(virgin) Margarita cupcakes

To buck my trend of boozy cakes, I decided to make margarita cupcakes. Virgin style (there is an alcoholic option available, if you really can’t help yourself.) This comes again from ‘Eat Me!’ by Cookie Girl: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-Me-Stupendous-Self-Raising-According/dp/0091925118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284395018&sr=8-1
As I mentioned earlier, my stupidly expensive icing kit has given up the ghost, so I’m on my own. Hence these rather messy looking cakes, which I’ve only allowed you a brief glimpse of at the end. Still, the taste made up for their hideousness. I loved them unconditionally, as I would my future hypothetical socially inept children. (I joke, I joke. It would be social services for them.)

Sponge ingredients
4oz unsalted butter, room temp
4oz sugar
2 large eggs
4oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon juice
Makes 12

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Fill a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2. You got this down now. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, then sift in the flour and baking powder. Then add your lemon juice and mix until smooth.

3. Put a tablespoon of mixture into each cake case, and bake for 15-20 minutes until as springy as a spring lamb.

Filling ingredients
1oz butter
2 fl oz fresh lime juice
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4oz caster sugar
grated zest of 2 limes
(1-2 tbsp tequila….optional. I don’t judge. You total alcoholic)

1. Prepare the filling. Ok, so, you put the lime in the coconut and….not really. Sorry. But that’s in your head now, isn’t it? What you ACTUALLY do is heat the butter and lime juice in a pan over a medium heat until the butter melts.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together. Then add the hot butter mixture slowly to the egg mixture. Pour all of this back into the pan and continue cooking over a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until it reaches boiling point and thickens
3. Take it off the heat and stir in the lime zest. If you were to opt for tequila, you could stir it in just about now, you old smoothie.

Icing ingredients
4oz unsalted butter, room temp
4oz cream cheese, room temp
1lb icing sugar, sifted (I just make up quantities, but this is your actual proper recipe measurement)
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp triple sec
Green food colouring
Sea salt flakes, to decorate
Grated lime zest, to decorate1. Ooh, you lucky thing. It’s your favourite bit, isn’t it! The bit where you get to keep ‘tasting’ it to make sure it’s ok, and eating half the bowl in the process! Yes, everyone loves icing. Beat together the butter and cream cheese, beat it more than Alex Reid gets beaten in a fight. Yeah! I’m topical (ish). Add the icing sugar and mix well, then add the lime juice and zest, Triple sec and green food colouring.

2. I did something a bit cheaty and bad. Yes, dear reader, I will confess all to you. My hideous secret, you’ve dredged it out of me….the idea that sparked all this was a £3.99 bottle of margarita mix (sans tequila) in Waitrose. I KNOW! I hate ready mixed, ready made, pre-prepared rubbish. It makes me no better than Delia. I will NEVER do it again. But I used this mix in place of the triple sec and lime. (It’s really hard not to type ‘triple sex’. Try it)
3. When the cakes are cool, remove the inside with a spoon or a knife. Or a knifey spoony. Fill them with your sweet, sweet, limey filling. Then spread the icing on top, sprinkle with lime zest and add a bit of salt. (I used Jamie Oliver’s pink himalayan sea salt. It rocked my world. Get it? Rocked? Salt? Oh, come on.)

Cosmopolitan cupcakes/sexy beasts

I came across this idea while cruising that inter-web thingy everyone seems so fond of these days. Anyway, it’s a blog called ‘A cup full of cake’. These took my fancy because they are a)boozy, and b) sugary, which sort of means they’re like my two favourite things colliding. A bit like if Russell Brand and Matt Smith collided. You know. Sort of amazing. Enough of this rubbish, now to the cakes! Oh – the ingredients are all in cups, because that’s how the Americans roll. I’m into it if you’re into it, as Flight of the Conchords once sang.

As a footnote (so I can pretend I’m still at uni) I am not at all a fan of Sex and the City. However, if you do like watching a bunch of facially challenged women discussing the latest bout of chandelier-swinging they’ve been engaging in, then you might like to make some before watching. No offense. I’m sure it’s a great programme. Honest.

Another footnote. The actual cake is pink. Pink sponge. I’m not sure I’d impressed on you quite how cool that is. (Probs time to get out more.)

Sponge ingredients
1/2 cup butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups plain flour
1/4 cup buttermilk (Waitrose stocks this. True story.)
Zest of 1 lime
Pink food colouring

Makes about 20 million. Or, in non-hyperbolic terms, 24.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees c, and line your muffin tin with cases (oooh, that sounded positively RUDE. muffin tin. ha.)

2. Just beat it! Beat it….beat that sugar and butter. Then add your eggs one by one and beat after each. Add your lime zest.

3. Combine your dry ingredients and set aside.

4. Make up a batch of cosmopolitans (can be virgin if you so choose) according to the recipe at the bottom. Set aside. Do not, I repeat, do NOT drink the whole lot. See picture below – that’s right, kids – put your alcohol in a mug, it doesn’t make you look at all like a tramp.

5. Now take it in turns with the wet and dry ingredients, adding a bit at a time. This stops the mixture from curdling.

6. Add as much or as little food colouring as you like. I found this groovy all natural stuff called ‘Queen’ in Waitrose, so I went nuts and poured in a fair amount. Then fill your cases, about two thirds up to the top.

7. Into the oven with you! Around 20 minutes should do the trick nicely.

Icing ingredients
1 1/2 cups butter room temp
4 cups confectioners sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp lime zest
Pink food colouring
3-4 tbsp of Cosmopolitan mix (told you not to drink it, didn’t I)

1. Now, icing wise, I am a wild child. I don’t conform to ruuuules, man. I tend to just chuck random quantities in the bowl and play it by ear. But I also understand that this does not a good recipe make. So feel free to shake off the shackles of the recipe and do your own thing, or equally follow it to the letter. You are your own person. Don’t ever let them take that away from you.

2. My icing bag is broken. Yeah. Life treats me very badly, you’re right. As a result, I ‘drizzled’ (slopped) icing on my cakes. Then grated lime across the top, and added a few dried cranberries on top, you know, just to make it mega healthy.

Have crazy fun, little ones.

Cosmopolitan recipe – makes roughly 15 ounces.
5 (1.5 fluid ounce) jiggers vodka
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon cointreau
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup and 3 tablespoons cranberry juice

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Hello chaps! I had a bit of a tinker in the kitchen today, and have two new recipes to share with you all. First up is lemon meringue cupcakes with homemade lemon curd. I paid a lot of money that I don’t have for ‘Eat me!’ by a lady calling herself ‘Cookie Girl’. Apart from the naughty title, it’s essentially the book I should have written (damn you). I thought I’d give her a test run, hence these little babies. Don’t worry, it’s all alarmingly easy. Swear.

So, let’s start with our sponge.

Sponge ingredients
4oz cream cheese, room temp
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
40z unsalted butter
4oz sugar
2 large eggs
40z self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder

1. You know the drill by now. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2. Whisk cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice together, and leave to one side. Cream butter and sugar together. Light and fluffy, light and fluffy, repeat to yourself. Add eggs, one by one, and whisk after each. Then add the sifted flour and baking powder. Now slowly add your cream cheese mix. It should look vaguely unappetising (see below) but taste delicious.

3. Pop your mixture into the cases, but not more than HALF FULL. Hear that? Hey, hey, you with the spoon – no MORE. It’s gonna rise. Rise like Paris Hilton’s career after that sex tape ‘mishap’. Get them in the oven and leave them alone for 20 minutes, if you can possibly stop yourself from ravaging them, that is. Now take them out and pop them on a wire rack to cool.

Lemon curd
3oz unsalted butter
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4oz caster sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons

4. Lemon curd time! Kind of like Hammer Time, but…less crazy pants. Slide your butter and lemon juice into a pan on a medium heat until the butter melts. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until blended.

5. Continue whisking while you add the hot butter mixture in gradually. Pour it all back into the pan. Cook on a medium heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. It’ll probably take around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain into a bowl, and add the grated lemon rind.

2 large egg whites
2-4oz sugar (judge by eye)

6. Now for your meringues. I won’t lie to you, folks. I respect you more than that. It took me three attempts to get the meringues right. Firstly I shoved the sugar and the egg whites in a bowl all together and created raw egg soup. Second time, the egg whites took against me and wouldn’t co-operate (not very British of them, what what). Finally, it came out right. Much as I enjoyed ‘Cookie Girl’s recipe, she advised putting 8OZ of sugar in. She either has an unhealthy crack like dependency on sugar, or this was some sort of typo. Just put your sugar in by eye. Do yourself (and your insulin levels) a favour.

7. So, egg whites in a bowl, and whisk them into stiff peaks. Stop laughing. If you want that kind of thrill, go to a different kind of website. Add your sugar a little at a time and gently stir it in, taking care not to disturb the stiff peaks. Now, really. Grow up.

8. Take an apple corer and carve out the centre of your cupcake. What do you mean you don’t have an apple corer? You must! How the devil do you eat your apples then, you animal? Oh, fine. Use your finger. Or a knife. Anyway, scoop out a bit of the cake and pour lemon curd into the centre. Also spread a layer on top.

9. Get a spatula and swirl the meringue on top of the cupcake, sealing in the lemon curd. Hey presto!