Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Exquisitely Abby

Malteser-decorated Cupcakes

In what was presumably one of the happiest moments of her life, competition winner Nashid Kalam was today presented with her prize – six extra-special celebratory Moveable Feast cupcakes. To rapturous applause from her work-mates who had gathered around at the presentation ceremony, Nashid (seen here proudly holding one of the cupcakes) made a humble and touching acceptance speech. Her real legacy will live on in the section of this blog which she christened “Beyond the Bottle”, thus earning her both the adulation of her peers, and half a dozen of the cupcakes described below.

These cupcakes are a traditional cupcake recipe (i.e. a simple vanilla sponge with a mountain of soft creamy icing) from Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy.

Preheat the oven to 160degC. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

Put 200g softened unsalted butter in a large bowl with 200g caster sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, and the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, making sure to stir fully so it doesn’t curdle. Once the eggs have all been beaten in, add 200g plain flour, a pinch of salt and 2 tsp baking powder. If the mixture is a bit stiff, add a teaspoon or two of milk to loosen it a little.

Plop the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, and the sponge bounces back to the touch.

While the cakes are baking, make a vanilla syrup. Put 200ml of water and 100g granulated sugar in a pan with 1 vanilla pod, and heat over a low heat, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil for 1 minute, then take the pan off the heat. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush them liberally with the vanilla syrup to make them really nice and moist (I had loads left over!). Leave the cakes to cool.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Put 300g softened unsalted butter, 750g icing sugar and the seeds of a vanilla pod in a bowl and beat well until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. I then split the icing into two bowls, and added a few drops of red food colouring to one, and a few drops of yellow to the other, stirring well to get a consistent colour.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you can ice them. I dropped a generous spoon of icing onto each cake, and spread it out with a palette knife (depending on how liberally you pile up the icing, you may end up with about 20% leftover – I transferred the extra to the fridge to coat another cake later!). Once smooth, I decorated with some sugar sprinkles.

To finish them, I used a decorating technique that involves pushing lengths of cake decorating wire into a malteser, and wrapping 5 of them together with floral decorating tape (both these things are pretty easy to get, I picked them up in Cakes and Co in Blackrock).

The easiest way to see this technique is on this clip by Exquisitely Abby. Voila – Malteser-decorated cupcakes!