You know, I aspire to being a domestic goddess. I dream of being serene and unflappable, producing one culinary masterpiece after another, always prepared with a fully stocked (not to mention spotlessly clean and precisely organized) kitchen. But I think I’m going to have to accept that it’s just not going to happen.
Take this weekend. I had already planned my first Cookbook Challenge recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess: cupcakes, as requested by Miss B. I had checked the ingredients list. I had taken the butter out of the fridge ahead of time to soften. I had even been in the supermarket on Saturday afternoon to pick up a few staples.
And yet, at five-thirty on Saturday evening, when dinner preparations were already in full swing and it was time to frost the cupcakes, I discovered that I had somehow managed to forget to buy icing (confectioners’) sugar. Which we had probably been out of since January, the last time I remember making frosting.
I will spare you the details of the short-lived but hideously unsuccessful (and potentially dangerous) attempt to make frosting using melted caster (granulated) sugar that followed this discovery. Suffice to say that Miss B and I, who clearly have no self-restraint, ate unfrosted cupcakes for dessert on Saturday night. DP, who has more exacting standards, held out until Sunday lunchtime when he could have his cupcake as it should be—dripping with gooey chocolate frosting.
It is worth noting that, even without frosting, these cupcakes are so good that a four-year-old who normally ignores the cake part altogether was eating bits off the paper liner by the end.
* Anyone who is familiar with Ms. Lawson knows that she is, albeit reluctantly, the “Coca-Cola cooking queen of Europe”. Anyone who is familiar with me knows that we don’t keep no stinkin’ Coke in my house.
200g/8oz plain/all-purpose flour
250g/10oz caster/granulated sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
125ml/5oz buttermilk (or 30g/10z yogurt mixed with 100ml/4oz semi-skimmed milk)**
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g/5oz unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp butter, softened***
3 Tbsp Pepsi
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
225g/9oz icing/confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the butter, cocoa, and Pepsi on the stove until the butter is melted and stir to combine. Mix the egg, dairy, and vanilla together. Add first the butter mixture, and then the egg mixture, to the dry ingredients and beat to combine. Pour into cupcake pans and bake until a tester comes out clean.****
To make the frosting, mix the Pepsi, cocoa, and vanilla into the butter. Sift or whisk the sugar to get rid of any lumps, then beat into the butter mixture until you have a thick, smooth, but still runny frosting. Spread on the cupcakes. Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands if so inclined.
** I used 30g Greek yogurt and 100ml full milk—worked great.
*** NL specifies melting the butter to make the frosting, but I thought that would make it too runny, so I didn't. As you can see, it's pretty runny as it is.
**** I cooked mine for between 30 and 40 minutes, which seemed like a lot for cupcakes, but they weren't dried out. Quite the opposite, in fact; I still wasn't sure if they were cooked, even after all that time.