, , , , , , , ,

Take one

Basic vanilla cupcake recipe (from


125g butter, at room temperature

125g sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

110g cake flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Enough milk to loosen batter to a dropping consistency (about 2 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a cupcake tray with 12 paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the butter mixture and use a metal spoon to slowly fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture, adding splashes of milk as needed to loosen the batter. Take care not to add too much milk; the batter shouldn’t be runny. Divide the batter between 3 bowls and add 2 drops of gel colour to each bowl. Stir well. When the batter is smooth and drops off the spoon easily, divide between the 12 cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and firm. Remove from the oven and cool for ten minutes before removing the cupcakes from the tray onto a wire rack and cooling to room temperature.

Add two gorgeous children, lets call them “Team Rainbow” and look what happens.

Then get the kids to clean the playroom for 20 minutes while the cupcakes bake and for a little while longer while they cool. It took a lot of threats of “kids that don’t do their bit don’t get to decorate the cupcakes” but they got a lot done and earned their place in the decorating team.

To make the icing glaze: I have so many oranges at the moment that I juiced one and added about 2 cups of icing sugar. Mix well and spread/drizzle over cupcakes before finishing off with the decorations of your choice. All a few hours for glaze to set before serving.

Cooks note: Gel colours are fairly important here as the watered down supermarket variety will just not give you the same effect. The strangest place I found gel colours was at Plastics for Africa in Montague Gardens who has a lovely kitchenware section. The colours were less than R20 each where they go for close to R30 a bottle in baking speciality shops.