This gift is perfect for the one with the sweet tooth in your family. Give it that something extra by decorating it with some French flair.
Baking time: 12-15 minutes
Preparation time: 2 hours
Oven temperature: 200˚C
• 135ml (125g) soft butter or baking margarine
• 195ml (170g) castor sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 5ml vanilla essence
• 510ml (280g) self-raising flour
• 200ml milk
• 3 large egg whites
• 20ml lemon juice
• 865ml (450g) icing sugar, sifted
• 670-770ml (350g-400g) icing sugar, sifted
• plastic icing
• food colouring in the colours of your choice
• cookie cutters
• rubber stamps
• plastic-icing flowers
• sugar pearls
1 Beat the butter and castor sugar together until light. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and beat well again.
2 Fold in the flour, alternating with the milk, until the batter is smooth.
3 Line a cupcake baking tin with paper cupcake casings. Spoon the batter into the casings and bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
4 Icing Combine the egg whites, lemon juice and 865ml (450g) sifted icing sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the rest of the icing sugar until the mixture becomes smooth and shiny.
5 To decorate Colour the plastic icing with food colouring in a colour of your choice. Lightly smear each cupcake with icing then cover it with a little ‘dome’ of plastic icing. Decorate the plastic icing with a rubber stamp. Press the stamp into the plastic icing very lightly to transfer the design and create a raised effect. Spoon the icing into an icing bag and use it to decorate a few of the cupcakes further. You can also add sugar pearls and plastic-icing flowers, if you prefer.
6 Scan illustrations of your choice that complement your theme, and have them printed on edible paper, using edible ink. (Specialised bakeries offer this service.) Cut out the shapes, about 1cm smaller than your cupcakes right around. Smear a bit of icing onto each cupcake and press the shapes into place.
These boxes with their cute windows provide the perfect packaging for the French confectionary.
You will need
• large cardboard box with a removable lid
• sheet of acetate
• picture of your choice
• cupcake casing
• double-sided tape
• craft glue
• craft knife, cutting mat, metal ruler
1 Mark out a window shape on the back of the lid and cut out.
2 Use double-sided tape to attach a sheet of acetate inside the window.
3 For the gift card Type out the person’s name along with a message, print it out and cut into a strip. Fold it around the box and secure with double-sided tape.
4 Cut out a picture of your choice in a circle and glue it inside the cupcake casing. Attach the casing to the paper strip with double-sided tape to complete.