Christmas Angel Cupcakes
The flowery apron Justine is donning in these pics is one of our clever Shaperon aprons, that folds up into a little handbag (Houdini would have been impressed by these sneaky things).
Basic cupcakes (makes 12):
125g soft butter
125g castor sugar
125g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp real vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Take everything out of fridge in advance to bring to room temperature, this improves the lightness of the cupcakes. Place all the ingredients, excluding the milk, in a food processor. Blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel to make a dropping consistency.
Divide mixture amongst 12 gold cupcake cases, bake for 15-20 minutes (they should be golden on top). Cool completely on a wire rack.
I love meringue topping icing as it is glossy and delicious and always looks impressive. It is however important to get it thick enough to hold the wings in this recipe, which can be tricky. An alternative is to use Royal icing, featured previously on Spatula. This sets hard and offers all the support needed for wings once it dries. The quantities below are doubled for icing 12 angels, as they require more topping than a conventional cupcake.
Meringue topping ingredients:
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons golden syrup ( I have found that Illovo syrup has a very strong flavour and can be overpowering. It is best to use Lyle’s Golden syrup, available at Pick n’ Pay, as the flavour is subtler)
200g castor sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Using a double-boiler, add all the ingredients except for the vanilla. Stir with a fork to prevent egg from cooking. Once mixture is hot to the touch, use an electric beater to beat until icing becomes thick and holds peaks (can take a few minutes, be patient). Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and keep whisking until mixture cools slightly. Ice cooled cupcakes immediately to avoid topping from setting.
Wings: I used plastic icing, bought ready-made from the Baking Tin in Claremont. Roll out to 2-3mm thick. Using the a holly leaf Christmas cutter, cut out wings from icing. Alternatively use a sharp knife to cut wing-shapes. Place wings on a plate to dry. Preferably do this the day before to allow sufficient drying time. Once you have piped the angel, allow a few minutes for icing to set slightly, then push wings into position.
Angels: Pipe icing in a cone-shape to create angel ‘dresses’. Place a white Malteaser (available at Pick ‘n Pay) on top for the head. Sprinkle with edible gold glitter or stars.
Halos: I used thin copper wire purchased from a craft shop. Be sure to wash well before using in food. Bend into loop, leaving a long support stem to push into cupcake once assembled.
Thanks for the recipe and decorating tips, Stine. Cupcakes ahoy!