Just when I think I have taken a step closer to domestic goddessdom, a baking disaster comes along to firmly put me in my place.

I rarely bake cup cakes, I prefer a crumble pudding or apple pie, anything that lets me pretend I have an aga. However, when the need arises I welcome the chance to practice my icing bag skills. I chose the Rich Vanilla Cup Cake recipe from The Great British Bake Off How To Cook Book (anyone else past themselves waiting for the new series too?).

Vanilla Sponge Cakes

For the sponge:

175g self-raising flour, sifted

125g unsalted butter

175g caster sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

3 tablespoons whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat the butter until pale, then beat in the sugar gradually until light and fluffy.
  3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together, then beat into the creamed mixture.
  4. Fold in your sifted flour in 3 batches, alternating with the milk.
  5. Spoon into paper cup cake cases and bake for 20-25 mins.

The sponge came out light and fluffy, the perfect fairy texture, but it was sickly sweet. Thinking myself very clever I decided to make my butter icing with organic natural icing sugar and natural food colouring, just to offset some of the naughtiness, what a mistake that was…

For the butter icing:

125g unsalted butter

400g icing sugar

3 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

couple of drops of food colouring

  1. Beat the butter until creamy, sift in icing sugar, slowly beat in wet ingredients.
  2. Pipe in swirls onto cool cupcakes (freeze any icing left over to use another day).

First off, despite using super soft butter my icing went lumpy. It also went greige with the natural icing sugar, I desperately tried to remedy with pink natural food colouring and ended up with corned beef coloured butter icing, not a tasty look.

Hoping at least the taste would help to mend my shattered cup cake confidence, one bite proved that was not to be as my teeth nearly dropped out of my mouth from all the sugar and vanilla. Even Mr Crumpet, who would bathe in butter icing if he could, found it hard to swallow.

Who knows if it was the recipe or the natural ingredients (or the fact I tripled the vanilla essence when reading the recipe without my specs!). Off to the dentists now, back to the baking board later.

– Miss C x

Vanilla cup cakes