What to do… when your cumquat tree decides to bear just one, solitary cumquat? I wouldn’t be asking this question if it wasn’t the most beautiful cumquat I’d ever seen and as it’s the only cumquat my tree has ever deigned to produce, it truly deserves to be celebrated! My little citrus gem is ready to be plucked from it’s branch in the next day or two, before the birds discover my hidden treasure, so your thoughts and advice on how to best savour and venerate this lone piece of fruit would be ever so welcomed! I get the feeling jam is out of the question…
From cumquats to cupcakes… Both, worthy of celebration and each so endearing in their miniature sizing. Though, unlike the cumquat, I’ve had a glut of cupcakes practically spilling out of the oven over the past few days as the Birthday celebrations of our eldest took place. Two dozen decorated cupcakes to share with classmates at school and then another dozen or so (slightly more dressed-up) for party day!
It was perfect timing that I’d done a ‘Cupcake Decorating’ course with a few girlfriends just recently, so unlike the many years gone by, I was now well-taught (though not terribly well-practised) in the techniques of frosting with a piping bag. It was so much speedier (and I must say, a little more elegant…) than slathering them with a palette knife! In our course, we also spent time decorating with fondant icing – forming piggy faces, roses, ribbons/bows and somewhat creepy-looking babies (well, mine was anyway!) A lesson of basic tips and tricks that will be fabulous to know for the family Birthday cakes yet to come. A few Photos…
There really is something indulgent and slightly magical in the eating of these miniature cakes, that can transport you back to childhood in an instant. Something decadent in being able to consume a whole cake, in it’s entirety, in a matter of seconds… without feeling too guilty. The flavours, colours and designs are limited only by your imagination.
Enjoy the following classic recipe for Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes with vanilla frosting, which are then made even more delicious with a topping of melted chocolate and a little crunch from coloured sprinkles. My children loved them… and I must admit, so did I!
Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Gather and Graze
- 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
- 175g/¾ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
- 2 Free-Range Eggs
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 225g/1½ Cups Self-Raising Flour (Sifted)
- Pinch of Salt
- 125mls/½ Cup Full-Cream Milk
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and place paper baking cups onto a tray.
In an electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sifted flour and salt, in two lots, alternating with the milk until combined. Spoon the batter into the paper baking cups and bake for approximately 15 – 25 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes), or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of your cupcakes.
Allow to cool completely before decorating. The recipe for frosting and tips for decorating are to follow…
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
- 250g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
- 500g Pure Icing Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tablespoons Full-Cream Milk
Place all ingredients into an electric mixer and beat, initially on slow speed (until the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter), then on medium/fast until frosting is fluffy.
Using a Wilton 1M Piping Tip (or similar) and a piping bag, pipe swirls over each of your cupcakes, working from the outside in.
To transform into ‘Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes’… drizzle carefully with melted chocolate (I used 100g of good quality Milk Chocolate mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil – heated gently and stirred over a double-boiler… or extra-carefully in short bursts in the microwave). Top each cupcake with a lolly/candy raspberry (or a glacé cherry for authenticity) and scatter with some coloured sprinkles.
I’m always on the hunt for the perfect cupcakes and these might just be the ones! But I’m sort of a baking-challenged person. Can you tell me if “icing sugar” is what we call powdered sugar in the US? And, yes, your one single lonely cumquat is perfect clinging to its tree branch. So so pretty.
Hi Charlotte, I’ve spent years trialling different vanilla cupcake recipes (from friends, family, fancy recipe books and online) and this is the one I’m going to stick with from now on. I’d really love to hear how they turn out for you if you do give them a go. You’re absolutely correct about the icing sugar – try to make sure that it is a pure powdered sugar and not a powdered icing mixture (which sometimes has added, unnecessary ingredients). Also, with the measurements, if possible weigh them, rather than using cups – then they should work out as close to mine as possible. Cheers, Margot 🙂
What a charming post – it put me in mind of The Little Prince somehow. How lucky are you to have a cumquat tree? Squee! Your little cumquat *is* truly beautiful! I don’t have any suggestions except that do guard it from the birds and gaze it as much as you can and I can’t wait to read what you will end up doing with it.
Thank you Azita – my little cumquat will be featuring once again in the next day or two! I can only hope that next season, my tree produces yet another beautiful cumquat (or two…) I’ve just dusted off my copy of ‘The Little Prince’, after reading your comment – such a beautifully written story… it makes you think about the world we live in and to what’s truly important… Margot
They are so cute! I love cupcakes 🙂 As for your solitary cumquat I would try to make candied cumquat slices and use them as decoration on a cake.
Thanks Karen, they’re such a lot of fun to make… and eat! Though not nearly as sophisticated as your gorgeous Savarin – I sooo would have loved a slice of that cake!
Wonderful advice for my lone cumquat, in fact my Mum suggested ‘Candied Cumquat’ too! Now to decide on which cake will complement it the most… Fingers crossed for an abundance of cumquats next year – I’d love to make some jam/jelly!
Yummy..these look delicious ! Did you know you gave me my first ever Women’s Weekly cake book that the children and I still dream over ! ( can’t say cake making has been a strength of mine !!….so dream it has had to be ! ). But I think I could make these….and I’m liking the piping bag idea . Xxxx
Thanks dear Sue! I’m absolutely certain that you could make these! Or any of the cakes in the WW Cake Book for that matter… I’d love you to give them a go and let me know how they turn out! Margot.xx
Thanks for this yummy recipe !
You’re welcome! I hope you give them a try. Cheers, Margot