Earlier this summer, I was much inspired by and somewhat in awe of Jack's cupcakes. So I decided that whilst on holiday I would have a go at making some of my own.
In reality, cupcakes are really just buns. I have made zillions of these in the past (although not so many lately). Butterfly buns, currant buns and so on. Cupcakes are basically buns with attitude. In other words, lots of icing.
I invested in some basic equipment; an icing nozzle, some icing bags, a huge box of icing sugar and a variety of decorations. Then I enlisted help.
I cheated slightly by buying cake mix for the basic cupcakes. I know this is not the done thing but .... I did it anyway. Just out of interest, the McDougalls mix was far superior to the Sainsbury's own brand. I know this because, having made a total of 30 cakes, I tried a couple for myself, just in case they were inedible. They were OK but the McD one was best.
I bought a variety of decorations; gummy bears, Rolos, wafer daisies, chopped nuts, fudge and marshmallow pieces, glimmer sugar, edible glitter and blackberries collected from behind the château.
Amélie helped to sift the icing sugar. This involved tipping lots of sugar into a sieve and then shaking the sieve violently until most of the sugar settled into a bowl. After the icing sugar fog in the kitchen had cleared, we could then get on with the decorating of the buns (sorry, cupcakes!).
I made some buttercream icing and flavoured half of it with cocoa powder to make chocolate icing. The two experts took it in turns to pipe the icing on the cakes and add the decorations. The results were spectacular.
We produced 28 cupcakes (having sacrificed two for quality control previously) and they were all different.
Isabella and Amélie selected the two they thought the best to present to my neighbour, Mme André. She was delighted with them. (Who wouldn't be?)
The rest were demolished by me and Nick, Alex and Nicole, Barrie, and of course Isabella and Amélie. All washed down with some Loire Valley bubbly. A perfect evening.