I think I may have the right combination at last. My cookery book shelf is groaning under the weight of books - a lot of which I have bought just for the cupcake recipe.
I used Nigella's recipe for many years but always hated that little bump in the middle that they always made (why? The bump, not my dislike of it!). I used to cut it off in the days when I used royal icing so as to get a nice flat top.
Earlier this year I bought the Hummingbird Bakery book and made their cupcakes several times with mixed results. Sometimes, they would spill out of their cases and no matter how carefully I tried to put the same amount in each case, they would vary enormously. Although to be fair this could easily be disguised by the frosting, using more or less to get a uniform plateful of cakes.
I raved about this book in this post and now tried out the cupcake recipe. It is a winner! It is a generous recipe and the mixture does exactly what you'd hope - rise nicely and evenly. The cakes are just the right density (I think) and come out of their cases in one piece. First I tried the lemon cupcakes with the lemon buttercream. They were delicious but the buttercream was a little thick for my liking and difficult to spread.
I love the frosting from the Hummingbird book. It is light and frothy, not too sickly, and with the addition of a little milk and 5 minutes (I set my timer) of beating, easy to spread or pipe on.
So, for my second attempt, I used the coffee cupcake recipe from the Primrose book but with a coffee frosting from the Hummingbird book. I believe I may have cracked it! They were absolutely scrummy!
As a finishing flourish, I grated on some coffee chocolate but have my eye on some chocolate coffee beans. I think they'd look great in the dark brown cases too.
I think I will make some Christmas cupcakes - how about orange and cranberry?