Because she has now reached Year 5, Miss 10 recently had to complete a service learning project at school. This was a very open-ended assignment: pick a charity or community service organisation or issue that you feel is worthy of support and do something for them, agreed to by both parents and teachers. It could be anything from cleaning up litter at a local beach, to spending time reading to the elderly at a nursing home. My daughter and her friend decided to sell cupcakes and lollies at school to raise money for a range of charities. The proverbial icing on the proverbial cake? They wanted to theme their cupcakes according to the charities they were supporting.
Happily I had seen some of Chris' beautiful cupcakes at Mele Cotte, which inspired me to make use of some leftover fondant for the decorations. (If you ever find yourself with leftover fondant, wrap it up so it is airtight, and keep it in a dark place at room temperature, and it will keep for a long time.) The designs were kept simple, so the kids could decorate the cupcakes themselves on top of the buttercream icing. Red fondant made crosses for the Red Cross. White fondant made paw prints for the RSPCA, and the leftover red and white fondant kneaded together made pink ribbons for Breast Cancer. The girls were so proud of their handiwork, and, even better, they sold well at school, raising almost $300 in total from their stall.
The recipes were the basic vanilla and the basic chocolate cupcakes from 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connelly. If you haven't seen this book, it is charming, with cupcake recipes covering every flavour possibility. Because kids en masse can be a pretty fussy lot, we played it safe and went with the basic vanilla and the basic chocolate cupcake recipes. I never got to try a cupcake, but the kids tell me they were good.
Classic Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes
from 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connelly
225g unslated butter, softened
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbls cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g chopped plain chocolate
2 tbsp double cream
50g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sieved
Heat oven to 175C. Place 18 cupcake papers into a muffin tin. Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes. Spoon the batter into cases. Bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tins for 5 mins then remove to a rack to cool completely. For the icing, combine chocolate cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir gently until combined. Remove from heat and add icing sugar, stirring until the icing is smooth. Spread onto cupcakes.