Cupcakes are still as popular as ever and if you need some inspiration taking plain vanilla cupcakes to a new level, try these recipes from Angela Day
CHOCOLATE AND POMEGRANATE CUPCAKES
360ml castor sugar
125ml self-raising flour
345ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
160ml cocoa powder
200ml pomegranate juice
125g thick cream cheese
500ml icing sugar
5ml vanilla extract
pomegranate rubies to decorate
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the pomegranate juice and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into muffin pans and bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool.
ICING: Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat well. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Put the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe swirls on to the cupcake. Decorate with pomegranate rubies.
COFFEE AND MALTED PUFF CUPCAKES
380ml cake flour
5ml baking powder
3ml bicarbonate of soda
180ml castor sugar
10ml rose essence
10ml coffee powder
30ml boiling water
100g coffee flavoured malted puffs, lightly crushed
10ml coffee powder dissolved in 20ml hot water
malted puffs for decoration
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Beat the eggs and castor sugar until thick and pale. Beat in the rose essence and oil.
Dissolve the coffee in the water and add to the buttermilk.
Add the flour alternately with the coffee mixture to the eggs. Mix until well blended.
Fold in the malted puffs.
Spoon the mixture into paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove and cool.
ICING: Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the coffee. Add the icing sugar and beat well. Spread or pipe the icing on to the cupcakes and decorate with either whole or crushed malted puffs.
LEMON MERINGUE CUPCAKES
250ml castor sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
7ml baking powder
2ml bicarbonate of soda
250ml bought or home made lemon curd
2 egg whites
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Mix until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into paper-lined muffin pans. Bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Hollow out a portion of each cupcake and fill with a spoonful of lemon curd.
ICING: Combine the castor sugar and water in a small pot, heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
In an electric mixer beat the egg whites until stiff. While beating, pour in the boiling sugar syrup. Beat for about 10 minutes until very thick.
Put the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe swirls on to the cupcakes. Brown under a hot grill or with a blow torch.
PEACH MELBA CUPCAKES
200ml plain yoghurt
1-2 nectarines, finely chopped
pink and white butter icing
extra sliced peaches
raspberries for decoration
625ml icing sugar
5ml vanilla essence
about 50ml milk
pink food colouring
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla essence.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the yoghurt. Fold in the nectarines and the raspberries.
Spoon the mixture into paper-lined muffin pans and bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Remove and cool.
BUTTER ICING: Cream the butter until soft. Add sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract and enough milk to make an icing with a consistency that can be spread or piped easily.
Divide the mixture in half. Add a few drops of food colouring to one half and mix well.
To decorate, put a star nozzle into a piping bag then, using a palette knife, place white icing on one side of the icing bag and the coloured icing on the other side.
Pipe swirls on to each cupcake and decorate with a slice of peach and a raspberry.