Welcome to my first post in what will be a series of ‘Baking Basics’ posts and…. VIDEOS! Yes, I made a video and it’s on my very own You Tube channel.
This recipe is ideal for beginner bakers or anyone just wanting to get back to basics. You don’t need any specialist equipment, although you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer if you have one, and it needs just 5 ingredients. This cupcake recipe is nothing new and you will find countless versions online, but it has been my base recipe for a lot of our cupcakes for the last 7 years and felt like it needed to be recorded here.
You can change the flavour by adding another extract or flavouring, add fruit or, when it’s baked, take out the middle and add a filling such as jam or curd.
This recipe makes 6 cupcakes, but you can easily double up for a batch of 12.
100g Margarine (or unsalted butter)
100g Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Self-Raising Flour
6 hole cupcake tray
6 large cupcake cases
Wooden spoon, spatula or whisk (or all 3! 🙈)
2 small spoons
Toothpick or skewer
Pre-heat your oven to 160
°C in a fan-assisted oven. (Alternatives: Gas Mark 4, 180
°F) and line a 6 hole baking tray with cupcake cases.
1 . In your mixing bowl place your margarine & caster sugar and cream together until you have a smooth mix.
Margarine V Butter* Not actual guinea pigs, they wouldn’t be able to give us any usable feedback!
You can, of course, use unsalted butter in place of margarine, just make sure its softened or it’s really hard work! I use margarine because that’s what we always did at home. When Helen & I started baking together she would use butter and I used margarine, so we did a little taste test on some unsuspecting guinea pigs*. The result was that while the butter based sponge was rich and buttery, the margarine made it lighter and more fluffy, and so this became the preference for us. Margarine, however, does not really have it’s place in brownies, bondies or cookies as the water and oil content makes it less stable.
2 . Add in your eggs and beat together to make a light anf fluffy mix. I ended up using a wooden spoon, spatula and whisk to get the consitency I wanted, so just have a go with whatever you’ve got. You want to make sure that there are no lumps of any of the individual ingredients.
3 . Add your Vanilla Extract and mix it through.
TIP: For the best flavour I would always recommend extract over essence. Extract is a natural product made from the vanilla pod, while essence is usually a synthetic creation that can have a funny aftertaste. It is also worth adding vanilla extract even if you are planning to flavour it with something else as well as vanilla can really help to push your other flavour forward.
4 . Add your self-raising flour and mix it through so you have a smooth and silky mixture. But stop as soon as it’s all come together and there are no lumps of flour.
5 . When you’re ready spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases, don’t fill them anymore than three-quarters full of the mixture will spill out of the cases while baking and you won’t get beautifully domed tops.
6. Place your cupcakes in the oven and bake for around 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. If you press the top of the cake it should spring back – if you leave a dent put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes. You can also use a toothpick or skewer to check if they are done – simply poke it into the cake and if it comes out perfectly clean your cakes are ready.
You can watch the video on You Tube to see all the above steps in action, or if you have any questions leave me a comment below. Next week I’ll be back with my buttercream recipe.
What else would you like to see in my Baking Basics posts? Let me know below. Thanks guys – and don’t forget to like & subscribe! 😉