Sunday, 20 September 2009

Football birthday cupcakes

It’s the Boy Wonder’s (aka my nephew) birthday and as he is rather partial to a cupcake –attendees at Iron Cupcake London will vouch for this! – I decided to make him a cupcake tower themed by his favourite football team: Arsenal.

Look – I even acquired the squad:

For those of you not au fait with Arsenal, their colours are red and white. Therefore, my Swiss meringue buttercream tinted with some Wilton Red Candy colouring seemed the perfect approach to get a red buttercream.

This is what I learned from the exercise.....

Things that Wilton Red Candy food colouring will turn ‘candy red’:

-My spatula
-My washing up brush
-Kitchen roll
-My “stainless” steel sink
-My kitchen sponge
-Tea towels
-My Kitchenaid “stainless” steel mixing bowl
-My skin (I now bear what looks like stigmata)
-My clothes

Things that Wilton Red Candy food colouring will not turn ‘candy red':

-Swiss meringue buttercream

Hence the appealing, but not really perfect for a boy’s birthday cupcakes, salmon pink Swiss meringue buttercream. (In truth, the photos have been kind and it looks more red that it really was).

That aside, the cupcakes were ace. The sponge was light and fluffy and the chocolate chips added some lovely bite to the sponge.

Now here’s an interesting photo. I thought I was taking a picture of the cupcakes cut in half and only noticed later that the footballer chappy seems to be mooning at me:

For the plain cupcake sponge:

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk

For the chocolate cupcake sponge:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
100g milk chocolate chips

For the vanilla swiss meringue buttercream (this quantity decorates 12 cupcakes):
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
food colouring if required


- The method for both types of cupcakes are the same, so please follow this method for both. Each recipe makes 12 standard cupcakes:

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

- Line a cupcake pan with paper cases (each recipe makes 12 cupcakes).

- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

- Beat in the eggs, flour and milk - if you are making the chocolate cupcakes also add the cocoa and chocolate chips at this point.

- When the mixture is smooth and well combined, spoon into the paper cases.

- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Mine took 13 minutes.

- Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin when cool enough to handle.

- When the cupcakes are cool, you can make the Swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.

- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved (when you cannot see any crystals on the back of the spoon), remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.

- Add the butter and vanilla extract (and food colouring, if using) to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.

- Spoon into a piping bag and pipe over cupcakes.

- Decorate as required.

- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Jane said...

They look fabulous - I covet the little footballers.
As a cake decorator - red and black are the two hardest colours to get deep and true. I have had the most success with powder colours (have just checked mine - they were produced by the House of Sugar in Powys but I have had them a few years "blushes in shame") You could find that will solve your red dilemma - but I warn you they really do stain even more than the Wilton did!

Joy said...


Soo said...

Happy Belated birthday to the Boy Wonder!!!!

Sam said...

These are fantastic, happy birthday to your nephew!

Cakelaw said...

LOL about the red colouring - that is my experience too!! Such cute cuppies.

Olivia said...

Love these cute cupcakes...