Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blood drive rolls around again

There was another blood drive in Hornby today, and as usual, I took some baking in to make sure my workmates had something to eat before donating. This time I chose to make jaffa cupcakes (p72).

These cupcakes are from the 'baking with Edmonds' section, i.e they're a sort of cheats' version using an Edmonds chocolate cake mix. I decided to take that 'cheat' one step further and use a cake mix that also had an icing sachet, meaning I wouldn't have to make my own icing either.

To make the cupcakes, I put the cake mix in my mixer with some orange zest, butter, water and eggs. After a couple of minutes' beating, I was ready to start filling up my cupcake cases. The previous cupcakes I've made very small, because I like things bite-size. This time I decided to go for a more standard patty-tin size, slightly smaller than a medium-sized muffin. The cake mix made a full 30 cupcakes of this size, instead of the 16 indicated, so clearly you're supposed to use even larger cases.

I put my 30 cupcakes on a rack to cool while I sorted out my icing. It turned out the icing sachet didn't really make all that much, so I padded it out a bit with extra icing sugar and cocoa. Even then, I didn't have much icing to work with, and having used up the last cup or so of icing sugar, I couldn't make any more.
I definitely didn't have enough to pipe icing on to all those cupcakes. Anyway, I'd run out of piping bags, so I ended up topping each cupcake with about a teaspoon-worth of icing, which when spread around, was sufficient. There wasn't quite enough to ice all of them though - about 6 were left over.
I'd decided it would look quite cool if I decorated my cupcakes with broken jaffas, (not my own idea; something I'd seen at a cupcake shop somewhere) so I opened up a packet and smashed them up a handful at a time in the pestle and mortar. Sprinkled on top of the icing, the jaffas really made the cupcakes look great.
My jaffa cupcakes didn't just look delicious, they tasted great too. I've been a bit harsh about cake mix-based recipes in the past, but in this case I can clearly see that it's worthwhile. My previous cupcakes have been merely a vehicle for the icing, in themselves a bit dry and tasteless. Being made from a cake mix, the jaffa muffins are quite different: moist and tasty even without the icing. There's a subtle jaffa flavour from the orange zest, echoed by those crunchy jaffas on the top.
The success of this recipe has me wanting to find a way of making my cupcakes moist and flavoursome without resorting to packet mixes. Perhaps the trick is to adapt a cake recipe? I'll have to do a bit of experimenting.


  1. I know it's terrible, but I've always liked cakes from a packet mix better than ones made from scratch...haha


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