Hot Air Balloon Cupcakes

Sour cream (yes, that’s right) cupcakes up, up and away!

I asked my kids what they love about Bristol and both said “hot air balloons!”

One of our favourite places to balloon watch is Ashton Court, a great place to explore any time.

So I got my thinking cap on to combine the boy and girl’s Bristol love with cake.

This is my all time favourite cake recipe. I found it years ago in the Observer Food Magazine. It has a secret ingredient you won’t believe and it makes these cakes especially moist and fluffy. I use this recipe for almost every cake I make.

Sour Cream Cake

200g butter
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
200g sour cream
300g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

You can add any of the following flavourings or leave them plain, they’re delicious any way:
25g cocoa
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 2 limes
3 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in a little hot water

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs.
Beat in the sour cream.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
Spoon into cupcake cases.
Bake at 180C for 20 – 25 minutes.
Leave to cool.

This quantity will make 18 small cupcakes or 12 large/muffin size cupcakes.

For the icing:

100g butter
1 tbsp water (or lime or lemon juice)
200g icing sugar

Cream the butter and water until soft.
Beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy.

What you’ll need to make the cupcakes into hot air balloons:

Drinking straws (4 for each cupcake)
Colourful cupcake cases
1 quantity of buttercream icing
Red and yellow food colouring
Icing bag and large star nozzle

Ice the cupcakes with plain buttercream (leave a small amount to colour for the balloon burners).
Place the cupcakes in new cupcake cases for the baskets (I baked my cupcakes in plain white cases).
Bend 4 straws and stick in each cake.
Blow up the balloons to a small size, knot and cut off the excess. Place inside the straws on each cupcake.
Mix some yellow and red food colouring into the remaining buttercream and fill an icing bag with star nozzle.
Pipe around the balloon knot on top of the cupcake to make it look like the hot air balloon burner.

Optional extras:

Decorate the balloons with Sharpie pens before placing them on the cakes.
Make little paper people stuck on toothpicks to be passengers in the hot air balloons.

food / baking