First up let me get this out of the way – I’m not a cupcake fun. Their sickly sweet, bunting-bearing omnipresence is something that, frankly, my kitchen can do without. Having said that, I loved the idea of toughening up these baking sissies, and what better way to do that then by making a batch to celebrate the stinging, nerve-shredding awesomeness that is Nirvana’s In Utero album as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. Nirvana are the reason I do many things, but when deciding on which of these things to immortalise in fondant form, I kept coming back to this: it’s always a good day when I’m wearing plaid playing Heart Shaped Box that little bit too loud. So I went with that.
This cupcake recipe is taken from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and it is faultless. Simple, quick and tasty. All hail Nigella! All Nirvana inspired fondant madness, that’s my doing.
for the cupcakes…
- 125g softened, unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g self-raising flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp milk
for the decoration…
- a pack of ready to roll fondant icing
- gel food colourings – this is only if you are colouring your own fondant, you can always buy different coloured fondant icings to save on this stage.
- a pack of liquorice Catherine wheels
- edible glue
you will need – a 12 bun muffin tin and 12 cupcake papers or silicon moulds
1. Preheat the oven to 200° / Gas Mark 6 and line your muffin tin with your papers or moulds. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then combine the beaten egg in three stages, adding a tablespoon of flour each time to stop the mix splitting. Stir in the remaining flour and thin the mix down with the milk until you have a good dropping consistency. Spoon the mix into the papers or moulds, pop them in the oven and bake for 20 mins. While you’re waiting, press play and jump around the kitchen to this…(optional, but advised!)
2. Lift the cakes out of the tin and allow them to cool on a wire rack, this will take about half an hour. Once cool you can get down to the decorating. If you are colouring your own fondant icing, I tend to do all of my colours first. Add tiny amounts of the gel colouring to the white fondant, working the icing in your hands until you are happy with each shade; but like I said you can buy fondant in loads of colours, so this is entirely optional. The mix will make 12 cakes, so I opted to decorate every third cupcake with the Heart Shaped Box design and kept the rest plaid. This is mostly because this design is a bit fiddly but worth the effort whereas the plaid design is easy peasy. I’ll leave this up to you; back to the designs. To replicate my chosen plaid pattern I covered the top of each cake with a circle of red fondant icing cut to size, then placed strips of black liquorice in a grid pattern. I then added thin strips of white and yellow fondant icing in random patterns à la my favourite plaid shirt.
3. To make the Heart Shaped Box design, cut out 8-10 flowers from pink and yellow fondant icing, you can either use a cutter or go freestyle if you’re feeling particularly arty! Then stick the flowers randomly over the top of each cake using the edible glue, making sure to cover the surface completely. Finally cut out a pink heart and decorate this with flowers and leaves, as close as you can get to the original (see below). And voila, you’re done. Nirvana cupcakes, a fine addition to the rock cake family.
For those of you not familiar with the Heart Shaped Box artwork here it is with the band and the plaid. What?! Like I’d miss an opportunity for a band shot! Oh and if you like these guys, check out my Nirvana Smiley cake too.