Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Margaret Fulton's original cupcake recipe

From whence came the pretty birthday cupcakes.
These are the cupcakes that I grew up cooking: they were the ones I burnt, the ones where I failed to incorporate the sugar enough and ended up with crunchy cake-tops, the ones where I experimented with Mum's fancy Ilve oven settings and gave them all charcoal bums and raw tops, the ones I made for birthday parties and to take to school, the ones I made with runny lemon icing and without, with choc chips inside and without, the ones I have been cooking for many years and in a few countries, from PNG to Brisbane to France, back to Australia, back to France and home again once more.
Margaret and her cupcakes have been with me all the way. I expect that these are the first things I will teach my children to cook.

  • 125g butter ( I use Western Star unsalted)
  • three quarters cup of sugar (use castor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (I just tip them whole into the mixer.... for shame)
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • two thirds cup milk (Trim is fine)

Cream butter with sugar till light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then beat in eggs a little at a time. Sift flour and salt three times and fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon into patty cases set in muffin tins. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven (190 C) for 15 minutes or until golden and when a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, ice and decorate as desired. Makes about 20.

Now for the personal touch. I like to use more vanilla than 1 tsp, especially if I am planning a fairly delicate icing flavour such as rose or orange. Orange and vanilla go great together. I don't need to skewer them anymore... these days, I can just tap them with my fingers (totally impresses people: reaching bare-handed into a hot oven to poke your cupcakes) for the first batch and then just judge the remaining batches by sight. But enough about my awesomeness. The other thing I have learned about these is that they cook better and look better and are about a million times easier to deal with if you only put a TINY AMOUNT into each patty case. See. Margaret reckons 20 of these: and yes there would be 20 if you made them big enough to fill the muffin tin. But I only put about 1 heaped teaspoon of mixture into each one. This gives you at least twice the amount of cakes, and there is no annoying and trashy-looking burnt spillage up the sides of the paper or onto the tin itself. They still puff up the same, but they look much more delicate, much more perfect, and they should be contained within the bottom two-thirds of the patty case: thus leaving you the top third of paper case to pipe on a sweet frosting curl, or to pour on a thinner icing to set solid and flat, a la Nigella's lilac cupcakes in How To Eat.

I doubled this recipe for the pretty birthday cupcakes, made 'em nice and small and got about 70.

1 comment:

lauren said...

thankyou so much for the margaret fulton cupcake recipe. Mum used to have her day to day cookery book, but i think it's since been thrown out. what a shame!