‘Vanilla Doesn’t Mean Plain’ Rainbow Cupcakes

baking, cupcakes

I love trying out new flavours of cupcakes, but sometimes you can’t beat plain old vanilla.  That doesn’t mean they have to look plain though!  Why not have a bit of fun with some colour?  The inspiration for these was a tub of neon coloured sugar sprinkles my mum got me – I tried to match the colours in the sponge.

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I think it worked out pretty well, so here’s how I did it.

This recipe is for 12 cupcakes, and I used a pretty standard vanilla mixture.  You’ll need:

  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarb
  • 125g butter/baking marg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 different food colouring pastes

First, preheat the oven to 170 C and pop your cases in a cupcake tin.  Then sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the butter and eggs and beat together with an electric mixer for a minute or so until well combined.

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Now it’s time to sort out the colours!  I find it easiest to mix the colour paste into the milk before adding to the batter.  So to do this, mix the vanilla and milk together and separate evenly into 4 bowls.  Then add different coloured paste into each one – just a tiny bit will make it vibrant.  I used the very tip of a teaspoon.

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Divide the batter evenly between each bowl.  You could use scales, or just wing it like I did!  Gently stir each bowl of mixture until totally combined and you have the colour you want.  Be careful, as it’s very easy to splash the neon milk across the kitchen!

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Now it’s time to layer the colours into the cupcake cases.  This was quite tricky to judge but I ended up using a scant teaspoon of each colour to get the right amount.

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There’s no need to worry about smoothing out the mixture, this will happen in the oven.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes and while they cool it’s time to make the buttercream.  For that you’ll need:

  • 150g soft butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 340g icing sugar

Beat the butter in an electric mixer or with a handheld mix for 5 minutes, until very pale.  Add the icing sugar in two stages, beating well each time.  Finally, add the milk and vanilla and beat for another couple of minutes until pale and smooth.

Pipe or splodge the buttercream onto the cakes, then top with the coloured sugar, and you’re done!

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Don’t they look fun?  Tasty light sponge, topped with creamy frosting.  And the bright colours definitely make them extra yummy too.

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