Sunday, 24 February 2013

Raspberry & Blood Orange Nest Cupcakes

These scrumptious little cupcakes are just the thing to bake when you need to bring some sunshine into your life. and as this cruelly cold winter drags on, sunshine is something I'm missing terribly. The raspberries cut through the sweetness of these richly iced cupcakes, and taste fresh and spring like with the blood orange citrus crumb.


My own, makes 12 small/medium sized cupcakes

for the base:
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
45g ground almonds
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed blood orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 blood orange
12 fresh raspberries, washed and dry

1. Turn the oven to 180 (160 fan) and place medium cupcake cases in a 12 muffin baking tray. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, until smooth and fluffy.

2. Throw in the eggs one at a time and beat in, adding a spoonful of flour after each one. Then stir in the orange zest and the of freshly squeezed blood orange juice.

3. Next sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture, stirring gently until the batter is well combined.

4. Spoon the batter into each cupcake case, until they are approximately two-thirds full (you want to leave enough room for the cakes to rise). Press a raspberry face down into the top of each cupcake batter.

5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. You'll know the cakes are done when a skewer comes out clean.

6. Take out of the oven and leave for a few minutes, before moving the cupcakes in their cases to a wire rack or plate to cool.


for the icing and topping:

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
400g icing sugar
45ml milk
about 3 pin pricks of food colouring paste (I used Ruby tint, by Sugarflair)
36 fresh raspberries, washed and dry
approx toasted or untoasted flaked almonds

8. Beat the butter until creamy. Stir in the milk and mix together.

9. Sift half the icing sugar into the mixture, and stir thoroughly, before adding the other half and continuing to stir until it is a thick paste. Take care stirring the icing sugar, as this is a bit messy, I tend to wear an apron as I've been known to accidentally drench myself in it when stirring too vigorously!

10. When the icing is combined, the only thing left to do is to colour it. Add about 3 or 4 pin pricks of colour tint paste before stirring it in to give the icing a beautiful strong raspberry colour.

11. Get a pint glass and place a piping bag with a nozzle inside the glass, so that the nozzle is on the bottom of the glass. Fold the piping bag edges over the glass rim. Spoon the paste into the piping bag, then carefully take the bag out of the glass and twist the end of the bag so that the icing is well contained.

12. Pipe the icing over the cupcakes . To pipe a rose or a nest, you start piping in the middle of the cupcake and work outwards. Top each cupcake with 3 raspberries, and add a few flaked almonds.

These cupcakes were idly baked while listening to Beck's album Mutations

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Westcountry Apple Cake

I've been meaning to blog this cake for months, so it's no longer entirely seasonal, but better late than never eh! Apples can be found any time of the year now anyway, particularly if you're looking to use up the last of your autumnal bounty, and in this recipe they work their magic to create a most scrumptious cake, and a thrifty one at that.

Adapted from the recipe given at
Serves 8

225g eating apples, washed, peeled, cored and diced
225g plain flour, sifted
1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
115g unsalted butter, room temperature, diced
1 egg, room temperature (beaten)
juice of half a lemon (or lime)
115g light muscovado sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

for the topping:
half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g demerara sugar

1. Turn the oven to 180 C (160 fan ovens), and grease and line an 8cm round cake tin.

2. Cover the apple pieces with the lemon juice, and put to one side to soak.

3. Use your hands to rub the butter into the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, as if making a crumble topping. You want to create the consistency of crumbs.

4. In a small bowl, beat the egg until frothy, then add it to the flour and butter crumbs, stirring gently.

5. Stir in the muscovado sugar and butter, beating the whole mixture together. Add the milk a spoonful at a time, stirring until the batter is a soft doughy consistency. Finally, remove the apples from their lemon soak, and stir them gently into the batter until combined.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, smooth over the top and put to one side.
7. Then quickly make the cake topping, by mixing the demerara sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkling the crunchy topping liberally over the cake.
8. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Take out the oven, then leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack or plate.
9. Eat on its own, or with lashings of westcountry cream!
This cake was idly baked to the sounds of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds No More Shall We Part