Cupcakes, Gala Style!

Chocolate cupcakes with lavender-flavoured buttercream icing!


I am not a master cupcake baker, but I do enjoy it — the baking process as well as the eating part! It feels good to make something tangible, something that can be photographed & enjoyed & admired.

Obviously, these cupcakes are not raw, & they weren’t vegan originally either, but it’s way easier to vegan-ify cupcakes than you might first think! I also think that the vegan version of these cupcakes tastes better — the cake stays moist for longer & the icing doesn’t go hard, it stays soft & creamy for days.

The basic recipe is actually one from the Australian Woman’s Weekly kid’s birthday cake cookbook! I just add whatever I want into it to make it taste different. It is a great base to work from — easy to make & again, very moist.

Le Cake!
125g butter, softened (margarine for vegans)
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar (or sugar replacement, like stevia, agave syrup, dark raw cane sugar etc. If you’re using a syrup or liquid form, you may need to use more flour to balance it out.)
2 eggs (egg replacement for vegans)
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (125ml) milk (soy or almond or rice or what-have-you for vegans)

Preheat oven to “moderate”, whatever that means! Chuck your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
Beat butter & sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer (or, if you’re me, an egg beater) until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in flour & milk, in two batches.
Now you can add in whatever you like — I usually add baking cocoa, but you could put in raw cacao, rosewater essence, coffee flavouring, or whatever. Beat until combined.
Spoon into cupcake cases. Bake until cake is cooked — this means you stick a knife into one of your cupcakes, & if it comes out clean, they’re done. Take them out of the oven & allow them to cool. Do not frost them until they are completely cool!

125g butter, softened (or margarine etc.)
A big bag of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk (soy, almond, etc.)

Combine the butter, milk & icing sugar until it is thick enough that it won’t drizzle out of the end of your icing nozzle. It needs to be thick. I don’t know how much icing sugar I use, all I know is that it is a lot. I think I went through a massive bag of icing sugar by making two batches of icing. FEAR! Anyway, stir it up, mix it through well. Add food colouring & flavour. My favourite things to add are either rosewater essence or lavender essential oil, but of course you can really make it taste like anything you want.

Spoon your icing into an icing bag, or if you don’t have one, spoon it into the corner of a (clean) plastic bag & snip off a bottom corner. Ice, ice baby! Frost your cupcakes with gay abandon. I tend to do mine in a circular motion, & then splatter fun things on top, like edible glitter, nonpareils, etc.

If you can find a specialty cake decoration or baking shop, your cupcakes will look much better & be about a million times more exciting! My favourite in Melbourne is Cake Deco down by Flinders Street — it makes me so happy to navigate their tiny aisles! They are always very knowledgeable too, & can help you modify recipes to suit dietary requirements & whatnot.

Experimenting with this simple recipe has been the basis of all my cupcake exploration so far. I hope to try some other delicious variations soon! What’s your best cupcake recipe?