I always bake for my birthday. I always go to work on my birthday. I like the attention, but that’s no surprise, is it? It’s double the joy – I get a “Happy Birthday!” as well as praise for the effort of bringing cake. It’s really more about me than them, I’ll admit it.
On this, my 27th birthday, I made vanilla cupcakes with cocoa cream cheese icing. I take no credit – just labour costs.
My colleague Ulpha gave me the fantastic cake recipe which can be used for full-sized cake in a variety of colours and flavours with the same great results. But I really love making it for the joy of licking the batter out of the bowl. Always been a ‘batter is better’ kinda girl.
The icing is an adaptation of Browniegirl’s cream cheese icing that she uses for her carrot cake.
I decorated them with sugar pearls from Nicoletta (picked them up for a bargain at the Good Food and Wine Show) because a pearl is June’s birthstone.
Mom always gave all the kids at our birthday parties presents. When I was in boarding school, she would not only bring a care package for me, but my entire dorm room. So in an effort to follow suit, everyone got a cupcake with their initial on it. Oulik, né?
Cocoa Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Makes approximately 24 small cupcakes
3 extra large eggs, separated
1 ¾ cup of castor sugar
¼ cup of canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup of boiling milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Beat the egg whites while gradually adding the sugar. It will get deliciously thick and white quite quickly. Slowly add the oil while still beating. Then gooi in the egg yolks and vanilla essence. If it’s very thick, just hold on to your apron strings, we’re going to fix it now now.
Sift the dry ingredients together and sift again into the egg mixture. Fold with a metal spoon. Put your favourite love song on while doing this and take it slow like your first vasdans at the school sokkie. Then add the boiling milk and fold a few more times. Give it one more slow woer with the electric beater to make sure there aren’t any flour clumps.
Pour batter into paper cupcake cups inside a cupcake pan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in a place that’s out of sight for prying eyes who want to taste it before it’s even gotten dressed with icing!
Cocoa Cream Cheese Icing:
1/3 cup of butter (about 100g) softened
2 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50-75ml of sour cream (depending on how tart you like it)
100g of cream cheese – I only use Simonsberg
½ cup of cocoa
Beat the butter until it’s almost white. Gradually add the sugar, bit by bit. Once it’s thick and tough to manoeuvre, add the vanilla and sour cream and beat to incorporate. Then add the cream cheese bit by bit until it’s the desired consistency. Please… if it’s getting to thin, PUT DOWN the cream cheese. If it’s too thick, don’t be afraid or too snoep to add a bit more. You are going to have to eat these cupcakes after all… J Finally add the cocoa and beat slowly to blend. The amount is also just a guideline dependent on the level of chocolaty-ness you’re after. I don’t think you could add too much though. The more chocolaty, the better.
Spread this glorious goodness liberally on top of cooled cupcakes. The best part is the icing doesn’t get hard and is good for two or so days.
I can’t describe the fun I have making these little diabetes-inducing darlings. Damn! It’s hard work trying to make an ‘S’ out of these little pearls, but so worth every expletive and the ruined apron and kitchen towels.