When I was a small child my mother left me in the charge of my aunt for several months, during which time my hair turned to dreadlocks. To be fair to her, both her children had quite straight hair, and my mop of frizzy afro curls must have presented quite a challenge. I can’t remember whether my mother had to cut any of my hair off on her return, but I have been very attached to, and slightly obsessive about it, ever since. This is no doubt in large part because it grows, very, very slowly. Glacially slowly. Every apparent inch gained in length is really more like three or four inches of hair because of the tightness of the curls. Anyway, enough about my hair, frizzy and coarse as it is thanks to a combination of the humid weather and my own fecklessness. Today is the beginning of a month or so of toddler birthdays round these parts, Baby BB being part of a cohort of July/August births (mostly August) which has seen me promising much in the way of baking and as yet delivering little (see banana and caramel cupcakes for the opening salvo). But all that is about to change. I give you: ice-cream cupcakes.
An ice-cream in a cupcake you say? Well not exactly. More a cupcake in an ice-cream (cone). Sort of a trompe l’
Makes about 20 ice-cream cones
Ingredients:20 ice cream wafer cones (flat bottomed!) Cupcakes 240g plain flour 280g caster sugar 3 tsp baking powder a pinch of salt 80g unsalted butter, softened 240ml whole milk at room temperature 2 eggs ½ tsp vanilla extract Buttercream Icing 300g unsalted butter 900g icing sugar 1tsp vanilla extract 2-3 tbsp whole milk 20 mini flakes (or normal flakes chopped into smaller sizes) Hundreds and Thousands
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 and place the ice-cream cones into muffin tins. Put the flour, sugar, salt and butter into a free-standing mixer and beat slowly until the mixture resembles fine, sandy breadcrumbs. Or use a hand mixer instead. Gradually poor in 120ml of milk and beat again until the milk is just incorporated.
In a separate bowl or jug, whisk 120ml of milk, the eggs and the vanilla extract, then pour into the flour/butter mixture and continue beating. You will probably need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice to ensure you incorporate all of the mixture (a silicone spatula is excellent for this). Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, but only a couple of minutes, mind, lest you beat out all of the air.
Spoon the mixture into the ice-cream cones until the cones are about half to two-thirds full, using implements of your choosing (mine is an old fashioned hinged ice-cream scoop, but you can also pour/pipe the mixture in). Do not be tempted to over-fill (as in the picture below; especially the one in the top right-hand corner, that one was disastrous. You want it closer to the top left hand corner, but probably a bit less than that even) as you will end up with exploding sponge and be forced to start again (they really cannot be rescued – believe me I tried) and make large quantities of trifle/cake pops with the sponge mixture.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes are a light golden colour and bounce back when pressed gently.
Leave them to cool slightly in the tins (5 minutes is usually enough) before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing, beat the icing sugar and the butter together in a free-standing mixer/ with a hand mixer, on a slow to medium speed until the mixture comes together. With the mixer on a slow speed, add 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla extract and beat again until the mixture is light and fluffy; 5 minutes at least. Pipe the icing onto the cones so they resemble Mr Whippys (I used a large star nozzle for this).
Finally, decorate with a flake and hundreds and thousands or other similar toppings. In the end, I couldn’t get the hundreds and thousands to stick to the icing, but you may have better luck. In the absence of a piping bag and nozzle, you could just pile up the icing to resemble a scoop of ice-cream and add decorations. I have been quite vanilla (ha ha) with my decorations, but you could go wild with chocolate/toffee sauce, sprinkles, tiny sweets etc.