Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nigella Lawson's Cupcakes

Sometimes when I wake up on Saturday mornings, Nigella Lawson's cooking show is on TV. The Food Network must not have filmed many episodes, because the same one always comes on, called "Just Desserts". She makes these cupcakes and they always look so beautiful and delicious. Nigella has a way of describing food so descriptively and elegantly, in that British accent of hers, that I literally want to jump through the TV screen and eat with her.

So I finally decided to make these simple vanilla cupcakes, with Royal icing.

I decided to bake them in these party nut cups that I purchased at Michaels, just for something different. I obviously filled them too full with the batter, because they spilled over and started growing limbs. I cut off the excess cupcake (and consumed!) and then frosted the tops with the royal icing.

Now for the review. The cake was absolutely delicious! It had tons and tons of flavor and was very sweet. I modified the icing recipe and left out the lemon juice (reviewers of this recipe said the lemon flavor was way too strong) and replaced with a little milk. The icing was super sweet. It looked so smooth and beautiful, but I definitely prefer soft, creamy buttercream to hard royal icing.

The recipe only makes 12, so I will probably modify it the next I bake them, so that I'll have 24.

Nigella Lawson's Cupcakes:

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon soft butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Take everything you need out of the fridge in time to get to room temperature - and this makes a huge difference to the lightness of the cupcakes later - and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all of the ingredients for the cupcakes except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel, to make a smooth dropping consistency.
Divide the mixture between a 12-bun muffin tin lined with muffin papers, and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. They should have risen and be golden on top. Let them cool a little in their tins on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.
Ice with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing:

2 large egg whites
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice or milk
Combine the egg whites and confectioners' sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes. (Whisk in the lemon juice, this will thin out the icing.) Beat for another couple of minutes until you reach the right spreading consistency for the cupcakes.

Yield: sufficient to generously ice 12 cupcakes

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