Baking for beginners: Quick and easy vanilla cupcakes



I'm on a mission to become a great baker by this time next year. By 'great baker' I mean, having the tools, skills and tips under my belt to whip up 40 cupcakes or an immaculate Victoria Sponge every time the parents or in-laws come to eat. This is the very first time I've ever made cupcakes & icing. It's so bloody hard to master but I'm dead chuffed with the progress. Even Neil gave them 8/10 (say whaat).

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients (to make 6-8 lovely cupcakes)

60g plain flour
70g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
20g unsalted butter
60ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar
cupcake holders/cases

For the sponge

1) Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees celsius

2) Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and baking powder in a large bowl until you get a nice sandy consistency and everything is combined. Then gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is only just incorporated.

Tip: cupcakes turn out nicer when the mixture isn't overly mixed. I appreciate this makes no sense, but take note.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and your remaining milk. Use a fork if you don't have a whisk.Then pour this into your sandy mixture and beat until it's nice and smooth. Do not overmix, mind. Remember that tip up there!

4) Spoon the mixture into paper cases until two thirds full. Or if you're fancy like me, grab yourself some reusable cupcake cases. They'll save you some wonga.

5) Bake the cakes for 20 minutes exactly, or until the cake bounces back when touched.

For the vanilla frosting:

1) Beat 250g of Icing Sugar together with 40g of butter in a bowl until the mixture comes together.

2) Combine 10ml of milk and a few drops of vanilla extract in a bowl and gradually add the mixture to the Icing sugar.

3) Keep mixing, mixing and mixing. Make sure your icing isn't too runny - pour even more Icing sugar into the bowl to thicken any runny catastrophes. And finally, shove it all into a piping bag and voila, it's time to get really messy and decorate!

Enjoy your scrummy little creations!