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Cup cakes for special occasions

Cup cakes have become a regular sight at any festive occasion. Kids love them, but increasingly couples are choosing pretty cup cakes as an alternative to a traditional wedding cake. Although shop-bought cakes can look very attractive, they are often expensive. Instead follow a simple recipe to make your own.

For basic vanilla cupcakes blend 110g of butter with the same weight of caster sugar. Add in two eggs, a little at a time, making sure they blend smoothly with the butter and sugar. Then fold in 110g of self-raising flour and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. If the mixture feels a little dense, add a tablespoon of milk to soften it. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes.

For a variation on the basic recipe, consider adding a little cocoa powder to the mix for chocolate cupcakes, or cinnamon and all-spice for spicy Halloween or Bonfire Night cupcakes.

Get creative with the icing

Cup cakes are the ideal baking choice for those with an eye for detail and some creative flair. A basic buttercream icing uses butter and twice the weight of icing sugar. A few drops of food colouring could be all you require to get your cup cakes looking pretty, but kids also love toppings like tiny marshmallows, chocolate buttons or small candies.

Memorable wedding cupcakes can be given a fondant icing topping and a simple motif like a heart or a gold-leaf design. Stencils can be used with a sprayed sugar icing to get a very professional and elegant finish.

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