Monday, 17 February 2014

Romantic "Cherry Bakewell" cupcakes

It sure has been a topsy turvy week! Between moving house and attending significant events with friends and family, I unfortunately haven't had much time to write much. I did however manage to squeeze in some baking!

I made these cupcakes as a Valentines Day present for Mr Duckie. This Valentines was particularly special as it was out first one as a married couple :) Having had such a busy week, we wished only to have a quiet evening in our new home, and I thought that there could be no better way of settling in and celebrating love than with some home-made baked goods.

Mr Duckie, true to his British roots, is a huge fan of all the Mr Kipling cakes and tarts. His hands down favourites though are the Cherry Bakewells - those delicious tarts with a jammy base, sticky white fondant icing, and a bright red glace cherry in the centre. These were a common treat for us when we lived in London (much to Mr Duckie's pleasure!), as they were so easily and cheaply available. However, these tasty tarts are harder to find in Australia, so I thought that I would make my own version.

My aim was to make cherry and almond cupcakes to reflect the soft and fruity Bakewell filling, and then to top with a rosewater icing and glace cherries. The cake batter was easy to put together, only requiring some mixing and folding. I had some misgivings as I filled the cases and saw that they were rather full, but the recipe warned that this would happen so I kept on going. Everything was going smoothly, until I went to take the cupcakes out and saw that they had spilled over the edges and had sunk in the middle! And whilst the tops were getting golden brown, the inside was still not cooked! Clearly I had put too much batter into the cases...

Oh no...overflowing cakes!

With some post-baking reconstruction, whereby I trimmed the edges and filled the holes the excess cake...

And carefully covered with icing (so useful for hiding mistakes!), I had some not too bad looking cakes...

Luckily Mr Duckie did not notice anything was wrong, and ate his cupcake wholeheartedly and with much satisfaction! The cupcakes were very moist from the almond meal and yoghurt, with a fruity hit from the cherries and a nutty crunch from the toasted nuts. The floral fragrance from the rosewater icing was also a nice complement to the cherry and almond flavours of the cake. Next time though I will definitely be more careful when filling the cupcake cases!

Overall, it was a very cosy and relaxing Valentines Day, and a perfect end to the week!

Romantic "Cherry Bakewell" Cupcakes

Adapted from recipes from BBC Good Food and Delia Online


150 ml natural yoghurt
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (this only gave a very subtle flavour, so feel free to add more if prefer a stronger almond flavour)
175g caster sugar
160g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 
75g ground almonds
200g glace cherries, quartered (put some aside for decorating the cupcakes)
50g slivered almonds, toasted (I used a mixture of pinenuts and almonds which were on special at the supermarket)
3/4 cup canola oil

250g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp rosewater (if you like you could use lemon juice instead)
1-2 tbsp water

To toast slivered almonds: Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle nuts over tray. Bake in oven for about 6-8 minutes until nuts are golden brown - be careful to keep an eye on the nuts to prevent them burning.

For cupcakes: line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and heat oven to 190 degrees/fan 170 degrees fan. In a jug, mix the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Put the sugar, flour, baking powder and ground almonds, plus a pinch of salt, into a large bowl. Mix well and make a well in the middle.

Add the yoghurty mix and oil to the dry ingredients. Quickly fold in with a spatula, metal spoon or wooden spoon - don't overwork it. Spoon into cases so that they are about two-thirds full (you will most likely have leftover batter, which you can bake in another batch, or in another muffin tin if you have one). Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then lift cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing: combine icing sugar, rosewater and water (add 1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how thick you want your icing) in a bowl until a smooth paste forms.

Once cakes are cool, spread icing over and decorate with half a glace cherry. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze as soon as possible.

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