Sweet things are really hitting the mark for me at the moment, particularly cupcakes. It’s probably just a reaction to the cold days and long dark evenings and my body needing that extra fuel. But also, we live on the third floor of an old house and insulation wasn’t something anyone thought about when converting our flat. So when it’s freezing outside, doing some baking inside feels like a real treat too.
These cupcakes started life one cold afternoon when JP and I were planning a baking session. Another mum and her similar aged son were on their way over and so we were going to need lots of mixing. Some of you have questioned how baking with a two year old can be fun? For me it works best if I have weighed and prepared ingredients in separate bowls all beforehand, say, when JP is having his midday nap. So on this particular day, he awoke just as the friends arrived and we were all ready to mix. According to JP mixing is the best bit, almost as good as eating the finished cakes. We mixed everything together and then we put the mixture into cupcake cases lining the muffin tin.
The four of us made Victoria sponge cupcakes with desiccated coconut and lemon rind in the mix. We later topped them with a simple icing-sugar and lemon juice icing. Simple yet well able to hit that sweet note.
Cupcakes are ideal for trying new flavours and the next time we were baking, JP and I made them with prune and apple, topped with a dusting of icing sugar. This version of the recipe is great for parents as you can persuade yourself your child is getting some of their five-a-day while eating cake! I loved the tackiness and sweetness of the prunes with the tart fruitiness of the apples. If cupcakes aren’t for you, here is a recipe I published last year of a bigger prune and apple cake.
Thinking ahead to a tea party with other friends, JP and I made up one lot of mixture sufficient for 12 cupcakes. Half were to become prune and apple and half lemon and coconut. I played around with some different versions of the lemon ones and finally came up with this version which I’m really happy with.
I added more coconut and lemon rind to the cake mixture. The icing was replaced with lemon drizzle cake topping (crunchy granulated sugar mixed with lemon juice). Lastly, I injected lemon curd into the middle of the cupcakes. (I used an icing writing tool to do this, but a piping bag or a sandwich bag with a hole cut in the corner or even a Calpol syringe will do). By the way, it’s important to add the self raising flour and baking powder to the egg and margarine just before the mix goes in the oven. The active ingredients start working as soon as they come together and you want this process to happen while baking and not while the mixture is sat on the side. For more tips, have a look at this blog post of mine.
Lemon & coconut drizzle and prune & apple cupcakes
4oz margarine, softened
4oz caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
72g/2½oz desiccated coconut
2 lemons, zest of
1 apple, peeled and chopped into 1½cm chunks
60g prunes, roughly chopped
4oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
72g/2½oz granulated sugar
1 lemon, juice of (4 tbsp lemon juice)
60g lemon curd
12 cupcake or fairy cake cases
Makes 12 cupcakes
Preparation time – 25 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/355°F/Gas mark 4.
2. In a large bowl beat the margarine and caster sugar together for at least a minute, until the mixture has turned light yellow. I used an electric whisk to do this. Beat in the eggs a little at a time. Split the mixture between two bowls.
3. To one bowl add the desiccated coconut and the lemon zest. To the other bowl add the apple and prunes.
4. Mix the flour and baking powder together and then add half of it to each
5. Divide each bowl of mixture between 6 cupcake cases, lining a 12 cake muffin tray. Put the muffin tray in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned. Mix together the lemon juice and granulated sugar.
6. Let the cupcakes cool a little and then put them on cooling rack. Using a skewer punch holes in the top of the Lemon and coconut drizzle cupcakes. Spoon over the lemon drizzle icing.
7. When the prune and apple cupcakes are completely cool dust with icing sugar. When the lemon and coconut drizzle cupcakes are cool inject with a teaspoonful of lemon.
If you would like a PDF printable version of this recipe sign up to my newsletter below and once you’ve confirmed your subscription you’ll have access to a PDF version.