Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Cupcakes

Something different for your Easter table




Spring is really in the air around here and there's a part of me that is already in summer mode which basically results in me leaving the house in wildly inappropriate summer outfits and then shivering for the day. I'm not ashamed I love summer, summer heat and winter cold, both the extremes, not the middle seasons. However that said it is spring and I need to accept that. There is one part of spring that I absolutely love and that is Easter. During Easter chocolate is everywhere and I will not break the  with this tradition too much as I intend to have some delicious chocolate treat up next week. However sometimes it is nice to have an alternative and these delicious spring cupcakes could be a refreshing alternative to chocolate or a delicious (completely un-related to Easter) spring treat. They combine zesty moist lemon cupcakes with delicately sweet blueberry frosting. I went with my favourite rose frosting style but notice the little flecks making it look more like a real flower.




Ok so into the recipe; the cupcake's are actually mini cupcakes, which means you can have a few ;) The combination of lemon and blueberry is not a new one but with these I've tried to keep the flavours as natural as possible but also distinctly bold. The tiny cupcakes were brushed with lemon syrup to keep them moist and bring out even more lemon flavour and the tiny flecks in the icing are created using extra blueberry puree so there are absolutely no chemical colourings involved.


The Lemon Cupcakes (adapted from Eric Lanlards cake recipe)
(makes 50 mini cupcakes)

175g Butter
175g Caster Sugar
1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks (keep the whites for frosting)
1 tbsp Milk
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
250g plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder

Lemon syrup
50g sugar
2 tbsp Hot water
juice and zest of half a lemon

1 - Preheat oven to 180' Beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add the lemon
      zest and keep beating.

2 - Beat together you egg, egg yolks and milk.

3 - Sieve together the flour and baking powder.

4 - Slowly add in your egg mixture, flour mixture and lemon juice alternating in thirds of each and
      mixing until it's just combined. Careful not to over-beat, particularly if using an electric mixer.

5 - Line your mini cupcake tin with liners and fill them up half way then bake for 15 minutes. Then
     cool on a wire rack.

6 - When they are cooling brush the top with the lemon syrup.



The Blue-berry Frosting

3 egg whites
3/8 tsp cream of tartar
200g caster sugar
100ml water
226g unsalted butter (the unsalted is very important or your icing will just taste of butter)
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g frozen blue-berries
2 tbsp lemon juice

1 - In a small saucepan heat the blue-berries, add the lemon juice and continue heating until they
      reach a boil and reduce for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and put through a sieve, retaining
      the juice and discarding the fiber.
2 - In a clean small saucepan add the sugar and water, heat, slowly increasing the temperature. Use a
     sugar thermometer and heat until you reach soft-ball (250F)
3 - While heating the sugar syrup, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy

4 - When the syrup has reached 250F remove from the heat and then with your beater on slow,
      slowly add the syrup, very slowly down the side of the container and beat until combined.

5 - Cut your room temperature butter into 12 pieces, I make the pieces slightly uneven so that the
      first pieces are marginally smaller than the last ones. Then add the pieces one at a time with the
      beater on low speed. Only add a new piece when the previous is completely incorporated. Now
      when you get the pieces 11 and 12 the mixture will look curdled, do not panick, just keep adding
      and beating and then turn your beater onto high and beat for approx 10-12 minutes until smooth.
Have faith, it will come together
6 - Add your vanilla essence and then add 4-6 tbsp of the blue-berry juice until you have the colour
     that you are happy with.
7 - Take your piping bag and place a star tip in bottom then add a teaspoon of blueberry juice down
      four lines in the bag and let the excess run out the bottom then quickly add the frosting. Pipe out
      a little on a paper towel before starting your cupcakes as extra juice may have collected at the
      bottom. The piping bag will look like this.


8 - To pipe the roses, start in the center and then loop around in a circle, and if you overlap somewhat
      this will just look even better.They won't all look the exact same and that's ok, particularly with
      the speckles each one will look like a unique flower.


9 - Then just enjoy and share with friends and family =)

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