Oktoberfest Gingerbread Hearts
Yes, it’s only September, but the Oktoberfest would normally be starting soon in Munich. It’s the world’s biggest annual fair, with over 6 million visitors normally. As well as beer, which is the central theme of the fair, visitors can indulge in local food, fabulous rides, sports competitions and goggle at the amazing traditional costumes being paraded. This year it’s been cancelled for the second time, so people are looking forward to next year and maybe having their own Oktoberfests in their gardens. We had our Oktoberfest at the Seniors Lunch Club this week and I made these traditional iced gingerbread hearts. We had fun translating the silly endearments and thinking what we’d put on an English version. (cuddly bunny? How’aeer pet?) We ate roasted sausages and German potato salad and tried some German beer and a revolting mixture of cola and orangeade much loved by Germans, called “spezi”. Some regional specialities deserve to be more widely known – such as the potato salad - and some deserve to languish in obscurity, such as spezi, but it’s quite fun to try once!
This is a true “construction grade” gingerbread and not really meant to be eaten by those with less than perfect teeth and the ability to crunch. It’s the same recipe I will use for the gingerbread house near to Christmas. The hearts decorate many stalls at the real Oktoberfest, and I’ve never seen one being eaten. They’d keep well at least until Christmas, so long as you don’t get the icing damp. You need to make your own template for the hearts - or whatever shape you are making. I used a cardboard shape cut into a heart shape about 15cm across, about the size of my hand. You need it large in order to ice words onto it!
I also made some Bavarian buns so we could actually eat something but everyone got one of these hearts to take home. You can ice whatever you like onto the gingerbread, so you could put names on instead of funny sayings if you were having a party.
Makes 24 hearts Timings: 30 minutes preparation, 4 hours resting, then 1 hour to roll and cook, 1 hour to decorate
For the hearts:
For the royal icing: 3 egg whites, 600g icing sugar, 1 teaspoon liquid glucose, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, food colouring.
Put the butter, honey, sugar, cocoa powder and spices into a small pan and melt over a low heat. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and blend in the spices. Allow to cool a bit.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together. Break in the eggs and pour in the cooled mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon, turn out and knead a few times with your hands to ensure a smooth dough. You aren’t making bread, so don’t stretch and knead the dough but you do want a smooth mixture. Place in a bowl, cover it and leave in the kitchen for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
When ready to cook, pre heat your oven to 180°C and line some flat baking sheets with parchment. Take about 1/3 of the dough and roll it on a sheet of baking paper with another sheet on top – this means you can get it thinner and more even than just rolling it on the worksurface. You want a layer a bit less than 1/2cm thick, and as even as you can get it.
Use your template and cut round it with a sharp knife. The heart shape will come out smoothly; place each one onto your prepared baking sheets. Roll up the left over bits and roll them out again. Note, if you want to make a hole to pass a ribbon through, do it at this stage. The hearts are traditionally hung up on ribbons before sale and then hang round your neck at the fair.
You can fit the shapes quite close to each other as they hardly spread on the baking sheets.
Bake for 12-15 minutes – you might want to change the position of the trays in the oven. I had to cook 2 batches of 3 trays to cook all 24 hearts. They should not be obviously browned when cooked.
Take each tray out of the oven and place the hearts on a wire rack to cool and firm up. Keep in an airtight container until you want to ice them.
For the royal icing: whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add in the icing sugar with the whisk running. It looks a lot but keep going. Add in the glucose and the lemon juice and beat again until very firm peaks form.
Divide the icing into three bowls (or more if you want to use more colours) and cover two of them with cling film – you don’t want the surface to dry out and start to set or it will form hard lumps in the icing bag which will make your life impossible.
Colour your bowls of icing as you like. Scoop each colour of icing into a bag in turn and use them to ice the biscuits. I used white for the writing then white, blue and pink for decoration, but knock your socks off and use whatever! If baking for a bonfire party (as I well might) I could use orange, purple and green icing to draw rockets and sparklers and make up some rude firework-based mottoes to pipe on.
Leave to set for about 3 hours before placing carefully in an airtight container. Don't store them in the fridge as that will soften the icing.
Blackberry and Apple Pies
Warm weather, harvest of juicy blackberries and windfall apples. What better than to make pies for the Seniors Lunch Club? Crisp golden pastry, a slightly tart but sweet filling, and easy to pack up and portion out. Great for lunch boxes too or wrapping up in a picnic to make the most of the Autumn sunshine.
Our theme this week in the Seniors Lunch Club was “September Memories”. We remembered Autumn pastimes – shuffling through fallen leaves, playing conkers, collecting for Harvest Festival. We loved the smell of bonfires and the bright colours of the Autumn leaves and flowers. The time for going back to school was remembered with surprising fondness – everyone said they’d always enjoyed the start of the new term. Seeing friends again after the summer break, writing your name in a clean new exercise book, meeting your new teachers. And looking forward to the events of the term: Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, planting hyacinths for the school bulbs competition, and Christmas at the end of it.
Makes 12 pies Timings: 1 hour
For the pastry:
For the filling:
Make the filling in advance: peel and core the cooking apples. Slice into small pieces and put in a pan with a tiny amount of water, the clean blackberries and the sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until the apples are soft but not disintegrated. Taste and add a little more sugar or a squeeze of lemon juice if needed – you want this slightly tart as the pastry is sweet. Leave to cool. You can eat this just as a compote, lovely with plain yoghurt at breakfast.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C and grease a 12-cup pie tin
Mix the flour and butter together in your mixer with the pastry paddle or rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it is like fine crumbs. Add the ground almonds and icing sugar and mix lightly. Add one egg and keep mixing slowly. Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the pastry binds together – don’t make it too dry or it will crack when you roll it out.
Knead very quickly to bind the pastry together and then you can wrap it up and keep it in the fridge.
You don’t have to chill this, as the pies are too small to shrink much.
Beat the second egg in a bowl.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to 2-3mm thick and cut bottoms and tops – this makes just enough for the 12 pies. Put the bottom parts into the pie tins and brush round with beaten egg. Spoon the blackberry/apple mixture into the pies – a goodly mound of filling is required as it doesn’t rise; put on the tops and press round with a fork to seal. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle a little bit of demerara sugar on top to give a crunch. Using a knife cut a little slit in each pie top for steam to escape.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight tin for 3-4 days.
Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a swirl of whipped cream. Enjoy the taste of Autumn.
Cake de Ron – Cuban Christmas Rum Cake
Introducing Christmas in the Caribbean – a new feature I’m working on and hope to publicise soon. I know it’s early to be thinking about such things, but how about making your heart glow with some plans to whisk away loved ones to the sunny beaches and lapping waves of your favourite island? Even if we can’t actually visit in person, you can imagine yourself on the sand, hearing the calypso rhythms and sipping a mojito when you cook up a spicy Caribbean Christmas Feast. Give yourself plenty of time to plan the menus, think about the decorations and you can be relaxed on the day and join in the fun.
Christmas is special anywhere – from the snowy Tivoli Gardens in Denmark to the freezing German Christmas markets, warmed up by spiced wine and grilled baguettes with sheep’s cheese topping. But in the Caribbean, as you might expect, they go the extra mile. Every island has its own traditions, because they all have their own special background and mix of history, difficult and joyous. Some islands have parades of supernatural beings, some have reggae carol competitions; all have special food and drink just perfect for sharing and making a party go with a zing.
Look out for my recipes on the theme of Caribbean Christmas, but for now, try this Cake de Ron. You do have to get yourself for some proper rum and even some banana liqueur, but you can use those in a Banana Dacquirie (recipe coming soon) as well as the cake, so nothing goes to waste.
I’ve not come across a cake recipe with double cream in before, it makes the cake very rich and smooth and helps absorb the alcohol. The rum is cooked out in the oven so the taste is quite subtle; even those who are not big fans of rum won’t find it overpowering. If you wanted a stronger rum taste you could soak the cooked cake in a mixture of rum and sugar rather than the syrup, but in that case take the cake out of the tin first before you drizzle as it would loosen the structure.
Makes one 23cm bundt cake, or a normal 25cm cake if you don’t have a bundt mould. Makes 10-12 slices. Timings: 90 minutes and then time to decorate
Grilled pineapple, icing sugar and water icing for decoration
Pre heat your oven to 180°C and grease your cake tin. If using a bundt tin, grease especially well as they do tend to stick.
Sieve the flour and baking powder. Whisk the butter and sugar together until creamy, add the lemon zest. Add in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour each time. Measure the cream, rum and liqueur into a jug and add this a bit at a time into the mixture along with a spoonful of flour each time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s all mixed well and beat until you get a creamy, slightly fluffy mixture. Spoon this into your cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour until risen, golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the sugar, rum and liqueur and stir to dissolve. It will bubble up. Cook for a few minutes but don’t let it caramelise. Cool.
Griddle your pineapple slices or pieces. Brush the pieces with melted butter and place on your griddle pan to get those charred lines. If you don’t have a griddle pan just fry gently until slightly golden. You want a charred outside but still crisp and juicy inside.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Poke holes with a skewer, being careful not to go all the way through the bottom of the cake and drizzle the syrup over. Leave 30 minutes to soak in and turn the cake out onto a plate to cool further.
When the cake is cool, make a water icing by mixing icing sugar with a couple of spoonfuls of water (or rum if you want that extra flavour) and drizzle over, letting it drip down the sides. Decorate with the pineapple slices and dust with icing sugar. Whipped cream might complete the decadence.
The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days but is really designed to be eaten that day or the next at a big noisy party.
Blackberry and Apple Crumble Cake
The blackberries are ripe, although not so many as last year, and the apples are falling off the trees now, so what better time to make a harvest-flavours crumble cake for my Seniors Lunch Group?
The cake is similar to the rhubarb crumble cake and the gooseberry crumble cake I made earlier in the year. The blackberries add a lovely texture and colour and the apple gives a richness and juiciness. A crumble is always a good end to a meal and a crumble cake is convenient to portion up and serve with some whipped cream if you need to take it round to a friend or to a group.
Our theme this week was Agatha Christie, everyone’s favourite crime author, and lots to talk about. Our preferred Christie detective was Poirot, with a strong following for Miss Marple too, of course. Our favourite novel was "Death on the Nile", although there are so many to choose from, it’s difficult to select the top. We had a lot of fun, discussing plots, villains, and Christie’s life and works, along with a quiz and a slide show.
Makes 12-15 pieces Timings: 80 minutes
For the crumble topping: 150g plain flour, 75g butter, 75g dark brown sugar, a handful of porridge oats
Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line with baking paper a 22cm square loose bottomed cake tin.
Make the crumble topping: with the pastry paddle of the mixer or with the tips of your fingers, mix the butter into the plain flour until you get a texture like fine breadcrumbs. Mix through the brown sugar and the handful of oats and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour, then add the rest of the flour. Beat until creamy.
Scoop the cake mixture into your tin and smooth it evenly. Sprinkle the blackberries and apple slices on top. Spoon the crumble mixture over the whole cake.
Bake for about 40 minutes until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then cool on a wire rack.
The centre of the cake retains a pudding like texture as it is quite juicy, so be careful when you get it out of the tin as it might crack.
Serve in squares, sprinkled with icing sugar and with a swirl of whipped cream.
Keeps in an airtight tin or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
One of the great classics. Soft sponge, tangy lemon, sugary glaze. No squidgy icing to melt all over the place, the perfect cake for picnics, lunchboxes and of course, for cutting up in satisfying chunks for my Seniors Lunch Group.
The topic this week, having had a two-week break, was holidays. Specifically, memories of holidays. We had a great range: family holidays in camps all over Britain, hotels in Wales, wet weekends in Blackpool, driving marathons in France, medical emergencies in Portugal and one member told us about turning up at a hotel where their luggage had been delivered the day before, to find that the staff had absconded due to non-payment of wages and left notes telling guests where to find and prepare their own food! Memories of guest houses where hot water was strictly timed or where you had to bring your own sugar and tea; in the early 1950s when rationing was still around you couldn’t expect your host(ess) to provide such things.
The lemon drizzle cake was much appreciated. This recipe is another one from Pam Corbin’s River Cottage Handbook No 8, Cakes. It’s infallible in my experience and I turned to it when I needed an easy cake, having returned from holiday a day before the Lunch Club and not a lot in the fridge.
Makes 12 generous chunks Timing: 1 hour
Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
Zest the lemons and then squeeze them.
Put the flour, baking powder, butter, caster sugar, eggs and lemon zest into a bowl and mix until you get a soft batter – about 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter into your baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is cooked, golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then remove from the tin and the paper and put the cake on a wire rack. It’s quite a well behaved moist sponge and doesn’t seem to want to crack or fall apart as you do this. Prick the sponge all over the top surface with a skewer, not poking the hole right to the bottom of the cake.
Mix the granulated sugar with the lemon juice (sieve to remove pips if there are any) without stirring too much; you don’t want the sugar to dissolve. Spoon this mixture evenly over the cake, letting it dribble down into the sponge leaving the granulated glaze on the top. Let the cake cool completely and put it in an airtight tin to keep.
Chocolate Coconut Jumbles
These are sort of like a coconut macaroon but chocolately and chewier. They have a meringue base but aren’t crisp. Easy to make, keep a few days, great for picnics and lunchboxes; who cares if they aren’t that sophisticated or elegant?
A classic jumble is an American cake/biscuit cross made from flour, sugar, eggs and spices. In “What Katy Did at School”, (by Susan Coolidge) the half-starved girls at boarding school were sent a parcel from home at Christmas containing home-made jumbles, which seem to have been a bit like our rock cakes, with some dried fruit in there as well. My recipe is a departure from that long ago classic. Anyway, it’s a simple baked sweet creation, so maybe I can use the name for these too as they're a jumbled messy sort of bake. And the boarding school girls would have been pleased to get them. No doubt someone better informed can set me right on the original recipe? Please leave a comment if you can, it would be great to find out more about the original jumbles.
Makes 16 medium jumbles Timings: 10 minutes preparation, 30 minutes to set, 30 minutes to bake
Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, then add the caster sugar with the motor running. Whisk until glossy and thick – about 3 minutes. Add the coconut, icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix with a metal spoon – you will get a very gloopy mixture.
Drop spoonfuls on a greaseproof paper lined flat baking tray and leave for 30 minutes to allow them to set and a crust to form.
Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes until cracked on the outside and still chewy on the inside. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
They will keep in a tin for a few days, gradually getting chewier.
Chocca Mocha Cupcakes
Cupcakes are always a good option for my Seniors Lunch Club group, and chocolate never fails. I added a touch of coffee to the flavouring to make it mocha and that extra deep bitterness. I also added some chocolate chips to the cupcake mix to give a bit of texture and more chocolatiness. The buttercream and chocolate icing was piped on with a fine star nozzle and I couldn’t resist a bit of golden glitter on top.
We had a bit of a party this week, to celebrate end of term, as we’re having a two-week break. We had a sandwich platter; I made some sausage rolls and things on sticks and we played Charades. I chose movies/books/films/TV themes that I thought our group would know, people picked one out of a bag and had to act it out. Some of our group were quite nervous about acting in front of the group but they all got into it quite quickly and we were roaring with laughter at the performances. “Jaws” was easy to guess, “My Fair Lady” was quite tricky to act, and “Coronation Street” stumped both the actor and the audience. It’s a great game to play with any age group and prompts all sorts of discussions too. “Dr. No” started a debate about which is our favourite Bond actor and which is our favourite Bond movie – members got quite heated with opinions about Roger Moore/Sean Connery and went away determined to watch the movies again and re-think their all time favourites for a Bond-themed session in the Autumn.
Makes 24 cupcakes Timings: An hour to make the batch of cupcakes, then time to cool and about 20 minutes to ice them
For the icing: 200g salted butter, 200g icing sugar, 20g cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons Camp Coffee Essence, 50g dark chocolate
Pre heat your oven to 180°C and put out your cupcake papers.
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and a bit fluffy. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, and coffee granules together. You might have to scrape the coffee granules through the sieve a bit. Add an egg at time to the butter/sugar mix with a spoonful of flour each time, then add the coffee essence and the rest of the flour. Stir through the chocolate chips.
Spoon into the cupcake moulds and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the tray round after about 15 minutes to check. I prefer to bake one tray at a time in the middle of my smaller oven rather than bake two trays one above the other, but if you do that, swop them over half-way.
Cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing, beat the butter until creamy and add the icing sugar and cocoa a spoon at a time, putting a tea towel over your mixer to stop the powdered sugar rising up. Melt the chocolate over a bowl of hot water. Beat the coffee essence into the butter/icing sugar mixture and then add the melted chocolate and beat again to give a creamy fudgy pipeable icing.
Pipe onto the buns using a star nozzle and decorate as you like. Keep in the fridge to set the icing if you are transporting them anywhere.
Chocolate and Peanut-Butter Birthday Layer Cake
A birthday request from my boy. He’s had a tough year, going through a postgraduate course without ever seeing his classmates or lecturers in person. He’s been gracious and good humoured throughout, fairly helpful in the house (when asked) and knows he’s luckier than so many others who’ve been locked up in student residences for weeks. As a treat, I asked him to name his desire for a birthday cake and he challenged me to make a dark chocolate and peanut-butter layered cake.
This is what I came up with. He’s great at pinging inspirational ideas for food off me, although they generally involve nuclear amounts of chilli. This one is a change from that trend, you’ll be glad to know. The salty crunch of the peanut butter makes the perfect contrast to the deep chocolately velvety cake. You do make quite a mess eating it unless it’s straight out of the fridge. We enjoyed it very much and I hope you do too. The picture doesn’t do it justice, really, so please use your imagination.
Serves 8 (small slices as it’s very rich) Timings: 90 minutes, then time to chill.
For the cake:
For the filling:
For the topping:
Pre heat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 18cm cake tin – I like a loose bottomed one as it makes it much easier to get out.
Beat the eggs and caster sugar together energetically until fluffy. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together. Add the flour/cocoa to the beaten egg/sugar mixture one spoon at a time with the mixer going slowly and then pour the butter over the top and mix it in with a metal spoon. Mix in the sour cream. Scoop the batter into your cake tin and bake 25-30 minutes until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack and remove from the tin, taking the paper off the bottom too. The sponge is quite moist due to the cream, so don’t worry if it looks less spongy than some cakes.
When cool, carefully cut the cake into three layers.
For the filling, whisk the butter and peanut butter together vigorously and add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, covering your mixer with a tea towel to stop the sugar dust going all Christmassy on you. Sandwich the layers of cake together generously.
Make the topping: melt the chocolate over hot water. Beat the butter and icing sugar together carefully, as above with a tea towel over the mixer, then stream in the melted chocolate and keep whisking. This makes quite a fluffy mousse-like soft buttercream icing.
Decorate the sides and top of the cake with the chocolate buttercream.
Keep the cake in the fridge to set the icing. It keeps for several days in the fridge but you need to keep it cool right up till serving.
Redcurrant Meringue Pie – “Johannisbeerkuchen”
Redcurrants hang like bunches of rubies beneath the bushes in the allotment. They’re outrageously fertile, producing several kilos per bush. They are called Johannisbeeren – St. John’s Berries, in German, because they ripen around St. John’s Day – 24th June, Midsummer's Day. This year they’re a bit late, but every bit as juicy and perfect as ever.
I make this pie at least once a year because it’s my husband’s all-time favourite baked dessert. It is a bit of a faff to make because the pie crust dough is fragile and tends to slump, and you have to cook it first, then fill the crust and cook again. But it’s worth it; the pie looks a treat and the taste is out of this world. The juicy tart plump berries combine with foamy meringue in the filling and the pie crust is crisp, crumbly, and sweet. You could make a similar pie with any tart small berry such as raspberries, blackcurrants, or even stoned cherries.
I made it in a high sided square tin, and when I baked it, the crust on the sides slumped down under its own weight as it cooked and softened. It would have been better to cook it in a metal quiche tin with sides only a centimetre or so high, and that’s what I will do next time, so that’s what I’m recommending for you; so your pie should look neater than mine on the picture.
I made it for my Seniors Lunch Club this week (and of course reserved a slice or two for my husband). Our theme was Wild Flowers, so we had a little vase of wild flowers (otherwise known as weeds from my allotment) on each table. There were many memories of picking wild flowers, making daisy chains, testing friends under the chin with a buttercup, throwing sticky burrs at people in the school playground and other misdemeanours. Our favourite wild flowers included bluebells, daisies, roses and honeysuckles. Then our conversation moved randomly, as it so often does, and we ended up having a round of “if I was going to have a tattoo, it would be…..”. We ranged from butterflies and roses to dolphins and dragons. If there’d been a mobile tattoo artist around at that minute, she’d have had a queue of octogenarian customers.
Serves 12 Timings: about 2 hours (and that doesn't count picking the berries)
For the crust:
For the filling:
Mix all the crust ingredients to a smooth dough, knead very briefly, wrap and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. This will make it slightly more stable, although it is a very soft crumbly dough.
Grease and line your low sided metal loose bottomed quiche tin.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
When the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface and press it into your prepared tin. You probably won’t get the whole sheet of dough across into the tin in one piece, but don’t worry about that. This crust is more like a biscuit than pastry, so just get it to about half a centimetre thin layer across your tin and press the dough pieces together to join them.
Line with greaseproof paper and baking beads and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove the paper and beads and cook again for about another 10 minutes just to ensure the base is cooked and light brown.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites well until smooth and fluffy and stiff peaks have formed. Gently mix in the sugar and cornstarch and then tip in the redcurrants and mix again.
Spread this across your pie crust and bake again until the filling is set and the top is very lightly browned. I baked mine for 30 minutes at 180°C and then turned the heat down to 170°C for another 30 minutes but if you are using a lower sided tin it would take less time, so give it 20 minutes and 20 minutes and see if it’s done. The filling should be set and with no wobble but still be very juicy.
Keep in the fridge on the tin bottom and eat with whipped cream within a day or so of making.
Go and put your feet up after all that, and enjoy an afternoon in the garden.
Sparkly Citrus Cup Cakes
Lemon is always a popular flavour for baking; I added a bit of lime for some additional tingle and baked some lemon curd in with the cake mixture for that extra softness. The lemon curd slightly inhibited the rise, I think, which made the cakes come out flatter than they sometimes do which made them easier to ice, so winner all round! They were still very spongy and delicious.
At our Seniors Lunch Club this week we had a very exciting event – the West Didsbury Astronomical Society came in to give us a talk. They were great, each of the three speakers had a demonstration to make and told us some facts about a) our galaxy b) our solar system c) our moon – so progressing inwards to our world from the vast distances of the Universe. We made some lovely mess: we drew a representation of the galaxy in salt on a black cloth on the floor and made moon craters by throwing marbles into a tray of flour and cocoa powder. It brought it all very much alive. Our members enjoyed, took it all in and will now be looking up at the skies and identifying constellations, planets and moon craters with expert eyes. It’s so nice to be getting back to being able to have people in to talk to us again; we used to have a speaker about once a month to give the Lunch Club members a stimulating boost of something local, personal or new and give them a change from my quizzes and worksheets.
The Citrus Cup Cakes added to the jollity – of course I should have tried to do galaxy swirl mirror icing on something – I will have to give that a try for the next visit of the Astronomical Society.
Makes 20 cup cakes Timings: 1 hour, then time to cool, and 30 minutes to ice
For the icing: 200g softened butter, 2 tablespoons lemon curd, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 300g icing sugar. Food colouring as required – optional.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C and lay out cupcake cases in the bun tins.
Whisk the butter and sugar together until combined and quite fluffy. Whisk in the lemon curd and add the eggs in one by one with a spoonful of flour each time. Add the rest of the flour and the zest and combine well.
Spoon the mixture into the bun tins and bake each tray for about 20 minutes until cooked. Cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, beat the butter and lemon curd until soft and add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time (putting a tea towel over your mixer to avoid the icing sugar covering your kitchen) and add the lemon juice as you go. I then divided the mixture into two, adding yellow colouring to one part and green colouring to the other. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and ice the cup cakes. I tried to fill the bag half with green and half with yellow, going for a swirl sort of pattern but it didn’t really work, although it looks nice anyway! Decorate with starry sprinkles and edible glitter if you like.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.