Saturday, 6 July 2013
Baking for the Summer Fair part I: Orange Blossom Cupcakes
Yes, it is that time of year again where from a personally joyful perspective I can sense the summer hols coming nearer and nearer. There are the little things that remind meit's nearly time, like what is ripening in the garden, or coming out in full bloom. Then there is the urge to set my classroom on fire in a desperate attempt to get rid of all the bumf I have managed to generate in the past year (mental note to self: stop reinventing the wheel) and there is the call for cakes for Lola and Finn's school summer fair. This year it was Finn's class' turn to do the cake thing so I set to work, with an able assistant...
My able assistant before...
We are just embarking on another summer here just now - the cynics amongst us thought that the three days in June was probably 'it' as far as 'Summer 2013, Brit Stylee' was concerned, but no, the sun is back and could be here for a whole week, so to match my summery mood I went for something a bit floral, though the orange blossom thing that you see here is probably wrong on many levels - am aware that orange blossom for one, is white, and secondly, you might not see orange blossom at this time of year, but don't rain on my parade all you gardening peeps, I had all the ingredients and it made me feel summery, even if it wasn't for any reason based on actual fact.
After some time apart I have reunited myself with those lovely 'Hummingbird Bakery' cookbooks that I own. This is from 'Bake Days' and is a variation on the 'Apple Blossom Cupcake' recipe. So here we go...
Orange Blossom Cupcakes, from 'Bake Days' by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers.
Makes 12-16 cupcakes
For the sponge
80g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
280g (10 oz) caster sugar
240g (8 ½ oz) plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder (yes, really!)
¼ tsp salt
200ml (7fl oz) whole milk
1 tbsp orange flower water
2 large eggs
For the frosting
160g (5 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
50ml (1 ¾ fl oz) whole milk
500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar
3 tsp orange flower water
Some orange sugar paste and a small flower cutter
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas mark 5, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until all the ingredients are well incorporated and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
Place the milk in a jug with the eggs and orange flower water and whisk together by hand.
Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and continue to beat on a medium speed until everything is mixed in and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling them up to two-thirds. Any remaining batter can be used to fill up to four more cases in a second muffin tin.
Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well-risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool down fully before adding the frosting .
To make the frosting, using the electric whisk or the freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, slowly whisk the icing sugar with the butter until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain. Gradually pour the milk and orange flower water into the icing sugar and butter mixture. Once all the milk has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy. (Some comments on frosting: I think the quantities don't have to be bang on - my take on it is you add ingredients and mix very well until you get the consistency/taste you require. Also, I may have been a bit stingy on the frosting front, as I did have some left over frosting after icing these cupcakes, which I am going to use to sandwich another cake).
Top each cake with a generous spoonful of frosting, then gently smooth over with a palette knife, adding a swirl at the top if you wish. (Or try, if you're me...)
Decorate with the flowers!