Vanilla cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes, topped with candy-coloured vanilla frosting and sprinkles, are what the Hummingbird Bakery is best known for, and they never fail to please
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Vanilla cupcakes
© Peter Cassidy
Vanilla cupcakes topped with candy-coloured frosting and sprinkles
When you make these at home, don’t overcook them - they should be light golden and spring back when touched. This way you will ensure an airy, moist sponge with a subtle vanilla taste (makes 12).

The cupcake sponge

* 120g plain flour
* 140g caster sugar
* 1½ teaspoons baking powder
* A pinch of salt
* 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 120ml whole milk
* 1 egg
* ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
* Hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
* A 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark three.

2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

4. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.

6. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

7. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands (see below for recipe).

Vanilla frosting

(makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)
* 250g icing sugar, sifted
* 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 25ml whole milk
* A couple of drops of vanilla extract

1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed.

2. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

3. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least five minutes). The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook

Special offer: £2 off The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

You can buy the book at the special price of £14.99 with free p&p (rrp £16.99) by calling Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference code GLR1KP.

Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
By Tarek Malouf and the Hummingbird Bakers
Photography by Peter Cassidy
Published by Ryland Peters & Small

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