The other week I popped into Gail’s on London’s Exmouth Market and spotted these Easter Bunny cupcakes and fell in a big sugary puddle of love. So enamoured was I, that I thought I’d give them a go myself.
Mine are much more rustic – being home baked, and all – and I switched Gail’s shortbread ears for gingerbread because I prefer the flavour and it’s so cold in London at the moment it feels more like Christmas than Easter.
For the cake, I used a simple sponge recipe – thought I should probably have made a bit more. I think my cupcakes are 50-50 buttercream icing to cake. Sugar rush AHEAD.
Easter Bunny Cupcakes
For the ears:
175g plain flour (plus a little extra for rolling)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
85g light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
20ml cold water
Royal icing sugar
Pink food colouring
For the cupcakes:
120g caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
120g self-raising flour
2 tbsp milk
butter cream icing
300g icing sugar
Equipment (all available at John Lewis)
Cookie cutter (or equipment that’ll help you make some ears)
- Let’s start with the ears by sifting the flour, bicarb soda, ginger and cinnamon into a mixing bowl.
- Cut the butter up into little cubes and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
- Crack the egg into a mug and beat in the golden syrup with a fork.
- Using a stand mixer or a spoon and lots of elbow grease, add the eggs to the flour mixture and beat until it forms a soft dough.
- Wrap the mixture in cling film and put in the fridge.
- While the ear dough is cooling down (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), let’s start on the cupcake sponge by turning your oven on to 180°C/350°F and lining your muffin tray with muffin cases.
- Then, using your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.
- Once the butter mixture is pale, slowly beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Don’t be too hasty!
- Now, using a big-ass metal spoon fold in the sifted flour until you get a nice smooth paste. Add the milk too, but be gentle.
- Spoon evenly into your muffin cases (a little under half full should work a treat) and pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They should be a golden brownish on top and a skewer should go in and out with ease. Leave them to cool in the tray for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- While these guys are a-cooking and a-cooling, flour a clean surface and grab your chilled ear dough. Roll out the dough until it’s about 5mm thick and cut into ear patterns. I used a petit-four case, but you can use anything you have at hand to make an ear shape. Perhaps a ruler and a shot glass? Go crazy.
- Place your ears on greaseproof paper and pop them in your already heated oven for about ten minutes – or until a nice golden brown. Watch carefully so you can do better than me: my bunnies are a little singed. Leave them to cool on the greaseproof paper.
- It’s easy-peasy buttercream icing time. Using your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth then stir in the icing sugar with a spatula or spoon (otherwise it blows all over the place), then beat it again with the mixer until all beautiful and fluffy.
- Spoon the icing onto the cooled down cupcakes and spread to the rim of the muffin case with a palette knife – I started with a little each time and layered it up, but go for the Full Monty if you’re feeling confident.
- By now your ears should be cool enough to ice, so let’s get to it. Put the cold water in a bowl and gradually stir in the royal icing sugar until it reaches the consistency of toothpaste.
- Fill your piping bag some of the mixture and decorate by outlining the edge of each first then flooding. There are loads of online tutorials for this technique.
- Mix a few drops of the pink food colouring into the remaining royal icing mixture and repeat the process for the inside of the ears.
- Carefully press your biscuits into the cupcakes, admire your handy work and dig in.
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This recipe was also published on The Huffington Post.
© Kate McAuley 2013