Sometimes, it’s the most straightforward tasks that present the most significant opportunity for failure. I was asked to provide a dozen cupcakes for a photo shoot, which would be appropriate for a shot with children. While I didn’t fail, per se, I can’t honestly say I was delighted with my efforts. I stupidly used cases that were too tall for my taste, and I inexplicably shook like a leaf whilst trying to get a nice swirl on the tops, so they aren’t perfect. Which they should have been.
I’ve used so many vanilla cupcake recipes over the years that I can never remember which is best, so I just went for a one egg Victoria sponge mix, adding just ¼tsp vanilla extract. I whizzed up a small batch of vanilla buttercream, and coloured it to tone with the sprinkles I had selected for the job. (Incidentally, had these been for a children’s party, I would have selected bolder sprinkles but I had a variety of considerations for these, primarily the fact that these cupcakes are to be props, and not the main event, so should not even attempt to upstage the products by which they will be surrounded.)
You’ll need to look really closely, but in that teacup are some of the multicoloured sprinkles, with which I wanted to tone the buttercream. (Yes, there’s an argument to suggest I have too much time on my hands.)
I double-cased these cupcakes because I’ve quite enjoyed that effect when I’ve seen photographs of other people’s, but these were so huge that I didn’t think it worked so I removed them. I do wonder whether they helped them to bake more evenly, though.
Update (1 April 2013):
And here is one vanilla cupcake with the gorgeous little Isabel, as part of the Scarlett Willow photo-shoot…