How to make birthday cupcakes

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I can’t believe I’ve been in our new house for almost eight months and it’s taken me this long to bake something! You can tell that DIY has taken up most of my spare time but this weekend my boyfriend’s mum Rose was celebrating her birthday so I thought I’d bake her some cupcakes.

These coffee and chocolate buttercream cupcakes are really easy to make and decorate. I didn’t want to pipe any complicated icing techniques so chose two nozzles that create really pretty iced effects without the hard work. The dark chocolate toppers were again really easy to pipe (they look much trickier than they actually are) and you can make a batch of these decorations to use on other cakes too. You can find everything you need to make the cakes from a good cake decorating shop or Amazon. I have linked all the products below so you know exactly what I used.

Basic sponge recipe (Makes 12 large cupcakes)

200g unsalted softened butter
200g sifted caster sugar
4 medium whisked eggs
200g sifted self-raising flour

Preheat your oven to 180c (reduce the heat for a fan oven). Mix the butter and sugar together then stir in the eggs gradually. Fold in the flour until well combined. Fill 12 muffin cases with the mixture – muffin cases are best when making decorative cupcakes like these as you want a nice large cake for the amount of buttercream. Bake in the oven for between 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

How to make the chocolate shapes

1) While your cakes are baking make the chocolate toppers. Draw a series of shapes or a name onto a piece of paper. Place a sheet of bake-o-glide (non-stick parchment paper) over the top of your designs – you will use these as a template to pipe your shapes.

2) Melt two packs of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (I used 2x Tesco’s 100g organic 70% Dominican Republic plain chocolate) and leave for 5 minutes to slightly cool. Place a #2 writer nozzle in the end of a disposable piping bag and fill with some of the chocolate.

3) Hold your finger over the end of the nozzle to stop the flow of chocolate when necessary and pipe the shapes onto the bake-o-glide with the nozzle positioned directly above the paper. The natural flow of the chocolate will be the perfect speed to pipe your designs. It really is easy! Leave to set.

How to ice the cupcakes

1) Mix 250g of unsalted butter with sifted icing sugar (I used nearly a whole 500g pack, oops!) until the icing tastes nice a sweet. Keep the butter out of the fridge beforehand so it warms up to room temperature.

2) Split the buttercream into two bowls and mix some melted dark chocolate into one of the bowls (I used the remainder of the chocolate leftover from making the chocolate decorations). Mix a couple of spoonfuls of coffee granules with just a little boiling water. Pour this strong coffee into the other bowl of buttercream and mix. You want the buttercream to be soft enough to pipe but thick enough to hold the piped shape. Just add a little water or icing sugar into the mix until it’s at the right consistency. Test a little in your piping bag to make sure.

3) Level out the top of each cupcake by carefully slicing off the top with a knife. This will give a nice flat surface to pipe perfect swirls! Snip the end off a disposable piping bag and place a #2C closed star nozzle into the end. Fill with the coffee buttercream and pipe a spiral from the centre of a cupcake out to the edge.

4) Place a #822 piping small open star nozzle into another disposable piping bag and fill with the chocolate buttercream. Pipe little stars all over the remaining cupcakes to cover the top. Pipe four more stars in the centre and a final star on top to form a little peak.

To finish, carefully peel your chocolate shapes off the non-stick paper and place into each of the iced cupcakes. Add a sprinkle or gold or pink edible glitter over the top for some sparkle! I placed my cupcakes in a cake box which is perfect if you’re giving your cupcakes as a gift and keeps them nice and safe for transportation.

This  is my entry into the #GreatSummerBakeOff Challenge. Enter yourself here.

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