2/3 cup margarine (I used the ‘basic’ or ‘value’ supermarket margarine for this recipe, which is – or at least I think it is! – dairy-free)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups self-raising flour
Now when I say cups, I of course mean those brown, glass type ones, that look something like this… …just like my Mum always used. I’ll post separately about my cups-versus-weighed-measurements-when-cooking philosophy (and include an approximate measure for my cups and a better photo!) but for now lets just say that it is sort-of linked to my “some, some and some” mentality when it comes to cooking…For now, if you want to try this recipe and happen to have cups like these…USE THEM! Otherwise, just use a smallish mug, but not one that’s too tiny.
Now…on to much sweeter things. Before you make the cupcake mixture put the oven on to pre-heat. I baked these cupcakes on gas mark 5, so put the oven on that, or whatever the equivalent is if you use a celsius or farenheit oven.
First of all, separate the egg yolks from the whites and then put the whites in a large bowl. I usually separate the yolks from the whites over a large bowl, which, when posing for a picture with one hand whilst trying to take the picture with the other looks something like this…Then whisk the egg whites…….until they reach soft-peak stage(ish), which might look something like this…But it doesn’t matter if you overdo them a little. Then put the egg whites aside for a bit. If you’re me, this may involve transferring them to another bowl and then using the bowl you beat them in to mix the other ingredients, which I do because 1. that is the best bowl I’ve got in which to beat ingredients and 2. somehow it feels like I’m saving on washing up if I have one big bowl and one smaller one rather than two big bowls.
Now take your 2/3 cup margarine (or, if you’re feeling really indulgent in these cash-strapped times, butter – but be warned, I’ve not tested that to check it’ll still taste as good…!) and your 1 1/2 (that one and a half) cups of white sugarand put them in a bowl with about 1 1/2 to 2 dessertspoons of vanilla extract (note – if you use vanilla flavouring instead of vanilla extract or essence, you may need a splash more)Then cream them all together. Now, when I say cream, what I mean is beat like crazy until you think you’ve done it enough, and then some more – the more you beat it, the lighter the cupcakes should be as creaming incorporates air into the mixture. The end result will hopefully look something like this (once you’ve taken into account the fact that I’m a beginner at photography)…Then add your 4 egg yolks. I added 2 egg yolks… …then beat it a bit, and then added the other 2… Then beat them in. Your mixture should then look something like this… Then sift in 2 2/3 (that’s two and two thirds) cups of self-raising flour and a small pinch of salt.Then say a big thank you to your very kind husband for interrupting his very important work to take about 20 pictures of you sifting flour into the cupcake mixture…
…and offer him the bowl to lick out once you’ve finished…
Then fold in the flour (this just means mixing in gently with a motion that goes round the bowl and then straight down the middle) until its all mixed. By then it might look something like this… Then add your egg whites to the bowl and fold them in as well, like you did with the flour.The egg whites won’t stay as fluffy as they were before when you do this, but don’t worry. When its all mixed and looks a bit like this… …the mixture is ready (to bake not to eat that is). Now, take a cupcake or muffin tin, put cupcake cases in each of the cavities, and then put about a dessert-spoonful of mixture into each cupcake case.
Then put your cupcakes into the middle of the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until golden-brownish and properly cooked. Whilst you’re doing that, if you have more than one muffin/cupcake tray, you can prepare the next batch of cupcakes (if not, just prepare the next batch as above when the first set of cupcakes are done). When your first batch is done, they’ll look something like this…Place each cupcake on a cooling rack to cool and put the next batch into the oven (if you have more mixture repeat the process of putting mixture into cupcake cases and baking until its all finished). My husband likes these as they are, without icing, but I rather fancy them covered with vanilla butter-icing, which you can put on once the cupcakes have cooled.