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Emigrated from America to New Zealand and never looked back. Couldn't have asked for a better husband, family & life!



Today was the last school day prior to baby's birthday, so I had to make the class some cupcakes. I don't like to do the same every year, so I decided to try a new recipe this time...with a twist. One of my Christmas presents this year, was a new cookbook from my lovely husband. He gave me the "Jamie's America" book by Jamie Oliver (one of my favourite Food Channel personalities). On page 38 is a recipe for very chocolaty Velvet Cupcakes, which looked great, but the problem is that my little girl prefers "vanilla" to chocolate. No problem!!!

I used the basic Velvet Cupcake recipe, but rather than adding cocoa, I just added a bit more flour to make up for it. Also, for flavour, I added a bit extra vanilla essence and a little almond essence and left out the food colouring.

This batter is a little different from my other cupcake recipes for a couple of reasons. One reason is that this recipe uses egg and buttermilk, and the other reason is that the batter is thick, but "fluffy". I have been thinking of how I might describe the texture of the batter, and the only thing that comes to mind is "fluffy" almost mousse-like, but in a thicker, slightly heavier way.

I don't want to plagiarize Mr. Oliver, but I will give you the gist of this recipe, as it is a common cake base recipe used in the States. The "velvet" result is similar to the texture of the good ole' American Hostess brand cakes...yumm!

Here we go:


50 Gm Butter, softened
150 Gm Caster Sugar (fine granules)
1 Large Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract/Essence or Paste
1 Tsp Almond Essence
160 Gm High Grade Flour
125 Ml Buttermilk
½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 ½ Tsp White Vinegar


Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F and line muffin tin with paper liners or silicone cups. (I sprayed demitasse cups with cooking spray and baked the cakes in those).

Cream the butter & sugar together with a mixer until fluffy.

Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond essence.

Carefully fold in half of the flour then mix in half of the buttermilk, then repeat with the other half of each. Once well combined, the mixture should be very smooth and fluffy.

In a small cup, mix the baking soda and vinegar and mix into the batter carefully until well combined.

Divide this batter evenly between cupcake liners (or demitasse cups) then bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

FROSTING: I made a simple mascarpone frosting using 4 tbsp soft butter, 8 oz mascarpone cheese, ~3 cups icing sugar and a squeeze of orange juice. Cream the butter & cheese until fluffy, then add the juice (or about a half teaspoon of vanilla essence) and mix in the sugar, one cup at-a-time until you get the desired consistency.