My culinary career started when I was about 8 years old. Baking bun every Saturday morning was one of my chores. They were baked under the watchful eye of my mother initially and then I was let at it. Week after week, every Saturday they were made. Some sent to nanny and grandad, a few frozen incase there were visitors during the week and the rest were stored in an old battered USA biscuit tin that had seen better days.
There are so incredibly simple but ooh so cute with the addition of the icing, sprinkles and dolly mixture.
There are a couple of key secrets to having them super light and fluffy which is such a big part of the joy of them. Using a tub of soft spreadable stork margarine will just you a much lighter, fluffier result than anything else. Butter offer more flavour with a slightly more dense result. Thee block of margarine is fine but trust me nothing works like that tub of spreadable margarine. The quality and type of vanilla you use matters. It does. The vanilla bean paste and the vanilla extract are pricey but there is just no comparison to those versus the vanilla essence you buy. Try and use the good stuff if you can.
I have been teaching people how to cook for over 15 years and trust me when I tell you I have put in my 10,000 expert hours with these buns. YOU HAVE TO CREAM YOUR BUTTER AND SUGAR FOR WAY LONGER THAN YOU THINK. It has to be creamy, velvety, no grains and pale in colour before it is ready. It takes patience but it is so important. If you don’t you get almost like a porous, granular effect on top.
The other biggest and most important tip I can give you is around the addition of the flour. You must not over work or over beat it. You will over work the gluten (a protein in the flour) and it you will end up with tough cupcakes.
Don’t over cook them. God forbid but I thinkI used bake mine for 25 minutes when I was starting out.
Learn from my mistakes and enjoy baking these little bundles of joy.
With fun and deliciousness,
- 110 g butter room temperature
- 110 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 110 g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp milk room temperature
For the icing
- 200 g icing sugar
- 2/3 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100 g dolly mixture sweets
- 50 g sprinkles
- Weight and measure all your ingredients. Cut the butter into cubes. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line 12 holes in a shallow muffin tin with cupcake cases (not muffin cases).
- Using the electric beater cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat until pale, smooth and creamy. This will take at least 5 minutes with a stand mixer and about 7 with a hand held mixer. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides every minute or so. Gradually beat in the eggs and add about 3 tbsp flour as you go. Then barely mix the remaining flour until it is combined. Do not over work or over beat at this stage as it will over develop the gluten in the flour and cause your cupcakes ( buns ) to go tough.
- Using two spoons, scoop the mixture into the lined bun tins. Scoop up the mixture with one spoon and push it off with the back of the other spoon. Fill the mixture up about 2/3rds of the way.
- Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Do not leave them on a flat surface, as the heat will cause a little condensation, and they may go soggy.
- As they cool, make the icing. Combine the icing sugar with the vanilla first, and then drop by drop, add the milk until it is at a thick dropping consistency.
- Speed the icing over the centre of the buns and spread out a little. Top with sprinkles and dolly mixture sweets. Then, there is no more left to do but surprise and delight young and old.