So as of tonight, the Olympics are over. I will be devastated when I wake up tomorrow morning & realise there is no handball or swimming to watch. To console myself I made some vanilla & salted caramel golden cupcakes to celebrate the best Olympics ever, and of course, Our Greatest Team.
To make the cupcakes:
(this makes about 8 but I ruined two by setting the cupake pan on the still hot hob, sadface. Obv double the quantities for more cupcakes/large cakes)
4oz/113g Caster sugar
4oz/113g Self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
This is my go-to recipe for cake, both cupcakes & larger ones. It's the one my mum has always used (with slight adjustments), it's easy to remember & not very complicated, and, most importantly, it has NEVER failed me. (If I am making chocolate I will substitute half the flour for cocoa powder & add a pinch of baking powder to make up for the lack of raising agent).
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (for fan, adjust accordingly for non-fan), and line your cupcake tray with liners.
2. In a large bowl, add flour & sugar. Melt butter (not too hot, heat until just melted) & add to bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
3. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs & then add to flour, sugar & butter mixture. Whisk until smooth & add vanilla.
4. Spoon the batter into the liners & bake for about 15-20 mins. (I check after 15 & keep them in for another 5 if they look too pale.
5. When done, turn out onto cooling rack & allow to cool completely.
To make the salted caramel sauce:
(recipe taken & slightly adapted from Nigella's recipe here)
75 g Butter
100g Golden caster Sugar
50g Golden Syrup
125ml Double Cream
1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes (Maldon is best & easy enough to find)
1. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a small heavy based pan and let simmer for 3 minutes, swirling every now and again (don't stir!)
2. Add cream and the salt and swirl again, give a stir with a wooden spoon & done! Easy peasy.
3. Allow to cool completely. When both sauce & cakes are cool, carve a little well in the centre of each cake & spoon in some sauce.
To make the frosting:
(recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook)
250g (or more) Powdered sugar (sifted)
25 ml Milk
2 tbsp salted caramel sauce
Edible glitter, to decorate.
1. Make sure butter is room temperature before you start (if it's cold, give it a very tiny blast in the microwave). Give it a little stir in a bowl to loosen it up too.
2. Add sugar a little bit at a time, stirring all the while with a wooden spoon. It should all eventually come together (if your butter was a tiny bit cold before you started it might go sandy but that's okay don't worry it'll come together once you add the milk) add the milk & the salted caramel sauce & then taste to see if it is smooth. If not smooth enough, give it a good whisk.
3. I also find that most recipes don't call for enough icing sugar & it goes all melty looking so I tend to add more. If this is the case for you then add a bit more sifted sugar a little bit at a time until you get nice firm frosting.
4. Pipe onto your cupcake using a piping bag & a round tip nozzle & sprinkle with glitter!
The tricky bit for me is the piping. I am rubbish at piping frosting on so I usually use the back of a spoon, but I do need to learn so I piped these, with, ahem, wobbly results. If you don't want to pipe then use a spoon to swirl it on, but if you do, you will need a piping bag & tips. I have seen people cutting the corners off a plastic bag to pipe but that looks a bit fiddly & messy to me, especially since I am just learning. I used a silicone bag & a large round piping tip for these. Hopefully the edible glitter will distract from my amateur piping skillz!
Even though they're a little wobbly I am really pleased with them & I can't wait to practice more! I would also like to point out that I made these cupcakes without the use of an electric mixer of any kind. It is totally possible to still have fun in the kitchen without shelling out a load for expensive equipment. I started baking at uni & had no choice but to make everything by hand & even now I always still prefer to make cakes by hand even when I do have use of a mixer.
So there you have it- golden cupcakes with a salted caramel filling to mark the end of a really fun two weeks of Olympic fever.