Not even a whingy post.
I am genuinely sick. Like genuine article, snotty and gross, headaches and all sick. No fever, because I basically never do, which does somehow minimise the seriousness of my ailment.
If this is all looking like gibberish, which is possible, I have become crazier and more over tired than I had originally imagined, and will delete this as soon as I have come to my senses.
The point is, I have been unwell, and lookingly lovingly over photos from Hartley's actual birthday day last week, kindly sent my way from a friend.
Although we had his party over the weekend, his actual birthday was slightly quieter. Both kids managed to get ear infections, were both on antibiotics and tired and grumpy (much like myself at this particular moment).
Nevertheless, I made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate vanilla buttercream (and sprinkles!), stuck in a candle (that was kept out of his reach), and we opened some presents.
I even made Dukan friendly chicken nuggets and roast vege chips for dinner, in hopes I would not succumb to the desire for a cupcake (successful btw).
The cupcake recipe was from Joy the Baker, and although they are overpriced in our little town, I bought good quality essence and vanilla pods.
The chocolate buttercream had ovaltine in it, taking away from it becoming too chocolatey (I don't know how this is possible, but I am told by the Lovely Fiance, it is very common).
Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
Makes 24 cupcakes
227g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup white sugar
4 Large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla essence
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Position a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat to 180 degrees Celsius (350F). Line 2 cupcake pans with papers. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla essence and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This may take 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. If the batter looks a little curdled, that is just fine!
With your mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mix and vanilla milk mix in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour. When the batter is almost done, stop the mixer and finish mixing the batter with a spatula, making sure any floury bits at the bottom are incorporated. ( I like doing this especially because it minimises the chances of over-mixing)
Divide into prepared cupcake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before placing on wire cooling racks.
Please be aware, this recipe seems prone to over cooking, there really is a fine line. One minute you have beautiful fluffy vanilla cakes, the next you have rock hard over cooked things that once resembled cakes (please note, they were still all eaten, just not till the next day).
The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough for all 24 cupcakes or 1 x 8inch layer cake
170g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup Ovaltine or any malted milk powder
Cream together butter, cocoa and salt. It will be super thick. Turn off your mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and icing sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in icing sugar while adding milk and vanilla. As the sugar mixes in, raise the speed of your mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth.
In a 1 cup measuring cup, stir together cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mix into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you've reached your desired consistency. You may not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream (but I did for mine). Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. SUPER YUM.