Wednesday, 3 April 2013

50 Cupcakes for a 50th Birthday

First of all, I hope all my readers had a Happy Easter.
This Easter weekend has been the most challenging, baking wise, ever. Not only did I need to make something nice for Easter, but it was my mum's 50th birthday!
I mean it was on the same level as the Burger Cake as I had to stay up late putting the finishing touches on the 50 cupcakes
I know 50 isn't really a huge number compared to the professionals, but making the decorations like roses and buttons as well as paint them with edible paints is a tough job to do in one go. Nevertheless, I managed and they went down a treat. 
Lemon Cupcakes with a Lemon Buttercream 
Mum had no idea what she wanted, the only clue I was given was: "chocolate or lemon maybe... I'm not sure just make something nice for my 50th." 
By the end of the night I was covered in buttercream, icing sugar and glitter. I also had a fair amount of chocolate buttercream. It was just 'taste tasting'.

I would recommend that, since this is a large amount of cupcakes, that you use a mixer like a Kitchen Aid. It makes things a little easier. However, if you half each recipe you can use a small hand held whisk (Lemon cupcakes 12 and Chocolate cupcakes 16). 

Recipe: Makes 24 cupcakes (Adapted from Cupcakes from The Primrose Bakery)
·       220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       550g golden caster sugar
·       4 large eggs
·       300g self raising flour, sifted
·       350g plain flour, sifted
·       180ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       2 tablespoon natural yoghurt
·       Grated zest of lemon (About 2 teaspoons)


Lemon Cupcake Ingredients
Buttercream
·       220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       Grated zest of 2-3 unwaxed lemons about 4 teaspoons
·       1kg icing sugar, sifted
 ·      Glitter, sprinkles, decorations and even candles!

Equipment:
·       Bowl x3
·       Mixer
·       Grater/zester
·       Measuring Jug
·       Sieve
·       Tablespoon
·       Muffin tray lined with cupcake cases x 2 
·       Palette Knife 

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 160c fan/180c/350f/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
Step 2. Cream the Butter and Sugar together.
Step 2. Add the eggs and beat well
2.    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should 3-5 minutes using an electric mixer. Add the eggs into the creamed mixture, beat until incorporated
3.    Combine the two flours in a separate bowl and combine the milk, lemon juice and sour cream in a jug. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added, incorporating the lemon zest with the last third with the flour. Don’t worry if the mixture begins to curdle: simply add another spoonful of plain flour and beat well.
Step 3. The lemon cupcake cake batter once all the ingredients have been added. 
4.    Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes-it should come out clean.
5.    Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they are completely cool, you can ice the cupcakes.
6.    In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, lemon juice, zest and half the icing sugar until smooth-this can take several minutes using a electric hand mixer. Gradually add the reminder of the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy.


 There were quite a few cupcakes....

Ok, there were a lot of cupcakes and that's just the lemon ones!

Chocolate Cupcakes decorated with sugar paste buttons and butterflies. 
Chocolate Cupcakes (Adapted from Cupcakes from The Primrose Bakery)
Recipe: Makes 32 cupcakes
·       230g 70% good-quality dark chocolate
·       170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       350g golden caster sugar
·       4 large eggs, separated
·       370g plain flour, sifted
·       1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
·       1 ¾ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
·       500ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       Large pinch of salt
·       2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Buttercream
·       344g 70% good-quality dark chocolate
·       2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·       500g icing sugar, sifted
Equipment:
·       Bowl x3
·       Mixer
·       Electric hand mixer/whisk
·       Measuring Jug
·       Sieve
·       Tablespoon
·       Teaspoon
·       Large Metal spoon
·       Muffin tray lined with cupcake cases x 3   
·       Palette Knife/Icing bag fitted with a star nozzle


1.    Pre-heat the oven to 170c fan/190c/350f/Gas Mark 5 and line the 12 hole muffin trays with cupcake cases.
Step 2. Melt the chocolate in 30 second bursts mixing well in between 
2.    Break the chocolate up into squares and place in a microwavable bowl. On a medium heat, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stir and microwave for a further 30 seconds until smooth. Make sure not to burn the chocolate!
Step 3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. 
3.    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should 3-5 minutes using an electric mixer. In a different bowl beat the egg yolks with a fork for several minutes. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture and beat well. Next, add the melted chocolate to the mixture and beat again.
Step 4. The cake mixture with the flour and milk mixtures all added. 
4.    Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a separate bowl. Put the milk and vanilla extract in a jug. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
5.    In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold in the eggs whites into the cake batter with a metal spoon. (Don’t beat or you’ll take the air out of the mixture.)
6.    Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. (You may find it easier to put the mixture into a jug to pour into cupcake cases, as its very liquid batter!) Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes-it should come out clean.
7.    Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they are completely cool, you can ice the cupcakes.
Step 8. Add the chocolate once all the other ingredients have been mixed.
8.    To make the chocolate buttercream, melt the chocolate as in step 2. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and the icing sugar until smooth-this can take several minutes using an electric hand mixer. Add the chocolate and beat until all of the chocolate has been incorporated. This should be easy to pipe in a piping bag or spread with a palette knife. 
Chocolate buttercream in all it's chocolatey glory! Taste test required.
I'm gutted that I didn't take more pictures of the method process and the party guests having fun eating the cupcakes. But I was told by everyone, including the kids, that they were pretty damn yummy! But I got few pics of the chocolate cupcakes.




The most important thing is that mum had a good 50th birthday. I'll be posting really soon on where we went and what we did. It has something to do with baking (or at least eating baked products). For now I'll have to keep you guessing.

Bake On! Penny x
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