The Contented Baker turns ‘1’ today and to celebrate I thought cupcakes might be in order.
So what have I made of my first year of blogging? Well, it has been an incredible learning journey. To put it in perspective probably until 18 months ago I had no knowledge of blogs, had minimal contact with social media and my IT skills were stuck in the early ‘noughties’. Then, through my passion for home baking I stumbled across beautiful food and baking blogs. What better way to document your bakes, learn from others and share inspiration with like-minded folk? I wanted to try it! The Contented Baker came into being.
Blogging is a lot of work and a lot of fun! It can be unpredictable but fundamentally it is a wonderful way of connecting with fellow foodies from around the world. Thank you to anyone that has ever read, or commented on my posts, or ‘liked’ me on Facebook. I really appreciate all your comments and you taking a few minutes out of your very busy days to do so!
Let’s talk cupcakes…
I used to make cupcakes often – a vanilla cake with frosting, something quick and easy for the kids to eat. Nowadays though, I feel cupcakes should be a little bit more special, like an individual dessert or a special treat. These have my ‘go-to’ Hummingbird Bakery Lemon sponge recipe with an adapted Blackberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Blackberry Coulis. Trust me, these are very good.
Often I feel that cupcakes can to be too heavy on the frosting and are too sweet and as a result need more cake to combat the sweetness (these are not because of the beautiful Swiss meringue buttercream). Nevertheless, I like more sponge so I fill the cases more heavily making 8/9 cakes but otherwise this recipe makes 12 regular cupcakes.This lemon and blackberry favour combination is one of my all time favourites and works really well in these cupcakes. They are very delicious. Worthy of any celebration!
Thank you for all your support. x
- 120g plain flour
- 150g caster sugar
- 11/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Zest of two lemons, grated
- 40g unsalted butter, softened
- 120ml milk
- 1 egg, beaten.
- 3 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- pinch salt
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 300g fresh blackberries
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, or Gas Mark 3. Place cupcake cases in a twelve hole muffin/cake pan.
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, butter and lemon zest into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and mix on a slow speed until everything is combined. Still on a slow speed, add the milk until it is incorporated. Add the beaten egg until just combined and a smooth batter has formed.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and bake for 20 minutes, turning the tray half way through the bake. One baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool a little in the pan before turning out and cooling fully on a wire rack before frosting.
- Prepare the blackberry coulis/sauce first. Rinse all the blackberries and then set aside a third/approximately 100g of the berries. Put the remaining 200g of blackberries into a medium pan on a low heat. Add the juice of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Stir whilst over the heat and squash the berries with the back of a spoon. Once the sugar has dissolved, tip the mixture into a bowl and then place a sieve over the pan (in which the berries were heated) and tip the blackberries into the sieve and push the juice and pulp through, leaving the seeds in the sieve. Heat a little further to allow the sauce to reduce a little. Set aside and leave to cool.
- In a glass bowl, place the egg whites, 100g caster sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and with a whisk, constantly whisk the mixture until it is hot to the touch. When it is hot, pour into a freestanding mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk for about 10 minutes, or until the side of the mixer bowl is no longer warm. With the mixer on a slow speed, gradually add the butter in small increments until all incorporated. Change from the whisk to a paddle attachment on the mixer and mix further until light and fluffy. Add approximately 2/3 of the coulis/sauce to the buttercream and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Spoon or pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. Drizzle with the coulis and finish by placing a fresh blackberry on the top.
Source: Cupcake Sponge from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook’ by Tarek Malouf and buttercream adapted from Marthastewart.com