This is a lovely easy recipe to remember as all the quantities are the same, the recipe makes 12 good sized cupcakes. And if you are feeling really outrageous, you can double the butter icing quantities.
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
110g Unsalted butter softened at room temperature
110g Caster sugar
2 x Eggs, lightly beaten (free-range)
1 tsp Quality vanilla extract
110g self-raising flour (sieved)
1-2 tbsp milk
Ingredients for Butter Icing:
140g Unsalted butter, softened
280g Icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
a few drops of good quality food colouring
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole or two 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar together in your Kenwood or KitchenAid until pale and fluffy; if you over beat it and the butter curdles, add a spoonful of flour to bring it back together. Slowly beat in the eggs, a little at a time and then stir in the vanilla extract.
Take the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the flour using a large metal spoon and stirring in a figure of eight motion. Then add 1 tbsp of the milk, you are looking for the mixture to become a dropping consistency, if you need more, then add but be sparing. Now, spoon the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they are all half full.
Pop into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top, firm to the touch and a skewer can be inserted coming out clean. Once out of the oven, set aside to cool down for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft, add half the sieved icing sugar and beat until smooth. If it puffs up in a cloud, pop a tea-towel over the top of the mixer. Then add the remaining icing sugar, followed by one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Now for the fun part, add the food colouring, I prefer to use Wilton Colour as they are a gel format that mixes really well and easily giving your icing a super vibrant colour. Once you've added the food colouring, mix really well until all is combined and their are no cream streaks left.
The cupcakes should be cold at this point, so spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto the cupcakes in a large swirl and decorate with any sugar decorations you have.