playing with flour

Category: Cupcakes

Buttercake with Berry Buttercream


For the last few days all I’ve wanted is cake. Fluffy, buttery cake with frosting. Loaded with sugar and sweetness and perfect for undoing any hard work at the gym but worth it because it is just so satisfying. Rather than give in and buy one of those overpriced individual cupcakes from a bakery I whipped up this super simple recipe that makes about thirty cupcakes instead. Seemed like a good idea at the time but now I have to stop myself eating them all!

I’ve always found it tricky to find that perfect vanilla buttercake that is light and fluffy but still has a crumbly texture – you know, the one that pairs well with anything. Usually I find they’re just too dense or don’t rise enough which is incredibly frustrating. This recipe however lives up to its promises. The addition of buttermilk gives a light creaminess while the cornflour makes for an awesome texture.

You could pair the cake base with pretty much anything but I went with a classic berry buttercream for a bit of tartness and colour. If you really hate seeds in your berries you can sieve them out before adding to your mixture but I really don’t feel it’s worth the trouble. Plus the seeds look pretty in the frosting! If you wanted to make a large cake instead of cupcakes that could easily be done, just increase the baking time by about 10 minutes.

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Buttercake with Berry Buttercream

170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g plain flour
300g caster sugar
40g cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 180° and prepare your baking cases. In a bowl sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix through. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.

Stir through the buttermilk until well mixed, the mixture may look curdled at this stage. Mix through small amounts of the dry ingredients at a time until just mixed. Spoon into cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Berry Buttercream

½ cup frozen berries
240g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sifted icing sugar

Puree the frozen berries until smooth. If desired you can pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. Mix the butter until light and fluffy in a large bowl then slowly mix in the icing sugar until well mixed.

Mix through the berries until the colour is even. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy 🙂

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Espresso Mud Cupcakes


There is nothing wrong with super sweet cakes and cookies but sometimes you need a grown up dessert. Something rich and sexy to share with a loved one or hide away and eat for a few secret minutes of self indulgence. These cupcakes fit that description perfectly.

Full of dark sinful flavours of chocolate and espresso, instead of being overly sweet they have a slight bitterness to them that may not sound appealing but is actually delicious. These are an adults only treat with Kahlua and coffee, so wouldn’t recommend giving these to children!

Initially I had planned to pair these cupcakes with a peanut butter or Nutella frosting but upon doing so found they lost some of their complexity and sexiness (don’t worry I taste tested thoroughly for you to make sure). All they need to be perfect is a light dusting of icing sugar.

I would recommend making these in small sized cupcake liners as they are seriously rich, and be sure not to overcook them to ensure a moist cake. If you wanted to convert into one large cake I would recommend doubling the recipe.

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Espresso Mud Cupcakes

125g unsalted butter
100g quality dark chocolate
½ cup hot water
2 tbsp espresso powder
50ml Kahlua
1 cup brown sugar
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 160° and prepare your cupcake liners. In a medium saucepan combine the chocolate, butter, water, Kahlua and espresso. Melt over medium heat, stirring until combined. Stir in the brown sugar and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir through. Add the egg and ensure the mixture is thoroughly combined. I would recommend pouring into a jug with a pouring lip before filling your cupcake liners to save on mess. Fill to 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. Allow to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes


Ah, night shifts. The highly dreaded, anxiety fueling week that all interns dread. Well, most interns anyway. I do know of some people who actually look forward to night shifts, but I definitely wasn’t one of them. My biggest concern was staying awake through the night, especially as I don’t drink coffee. I was convinced I’d get to 3am and just fall asleep at a desk, or worse, while sitting with a patient. So I came up with a plan – eat plenty of sugar! That’s where these cupcakes came in. Ok, I’ll admit I had another motive as well as keeping my eyes open – I figured a little bribery of the other staff might help make things easier.

These cupcakes were born from me having a spare packet of Oreo’s and a need for something sweet. They’re a double hit of vanilla with flavouring in both the cupcake and the frosting but it isn’t overpowering thanks to the Oreo in the base and throughout the cake. To be honest I’d be keen to up the vanilla flavour a bit more using a vanilla pod but I’d run out so it they ended up fairly subtle – it’s up to you what you’d prefer to use. If you’re looking for something to make for Valentine’s day these would be perfect – and even more so if you used the pink Oreos (I think they’re strawberry?).

Oh and in case you were wondering, night shift was actually great fun. I stayed awake all night, saw a great mix of patients and slept so well once I got home!

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

1 oz soft unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 packet Oreo’s split in half

Preheat the oven to 180º and prepare your baking cups. Cream the butter with the sugar then add the vanilla essence. Beat in the eggs one at a time then sift in the flour and baking powder. Stir through the milk. Break up half of the Oreo’s into pieces and stir through the batter.

In the base of each cupcake liner place half of an Oreo (the side with the cream) then spoon over the batter until 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Vanilla frosting

8 oz salt reduced butter
4 cups sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp vanilla essence

Beat the butter with the sugar until smooth then add the milk and vanilla. Beat for at least 5 minutes of until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes then top with mini Oreo’s.

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Banana and Caramel Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

I do love meeting new people and making new friends but it can be incredibly hard to do, especially when you don’t know anyone or are starting over in a new place. I’m going to be doing exactly that next year and I am nervous about it but thinking about the friends I’ve made here I know I’ll be ok. One thing I’ve found that can help if you’re wanting to meet new people is to join a sports group or club. In my case it was starting a Zumba class. I did some casual classes initially but once I started going regularly I met some amazing ladies who are a lot of fun. One of these ladies recently turned 60 and she is truly inspiring. She’s at class each week, even getting on stage to help teach. Honestly if I have half her energy when I’m her age I’ll be impressed.

To celebrate her birthday I made these cupcakes and we shared them with some champagne after class. They’re moist and full of banana flavour which pairs really well with the Nutella frosting. The frosting is based on a Sweetapolita recipe and is so light and creamy. I used a salt-reduced butter to offset the sweetness a little which helped prevent a sugar overload.

The caramel goes fantastic with the banana but unfortunately the lollies I used were too heavy and sunk to the bottom of the cupcakes. To avoid this use smaller pieces of caramels or cut them up and mix them through the batter. The other option is to melt them down and make a caramel sauce to fill the cupcakes or swirl though. I topped my cupcakes with leftover praline but this is completely optional and just adds a bit of crunch.

Banana and Caramel Cupcakes 

8 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz caster sugar
8 oz self raising flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
8 oz banana puree
Jersey caramels

Preheat the oven to 170° and prepare your cupcake cases. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and bananas and stir through. Fold in the flour until just combined.

Spoon the batter into cupcake cases until just under half full. Add a caramel to each cupcake and top with more batter to cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Nutella Frosting

Adapted from Sweetapolita

8 oz salt-reduced butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
140g Nutella

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Mix the Nutella, vanilla and melted chocolate together then add to the butter mixture. Continue beating until completely combined and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.


Cappuccino Cupcakes

I absolutely love the smell of coffee but I just don’t enjoy the taste. I could spend all day in a coffee shop but put a cup in front of me I wouldn’t drink it. Baked into something sweet and delicious however, that’s another story. These cupcakes are wonderful. As you bite into them you experience an amazing aroma that pairs perfectly with the sour cream frosting. They’re light but satisfying and have a great crumbly texture.

I was lucky enough to be invited around to a neighbours house for dinner the other night and these were a really quick recipe to bake and bring along for dessert. You can alter the quantities of espresso powder and vanilla to taste but the flavour is quite strong already. The frosting is delicious and creamy and one I will use in the future as it makes a good alternative to buttercream.

I’m not sure what it is about coffee that I don’t enjoy. Possibly the bitterness, but even mild brews don’t get me excited. I think I’m going to have to continue baking coffee flavoured treats to build up my enjoyment so that next year when I’m working ridiculous hours I’ll be able to drink it to keep me going!

For anyone wondering, I got these cupcake moulds from my sister who found them in a market in Melbourne. You can buy them in cake shops and homewares shops too. They’re made of silicon and can be baked in and are just super cute and fun to use!

Cappuccino Cupcakes

125g self raising flour
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180° and prepare your baking cases.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, baking powder and espresso powder and mix well. Add the flour in batches until all combined. Stir through the milk.

Pour the mixture into prepared baking cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Sour Cream Frosting

170g white chocolate
60g unsalted butter
120g sour cream
300g icing sugar
½ tsp cocoa powder

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly before adding the sour cream and stirring through. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat well until the frosting is smooth. Sift in the cocoa powder and beat to combine.

Milo Cupcakes with Condensed Milk Frosting

There is nothing that can’t be fixed, or at least helped, by Milo. This is a philosophy a good friend of mine and I have stuck to for a long time. Whenever one of us is having a hard day or needs a pick me up, out comes the Milo. Not to say that it should only be consumed when times are tough, but this deliciously malted drink is a pretty powerful remedy.

For those days when even a large mug of Milo isn’t enough, these cupcakes will do the trick. The batter is thick and dense but light and packs a huge amount of flavour. The sour cream helps to keep them from getting too heavy, and the crunchy tops are delicious. Topped with a condensed milk frosting these cupcakes are just what the doctor ordered.

I originally found this recipe at raspberri cupcakes blog and made a few small modifications. Next time I think I’ll make them a bit smaller to get a better ratio of frosting to cake, and up the condensed milk in the frosting so they’re not so sweet. I actually think these would make a great muffin rather than a cupcake and may have to look at making those in the future.

Funnily enough, it was actually the same friend who introduced me to having condensed milk in my Milo. While incredibly sweet and rich, it really does pair fantastically and makes a delicious drink (or cupcake) even more decadent.

Milo Cupcakes
Adapted from recipe by raspberri cupcakes

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
120g Milo
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g sour cream
170g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 180° and prepare your cupcake liners. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add the sour cream, vanilla and Milo and mix until just combined.

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a small bowl and gradually add to the Milo mixture, beating on low until just combined. Fill cupcake liners until ¾ full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are crunchy and a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Condensed Milk Frosting

150g unsalted butter, softened
300g icing sugar
100g condensed milk

Beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Sift the icing sugar and slowly add to the butter, beating until combined. Add the condensed milk and beat on low speed for 5 minutes until thick and smooth.

Caramel Bottom Cupcakes

If I was to suggest one recipe that you make from this blog, this would be it. Remember those caramel chips I used in the biscotti? Here is yet another amazing way to use them. Inspired by the traditional black bottom cupcakes, which are usually made with chocolate cake and chocolate chips, these little treats are full of caramel goodness.

The base is a rich mud cake that truly tastes of caramel and would be delicious baked into a large cake on its own. The smell of the batter is rich and inviting and very hard to avoid tasting! Top that with tangy cream cheese and caramel chips and you have a decadent cupcake that is hard to resist. When I first made this recipe I was skeptical they would turn out as nothing ever works as well in life as it does in your mind, but these do not disappoint. They were such a hit that we ate most of them in a day and my mum has been nagging me for the recipe for months. They also have the added bonus of being easy to transport, as there is no frosting to worry about ruining.

I was lucky enough to be sent some vanilla pods recently and the addition of one of these to the cream cheese frosting was an indulgent treat. If you don’t have access to one or just can’t justify spending the money, feel free to use vanilla extract.

My biggest tip for these very simple to make cupcakes is to ensure you don’t overfill the cases. The cake does rise quite significantly and if you have too much filling you will get overflow (and lose most of the cream cheese). Also be careful not to over bake them to ensure a moist cake and prevent drying out the cream cheese topping. The best advice I can give you? Eat one warm from the oven. I promise you, you will thank me for it!

Caramel Bottom Cupcakes

100g unsalted butter
100g white chocolate
100g brown sugar
90ml hot water
2 tsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 160° and prepare your cupcake cases. In a medium saucepan place the butter, chocolate, sugar, hot water, vanilla and golden syrup. Over low-medium heat melt together and using a whisk, stir to combine. The white chocolate may take a while to dissolve, just keep stirring. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled add the egg and whisk thoroughly. Sift in the flour and baking powder in small batches, whisking between each addition. The batter should change from a dark caramel colour to a lighter butterscotch. Ensure the flour is completely mixed in and has no lumps before spooning into the cupcake cases. As warned (and I speak from experience) don’t fill further than half way.

Caramel Cream Cheese

140g cream cheese
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod/1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
¾ cup caramel chips

In a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla on medium speed. I like to leave my mixture with a few lumps of cream cheese but you can process it until it is smooth if you’d prefer.

Stir in the caramel chips, then spoon a teaspoon or so of mixture onto the caramel cake bases. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cream cheese is firm and lightly golden.

Grapefruit Cupcakes

Grapefruits are not my favourite citrus. Far from it in fact. But my husband loves them so we often have them around the house. I have previously used the following recipe with lemon curd which was absolutely delicious, but this time decided to try it using grapefruits.

The result was suprising in that I actually enjoyed them more than I expected. The curd is not too bitter and the pairs well with the cream cheese frosting. The addition of grapefruit juice and zest to the cupcake batter means you get the citrus notes all the way through, and the slight bitterness stops the sweetness being overpowering.

I would recommend waiting until your curd, cupcakes and frosting are all cold before attempting to assemble these, otherwise it gets a bit messy. The reaction you get from people when they reach the gooey centre is priceless.

I will post the recipe for the curd in the next few days.

Grapefruit Cupcakes

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

1 cup plain flour
¾ cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp grapefruit zest, finely chopped or grated
¼ cup grapefruit juice
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180° and prepare your cupcake cases.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and butter in a bowl and beat until combined. You should get a sandy consistency. Pour in the milk and juice and beat until combined.

Add the egg and mix until incorporated, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth.

Spoon into cupcake cases until 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool before filling and frosting.

To fill cupcakes:

Prepare a batch of grapefruit curd (recipe to follow).

When cool, use a teaspoon to hollow out the centre of the cupcakes. Fill the cavity with grapefruit curd then place the top of the cupcake back on.

Grapefruit Frosting

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

2 cups icing sugar, sifted
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp grapefruit zest, finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp milk

In your mixer, beat together icing sugar, butter and zest on medium speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. On a slower speed add the milk and beat until combined. Then increase to high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

To get the variations in colour, take a small amount of frosting and add a small amount of grapefruit curd. Mix well until your frosting is a different colour. You can enhance the colour with a drop of food dye if needed. When piping use mostly the plain frosting but add some coloured frosting to the bag also (I like to put a stripe down one side of the bag). As you pipe you will get variations throughout your frosting.

Sweet Strawberry Cupcakes

After going overboard at the local markets and buying 3 large punnets of strawberries I had to find another way to use them up. I used a recipe for strawberry cheesecake cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and modified it slightly to make the cupcake bases. Instead of pairing it with a cream cheese frosting I used a sweet strawberry one.

The cupcakes are soft and crumbly with a mild strawberry flavour which pairs well with the stronger taste of strawberry in the frosting. There are a couple of modifications I would make next time around though. The frosting is very sweet and I feel would be better with less sugar. The chopped strawberries are delicious and moist but are very difficult to eat on the bottom of the cupcakes, however they would be perfect on top of the cake batter (but under the frosting).


Strawberry cupcakes

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

1 cup plain flour
¾ cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp strawberry extract
1 egg
12 large strawberries

Preheat the oven to 180°. Prepare 12 cupcake cases.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter on low speed until you get a sandy consistency.

Add the milk and vanilla and mix at medium speed until all combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and strawberry extract and beat well for a few minutes.

Chop the strawberries into small pieces as place in the bottom of each cupcake case. Spoon the batter over the strawberries until two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool before frosting.

Strawberry frosting

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup pureed strawberries
2 ¼ cups sifted icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp strawberry extract

In a small saucepan heat the strawberry puree on medium heat until it reduces by half. Add the vanilla and strawberry extracts. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Continue to mix, adding the puree slowly, a small amount at a time, until you get a thick spreadable frosting.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.

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