A day off – which must mean housework. There are alot of things I’d rather do than clean, namely write, bake or sew, go out, see people. A lot of things. Then again, when the house gets out of control I can’t concentrate on all the other stuff. There comes a point when it just has to get done. So I did it, well, some – while listening to news from the UK. Election results analysis and VE (Victory in Europe) Day 70 year celebrations.
I couldn’t vote in the election as I didn’t hear anything after registering online. It frustrates me as I value my democratic right to have a say, and votes for women were so hard won. I’ll get it sorted eventually. Apparently the new government is supposed to be sorting out expat voting problems. We’ll see. Short of that I am not going to discuss the politics. If you’re reading in the UK, I’m guessing another opinion is the last thing you want last thing on a Friday night or early Saturday morning. Something lighter is in order.
As a reward for finishing said housework chores I did some baking. Every now and then I make cupcakes. I have a go to chocolate cupcake recipe that works every time, red velvet, lemon and even a fruit cake cupcake recipe that I love. Vanilla is trickier. There are so many recipes and I forget which one is the best, as vanilla is not a family favourite and so much time passes between making that most basic of cupcakes. I decided to have a contest, a vote, a cupcake election, choosing between my two most used recipes. Also, I didn’t fancy making an eggless fruitcake in honour of VE day, as would have been eaten 70 years ago, but cupcakes could do.
The first recipe came from The Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days and the second from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I was going to do a third, but found it was exactly the as one of the others! The Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe makes a runnier batter while the Primrose Bakery’s is more like a traditional sponge cake batter. Both use the same ingredients – flour, eggs, unsalted butter, sugar, baking powder, milk, vanilla extract – yet in different quantities and using a different method.
The same could be said of political parties – all the same issues yet different priorities and ways of tackling them. The problem is their methods don’t get properly tested until they’re in power and have far more drastic effects. There’s my bit of observation.
After supper we had the vote. We each became a bit like Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off. Cupcake analysis. There were six votes and two people sat on the fence. Three of the votes were phoned in from our friends across town who had taken some home to try. Primrose Bakery recipe eventually won 4 votes to 2. It was funny watching the decisions being made. No anonymous voting here. The two who sat on the fence liked the flavour of the Primrose ones and yet the texture of Hummingbird’s. (I think that may easily be solved by a few minutes less in the oven for the winning ones.) I don’t think it was the most reliable of elections – not a big enough sample of the population took part – but it was a yummy one.
Voting aside, I think the majority of the cakes will be gone by the end of the weekend. They’re both pretty decent as cupcakes go, unless you want chocolate, or lemon…
Primrose Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 regular or 36 mini – I found it made 16
- 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 225g caster sugar, preferably golden
- 2 large eggs
- 150g self-raising flour, sifted
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 120ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and line muffin tray with baking cases.
In a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, which will take 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
Combine the two flours in a separate bowl (to make self-raising flour I add 2 teaspoons baking powder to 150g flour). Put milk in a jug and add the vanilla extract to it.
Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full (I found a little less works better). Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (regular size) or 15 minutes (mini size) until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool.
(Adapted from Cakes from the Primrose Bakery by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas.)
Feel free to share your favourite cupcake recipe in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.