Last week, I bought a foodie magazine for the first time. I was hungry. It had pictures of gargantuan cupcakes on the cover. I was in a long queue.
Having come home and read the magazine, I expressed alarm over the apparent shoddiness of my cupcakes in the blog post "The Cupcake Challenge".
Having been presented with cupcake perfection by a Cupcake Expert of World Renown, and having compared my wonky, wobbly, definately "rustic" cupcakes with her visions of cakey perfection, I sucked it up and set to in the kitchen.
No more flicking things out of the bowl. No more inadvertent skidding on said items mistakenly flicked from the bowl. No more fleecy dressing gowns.
Yep. They are actually glistening. That's because I infused them with an orange sugar syrup made with the juice of freshly squeezed oranges. I actually squeezed oranges. And then went on to make a syrup. I didn't know I had it in me either.
Here they are after being decorated.
There were originally six cakes, but sadly, two of them didn't make it to the photography stage of the proceedings. I ate them instead.
I altered the recipe shown in the foodie magazine to fit with my mum's recipe for cupcakes. My mum's recipe was handed down to her by my Nana, who got it from her mum, my Great Nana Webb. This is the recipe I have used so far, and don't want to cast aside. All ingredients are measured in ounces. I got the idea for the sugar syrup and the orange flavouring from the foodie magazine. As I've altered the recipe to creatively fit my own, I feel justified in giving it a name:
Mimi and Tilly's Orange Cupcakes
Makes 6 honking great cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
4oz caster sugar
4oz unsalted butter
4oz self-raising Flour
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
orange flavoured sugar syrup (see below)
You will also need:
a muffin tin with 6 cake cups, lined with muffin cases
for the Orange Syrup
Makes enough for six honking great cupcakes and flavoured icing
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Just over 1oz of caster sugar (roughly just over 30g)
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
Cooking Instructions for Orange Syrup
Put three of the four tablespoons of orange juice, and the caster sugar into a small pan, and bring to the boil. Stir steadily to dissolve the sugar.
Once your syrup has cooled, stir in the fourth spoonful of orange juice.
Put your syrup to one side while you prepare your orange cupcakes.
Instructions for Making Orange Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180 C. Put the caster sugar and chopped butter into a bowl or electric mixer and cream together. I like to use a hand held electric mixer for this. It's fun to rattle your teeth if you hit the edge of the bowl. It shakes things up a bit. Break the eggs into a separate bowl, and mix them with a fork to break the yolks. (I never do this. I just break the eggs whole into my caster sugar and butter blend, but this is usually when I see blobs fly out of the bowl when I set to with the hand held mixer. I'm giving you both options, in case you don't enjoy skidding on your kitchen tiles.) Add the eggs and a little flour to the mix, and continue mixing. Add the remaining flour and mix until creamy.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 4. Check to see if cupcakes are ready by pricking with a fork. If the fork comes out of the cakes without any sticky residue on the prongs, the cupcakes are ready. If things are moving along a little slowly put the oven to gas mark 5 for an extra 5 minutes. As these cupcakes are large in comparison to the traditional size, I find they need to be baked for slightly longer than the traditional 20 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from the oven when they are ready and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Prick the tops with a fork, and using a tea spoon or a pastry brush smother each one lightly with the sugar syrup. Once completely cooled, take cupcakes out of the tin.
5oz icing sugar
the remaining orange sugar syrup
zest of one orange
one or two extra tea spoons of freshly squeezed orange juice if needed
Add the sugar syrup to the icing sugar in teaspoon measurements until the icing is the right consistency for spreading on the cakes. You may or may not need a few drops of extra orange juice depending on how runny you like your icing!
Mix in the orange zest.
Slather all over the top of your cakes.
Decorate with sugar balls. Tie ribbons onto cocktail sticks and push gently into the tops of your cakes.
NB. Please be advised to be extra careful when having at your cupcakes. Do not take your eye out or pierce your tongue with the cocktail sticks. They are sharp and pointy. Oh, and also, do not eat the ribbons. (Wow, these cakes are a health and safety nightmare.)
P.S. If you do try out this recipe, I'd love to hear how you get on!