Last week was my first week since starting this blog without a weekly posting. You probably didn’t notice, or if you did you may well have been relieved to have had a break from my ramblings. It was the result of a cat crisis, where our 12 year old kitty Henry took a bad turn and we thought we might lose him.
3 trips to the vet in 3 days and they still didn’t know exactly what was wrong with him (originally kidney failure was strongly suspected but he ended up having clear blood test results, so the most likely suspects were a stroke or a tumour of some kind), but as he has responded to medication, we’re keeping him dosed up and he seems to be on the mend. By which I mean he has started trying to snatch my dinner from under my nose, and he now considers my pillow as rightfully his.
So, no blog post, but in between nursing Henry we were busy. We decided to get out of the house for the day while Henry was resting, and drove to Dover. Of course it was lovely to walk along the cliffs to St Margarets, but the best bit of the day was afternoon tea in Mrs Knotts’ tearoom by the lighthouse. Well, with a name like that it was destiny for me to eat there! And then on Sunday we had a 1st birthday party to go to, so I did do some baking for the birthday boy Oliver.
Originally I had thought about making a traditional birthday cake for Oliver, but when his mum Monika said she had already organised the official birthday cake, I decided to make my Mr Whippy cupcakes. They are a perfect summer treat, plus they look spectacular but are simple to make. The method for making them leaves everyone guessing, so you have to give them a try.
You don’t even need a piping bag – instead you could use an ice cream scoop (warm it in hot water first to make it easier to scoop the icing) to put some icing on top of the cone. However, give the piping a try – the first time I made these was the first time I had ever piped icing, and it is surprisingly easy.
I can’t credit the originator of this recipe as I have no idea where it came from. I remember seeing a photo of the cupcakes on a web page and then googling how to make them – once I discovered the basic principles for making them I used my favourite sponge recipe and my own favourite cream cheese icing: they were so easy to make and looked fabulous, that they quickly became a summer baking favourite.
So here’s the recipe for my Mr Whippy cupcakes.
For the sponge: 125g self raising flour, 125g stork, 125g caster sugar, 2 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a splash of milk to loosen the mixture
For the icing: use a basic buttercream or for a lighter finish use a packet of cream cheese, icing sugar, double cream
You will also need 12-14 flat bottomed ice cream cones, hundreds and thousands and flakes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees while you make the sponge mix – my favourite method is to put all of the ingredients into my food mixer and beat until light and airy (or use the traditional sponge making method of beating the stork and sugar until light and airy, then adding the eggs, and then the flour, vanilla and milk, constantly beating). 3/4 fill each cone with the sponge mixture and put each cone into the hole of a muffin tin. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. You can insert a knife or skewer into the sponge to ensure it comes out clean and is therefore cooked. Don’t worry, the cornets do not burn (or even brown). Everyone thinks the cooked cake is added to the cones later, but it’s not! It’s so clever!
While the cakes are cooling you can make the icing. I use a packet of cream cheese beaten together with a few tablespoons of icing sugar – I don’t have exact measurements as I do it according to taste – make it as sweet as you like and then add a little double cream to the mixture and beat it in until you have an icing which really does resemble a Mr Whippy! You can then transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe in a whippy shape on top of the cornets.
Once all the cornets have been iced, sprinkle each one with hundreds and thousands and add a quarter of a flake to each cupcake. I find the flakes are easier to cut if you have chilled them in the fridge first.
Make plenty, because they don’t last long at parties!