can frost the vanilla daisy cupcakes with almost any flavour of icing.
You can frost the vanilla daisy cupcakes with almost any flavour of icing.

Vanilla daisy cupcakes

The vanilla cupcake is the epitome of what a cupcake should represent and is by far the biggest seller at the bakery. You can frost this cake with almost any flavour of icing. Here we have topped it with simple coloured buttercreams and sugar daisies.

2¾⁄ cups plain flour

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2 teaspoons baking powder

200g softened unsalted butter

1¾⁄ cups castor sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Crabapple Bakery's vanilla cakes

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line two, 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the castor sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not overbeat as this will toughen the mixture.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Makes 24 keeps two days, freezes two months.

Decoration

1 quantity vanilla buttercream

food colouring: pink, yellow,

blue, violet, apple-green,

peach

24 sugar daisies

multicoloured sprinkles

Divide buttercream evenly between six small cups. Add a drop of one food colouring to each of the cups and mix, to create six coloured frostings.

Using a round-edged kitchen knife, apply the buttercream in the crabapple signature swirl. Working quickly, before the buttercream dries, top each cupcake with a sugar daisy and some sprinkles.


Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree cupcakes

I couldn’t count the number of Christmas tree  cupcakes we make at the bakery each year. We make them in three sizes using  green cupcake papers. The green foil cases featured here  look  even better, but they  only  come  in one  size. This is a great recipe for using up any leftover fruit  mince  that  you may have.

1 cup shop-bought fruit mince

1/2 cup brandy

1 cup milk

3 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

200g softened butter

2 cups soft brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Fruit mince cakes

Preheat oven to 170C.  Line two 12-hole muffin trays with green foil cupcake cases.

Put the fruit  mince and brandy in a bowl and  mix  until  thoroughly combined. Add the milk and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder,  ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In another bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add half the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the remaining sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the fruit mince mixture and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

Spoon mixture into cupcake cases, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Makes 24, keeps two days, freezes two months.

Decoration

24 bright yellow sugar stars

1 egg white

gold glitter

1 quantity Vanilla Buttercream

food colouring: green piping bag

star tip #9

gold, silver and green cachous, of assorted sizes

Using a small brush, paint each of the sugar stars with egg white. Sprinkle on the gold glitter.
Add  teaspoon green food colouring to the buttercream and mix until you have an even colour. Pipe the frosting in a circular motion, starting around the edge of the cupcake, to form a soft-serve ice-cream effect . Place a sugar star in the centre of each cupcake and sprinkle cachous over to resemble coloured lights.

Variation: If you're not a big fan of fruit mince, you can use this decoration on the Crabapple Bakery's vanilla cakes instead.


Crabapple Signature Swirl

The frosting should be soft – the consistency of whipped cream.

1 Using a round-edged kitchen knife, put a dollop of frosting in the middle of the cupcake.

2 Use the knife to push the frosting towards the edge of the cupcake. Begin turning the cupcake anti-clockwise, while  pushing the frosting clockwise.

3 Then, working from the edge of the cupcake, push the frosting back towards the middle, until you create a central peak.

4 Decorate immediately.


Vanilla buttercream frosting

200g softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

8 cups icing sugar

Cream butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar, and beat for at least 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is light, fluffy and spreadable. Add extra milk if  too dry or extra icing sugar if  too wet. Makes 4 cups. Keeps one week.

From The Crabapple Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham, photography by Julie Renouf, Penguin, rrp $24.99. Three dollars per copy sold goes to the McGrath Foundation for breast cancer support.