Introduction: Homemade Raspberry and Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so easy to make and so delicious too - an incredibly light sponge and a frosting which takes away the sweetness I find most cupcakes have. This recipe has NEVER failed me - I've made them for a commission before and the feedback is always so positive!

Personally, I always use foil cases for appearances, but paper ones would do as long as they are of good quality - cheap ones tend to peel away after cooling.

Regarding ovens, I make mine in a Esse (Aga) type oven, so my sincerest apologies if the oven temperature is a little off!

Instead of using raspberry jam, you can use strawberry (this is the only other flavour I've tried) as it works as equally well.

Step 1: Ingredients:

You will need:
200g (7 oz) unsalted butter, softened
200g (7 oz) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
200g (7 oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder

Step 2: Method for Sponges:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 160 C (315 F), Gas mark 2 - 3. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.

2)Using a hand held of freestanding electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until really light and creamy - usually about five minutes.

3) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time until all combined. (If it starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour or so)

4) Add the flour, salt and baking powder and beat until just combined (it is very important that you do not overmix the batter) (if it is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk until at a dropping consistancy [drops of a spoon when spoon is tapped gently])

5) Using an icecream scoop, fill the cases until around 1/2 - 2/3 full and bake in the oven for around 25 - 30 minutes until the sponges are golden and 'springy' to touch (if they take longer, pop them in for an extra 2 mins every time)

6) When cooked, remove from tins immeadiately and put on a wire rack to cool completely (trying not to eat any on the way!)

(P.S. I am aware that the photo above is made in silicone cases - these are some spare which the batter made, hense the reason why they are not as beautiful as they usually are! I was also carried away in decorating and completely forgot to take a photo of the prettier sponges... oops!)

Step 3: Ingredients for Frosting:

200g (7 oz) sieved icing sugar
75g (3 oz) very soft unsalted butter
4 tbsp of good quality seedless raspberry jam (or just sieved)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Step 4: Method for the Frosting:

1) If using seedless jam, place in a measuring jug with the lemon juice and beat until runny (if using a 'seedy' jam, pop it on a low heat to make it runny, then sieve it with the lemon juice.

2) Put the butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a hand held or freestanding mixer and beat on a low speed until it looks like sand.

3) Add the raspberry and lemon mixture and turn the mixer up to the highest speed for around 5 -10 minutes (the longer you beat it for, the lighter and more delicious your frosting will be!)

* you may need to add more jam or lemon depending on your own taste preferences and the quality of the jam *

4) Decorate the cold cupcakes using a piping bag and nozzle or just spreading the frosting onto the sponges with a spoon or palette knife.

These cupcakes will last for around a week in an airtight container and stored in a cool environment, but I usually find that with a house full of people, they rarely last that long!!

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