Earl Grey Cupcakes

Sooo…it’s been a while.

However, I have a halfway decent excuse for not posting for half a century this time: I’ve been trying out a new recipe and it just hasn’t been cooperating with me. When I finally master it, I will be sharing it with you on this blog but in the meantime, you’ll just have to make do with this.

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These cupcakes are very subtly flavoured with Earl Grey teabags and the sponge is lovely and light, despite there being no creaming involved. You can use any kind of teabags you want; herbal or fruit teabags can be used if you aren’t a fan of Earl Grey. I have some peppermint and liquorice teabags in the cupboard at the moment so I might have another go at this recipe using those.

I’m starting a new full-time job on Monday so I’m not sure what the frequency of my posts will be like in the next few weeks but I will try my best to keep posting once a week.

Makes 12-16 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

3 Earl Grey teabags

3tbsp just-boiled water

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

200ml whole milk

2 large eggs

For the frosting:

50ml whole milk

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter, softened

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Recipe

  1. Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Use a hand-held electric whisk to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.
  4. Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
  5. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. If there is batter left over, spoon it into more cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.
  7. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.
  8. Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, smoothing the tops and swirling with a palette knife.

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Doughnut Cupcakes

This recipe is amazingly easy, as well as slightly unusual and, of course, delicious. I made these for afternoon tea with friends and they went down so well; they’re a sophisticated version of a childhood favourite. They don’t taste exactly like doughnuts as they’re baked not fried but as they’re probably easier on your waistline, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I imagine these would be quite good to make if you have small children who want to join in in the kitchen-  it’s a one-bowl recipe that’s relatively fuss-free.

doughnut cupcakes

Ingredients

230g softened butter plus 3 tbsp melted

230g sugar, plus about 25g extra to sprinkle

2 eggs plus 1 yolk

280g self-raising flour

105 ml milk

1/2 tsp baking powder

12 tsp strawberry jam (about half a jar)

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Recipe

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Beat together the softened butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk and baking powder in a large bowl until you have a smooth batter.

Line a 12 hole cake tin with cases. Fill the cases two-thirds full with the batter, then make a small dip in the batter and place a teaspoon of jam into it. Cover with another spoonful of cake batter and repeat for the rest of the cupcakes. Bake for 25 mins until golden on top. The sponge should bounce back when lightly pressed.

Brush some melted butter over each cake then sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.

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Boston Cream Cupcakes

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As soon as I laid eyes on this recipe, I knew I had to try it! Taking flavour inspiration from the Boston cream pie, these light vanilla sponges are filled with a vanilla custard and topped with rich chocolate frosting. Although the typical method of creaming butter and sugar together first to incorporate air isn’t used here, the cakes are amazingly airy and delicate, and as an added bonus (as if I needed to say more) they stay wonderfully moist in an airtight container for a good few days – I actually thought they tasted better the day after I baked them.

I discovered these beauties in Cake Days, a book of recipes from the brilliant Hummingbird Bakery, which you can purchase here.  It’s full of really interesting flavour combinations and I can guarantee that I’ll be posting many more recipes from the book on this blog in the weeks to come!

NB: If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet, simply change the ratio of icing sugar to cocoa powder, but make sure that the two quantities should still add up to 500g.

 

Makes about 12-16 Cupcakes

 

For the sponge:

•80g unsalted butter, softened

•280g caster sugar

•240g plain flour

•1 tbsp baking powder

•¼ tsp salt

•240ml whole milk

•2 large eggs

•1 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the filling:

•250ml whole milk

•½ tsp vanilla extract

•2 large egg yolks

•50g caster sugar

•1 tbsp plain flour

•1 tbsp corn flour

 

For the frosting:

•400g icing sugar

•100g cocoa powder

•160g unsalted butter, softened

•80ml whole milk

 

Equipment

•One or two 12-hole muffin tins

•Piping bag

•Muffin cases

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the mixture starts to look like fine breadcrumbs.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a jug, then pour in ¾ of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until the mixture becomes smooth and thick, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until combined and smooth.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them by two-thirds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan and bring to the boil. In the meantime, whisk the rest of the ingredients by hand in a bowl until smooth and well combined.

Once the milk is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and pour 4-5 tablespoons of the mixture from it into the egg yolk mixture to loosen, then add this mixture to the pan of hot milk, stirring well.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly so that lumps do not form. Boil for at least a minute to make sure that the flour is cooked out completely. Once thickened, tip the custard into a bowl and leave to cool completely for 30-40 minutes.

To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter at a low speed until it takes on a sandy texture. Add the milk slowly before increasing the speed to high and whisk until the frosting becomes soft and fluffy.

Using a sharp knife, make a hole in the centre of each cupcake about 2cm in diameter and 3cm deep, keeping the scooped-out pieces of sponge. Spoon the custard into the hole in each cake, then replace the sponge lid, trimming it to ensure the top is fairly level.

Smooth the frosting over the tops of the cupcakes with a a palette knife and add a swirl. Sprinkle with grated chocolate to decorate.

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Let me know how you get on if you try this recipe!