Making cupcakes for my children's school's Children in Need event is not something I would usually do. Cupcake making is relatively new to me, and only came about from a day of boredom when I decided all I wanted to do that day was learn to make cupcakes, and it's something I've been having fun doing since then.
I'm not niave about my skills and at this moment in time there was no way I'd even attempt to make something like these from Nicola at Small Things Iced.
I ordered some Pudsey cake toppers from Ebay, and some Pudsey Cake cases from Lakeland.
Pudsey Cake Toppers
Pudsey Fairy Cake Cases
Knowing that 8884 (my name for what I have since discovered is pound cake, or in my cases 1/2 pound cake) yields 12+ muffin sized cakes, I decided to make one batch, since my Pudsey cases were clearly fairy cake sized. I was inform by Shannon (my daughter) that I was expected to make 36 cupcakes. No problem, by judging it right I reckoned on getting 36 fairy cakes out of 8884. The only problem was the toppers I'd ordered were a pack of 24. So I'd make some yellow butter-cream, and found some multi-coloured sprinkles in my cupboard. Pudsey has multi-coloured spots on his bandage, so there's my link in. Only the toppers didn't arrive on time, and actually still haven't arrived as I type (but it is Sunday, so not really expecting them today). But that was ok, I had the sprinkles. Back to the fairy cakes. 8884 yielded 54 fairy cakes!
Fairy Cake Batter
Filled Muffin Pan
Cooked Fairy Cakes
I was happy with them, I had intended to not fill them to the very top anyway, since I wanted space for frosting.
Now the internet is a vast place and I was still searching for the perfect buttercream recipe, and I found this one from kelly75 over on The British Sugarcraft Guild forum.
3 Tbsp plain flour
4 fl. oz /120mls milk (semi-skimmed gives the best result, skimmed is fine too!)
4 oz butter (I use unsalted)
4 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Sir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of thick custard), strain into a small bowl in case any lumps remain, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, using the beater attachment (k-beater on a Kenwood, or equivalent), cream the butter and sugar together as you would for a cake. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the flavouring and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes (use the beater attachment, not the whisk), until light and fluffy (don't worry if it curdles initially when you add the milk, it will re-combine!).
So I thought I'd give it a go, doubling it since I had so many to frost. The flour/milk combination looked disgusting, and resembled glue rather than thick custard. However it was beautiful, really smooth and no running colour. Here comes the but, but it was not very thick and I knew before I even started that it's shape wouldn't hold when piped. And it didn't.
Nozzle 30 didn't do the trick
Neither did nozzle 7
Nozzle 320 didn't work either
So I smoothed the buttercream with a spatula and sprinkled. I think they look cute. Just the right size for young 'uns. I once read that cupcakes were mearly a vehicle for frosting, and these certainly were that.
Tadaa! Pudsey Fairy Cakes
I do want to try this buttercream again, but doubling the sugar, just to see if it's a typo, since most recipes for nuttercream call for 1:2 ratio of butter:sugar. I've been reading about a lot, especially over at Cake Central forums. My frosting is still a bugbear and I'm going to continue in my search for my own 'Go To' frosting recipe. I have my cake one, my never fail 8884, and on this journey will no doubt find a few more.
Stick with me, I'm having a blast!