Having the ingredients for a basic recipe up your sleeve can provide you with something instant for when friends or relatives turn up unexpectedly; equally they can be a fun rainy-day project for children, and a great last-minute present idea. Bake in advance for a children’s party or picnic and let the children decorate their own; line up on a tray and spell out ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’, ‘ANNIVERSARY’ or so on, plus the recipient’s name; or pack in a pretty box or tin tied up with ribbon, which can form part of the present.
, which can be made by hand or using a hand-held electric whisk, makes 12 regular-sized cakes. For a professional finish, try not to overfill the cases; the
looks better if contained by the paper cases rather than dripping down the sides. There are endless variations for decorating the cakes.
You will need
• 110g (4oz) butter, softened
• 110g(4oz) castersugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• 110g (4oz) self-raising flour, sifted
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 200g (7oz) icing sugar
• juice of 1 lemon
• Food colouring (optional)
• Assorted sugar balls, flowers, sweets and so on, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and, either whisking by hand or using a hand-held electric whisk, cream together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the mixture gradually, along with the vanilla essence. Fold in the flour and baking powder and mix gently together. Spoon into the cases, leaving room for the cakes to rise.
Bake for 20—25 minutes until the tops are golden and firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool before decorating. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and beat in the lemon juice until smooth. Divide into smaller bowls and add colouring, if using, one drop at a time, until the desired shade is reached. Spoon on to the
and decorate as much or as little as you want.
Excerpted from Homemade: Gorgeous Things to Make with Love by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson. Copyright 2009 by HarperCollins. Excerpted with permission by HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.