Cakes & Bakes: Simnel cupcakes

Home-made Simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

Each Easter I like to make a dish that’s traditional for the celebration. Last year, I made a hot cross loaf; the year before that, a crescia and this year I’ve made simnel cupcakes.

Circles of home-made marzipan and tins with simnel cupcake mixture | H is for Home

A simnel cake is a fruit cake with a middle layer of marzipan and another layer on the top. Since Victorian times, the cake has been decorated with 11 or 12 little balls of marzipan. It was traditionally eaten on the middle Sunday of Lent – the 12 balls representing Christ and his 11 apostles (minus the 12th, Judas).

Simnel cupcakes baked in food tins | H is for Home Tops sliced off of simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

I have a confession to make, I’d never actually eaten a simnel cake until I made these. What have I been waiting for? They’re easy to make from scratch and are delicious! The idea of cooking them in used food tins is ingenious. A word of caution, however, try not to use ring-pull tins. They have a lip at the top that makes it difficult to ease the cake out after baking. I had to open the other end of the tin to get them out!

Home-made simnel cupcakes | H is for Home

Even though I used small tins (150g Morrison’s own brand sweetcorn… around the size of small Heinz baked beans ones), we shared half a cake each.

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made simnel cupcakes recipe | H is for Home

Simnel cupcakes
Yields 4
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar + extra for rolling
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the cake mixture
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 115g/4oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  5. 300g/10½oz mixed dried fruit ( any of currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glacé cherries)
  6. 1tsp mixed spice (I didn't have any, so I made my own mixture)
  7. 4tbsp apricot jam (I used some home-made plum jam)
  8. cocoa powder, for dustingHome-made simnel cupcakes ingredients
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For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a log and wrap in cling film until the cake mixture has been made
  3. Any unused marzipan will keep for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2. Line the base and sides of each tin with baking parchment
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy
  3. Add one of the eggs and combine until well mixed. Add the other egg with 1 tbsp of flour and mix again
  4. Stir in the rest of the four and all of the dried fruit
  5. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out the marzipan. Cut out 8 circles about ½cm thick and the same diameter as the tins
  6. Divide half the cake mixture between the tins and level the tops. Put a marzipan rounds on top of each and cover with the rest of the cake mixture
  7. Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in their for 15 minutes before remove them to cool completely on a wire rack
  9. Trim the top of each cake with a sharp knife to make them flat
  10. Heat the jam and brush on the top of each cakes before cover each with the remaining marzipan rounds
  11. Make 36 mini balls with the remaining marzipan. Put 9 balls around the edge of each cake, using a little brush of jam to stick them in place
  12. Lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Jam-filled pound cupcakes

Home-made jam-filled pound cupcakes | H is for Home

Are cupcakes still all the rage? I never really got that into them, perhaps because I’m terrible at decorating them. The icing has to be perfect for me to really enjoy them. Crunchy icing puts my teeth on edge. It needs to be a sweet, flavoursome butter cream or cream cheese.

Separated eggs | H is for Home Whisked egg whites | H is for Home

These jam-filled pound cupcakes don’t need any topping because the interest is all in the middle. I used some of my home-made mixed berry jelly from last autumn – there are always a few jars in the store cupboard. You can use any fruit jam, marmalade or lemon curd instead. Or what about a spoonful of Nutella? Mmmmmmmm…

Putting cake dough into cupcake cases | H is for Home Putting jam into cupcake cases | H is for Home

I used a pound cake recipe I found in Marvellous Mini-Cakes – a little book full of teensy sweet & savoury cakes. I used to think a pound cake was a cake that weighed a pound! In actual fact, it’s a cake traditionally made with a pound each of its four main ingredients – butter, sugar, flour and eggs… so I guess it’s really a 4lb cake!

Home-made jam-filled pound cupcakes | H is for Home

As tempting as they may be, please don’t attempt to eat these straight from the oven. The hot, molten jam will scald the roof of your mouth!

Click here to save this recipe for later.

Jam-filled pound cupcakes
Yields 6
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 120g/4¼oz salted butter
  2. 120g/4¼oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs, separated
  4. 120g/4¼oz plain flour, sifted
  5. 2 scant tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. jamHome-made jam-filled pound cupcakes ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a muffin tin and dust with flour or add cupcake/muffin cases
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture turns pale and becomes smooth
  4. Add the egg yolks, flour and salt and combine
  5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites
  6. Add them gradually to the mixture
  7. Add the baking powder
  8. As soon as you have stirred in the baking powder, put a dessert-spoonful of cake mixture in each cupcake hole/case
  9. Add a teaspoonful of jam to the centre of each cake
  10. Cover with the remaining cake mixture, ensuring that the jam is fully covered by the cake mix
  11. Put in the oven straight away
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, prick with a skewer if it comes away clean, the cupcakes are done
  13. Allow to cool slightly before turning them out of the tin
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Adapted from Les Petits Plats Francais: Marvellous Mini-Cakes
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Custard Cream cupcakes

Custard Cream cupcakes | H is for Home

I saw a photo of Custard Cream cupcakes on Pinterest last week and just had to try them out. I found the recipe on the Jane’s Patisserie blog.

Custard Cream cupcake dough | H is for Home

I haven’t made cupcakes in absolute ages, so they made a lovely change this week.

Custard Cream cupcakes before putting them in to cook | H is for Home

The addition of Bird’s Custard Powder to the batter mix instead of vanilla essence made it taste like a Custard Cream in cupcake form! They’re perfect for an afternoon snack with a tea or coffee – and great for kids’ parties too.

Custard Cream cupcakes before topping with buttercream | H is for Home

I think I may try a similar thing soon, next time with Chocolate Bourbons or Oreos – they’re just such fun!

Bakewell tart
For the pastry
  1. 425g/15oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 250g/9oz unsalted butter
  5. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  6. ½ tsp salt
  7. 50g/2oz ground almonds
For the filling
  1. 400g/14oz ground almonds
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 8 eggs, beaten
  4. ½ tsp almond essence
  5. 3 tbs raspberry jam
  6. 50g/2oz flaked almondsBakewell tart ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. In a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar, butter and almonds and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the eggs & yolks one at a time and pulse until a smooth dough is formed
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/360ºF/Gas mark 4
  5. Grease & flour a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin
  6. Unwrap the chilled pastry and roll out onto a cold, floured work surface (this is a very 'short' pastry and at first will be difficult to handle)
  7. Line the tart tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. Prick the base with a fork, then cover the pastry lightly with a round of baking parchment. Cover the parchment with baking beans (I use dried chickpeas) put into the oven to bake blind for 15 minutes
  8. Remove the pastry base from the oven, pour out the baking beans (or chickpeas) remove the baking parchment and set aside to cool. If the base is still a little underdone, return it to the oven for a minute or two to dry out
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 165ºC/330ºF/Gas mark 2
For the filling
  1. Put the ground almonds and caster sugar into a bowl and combine
  2. Add the beaten eggs and almond essence and combine well
  3. Once the tart pastry base has cooled, spread a generous layer of raspberry jam onto the bottom
  4. Pour the filling mixture over the raspberry jam to fill the pastry case almost to the top
  5. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is baked through and golden-brown all over
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or cold
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Baking Mad cupcakes

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chocolate and ginger cupcake with Silver Spoon chocolate flavoured icing and chocolate beans supplied by Baking Mad

Baking Mad kindly sent us a package containing some cake-making bits & bobs to review last week.

selection of Silver Spoon cake making ingredients from Baking Mad

I’ve never posted a cupcake recipe as part of our Cakes & Bakes series to date, so this seemed a good time to start.

cake batter in cupcake cases waiting to go into the oven

I couldn’t decide what kind to make so I opted to do a little pick & mix.

cupcakes iced with Silver Spoon chocolate flavoured icing

I made up a batch of general cupcake batter and added extra ingredients to make cinnamon & apple, poppy seed & lemon and chocolate & ginger. Here’s my recipe..

Cakes & Bakes: Baking Mad cupcakes

Yield: Makes 12

Cakes & Bakes: Baking Mad cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers
  3. In a small bowl, sift the flours and set aside
  4. In a larger bowl, cream the butter & add the sugar gradually, beating until fluffy
  5. In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs then add them to the butter & sugar mixture
  6. Add the dry ingredients bit by bit, alternating with the milk
  7. With each addition, combine until the ingredients are incorporated well but do not over beat
  8. [At this point I divided the batter into 3 equal parts and added: (1) 1tbsp poppy seeds, zest & juice of 1 lemon, 2tbsp self-raising flour (2) ¼ Bramley apple, cored & grated + 1tsp ground cinnamon (3) 1tbsp cocoa powder, 3 pieces of crystalised ginger, finely chopped]
  9. Carefully spoon each of the mixtures into cupcake liners, filling them to about the ? mark
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean
  11. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so
  12. Lift the cupcakes out of the tin on to a wire rack and allow to cool completely prior to icing
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-baking-mad-cupcakes/

My icing skills aren’t the best – I’ve got shaky hands! Using the icing tube was a doddle – and there’s no wastage – I just screwed the cap back on and popped the tube in the fridge for next time.

cupcake with a bite out of it with a small mug of coffee

All the cupcakes were delicious, perfect as little tidbits to have with an afternoon coffee!

selection of Silver Spoon cake making ingredients from Baking Mad

We’re hosting a giveaway of the 4 items we didn’t use – only open to UK-based folks we’re afraid! 🙁 – you can enter below!
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Tuesday Huesday: National Cupcake Week

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selection of colourful cupcakes
Image credit: NYAnything

It’s National Cupcake Week this week so I may just have to oblige and make a batch.

Justin’s very particular about his ‘buns’ (as he refers to them). He likes his cupcakes without the tooth-aching icing on top. To me, that makes it just a muffin! What do you think? What’s the difference between a cupcake, bun and a muffin? Are you a fan of the current cupcake fad sweeping the world?

Cupcakes & Cordial

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Homemade cupcakes & cordial at the Snug Gallery open day in Hebden Bridge on Sunday 22nd August 2010

We spent a very pleasant, sunny Sunday afternoon in Hebden Bridge today…

view of the shopfront of Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

…including a visit to Snug Gallery on Market Street.

selection of photographic prints by Edward Chadwick, owner of Snug Galley, Hebden Bridge

We were invited to their “Cupcakes & Cordial” open day.

cushions by Calico Angel available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge prototype chair by Clinton Pilkington at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

It was a chance to say hello to owner, Ed Chadwick…

original canvas artworks by Kathryn Edwards available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

…and have a mooch around their recently-opened gallery shop.

tabletop display of various art & craft items available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

tabletop of various art & craft works available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge little porcelain bird ornaments made by Rebecca Callis and available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

The gallery features photographs by Ed himself…

ceramic jugs, pots & spoons made by Louisa Taylor and available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

…and some lovely, hand-crafted objects by a variety of artists & designer makers.

Adelle of H is for Home at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge for their "cupcakes & cordial" event

Including &made, Calico Angel, Rebecca Callis, Kathryn Edwards, Ruth Green, Ikuko Iwamoto, Linzi Ramsden, Louisa Taylor and Sarah Thirwell.

shelves showing various art & craft items available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

a trio of small ceramic pots by Ikuko Iwamoto available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge trio of small ceramic pots by Ikuko Iwamoto available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

As well as the delicious cupcakes, there were lots of other tempting things on offer!!

trio of small textile cacti pin cushions in terracotta pots made by Andrea Lord of &made available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

window sill in Snug Gallery, Hebden Bridge showing various art & craft items available for sale

We left with a couple of small purchases – a hanging porcelain bird by Rebecca Callis – a perfect present for someone special…

range of ceramic tiles decorated with nature motifs made by Linzi Ramsden and available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge range of ceramic tiles decorated with nature motifs made by Linzi Ramsden and available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

…and a bit of self-indulgence in the form of a very cute strawberry brooch by &made.
original framed print by Ruth Green available at Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge is famous for its wealth of interesting independent shops & galleries…

various art & craft items available for sale at Snug Gallery, Hebden Bridge

…and this gallery is a very welcome addition.

textile strawberry brooch made by Andrea Lord of &made bought from Snug Gallery, Hebden Bridge

Here’s wishing Snug a bright future!