On the 15th of June it was the birthday of our good friend Dean, who had graciously invited myself and my other half to go and spend the weekend at his new house with him and his fiance. As it was his birthday, I offered to bake him some cupcakes, and was given creative control.
I decided on a basic vanilla/chocolate combo - heavy on the chocolate - as it's always a crowd pleaser, even for the fussiest of tastes. I received The Hummingbird Bakery book for my birthday, so I thought I would try their recipes for vanilla cupcakes and chocolate buttercream. I bought one of those combo packs of chocolate sprinkles and used a combination of all four types to decorate these little bundles of sugar:
The vanilla cupcake mixture turned out... interesting, to say the least. It was quite runny to work with, and I found it didn't quite make enough to give a generous dozen portion in the muffin cakes. When I pulled the cakes out of the oven, they had shrunk away from the muffin tin during baking so turned out quite small, more like fairy cakes. The tops also turned out completely level, rather than the domed top I get with the Primrose Bakery recipe. The cakes were small and hadn't risen very much, I felt as though the recipe could have done with being a bit drier and to make them a bit fluffier and after reading several reviews of the Hummingbird book, I found a lot of other bakers have said they needed to adapt recipes in order to make them successful as well.
Still, I persevered and made the chocolate buttercream. This was a lot lighter than the chocolate buttercream recipe in Primrose's book, as it requires the use of cocoa powder rather than a bar of dark chocolate. The texture was almost mousse-like, and it was very tasty and easy to pipe. I think it would be ideal for use within a layer cake.
The cakes went down a treat and I will definitely use the buttercream recipe again and perhaps if I decide to use the vanilla cake recipe again, I will use it for mini cupcakes instead.