Sugar hearts, sugar pearls or your own choice of decoration
Paper cases for cupcakes
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C. Place the oven shelf in the centre of the oven. Fill a cupcake baking tray with paper cases.
Put the butter in a bowl and add the sugar. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time
Add the self-raising flour a little at a time. Add the milk last and beat everything well for 2 minutes at high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
Using two tablespoons, spoon some cake mixture into the centre of the paper cupcake case. Fill until each case is about 2/3 full.
Place the cupcake baking tray on the shelf in the centre of the oven. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes at 170 degrees C. After 20 minutes, open the oven door and test whether the cupcakes are ready by inserting a wooden cocktail stick into the centre of the cupcake. If the cocktail stick comes out clean, the cupcakes can be removed from the oven. If some cake mixture is still sticking to the cocktail stick, leave the cupcakes in the oven for another 5 minutes. Check again after 5 minutes to see if the cupcakes are ready and remove them from the oven if they are.
Once you have removed the cupcakes from the oven, leave them to cool in the tray on a cool rack. If your cupcakes have risen a little more than you intended, place a bread board on top of the tray of cupcakes immediately after you take them out of the oven. Remove the board again after about a minute. Your cupcakes will now be flat, making them easier to decorate.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter until it is soft and pale in colour. Add the icing sugar and vanilla sugar and stir well. Food colouring is available from various shops including those specialising in baking supplies. Stir a tiny drop of food colouring into the buttercream at the end, adding more until the colour is right. Put the buttercream into the fridge for a little while to make it easier to work with.
Use a piping bag to pipe a pretty swirl or circle of buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes. Press out heart shapes from the stroopwafels. Shaped cookie cutters are available from various shops including those specialising in baking supplies. Metal ones are the best for cutting stroopwafels. Decorate the buttercream with the stroopwafel hearts and finish off the cupcakes with sugar hearts or sugar pearls.
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