Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Kate's Kitchen: two-tone cupcakes

In the UK, March usually means Mothering Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent); it was also known as Refreshment Sunday because the rules of fasting were relaxed. Traditionally, girls and women were given the day off to visit their mothers.

The most common food associated with Mothering Sunday was Simnel cake – which is basically a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the middle and a layer of marzipan on top. There are eleven marzipan balls on the top (to represent the eleven disciples – Judas isn’t included) and sugar violets are also added. The name Simnel comes from the Latin simila, i.e. fine wheat flour used in baking cakes.So I’m going to give you a recipe for Simnel cake, yes?

Um – no. The only person in this house who likes dried fruit is me. The only person in this house who likes marzipan is also me. So although technically I could’ve made a Simnel cake and photographed it for the blog, y’know, I’m supposed to be working on losing the flab, and our doctor’s practice nurse would not accept the need to make Simnel cake as an excuse for – well, being greedy :o)

So instead I’m going to give you the recipe I’ve used for years for cupcakes – the sort we make for family parties and afternoon tea (which includes Mothering Sunday). These ones are fairy-cake-sized. And if you do them with two-tone icing and glitter sprinkles, they look gorgeous on a cake stand.

• 100g/4oz butter
• 150g/5oz caster sugar
• 175g/6oz self-raising flour
• couple of drops vanilla extract
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 tablespoon boiling water

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs.

Fold in the flour.

Stir in the boiling water (this will give the mixture a dropping consistency).

Drop a teaspoon of the mixture into a fairy cake case (makes 18-24).

Bake at 350F/180C/gas mark 4 for 15 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool before icing.

For the buttercream icing:
• 225g/8oz icing sugar
• 100g/4oz softened butter
• 1 tablespoon milk
• a few drops of vanilla extract, to taste

Put all ingredients into a bowl (plus a couple of drops of colouring, if required) and whisk together until fluffy.

Swirl the icing onto the cupcakes with a palette knife - or put into an icing bag and pipe icing onto the cakes.

To do two-tone icing, simply paint a very thin line of food colouring inside a disposable icing bag from the tip to the edge, then spread the colour as far as you can with the paintbrush and press the two sides of the bag together so the colour covers the entire bag. It should look practically clear, but when you put the buttercream in you’ll see splodges of colour.

Pipe out the icing, and the colour will start to come through on the very edges.

In the UK, you can get a copy of The Ex Who Hired Her and Dr Cinderella’s Midnight Fling; they’re also available on the eHarlequin website (out in shops in April). You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)

1 comment:

  1. That Cupcake look's so delicious, thank you for the Ingredients, I will definitely try this at home.
    Movers Packers New York