Thursday, November 29, 2012

500 cupcakes

No, I didn't make 500 cupcakes! That really would be quite an effort. The point is, I've just reached a total of 500 completed recipes, and the 500th one was a cupcake recipe. That's all I meant.

I had a day off yesterday, as Mum and Dad were arriving in Christchurch, about to fly out to Canada for a few weeks. As usual, I decided I'd better have something baked ready to have with a cuppa when they arrived. The majority of baking recipes I have left are loaves and cakes, and after a reasonable sleep-in, I found I wouldn't have time to bake any of these before they arrived. I'd almost given up on the idea when I glanced at the cupcake recipe and noticed there was still one variation yet to be tried: queen cakes (p47).

Queen cakes are just plain cupcakes with sultanas added. Easy to make, and suitably quick as well. All you do is cream butter, sugar and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time, and fold in some sultanas with the dry ingredients and milk. Of course, I discovered partway through making the mixture that I had almost run out of sultanas. Never mind: I topped them up with raisins and continued.

For some of the cupcake variations I've made them in mini muffin pans, merely because I like things to be bite-sized - especially when you're loading them down with icing! I didn't intend to ice these ones though: I thought they would be quite nice plain. So this time I went with the recipe and used standard patty tins.

The instructions are to share the mixture evenly between 18 patty cases. I followed this instruction, but I was worried that the patty cases were too full as a result. I expected the cupcakes to have overflowed all over the tins, but actually only a few rose high enough to expand over the edge and acquire a shape more consistent with muffins than cupcakes.

The traditional 'slightly rounded' cupcake shape is usually topped with icing, or filled with something sweet and creamy. I decided that although they looked a bit flat without any of the usual decoration, I'd stick to my decision to leave them plain.

I didn't regret it, either: the queen cakes were lovely just on their own: sweet, with a sugary crunch at the very edges, and the odd burst of juicy sultana or raisin. They were nice and light, but not dry, which can sometimes be a problem with cupcakes.

I was amused when Dad commented "these remind me of old-fashioned queen cakes". When I explained that's exactly what they are, he laughed and told a story about my Uncle Trev attempting to make queen cakes as a kid - but forgetting to put the flour in! Doesn't sound like someone who would be related to me, does it?

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