Cupcakes For Loved Ones

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

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Fan 160C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cases.
  3. 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.
  4. Add half of the milk, beating until combined.
  5. Beat the egg with the rest of the milk and the vanilla.
  6. Add to the mixture and beat until no lumps remain.
  7. Divide the mixture between the paper cases, until 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
  9. 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. 

Ingredients:

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar (brown sugar for a caramel frosting)
  • 40ml double/heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Remove from the heat and add to this the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, decoratively pipe the frosting on and decorate with lovely toppings.

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