At the risk of sounding like someone retelling a story that they heard from someone they knew who knew someone else who knew something from someone else, I first came across these gorgeous cupcakes via Vogue member and fellow food blogger Iron Chef Shellie who in turn saw these on flickr member's hello naomi's pictures.
I loved the idea of these pastel topped cupcakes with messages such as "Eat Me" and "Drink Me". Who really ever needs prompting to try cupcakes? It was all very Alice in Wonderland, a children's story with a distinctly surreal and dark side. So assembling my very best Alice themed china, the varied Wedgwood Harlequin set, I set about having my very own tea party, Alice in Wonderland style.
The cupcakes I made were vanilla cupcakes filled with strawberry jam and cream, pastel fondant icing, royal icing writing and patterns and silver cachous. Despite my somewhat fearful beginnings, I'm starting to really like using Royal Icing as I love the finish and consistency of it. I know that vanilla cupcakes with jam and cream filling sounds rather boring but this was the cupcakes that my girlhood fantasies were made of. I loved this combination and my favourite ever cakes when I was small were this. Yes, sadly, I do remember vividly one cake from my childhood with absolute clarity and some days, I can still taste it if I close my eyes and wish.
Alice in Wonderland Eat Me Alice cupcakes
90g butter softened
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1 cup (150g) Self Raising flour
2 tbs milk or buttermilk
150ml pure cream whipped with 1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 cup strawberry jam
200g prepared fondant
Royal icing (see recipe below)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to moderate 180degrees/160 fan forced. Line 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper cases2. Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, flour and milk in small bowl with electric mixer on low until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium, beat until mixture has changed to a paler colour.
Step 3 - Divide mixture among cases, smooth surface
Step 4 - Bake large cakes about 25 minutes, small cakes about 20 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
Step 5 - Cut out a hole in a cone shape 2cms deep from centre of the cake. Fill with cream and jam. Slice off long end of the cone to make a circle and slot circle back on top of cream and jam filling
Step 6 - Colour three lots of fondant with pink, aqua and violet (use gels very lightly as want pastel shades). Roll out each colour and cut out circles to fit the tops of the cupcakes.
Step 7 - Use small piping bag-you will only need about a third of the amount of the royal icing that you make below. Pipe letters and patterns and accent with silver cachous.
1 egg white (30g)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
150g sifted icing sugar
Step 1 - Beat egg whites with lemon juice until foamy on low speed increasing to medium speed.
Step 2 - Add sifted sugar by the spoonful while beating until desired consistency is reached. If too stiff, add a little warm water.
3.Use immediately and cover any royal icing not being used with clingfilm.
Wedgwood Harlequin Teacups and saucers available from Myer and David Jones.