“This is a super easy recipe,” says Kate. “Please don’t be afraid by the appearance of margarine. Use a good-quality one containing buttermilk (like Stork) and I promise the results will be lighter and more delicious than if you made them with butter. Fact. The frosting absolutely must be made with unsalted butter. Don’t try slipping in any of your marge here. Very bad idea.”
The following recipe makes around 12 cupcakes:
110g self-raising flour, sifted
110g caster sugar
110g soft margarine
1 tsp baking powder
2 large, free-range eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting:
200g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
2 generous tbsp good-quality strawberry jam (like Bon Maman)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F/ gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cake cases.
2. Put all the cake ingredients into a food processor, mixer or simply a large bowl. If you are using either of the first two implements, turn on and step back. If you are using the bowl approach, I really would advise the use of an electric whisk. A wooden spoon and elbow grease is OK, but electricity is better.
3. When the batter is pale and mousse-like, plop spoonfuls of it into the cases.
4. Pop into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
5. While the cakes are cooling make the butter cream by beating the sifted icing sugar into the butter. Give it a really good thrashing. Sieve the jam and shove that in, followed by the lemon juice. If the mixture is a bit on the heavy side, add a teaspoon or two of just boiled water and beat that in. You should have a butter cream that is the consistency of a slightly stiffer Mr Whippy ice cream. Taste the mix and see if you need more jam or lemon juice.
6. Either fling the mixture into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe glorious swirls or simply pile it on with a small palette knife. Decorate with sprinkles, sweeties, edible glitter, kitchen sink…
7. Try and leave them for an hour or so to set a little. Lick the bowl – that should help.