I get asked a lot about very few things. One of those things is how I stay so slim which make me chuckle so much I want to reach for a biscuit. Having spent my twenties working in advertising where everyone was stick thin, posh and Oxbridge (silly hybrid word) educated, the very thought that someone might consider ME slim tickles me. For the record I am a size 14 and pretty tall. So yes, I do eat a lot but no, I am not thin or even slim… I am curvy and most of the time pretty happy that way.
The other thing I get asked about is what Paul Hollywood is like. Followed by whether I fancied him. (I didn’t by the way.) The next most popular thing I get asked is what nozzle I used for various icing related projects. It’s almost always a Wilton 1M for no other reason that I am lazy and all my icing paraphernalia is kept in the spare bedroom. The size 14 bottom and my choice of nozzle are oddly interlinked then you see.
Lastly I get asked a lot about how to achieve a perfectly flat cupcake. I’m not sure why as I’ve never had an issue with peaked cupcakes myself. They look cute and if you want them flat you snip the top off with a pair of scissors and gobble the offending peak up. Again, related to my size 14 bottom.
But as people ask… here we go.
Comments as always appreciated…
One year ago: Choc dipped ice-cream cones and Sweetie covered ice-cream wafers and Razzamatazz ribs and Thoroughly British banana and custard cupcakes
Two years ago: Banana and custard melts and Thomas fairy cakes
Flat vanilla cupcakes
Makes 12 – 18 depending on the size of the cases
– 175g castor sugar
– 175g self raising flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 175g Stork margarine
– 1tbsp vanilla extract
– 3 large eggs at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3 and make sure a rack is in the centre of the oven. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases. Mix all the ingredients together until lighter in colour than when you started and creamy looking. This takes about 4 minutes in a KitchenAid mixer with the flat beater (start on 1 and work up to 6) or about 10 minutes by hand with a wooden spoon. Fill each case only half full and do not be tempted to use up extra batter by over filling the cases – that’s how the domes happen.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until just browning and a toothpick comes out of the centre of the middle cupcakes clean. Remove from the oven and from the tin and cool on a wire rack. If you have any mixture leftover bake some more cupcakes! Despite having baking powder in it this mixture will be fine to sit about unbaked for 20ish minutes.
If you still have domes then I would suggest you buy an oven thermometer as baking at a lower temperature is key to achieving a flat cupcake. (As is not overfilling.) Also, try to bake in the middle of the oven. If you bake on a higher rack the oven is usually hotter, again resulting in a peaked cupcake.
Once cool cover your cupcake with any icing you fancy. Perhaps… banana, rose, caramel coffee, Mars bar, brandy butter inspired stuff, chocolate ganache, Italian meringue buttercream or just plain old glace.
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my cupcakes came out perfect…thank you holly
I am so pleased Linda. It really does help by not overfilling and also keeping that temperature a little lower. x
I follow the same recipe and don’t overfill the cups but still get domed tops. I suspect that my fan oven is a little overenthusiastic sometimes so the outside cooks and sets before the whole cake has risen. I think I’m going to try reducing the temperature but if I’m honest I don’t really mind about the domed tops (nor what Paul Hollywood is like, I used to work in the baking industry, I was pretty much the only person he hadn’t met it seemed!)
I think your oven must defo be high. I had this with my fan oven at my old house – my oven at this house is fairly rubbish so no domed tops. x
It’s amazing in the bakery industry how you’d get your ovens calibrated and balanced at least yearly but at home we expect a 10 year old oven to read exactly the temperature it says on the dial in every position. It is worth remembering. I can cook a chicken in my oven in an hour and 15 mins when my sister’s oven will take over 2 hours for the same sized bird.
It comes back to that question about Agas. I used to think people who used them were a bit strange but when you think about it, just because an electrical oven has a dial, doesn’t mean it’s any more accurate. You could easily be looking at 10-20oC inaccuracies. Less of a problem with savoury stuff but a bigger issue with cakes.
That said, I think my oven is reasonably well balanced. I made a cracking victoria sponge the other day and they always say that’s the test!
The AGA thing fascinates me – I think you have to be a fairly confident cook to use one – or an intuitive one. My best friend’s mum is an AGA demonstrator. I keep wondering if I should ask her for a go. :-) x
I think it’s about using your Aga and getting to know it by using it (or buying a really good temperature probe you can use in an oven!)
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