As the song goes: “the weather outside is frightful” – 2 inches of snow and very much still counting, topped off with temperatures plummeting below zero.
What better to do on such an evening than to put the heating on full, get the oven hotting up, and whip up a batch of the cutest cupcakes. Not that I ever need an excuse, but I need to feed my blog as well as my boyfriend now! And a great excuse to take more photos too – another one of my loves.
A couple of days ago I picked up some pastel petit fours cases in the supermarket (I always walk down the baking aisle even if I don’t need anything!) and this was the perfect opportunity to use them 🙂
I started off with just a basic sponge mix, with a little dash of lemon juice for some extra flavour.
Spooning into the cases I soon realised that the mixture would much more than fill my tray of 24, in spite of only making half the normal quantity of batter! Not to worry, never can have too many cakes.
Although they’re small they still took a good 9 minutes to bake, but came out beautifully and, being so small, cooled super quick, ready to ice.
This first batch I decided to try out my piping skills. They still leave a lot to be desired… Being by no means a piping-pro, I went for a star shaped nozzle, because I like the way the lines accentuate whatever shape you pipe out.
Nevertheless, a few sugar sprinkles and a dusting of edible glitter later, and hey presto! Not half bad.
Now there was the rest of the batter I had left. 24 of one cupcake was quite enough, so I wanted to do something a little different with the rest.
I decided they’d be similar but with a little surprise – a jam filled centre!
I half filled the cases with the mix, using the back of a teaspoon to make sure it was spread out evenly.
Next, and again using the back of a teaspoon, I carefully placed a little jam into the middle of each cake:
Finally, another layer of cake mixture on the top. Again I used the back of the spoon to flatten it out – but only a little at this stage as I didn’t want to squish the jam in the middle!
My secret is to make sure the jam is in the middle of the cake – not precisely speaking, but in terms of the cake batter. None of the jam should be touching the paper case, or be visible at the top of the cake. It should be entirely surrounded by batter, and as long as you don’t use too much, then it will stay this way during baking too.
After another quick 9 minutes in the oven, it was on to decorating the second batch. I decided that the jam centre was enough “wow” for one little mouthful of a cupcake, so went for a simple white icing.
Just room for one finishing touch, and I opted for red edible glitter to give just a little hint as to the jam surprise inside.
I popped a little circle onto the top of each one – it wasn’t intentional but I like the way they almost look like a classic cherry bakewell!
Second batch done – and of course I had to test – with a beautiful jammy centre.
And there we are! Mission accomplished, and certainly not bad for a couple of hours on a cold winters evening. Now, back to watching the snow…