A few weeks ago I reminded Jerome that I was going to be going to a cooking class that night, so would be home later than usual. His response was to question why I was going to a class as I already knew how to cook. Which, of course, is a lovely thing for him to say. However, while I can cook, I certainly don’t believe I know everything there is to know, and since I like cooking, I want to know more!

There are so many reasons why I enjoy going to cooking classes. There is always room for improvement, new tips and tricks to learn, the chance to meet others who love cooking, new recipes to try and I just really enjoy going to cooking classes. Especially the ones that Sarah runs at babyCakes. It is also a good opportunity to try something that you think might be too difficult to try at home (like the White Yule Log that was a lot easier than I thought).

Some of the first classes I went to were Sarah’s cupcake classes and the results are amazing. The cupcakes are moist and don’t dry out. I have altered the recipe slightly and added lemon as well as the original orange and lime, as I love citrus. Since I started making these (and her death by chocolate ones which I’ll post next week), I can no longer get away with bringing a bought cake into work, as everyone expects these cupcakes now. I’ve had a few people tell me they don’t like cupcakes, only to convert them after they have eaten these.

The cake mix is a vegetable oil based mix rather than a butter base, and after cooking them for a few years now I prefer them to the normal butter cupcake.  Don’t worry, they don’t taste oily. You don’t realise its there, you just notice the cupcake is very moist. For best results, mix the batter the day/night before you want to use it (or if you’re short of time at least a few hours before cooking). This gives the rising agent time to react and results in lighter cupcakes. The batter will last in the fridge for at least 5 days before cooking or can be frozen for up to 1 ½ months. Just thaw it out and then use it. After cooking, the cakes will keep for around 4 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer. Mine are never around long enough to test that though, they are always eaten before then! If your oven has hot and cold spots like mine, turn the tins around during cooking so that you get an even bake. As long as you don’t open the oven every minute, opening it a few times isn’t a problem.

Citrus coconut cupcakes

From one batch I got 13-14 full sized cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 200ml vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil – I use grapeseed, you could use canola or sunflower – but don’t use olive oil)
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (59g each)
  • 180g natural yoghurt (full fat)
  • 1 lime – zest and juice
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • 1 orange – zest and juice
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 270g self raising flour

Method

  1. Add sugar and the zest and juice of the citrus to a large bowl and mix (I use a hand whisk) to combine. Then add in the remaining wet ingredients (oil, eggs & yoghurt). Mix until combined.
  2. Sift in the flour and add the coconut and mix until combined.
  3. Cover (or place in a plastic container) and place in the fridge until you are ready to bake (best to leave it for a day/overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 160C fan forced (180C without the fan). Line your tins with cupcake cases.
  5. Fill each cupcake case about 2/3rds of the way. I prefer to pipe them in, however I have also used a cupcake/ice-cream scoop and that also worked.
  6. Place in oven and bake for:
  • 13-15 minutes for mini cupcakes
  • 23-25 minutes for normal cupcakes (1/3 cup tin)
  • Approximately 35 minutes for muffin sized cakes
  • 1 – 1 ¼ hours for a 20cm cake tin.
  1. The cupcakes are cooked if they spring back when you press the top, or a skewer comes out clean.
  2. Allow to cool before frosting.

Raspberry swirl frosting

Ingredients

  • 250g cream cheese – room temperature
  • 80g unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 170g pure icing sugar
  • 100g frozen raspberries – defrosted and drained of excess liquid.

Method

  1. Using an electric hand whisk (or a stand mixer with the beater attachment), beat the butter until it is smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Add the cream cheese a bit at a time whilst beating. Make sure to scrape down the sides occasionally. Once it is combined and light and fluffy, sift in the icing sugar. Mix this in by hand until combined (if you over mix it will become watery).
  3. Stir through the raspberries until you get the appearance you want (stir a little for more of a swirl effect, a lot for a pink frosting).
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and refrigerate until needed. I like to use a large star nozzle. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to serve.

Adapted from Lime Coconut Cake & Raspberry Swirl Frosting recipes from Sarah Brigden at babyCakes.