Nothing brings me greater joy than giving. I could give, give, give all day and night and never tire of it. I love producing smiles from people – is there honestly any greater feeling? I think not. I cannot help myself when it comes to buying people material gifts. I could spend hours seeking the perfect present. I love buying a gift that will mean something to the receiver, just as much as I enjoy buying a gift that the receiver will have hours of fun with.
But a gift can have even more meaning if it has been crafted with your own hands. A home-made, edible gift can bring on the warmest of smiles. I believe that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. If you provide them with a happy belly, in return, you will be rewarded with a warm, fuzzy feeling that lurks in the deepest chambers of your chest.
I wanted to give Ben a gift last week, so I decided to lovingly bake a batch of cupcakes for him, because he is honestly the most awesome person ever. I whipped up my best chocolate cupcakes, topped them with a sort-of-caramel frosting through a cute little nozzle and I topped this frosting with edible love hearts and other adorable toppings. To put the icing on the cake (excuse the pun), I presented the cupcakes in a cupcake box, to make the gift even more special. 🙂
I made a dozen altogether, which meant that Ben had a box of four, his parents and sister had a couple, as did my mom and dad, and of course, myself. When my sister, Alex, returns from Canada, there will be a box waiting for her too!
The cupcakes were received very warmly and with great enthusiasm. Ben was extremely delighted with his gift. I think that I will make more home-made gifts in the future. Sometimes, a little can go a long way.
For the cupcakes:
- 100g self-raising flour, sifted
- 2 1/2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder, sifted
- 140g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 120ml milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to Fan 160C/325F/Gas 3.
- Line a standard muffin pan with paper cases.
- Combine the sifted flour and cocoa powder in a bowl with the sugar and salt. Combine with the butter until a sandy consistency has been achieved.
- Add half of the milk, beating until combined.
- Beat the egg with the rest of the milk and the vanilla.
- Add to the mixture and beat until no lumps remain.
- Divide the mixture between the paper cases, until 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from the pan and leave to cool fully on a wire rack prior to frosting.
For the frosting:
Really, you can use any frosting you like. You might enjoy chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cream cheese. Make whatever takes your fancy. Ben loves caramel frosting. I have a wonderful recipe for it, but unfortunately I ran out of brown sugar, so I had to improvise with caster sugar. The frosting didn’t taste of caramel, but it managed to turn into the tastiest white frosting that I have ever made.
- 60g butter, softened
- 120g caster sugar (brown sugar for a caramel frosting)
- 40ml double/heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g icing sugar
- Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the sugar and cream. Cook over a medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes or until the sugar has been dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and add to this the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, decoratively pipe the frosting on and decorate with lovely toppings.