To celebrate National Cupcake Week, the delicious team at Mums Who Bake has given readers of angels & urchins 10% off everything. There are baking cases, edible glitter, cake stands, and cookie cutters in shapes from space rockets to beautiful butterflies. Just visit www.mumswhobake.co.uk and enter ANGELS at checkout.
To inspire you to pop on that pinny, we caught up with Vicki Hoskins, founder of Mums Who Bake – and our latest inspirational Mums We Love.
Vicki, have you always been a domestic diva?
No, not at all!! Prior to attending a cake decorating course in January 2007 I didn’t really bake much. I used to make the occasional carrot cake for the children, but that was pretty much it. The decorating course opened my eyes to what I was capable of, as I had always believed that I wasn’t very good at making and decorating cakes.
So what happened after the initial decorating class?
I started experimenting with recipes. Once I realised that there was a wealth of equipment that could make it possible for even me to decorate cakes, I set about perfecting my baking so that that I could wow people with what I had learnt!
What’s the easiest, speediest, most crowd pleasing recipe in your repertoire?
Vanilla cupcakes. Here’s my basic recipe:
125g plain flour
125g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5tsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients in a mixer, spoon into prepared cake cases (only half full if you want a flat top to decorate) and place into a pre-heated oven at 160C (150 if you have a fan oven).
Bake for 17/18 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
Leave in the tin for 2 minutes then take out and place on a cooling rack.
Decorate as desired!
I’d use buttercream icing. Simply use twice as much icing sugar as butter (unsalted) and a tablespoon or two of milk/water to give it a softer consistency.
FOR UP TO 24 CUPCAKES
250g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
1-2 tbs water/milk
Cream the butter first until it is pale and creamy.
Sift in the icing sugar in batches.
Add enough milk to give you a soft consistency.
The quickest way to decorate cupcakes is to simply use a small palette knife to spread it onto the top.
Looks particularly effective if you colour the icing with different colours (paste colours are best – they are more vibrant and don’t add any extra liquid to the icing).
How do you make cupcakes light and fluffy?
I mix my cupcakes in my stand mixer or magimix. I simply throw all the ingredients in (I don’t even sift the flour) and I mix for approximately 1 minute until it is all combined. If you don’t have a mixer then the best way is to try and incorporate as much air into the mixture as you can. By hand it’s probably easier to use the traditional method of beating the sugar and butter together, mixing in the eggs & vanilla and then stirring in theflour/baking powder with a metal spoon. If using this method I would definately sift the flour. Another common question is how to get the cupcakes flat. You need to watch how much batter you put into the cake cases. If you want them to be slightly below the rim of the cake case (if, for example, you are going to flood it with glace icing) then don’t fill it any higher than half way. If you want a slight peak then fill up to 3/4 full. Baking at a lower temperature though also really helps. You may have to experiment with your own oven but I find that baking in my fan oven at 150 means that 9 times out of 10 they come out beautifully flat and ready to decorate.
Any other quick tips to turn so-so to special?
It is so simple to decorate cupcakes to make them look amazing! Colour is a key thing in my opinion, using a variety of colours with your icing will make a great display. Also having a few bits of equipment such as the Mr Whippy Nozzle, some sprinkles and a few plunger cutters can turn a very plain cupcake into an amazing work of art. Without, to be honest, an awful lot of skill or time required. Using a cupcake tree is a great way to show off your cupcakes!
Anything new you’d like to tell us about?
We’ve recently launched cupcake decorating courses and they are proving incredibly popular. The idea behind the courses is not to train people to be professionals (although with the skills you learnt you could easily kick start a cupcake decorating business) but just to show busy mums, dads, grannies that anyone can decorate cupcakes and with a bit of imagination, the right equipment and some confidence in your ability you can create fantastic gifts, birthday treats or just a centre display for pudding. The cupcakes shown here were made yesterday on one of our courses. The lady had never done anything similar before. I’m sure you agree that they look divine! Our courses run just outside Milton Keynes. We offer discounted group bookings (which are currently on special offer). Groups of up to 8 people can book for as little as £200 per group.
Come and visit Mums Who Bake – or give us a call on 0844 736 5882. Don’t forget the ANGELS code at checkout for your 10% discount!