Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

Happy New Year!

This Christmas seems to have been crazier than usual, I’m not sure if it was because we had one less weekend in December before Christmas or whether the decision to make all my Christmas presents should have really been done in October.  Weeks ago I dutifully bought all the materials to do so, but then set them aside so I was ramshackled to my sewing machine throwing together aprons and cushion covers for family presents in the days leading up to Christmas rather than doing any sort of useful food preparation.  This new year I definitely resolve to organise myself a lot better.

I have overstuffed myself with more turkey and chocolate this festive period than I would think humanly possible.  Seriously, I received enough Lindt Lindor to begin my own outlet.  But I can’t possibly start the diet yet, after all it is only New Years Day and I don’t know about you but I’m still suffering the effects of last year.  So the salads and running can wait one more day as I need some simple cupcakes infused with calming vanilla to soothe my bedraggled state.

These are vanilla vanilla vanilla cupcakes, vanilla extract in the cake batter and in the silky buttercream but a burst of vanilla pod in the whipped custard filling.  To fill my cupcakes all I do is bake the cupcake as normal then when cooled stick an apple corer in the centre and pull out a little circle of sponge.  Tuck a teaspoon of the custard into the hole and place your sponge centre back on top.  It’s surprising how much filling you can squeeze into that small space without it exploding out of the top when you cram the sponge back in.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes
Makes 24

230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
240ml whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
345g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the whole milk.
  5. Sift the baking powder, flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
A pinch of salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pipe onto your cupcakes.

Whipped Custard filling

125ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, halved with seeds scraped out
2 small egg yolks
35g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
75ml whipping cream

  1. Pour the milk into a smallish saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds.
  2. Heat until just under boiling point and turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened. Then whisk in the plain flour until smooth.
  4. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk then very carefully pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan, you can add the vanilla pod back in at this stage if you like, then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Take off the heat and put in a bowl in the fridge to cool, making sure you have put cling film on the surface of the crème patissière to stop a skin from forming.
  7. Once the crème patissière has cooled, then whip the whipping cream to form soft peaks and fold into the crème patissière. Fill your cupcakes with as much of this whipped custard as you can cram into the middle.

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