Raspberry cupcakes!

After we’d made these, my sister declared them the best thing we had ever baked (pushing the blondies into second place already!), and I have to agree they are very good! They seemed appropriate for summer – if you can call this summer, it’s been raining almost constantly for weeks… They’re another from my Primrose Bakery book, and not only do they have raspberry jam swirled through the batter and as a filling in the cupcake, they also have white chocolate in the icing, which makes for some incredibly sweet cupcakes! The quantities given are half of those in the book, and made 12 fairy cakes, which are almost all gone already!

Ingredients:

55g butter (at room temperature)

90g caster sugar

1 egg

60g plain flour

60g self-raising flour

60ml milk

Half a teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons raspberry jam, plus one teaspoonful per cupcake for filling

For the icing:

20g butter (at room temperature)

1 tablespoon milk

100g icing sugar, sifted

A drop of vanilla extract

50g white chocolate

1.5 tablespoons double cream

Fresh raspberries, to decorate

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line a fairy cake tin with paper cases.

– Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, which takes about 5 minutes. As there is a lot of sugar compared to butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually.

– Add the egg and mix for a couple more minutes.

– Combine the flours in a bowl, and combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.

– Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat in, then add a third of the milk and beat; continue like this until they are both used up.

– Add the jam: gently fold it in a little to give a swirled effect.

– Divide between the paper cases and bake for around 20 minutes.

– Once cool, use a teaspoon or sharp knife to make a hole in the centre of each one, and add a small teaspoon of raspberry jam. The recipe wasn’t entirely clear about how to do this: we took a small spoonful of cake out (almost as if making butterfly buns), put the raspberry jam in then replaced the cake, which looked a bit messy but it doesn’t really matter because you ice over it anyway!

– To make the icing, first place the butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, before gradually adding the rest of the icing sugar and beating well for about 5 minutes (yes, this is basically making buttercream!)

– Next, melt the white chocolate and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, before adding to the buttercream along with the cream. Beat until well combined and smooth.

– Ice each cupcake, using a palette knife, and top each with a raspberry!

Because of the jam inside, these will only keep for a few days before they start going a bit soggy, but in my house this wasn’t a problem as they were all eaten before then!

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Earl Grey Cupcakes!

I own three cookbooks – Be-Ro and one of Delia Smith’s, which are both fairly practical for a student, and another called ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, which is decidedly less practical, though probably prettier! I’m gradually working my way through the recipes although this is the first I’ve written about – Earl Grey cupcakes. I’m not really a tea person, but I do like Earl Grey so I thought they were worth a try: the flavour comes from using milk which you’ve infused with the tea, so I suppose you could use any sort of tea. The original recipe used infused milk only in the cakes themselves, but when we tasted them the flavour was quite subtle so we used it in the icing as well!

Ingredients (makes 24 fairy cakes):

125ml semi-skimmed milk

4 Earl Grey teabags

110g butter at room temperature

225g sugar (the recipe says granulated but we used caster)

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour, sifted

120g plain flour, sifted

For the icing (this is half the quantity in the original but we found it was plenty!):

55g butter at room temperature

30ml semi-skimmed milk

250g icing sugar, sifted

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line two 12-hole fairy cake trays (or one 12-hole muffin tray) with cake cases.

– Heat all the milk (125ml for the cakes and 30ml for the icing) over a medium heat until it is just about to boil, then remove from the heat, add the teabags, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

– Cream the butter and sugar. As there is a lot more sugar than butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually; it takes around 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

– Combine the flours in a separate bowl and measure out about 100ml of the milk into a jug (some will have evaporated with heating). Add one third of the flour, then one third of the milk, to the creamed mixture, beating after each addition; continue until all the milk and flour are in.

– Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

– Once cool, make the icing: beat the butter, 30ml of infused milk and half the icing sugar until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and keep beating. It takes 5 minutes or more; it’s ready when it’s smooth, creamy and tastes of icing rather than butter and sugar!

– Ice the cupcakes, and sprinkle demerara sugar over for decoration!