Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bill the Burglar Butterfly Piñata, cupcakes and a vat of cream cheese frosting...

Saturday (the morning of my flatmate’s birthday-BBQ) dawned bright and sunny.  Being eternal optimists we blithely ignored the weather forecasts suggesting imminent rain and began clearing up and decorating the garden. 

Sad looking plants were tidied; paper bunting draped; balloons blown (early morning head rush!) and strung up... all lorded over by a Butterfly piñata I'd made, dangling from the ancient washing line in the centre. 
The piñata bizarrely become known as Bill the Burglar Butterfly.  It was named by my brother during a visit last week.  Apparently the eyes reminded him of a book we used to have when we were kids.  Personally I think it looked more like a teenage mutant ninja turtle but for whatever reason Bill the Burglar Butterfly stuck...
In predictable style as soon as we’d finished, the heavens opened drenching everything  (except Bill who we managed to speedily cacoon in bin bags).
Everything was hurriedly rushed back in and repositioned around the lounge.  Almost immediately after which the clouds got bored and headed off elsewhere...

In the end the piñata didn’t get beaten into submission– apparently it's too cute (now I can see why farmers don’t name their livestock!).  I’m informed he’s been adopted as our house mascot – to be honest I’m not convinced... he may end up meeting with an “unfortunate” accident!

Between our hokey cokey of decorating (...in out in out shake it all about...), I made a mountain of cupcakes.  A mixture of red velvet ones from this hummingbird bakery recipe and vanilla ones from this Nigella recipe.   I then made almost a kilo and a half (goodbye healthy cholesterol levels...) of cream cheese frosting to ice them all...  

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Pop paper muffin cases in a muffin tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, alternating each with a large spoonful of flour.  Fold in the rest of the ingredients one at a time.

Spoon the mixture into the cases – if you fill the cases to 2/3 full the cupcake should rise nicely without spilling any excess mixture over the top.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (keeping a close eye on them) until risen and lightly golden-brown. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for a few minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the icing.  Slowly beat together the butter and icing sugar until well mixed.  Add the cream cheese and beat on medium-high until  light and fluffy – approximately 5 minutes.  I iced the red velvet cupcakes with plain white icing and dyed the vanilla cupcake icing pink with a few drops of colouring.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a round hole in the top of each cake with the knife at a 45˚ angle creating space for the icing to fill. 
Spoon the icing into the top of each cake.  Cut the lids in half and position them in the icing, poking up like butterfly wings.

Vanilla Cupcakes: (makes 24 large cupcakes)
225g butter, room temperature
300g sugar
6 eggs
350g plain flour
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml natural yogurt
1tsp vanilla extract
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped

Cream Cheese Frosting: (makes enough for 12 cupcakes)
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g butter, room temperature
250g cream cheese, chilled

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