These little cupcakes start out a s a simple vanilla cupcake, add the anise extract for either a subtle or powerful liquorice flavour. The choice is yours! Getting the liquorice flavour seemed like a daunting task, but its actually very easy when you use anise extract.
Quick Fact: The anise herb plant and the liquorice plant are two totally different plants, in fact, they are not even grouped in the same family of plants. Liquorice is made using liquorice root but anise extract is often used instead because of their identical flavours.
For this recipe, we use just a small amount of anise extract for a subtle liquorice flavour, but if you’re a massive liquorice fan you can add more extract for a full on liquorice flavour.
For the cupcakes:
215g cups plain (AP) Flour
30g corn starch
1 cup caster sugar
67g brown sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
135g unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons anise extract
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For the Frosting:
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon anise extract
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons milk
100g black fondant, optional
12 liquorice allsorts
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180C. Line 12 muffin tin holes with paper cupcake cases. In a large bowl, sift together the plain flour and corn starch. Add the sugars, baking powder and salt and stir well so everything is evenly distributed
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Beat the eggs well, until they become frothy. Add the buttermilk and both extracts and mix well. Now add the melted butter while whisking to completely combine. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir well. When mixed through add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir just enough to fully combine everything.
Fill the cupcake liners about ¾ full, then bake for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Make sure to turn the tray halfway through cooking so they all cook evenly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack.
For the buttercream:
With a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter along with ½ cup of the icing sugar for 8 minutes (yes, that long. We’re going for whipped butter). Scrape down the sides as necessary and continue beating.
With the mixer on low, add the remaining sugar 1 spoon at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt, both extracts and milk and beat for 5 minutes at medium speed until it looks light and thick and creamy.
To top the cupcakes:
Roll out the fondant to very thin and use a cookie cutter to cut out circles (or any shape desired).
Place a small amount of buttercream on the top of each cupcake and press the fondant shape down on top. Pipe the buttercream on top then top with a liquorice allsort