I am waaay behind on blogging, apologies for that! but fortunately for me this means the rainbow cupcakes I made a few weeks ago are now bang on appropriate for St.Patricks Day today!
So Happy St. Patricks Day to my fellow Irish bloggers out there, and to everyone else...since I'm pretty sure more non-Irish people than Irish celebrate it these days anyway!
On to the rainbow cupcakes! The real reason I baked these was because I oversee the primary organisation in my church, which is all of the kids between the ages of 3-12. You may not know this but our church services each Sunday are 3 hours long which sounds a lot at first but it's broken down into 3 separate segments and really doesn't seem all that long at all!
However the final hour is the segment that the other leaders and I have to teach and sing with the kids. So you can imagine after 2 hours of sitting already, kids can have a tendency to be restless and a little mischievous at times! So I introduced the reverence jar! which is a jar that each of the kids can put a marble into at the end of primary if they have been good and quiet and reverent. It is quite a hit, the kids all seem to love it because once you fill the marble jar to the top you get treats.
Somehow I managed to either pick a really large jar this time around or just really small marbles, when I did it with the primary kids in Turks and Caicos I think we used giant marbles so they managed to fill it a lot quicker! It was taking longer than expected and since my career is based on reinforcement I knew they needed to get some quick to keep them motivated so we made a halfway line on the jar, which was actually my sisters clever suggestion as she does it with her primary kids in Leeds too.
So a few weeks ago the marbles reached that halfway line and the kids all got home baked rainbow cupcakes to celebrate a good few months of some super reverent behaviour!
I forgot how time consuming making rainbow cupcakes can be, all the layering of the different colours and smoothing out to make nice neat little lines for the awesome cross section effect! but the look on the kids faces when I gave them the cupcakes made all the effort worth it!
...and I was pretty impressed with this vanilla cupcake recipe I used from Lola's. It was the first time I had tried it out and it was tasty. It was also probably the first time I've eaten a vanilla cupcake in YEARS, because to me vanilla is soooo boring - I have never in my life ordered a vanilla cupcake at any bakery I've visited, and we know that is a vast list! and I would never chose to make them when there are too many other delicious flavour combinations you can bake so I'm not sure whether I just haven't had one in so long that I forgot they're actually kind of decent - either way you should give this recipe a whirl! and the super creamy chocolate frosting was certainly a winner too!
Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes:
Makes 16 (I used fairy cake size cases)
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, cubed and soft
150g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
Assorted gel colours
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat using an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stop occasionally to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
Using a small, sharp knife, slit the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds out into the mixing bowl.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.
Divide the mixture evenly between 4 bowls, you can do more colours if you like but my cupcakes were smaller than average so even 4 different colours was slightly pushing it! Use a few drops of gel colour and mix into each bowl until you get the desired colour. I wouldn't recommend using liquid colour as it will bake out alot and sometimes can affect taste depending on how much you use. Put a teaspoon of one colour in the bottom of all the cupcake cases, smooth it over with the back of the teaspoon so it is an even layer. Add the next colour on top and repeat until you have used all the colours. If you're pushed for time, you can just add teaspoons of each colour without making sure they are in little neat layers and it will still create a rainbow effect, I just like mine a little more orderly!
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
135g unsalted butter, cubed and soft
410g icing sugar
45g cocoa powder
6 tablespoons milk
Put the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very soft and smooth.
Sift half the sugar and half the cocoa powder into the bowl, beating until incorporated.
Add the second half of the sugar and cocoa and beat on low speed.
Slowly pour in the milk and when it is mixed in, beat for 3-5 minutes on a higher speed.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using your favourite star tip.