Cappuccino cupcakes!

I must have made espresso cupcakes at least ten times, but because they’re so good, I’d never really considered the recipe on the opposite page, for cappuccino cupcakes. Until now, that is! And while I love how rich the espresso cupcakes are, with their dark chocolate in the cake and in the icing, these cappuccino cupcakes were certainly very good too: the sponge is quite a strong coffee sponge, and the icing is made with sweet white chocolate so they balance each other nicely. As usual when I make cupcakes, I did half the amount of icing suggested – is it just me who finds that most cupcake recipes make too much icing? If I had made the suggested amount, I am sure there would have been just too much sweet icing and they would have been rather sickly! As it was, the balance was pretty good. I think they look rather cute, too, with chocolate sprinkled over the top – just like real cappuccinos. Well, sort of! One day I would love to host a tea party with these, espresso cupcakes and earl grey cupcakes, and then serve lemonade out of teapots! (Too much?!). Like the espresso cupcakes, the recipe is originally from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’, one of my favourite ‘fancy’ baking books.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

225g butter or margarine

225g self-raising flour

225g golden caster sugar

2 eggs

1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 tsp baking powder

2-3 tablespoons milk

For the icing:

80g white chocolate (I used M&S ‘creme brulee’ chocolate as it was all I could find, which gave it a lovely caramel flavour)

30g butter

60g soured cream

130g icing sugar

A couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder to sprinkle over


– Preheat the oven to 200c and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

– Place all the cake ingredients apart from the milk in a blender, and pulse until combined.

– Gradually add the milk, while beating, until the batter is soft. I think I added a bit too much as it was quite runny, but it didn’t seem to matter!

– Divide between the cases and bake for around 20 minutes, then leave to cool completely before icing.

– For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, and leave to cool slightly before stirring in the soured cream.

– Gradually sift in the icing sugar while beating with an electric whisk.

– Spread a generous amount on each cupcake.

– If you like, sprinkle some cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder over the top to make them look like cappuccinos!

Earl Grey Cupcakes!

I own three cookbooks – Be-Ro and one of Delia Smith’s, which are both fairly practical for a student, and another called ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, which is decidedly less practical, though probably prettier! I’m gradually working my way through the recipes although this is the first I’ve written about – Earl Grey cupcakes. I’m not really a tea person, but I do like Earl Grey so I thought they were worth a try: the flavour comes from using milk which you’ve infused with the tea, so I suppose you could use any sort of tea. The original recipe used infused milk only in the cakes themselves, but when we tasted them the flavour was quite subtle so we used it in the icing as well!

Ingredients (makes 24 fairy cakes):

125ml semi-skimmed milk

4 Earl Grey teabags

110g butter at room temperature

225g sugar (the recipe says granulated but we used caster)

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour, sifted

120g plain flour, sifted

For the icing (this is half the quantity in the original but we found it was plenty!):

55g butter at room temperature

30ml semi-skimmed milk

250g icing sugar, sifted

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line two 12-hole fairy cake trays (or one 12-hole muffin tray) with cake cases.

– Heat all the milk (125ml for the cakes and 30ml for the icing) over a medium heat until it is just about to boil, then remove from the heat, add the teabags, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

– Cream the butter and sugar. As there is a lot more sugar than butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually; it takes around 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

– Combine the flours in a separate bowl and measure out about 100ml of the milk into a jug (some will have evaporated with heating). Add one third of the flour, then one third of the milk, to the creamed mixture, beating after each addition; continue until all the milk and flour are in.

– Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

– Once cool, make the icing: beat the butter, 30ml of infused milk and half the icing sugar until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and keep beating. It takes 5 minutes or more; it’s ready when it’s smooth, creamy and tastes of icing rather than butter and sugar!

– Ice the cupcakes, and sprinkle demerara sugar over for decoration!