As it’s only two weeks till Valentine’s Day and I’m at a wedding today, it seems like a good time to start with some romantically-themed baking. Actually I think Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are quite similar in terms of the amount of pressure and hype they put on a single evening – at New Year there is so much pressure to make it “the best night out EVER!”, and on February 14th everything has to be as romantic and sexy as possible. For me, both of these occasions are intended to represent something much bigger – it’s not about one great night, it’s about a whole year of brilliance, or a loving, lasting relationship.
Of course, being single relieves the pressure somewhat – all that’s expected of you is bitterness! I may be a singleton these days, but I’m certainly not a bitter one – I love Valentine’s Day, possibly just because I find hearts, roses and pink so aesthetically pleasing, as my wardrobe and jewellery box will attest. So here is the first of my Valentine’s bakes. Alongside the pretty pink cakes, I also used my silicone plant pot cases to make these rather impressive looking flower pots. Blooming lovely!
Makes 12-14, from Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery
110g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
125g plain flour
½-1 tsp rosewater
For the buttercream:
115g butter, softened
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp rosewater
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the plant pots, if using, or line a muffin tray with paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Sift the flours together.
4. Stir the rosewater into the milk - taste it, as you may want to add more to get a stronger flavour.
5. Beat in a third of the flour, then a third of the milk. Repeat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
6. Spoon the batter into paper cases or greased plant pots.
7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. The sponge stays very pale, as you can see, but my cake tester confirmed that they were cooked through. The plant pots did not bake very evenly, as you see, but the buttercream covered it up admirably.
8. Stand in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Make the buttercream: sift half the icing sugar into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (again, adjust the rosewater to suit your taste). Whisk with an electric hand mixer for a few minutes until well combined. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar and continue whisking until smooth and glossy. I then coloured half of mine pink and half green.
9. Decorate as you like. For the plant pots, I piped on the green buttercream with a large star nozzle and decorated them with wafer daisies and little icing rosebuds.
10. For the pink cakes, I iced them as normal and sprinkled on various edible decorations.