I think cupcakes were the very first thing I ever learnt to bake. I mean, I probably iced Digestive biscuits in primary school and covered them in sprinkles and those jelly gems you couldn’t help eating, but does that really count?
Whenever I’m in the mood to bake, cupcakes are the first thing that come to mind, and I’ve used the same recipe ever since I was tiny. It’s never failed me. When I found myself wanting to bake through last Autumn and Winter, and the spicy hot chocolates from Costa weren’t really cutting it for me, I decided to modify my recipe and include my favourite spice of all time – cinnamon.
I don’t think a single person could look me in the eye and tell me that cinnamon doesn’t make them think of A/W, or that it doesn’t make them feel cosy and warm, or that it doesn’t smell like a garden centre wreath in November or any seasonal candle you’ll find in TK Maxx. And even if they were able to, they’d probably get a hefty smack and a “I don’t believe you!”
Anyways, I wanted to share this recipe with you because it has since become a firm family favourite. It’s ridiculously simple and I think that these can get anyone into the seasonal mood!
For 8 – 10 cakes, you’ll need:
- 190g self-raising flour
- 190g room temp unsalted butter
- 190g caster sugar
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 2.5 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3 medium eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla essence
- Muffin cases
For the buttercream icing, you’ll need:
- A piping bag with a star nozzle
- 150g unsalted butter (room temp)
- 300g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Ground cinnamon and/or edible gold glitter to dust
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan) and line your tins with paper cases.
Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale, and then add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Once all mixed together, dump in your dry ingredients.
Using an electric whisk, mix everything on a high-speed setting until the mixture becomes pale, thick, and creamy. Once it’s almost ready, add in the ground cinnamon and give it a final good whisking. This is quite a thick, stiff mixture, so it shouldn’t drop off the whisks – instead, it should hold peaks.
Spoon the mixture into the cases. I do a really heaped teaspoon in each case to begin with, and then divvy up the rest to keep the amount and baking time even.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, depending on how powerful your oven is.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for an hour, and resist the temptation to eat them all while they’re still warm (but you can have one, that’s ok).
When the cakes are cool, begin to mix your buttercream icing. Add half the icing sugar to your soft butter and beat with the electric mixer until smooth (or use a wooden spoon if you’re a masochist). Add in the other half of the icing sugar, half the water, and the vanilla essence, and beat until combined and smooth. Add the rest of the water if it needs loosening up.
Place your piping bag nozzle-down into a tall glass, and hang the rest of the bag inside-out over the sides (just makes it a bit easier to fill). Spoon in the icing, and push it down towards the nozzle. Pull up the sides of the bag and twist until the icing is secured and the bag is tight.
If your cupcakes come out domed on top, we need to flatten them before we add the icing. Using a bread knife or other sharp, serrated knife, gently remove the top of the cakes to create a flat surface. Focus more on the back and forth motion rather than pushing the knife through the cake, and take your time – you don’t want to squeeze all the air out!
Place the nozzle directly above the centre of the cupcake, about 1cm above. Squeeze until most of the cupcake surface is covered by an even rosette of icing. DO NOT MOVE THE PIPING BAG – you don’t want the icing to rise, only spread out!
Once the rosette covers almost the entire surface, stop squeezing and lift the piping bag straight up to create a lil peak in the centre.
Lightly dust your frosted cupcakes with ground cinnamon and edible gold glitter for some seasonal flair – now they’re ready to serve!
These should last a few days in a sealed container, but who are we kidding? We’re gonna eat them all within half an hour of them being finished, am I right? These also taste amazing without the icing if you’re looking for a lighter option (pfft), but if you do have a fiendish sweet tooth like me, go ham!
I hope you guys like these just as much as my family and I do, and I hope any seasonal guests that come knocking enjoy their festive treat!
Talk to you later,