This weekend my friend Paul turned 30, so I baked him 30 cupcakes to celebrate, hoping that we’d get to eat a few too. The idea was that we’d be working up an appetite playing a few games of rounders in Hyde Park first before retiring to the pub for a few rounds of Gaymers (sorry, couldn’t resist). Other ciders are not only widely available, but a hell of a lot tastier.
But rain stopped play.
So we went back to the pub and ate cupcakes, drank cider and had a lot of fun.
But being that this is supposed to be a cooking blog, more of the baking and less of the partying methinks…let us talk of cupcakes. I have a new(ish) cupcake book: Eat me! The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes according to Cookie Girl by Xanthe Milton, aka Cookie Girl. Can’t say it was a site I’d stumbled on before, but I did fall in love with this cover when I saw it, and just hoped the recipes would live up to my expectations. They did. It’s a neat book of original cupcake and cookie recipes, which I’ve whipped up for many’s an occasion. And now that I think of it, mainly to go with or in place of drinks!
As well as some of the booze-inspired treats (White Russian and Margarita cupcakes) there’s a strong confectionary theme running through the book (the Malteaser cupcakes being memorable for the MASSIVE cupcake moulds I made them in, and the accompanying bellyache I got from insisting I could eat a whole one and then going cycling up Hampstead Heath. Oof!) and it was to that variety I turned to on Saturday morning, picking out the Bounty cupcakes (page 52) as the next to try. I wanted to make two types though, and my lovely vegetable shop had strawberries on offer so I also made the strawberry crumb cupcakes (page 51).
Although both recipes say they make 12, I’d run out of muffin cases and so did a few muffin sized as well as a few fairy cake sized, and that stretched two recipes to the magic 30 (well, if I’m honest, about 36….I kept a few at home….). From the lack of pencil scribbles around the Bounty recipe, I clearly followed it properly! It’s a pretty straightforward sponge with the addition of desiccated coconut and 12 tablespoons of coconut milk. The topping was a dark chocolate and sour cream ganache, which – oh wait – I changed and added some coconut too, mainly to disguise the fact I put two tablespoons of granulated instead of caster sugar into the ganache, which didn’t melt and looked grainy. But otherwise a really easy recipe.
They tasted pretty good, maybe a teeny bit dry, and I’d quite like to tart them up a bit more with some super-sweet coconut/condensed milk filling, or maybe somehow work that into the icing to give that slightly sickly authentic Bounty experience.
Cupcake fillings seems to be something of a feature of Cookie Girl – there’s been a few recipes so far that call for some homemade curd, or jam, or similar to give a surprise soft centre to an iced cake, and I’m a fan, and might experiment with this in other recipes too.
And the Strawberry Crumb Cupcakes did too. Again, a straight sponge recipe (with a dash of milk) on top of a digestive biscuit base (I upped the biscuits to give a less oily mix, seemed like slightly too much butter to me) but then by scooping out a little sponge and filling with some quick jam (just sugar and strawberries, but I used waaaay less sugar, probably only 2 dessert spoons compared to the 12 tablespoons the recipe calls for). Probably because I used less sugar, I had a runnier jam, but I drizzled a little syrup in there too, which made the sponge gorgeously moist.
But then the icing…hmm, maybe should have stuck to the recipe here! I couldn’t be bothered going to the shop to buy cream cheese, and had sour cream for the Bounty cakes, so thought I’d try substituting.
Wrong move. Sour cream and icing sugar does give a lovely icing, but not one that you can pipe. So I played around, adding butter (disaster 1! Adding butter to liquid? What was I thinking?!) which I then had to force through a sieve…
So I regrouped, thought practically, and started again with butter and icing sugar beaten together, and slowly dribbled in in the sour cream icing until I got a decent consistency But, disaster 2, I added some jammy syrup, which curdled the icing! Argh! But in all honesty, it tasted good, and I figured no-one would be looking that hard at them, so I used it anyway.
And after being lugged to the pub, then Hyde Park, then back to the pub, they’d been a bit shaken about and the icing had slumped in the humidity, and they tasted good, so it didn’t matter.
P.S. Happy birthday Paul 😉