Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Firstly, I am a bad flat mate.

I forgot her birthday and did that awful thing where you only realise you have forgotten by seeing people she hardly knows writing their obliged birthday wishes on her Facebook wall. Gulp. Oops. Eep. Promptly write a text full of animation and affection as if my birthday message wasn't forgotten at all, rather just a little tardy due to work commitments *cough*. The only respite in this guilt was that as she is currently working away from home she doesn't know I haven't also remembered to buy a gift, make a cake etc.

Anyway, she is coming home for the evening tomorrow so tonight I feel I made up for forgetting by purchasing a lovely gift (John Whaite, baker extraordinaire's new cookbook in case you are interested) AND baking some pretty delicious looking cupcakes ifidosaysomyself.

Decorative 'rose' on top.

I had Nutella in the cupboard (this rarely occurs due to my horrendous habit of taking to the jar with a spoon...) but didn't want to make anything too rich and pure chocolatey so plumped for vanilla cupcakes with some pretty special Nutella frosting on top.

I used the Great British Bake Off vanilla cupcake recipe and somehow managed to get a really light, fluffy batter using a hand mixer - I think I really went at it at high speed for a few minutes and it paid off! Loosely, the recipe is 2 eggs, 175g each of SF flour and sugar, 125g butter, milk, vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Bake for 20 mins or so and makes around 12 - told you it was a loose explanation! Very easy though and if you can mix electronically, will make it much easier and quicker.

The frosting was a JAM-made creation - roughly equal proportions of butter and Nutella, with about twice the amount of icing sugar. Again, a little vanilla essence and a splash of milk make it really light and creamy (I mixed electronically again and it was almost mousse-like, yum!). Extra tip, if you don't like your frosting too sweet, you can add a pinch of salt too which helps balance it - particularly useful if you tend to go nuts on the frosting to cupcake ratio...and who can blame you.

A really easy, quick way to rid myself of forgotten birthday guilt and am looking forward already to tucking in with a glass of milk when my flatmate comes home for the evening tomorrow - happy belated birthday!


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