I have loved baking the ‘I’ of the A to Z of Baking challenge this week, I can tell you! I opted for Ice Cream Cupcakes and these cheeky little treats have been fun to make, impressive to show off to friends and tasty to trough away on…
What’s made these cakes even more enjoyable was that I made them on Friday evening, ahead of a busy weekend of visiting a university friend and the gorgeous new addition to her family, a little baby boy, on the Saturday, before welcoming a school friend and her family over to our house for lunch on Sunday, so I had plenty of opportunity to share out the cupcakes over catch ups. As I’ve mentioned in previous baking challenge blog posts, I find baking so much more enjoyable and worthwhile when there is an occasion to bake for. On those weeks of the baking challenge when there’s not much happening generally and I’m struggling to palm cake off on people, it can all feel a little indulgent and, well, wasteful.
I followed a recipe shared with me from a friend of a friend and it was lovely and simple, but tasty. I knew that I’d be having to pipe the topping onto the cupcakes and this made me a little nervous because I’ve had a crappy plastic piping nozzle and equally flimsy piping bag for quite some time and every time I’ve used it, it’s ended in a bag splitting disaster. I’ve managed to avoid piping in my last few recipes but thought I really couldn’t avoid it any longer so I invested in a set of metal nozzles and sturdier bag earlier last week in preparation for the challenge. Not surprisingly, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ came true and it turned out that investing a little more in a decent set of nozzles and bag worked wonders!
I was proud to trot off to Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday afternoon with a tin full of ice cream cupcakes, the only disaster came when I arrived and found that most had fallen over in the tin on the way… I was sure there were that many in the tin that they would support one another but clearly not! Cue much ranting and raving from me at this point…
Luckily, with the help of my other half, we managed to salvage the cakes so they looked reasonably presentable once again and took them into our friends’ house; they had both been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the cakes and wondering what the creation for the letter ‘I’ would be! I don’t think they were disappointed with the result, even if the little cupcakes did look a little dishevelled after a two-hour journey.
These cupcakes are super fun – and easy – to make and look really impressive. The recipe I was kindly given is very tasty, not just your bog standard fairy cake recipe, so it’s an impressive looking cake that really packs a punch in the taste department.
The low point was all down to my naivety – next time I’m planning on taking cakes on a long-distance car journey, I really should invest in a more suitable method of packaging!
For the cupcakes (makes 20-21):
- 240g plain flour
- 280g caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 240ml whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 21 wafer ice cream cup cones
For the frosting:
- 250g mascarpone
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 150g unrefined icing sugar
- Zest of a lemon
Other optional ingredients:
- Small quantity of lemon curd to top the baked cupcakes with – this is optional
- A box of Cadbury’s Flakes, to top the cupcakes with
- Hundreds and thousands to sprinkle on top of the cakes
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
- Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
- Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
- Spoon the mixture into the wafer ice cream cup cones until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. Be careful not to spill cake mixture down the outsides of the wafer cones as it can burn when in the oven.
- Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack and once cooled, top with a layer of lemon curd before icing if you wish (this is optional, but adds to the flavour).
- To make the frosting, put the icing sugar, mascarpone and cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat till smooth and creamy. Mix in the lemon zest.
- Fill a piping bag with the frosting and then pipe onto the cupcakes in a circular motion.
- Top each cupcake with a mini Cadbury’s Flake and sprinkle some hundreds and thousands over if you wish.