Thursday, 13 October 2011

Berry pink cupcakes

Cooking for a birthday party this week, I decided on two recipes - a brand new, experimental recipe suited to the birthday girl - Berry Pink Cupcakes - and my favourite go-to recipe - Blue Peter Brownies (more on those later).

So - the idea behind the cupcakes was, essentially, the colour pink. My favourite - and a favourite of my friend of the birthday party, too. I didn't want to stick to food colouring, however, but decided that most of the colouring would come from fruit. I spent a while umm-ing and ahh-ing about which pink fruits in particular - and a fair bit of research to work out quite how I would use them, before coming up with the recipe below.

Did it work? Yes - and no. The cakes are a beautiful purpley-pink, but the addition of all that raspberry puree, without taking away any of the egg from a standard sponge recipe, made them rather moist. Perhaps they'll be delicious (I haven't actually tried any of the cooked product yet) - but I think they might just be a little too damp for cupcakes. The icing's great, though - so I'm sure that'll carry them through.

A final note - I did attempt to create some candied raspberries to decorate these cupcakes... but failed. The recipe that I used was one where the raspberries are dipped in a meringue-like mix, sprinkled with sugar and left to dry out... But, it's now 24 hours later, and my raspberries are far from dry - and more like eggy, sugary mush. I'll add a fresh raspberry to each cupcake just before serving - and at least I got some good meringues out of the leftover mixture...!

Berry Pink Cupcakes
Makes 12 with space for icing (or 8 if you want them spilling over the top of the case)

For the cakes:

120g baking margarine
120g caster sugar
2 small-medium eggs
120g SR flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds (optional - I added them to help the cakes keep fresh for a few days before serving)
100g raspberries, pureed and strained (around 100ml of liquid)
50g rehydrated cranberries (place dried berries in a bowl of water for around 30 mins or more)

For the icing:

250g icing sugar, sifted
80g butter (leave it out of the fridge for a few minutes to soften)
25ml milk
A few drops vanilla extract
A few drops pink/red food colouring

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).

Place the margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and almonds in a large bowl and mix using an electric whisk or mixer, until smooth - this won't take long. Gradually add the pureed (and strained - use a sieve to remove the seeds) raspberries while continuing to whisk - don't add them all at once, or else the mixture will curdle. Chop up the cranberries into smallish chunks, and mix them all in.

Divide the mixture evenly into 12 muffin cases (the large size) in muffin tins. Bake for around 15 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown.

To make the icing, place all ingredients except the food colouring into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then, whisk with an electric whisk for around 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. As you whisk, add the colouring a drop at a time until you reach the desired colour.

When the cupcakes are cool, ice thickly using whichever method you prefer (I went for spreading with a knife this time - but I'll be trying piping soon) and decorate with pink sprinkles. Add a fresh raspberry to each cake just before serving. Enjoy!

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