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This is an updated version of the previous Cupcakes recipe I had that I am very lucky to be able to share - these are delicious and were a staple in my friend Kacy's very successful cake business. I am making cupcakes a lot these days and have not been satisfied with previous recipes as they still seem a bit dry etc. These have the perfect ratio of ingredients that mean they never fail, and I love the amount of vanilla. They are buttery, melt in the mouth. 

It is all about the icing with cupcakes, as you expect that fun quiff on top, so whip it up as fluffy as you can. Instead of food colouring I like to add a splash of water to 1/4 cup of berries (raspberries are my favourite) in a small pan and cook gently til it all softens and mingles together and then push the bright pink juice through a small strainer straight into the icing mix to take out the pips etc.

They freeze well so are perfect for large birthday parties or events involving large numbers of guests - the more you can prepare in advance the better, and they don't need plates!

Recipe provided by Kacy Grainger. Icing narrative by Iain Dawson.

Pictured: Cupcakes in Rose!

200g unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
¾ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of milk

Vienna Cream Icing for 12 cupcakes (i.e. double qty) - from the Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ a cup icing sugar - add more to thicken if necessary
2 tbsp milk
Pink! Food! Colouring! or Blue, Green etc - see above for colouring made with raspberries

Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour and baking powder then add them to the bowl and beat until just combined. Fold through the milk and spoon the mixture into 24 muffin pans lined with patty cases,  3/4 full.  
Bake for 18-20 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack.

Icing - by Iain Dawson - too funny not to quote!
Place butter in a bowl and beat well until it is as white as possible, add half the sugar and gradually add the milk to the bowl and beat well, add the remaining sugar and then any colouring or vanilla you like - "preferably with an electric mixer, but for those without a whisk will do well if you go to the gym for a week in preparation (!) Add loads of icing sugar til it’s just thick enough to be scary. Add a few drops of colour – a very rich pink can be achieved by dumping a tablespoonful of the colour in! Wait til the cakes are super cool and then ice them – otherwise the icing melts a bit and looks terrible. The best method for seamless icing is to get a big dollop of it on a spoon or such and dump it on top in the middle then pat until it spreads under gravity – this also leaves a jaunty quiff that just screams Simone Logue............" - Iain Dawson.

Makes 24

TasteTip - There are four basic cake-making methods - 'whisking', 'creaming', 'rubbing in' and 'melting'. They produce cakes as varied as the Savoy sponge (Biscuit de Savoie - an 18th century sponge cake), the Victoria sandwich (perfect party cake), rock cakes (bite-sized cakes) and the parkin (soft cake traditionally made of oatmeal and molasses served on Guy Fawke's night), respectively. Noone actually knows how the 'creaming' method evolved but interestingly it is the reverse of bread-making where you add flour to fat (creaming) rather than fat added to flour (bread-making).

Pictured: Cupcakes decorated as butterflies by my 2 toddlers