Snowy Cupcakes

Xmas Cupcakes

Christmas is 3 days away now and I wasn’t feeling particularly Christmassy until I made these crimbo-themed cupcakes! The star of the show for this bake is the icing.

These cupcakes are sure to make your friends and family say “Omg… What is this icing stuff?! It’s so amazing!” because it’s not your average cupcake topping. You know those big jars of Marshmallow Fluff that you see in American-style sweet shops and occasionally on the shelves of your local supermarket? Well, this icing is pretty much that – but homemade, natural and without the added ingredients that nobody knows how to pronounce! If you don’t know what I’m on about then let me describe it to you so ou know what you’re getting yourself in for… If you don’t know what I’m on about then just imagine eating a cloud that tastes like sugar – yum?! The added bonus is that it’s a lot simpler to make than you think.

Strictly speaking, the American Marshmallow Fluff is actually Italian meringue. This is a type of egg-white-based topping that requires no oven cooking because you cook the eggs by adding a hot sugar-syrup. My mum recently bought me a sugar thermometer from (my favourite shop) Lakeland and this icing has given me a chance to try it out! I appreciate very few people own one themselves so I’ve made instructions for both thermometer-owning bakers and non-thermometer-owning bakers!

MAKES: 12 iced cupcakes (with some Italian meringue left over for eating)

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

1 Electric hand mixer (optional, and/or whisk for the icing)

1 12-hole cupcake tin

2 Large mixing bowls (or wash one up after the cupcakes are in the oven!)

1 Egg beater/fork

1 Sieve

1 Large metal spoon

1 Knife

1 Medium saucepan

1 Sugar thermometer (optional)

Christmas cake decorations (can’t be heavy – preferably ones with sticks so they are supported by the cake, not the icing)

INGREDIENTS:

For the sponge:

2 eggs

130g butter (I use Stork Baking Spread)

130g self-raising flour

130g caster sugar

Splash of milk

1tsp vanilla essence

For the Italian meringue icing:

3 egg whites

170g white granulated sugar or white caster sugar (anything but the golden variety)

4.5 tbsp water

White sprinkles (optional)

1 Metal spoon

METHOD:

For the sponge:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and place cupcake cases in the 12-hole cupcake tin

  1. Cream together the butter ad sugar until pale in a large mixing bowl
  2. Gradually add the beaten eggs
  3. Sieve in the flour and fold in with a large metal spoon (you can also use the hand mixer – I do this if I’m feeling lazy!)
  4. Add the vanilla essence along with a splash of milk and fold that in too
  5. Divide the mixture among the cupcake cases
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden and firm to touch (meanwhile you can make a start on the icing! – see below)
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin
  8. Remove the cupcakes and place them on a wire rack to cool completely

For the Italian meringue icing:

Use hot soapy water to clean a large mixing bowl. This is very important as any fat left in a bowl will prevent the egg whites from fluffing up!

  1. Add the egg whites to the large mixing bowl (I used a KitchenAid Mixer seeing as I’m at home for Christmas, but a regular whisk or hand mixer will do the trick!)
  2. Whisk them until they form stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl – set this aside for now
  3. Heat up the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over a medium heat until dissolved
  4. Once dissolved turn up the heat to high and leave to bubble for approximately 5 minutes or until a sugar thermometer reads 120C
  5. Pour the sugar-syrup into the beaten egg whites while whisking at the same time (you may need someone’s help for this part and be very careful not to burn yourself – hot sugar is very hot… 120 degrees to be precise!)
  6. Top your cooled cupcakes with icing using a metal spoon and decorate with white sprinkles and Christmas decorations
  7. Eat whatever icing is leftover (duh…!)

Voilà – you have unusual cupcakes that are the image of winter! Now was that easier than you thought or what… These cupcakes are best eaten within two days as the marshmallowy top tends to lose some of its volume – but they still taste amazing!

If you shopped at Morrisons this bake would cost you a bargain £2.36 (without sprinkles). For something so easy, how could you NOT make them?!

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