#1 – 48 recipes challenge – Recipe 25: Jaffa Cake Cupcakes and Lager & Lime Cake
Many of my recipe posts for this challenge have been savoury dishes, which reflects what I generally prefer to cook. This is partly because I think savoury recipes are more forgiving in that what you produce tends to turn out OK and taste good. To get good results with baking though, you need to be reasonably precise about things like measuring ingredients and cooking time. And presentation. I’m not great at any of those things as I tend to think that as long as it tastes good, that’s all the matters. Add to that the fact that my gas oven cooks very unevenly so by the time it’s cooked the middle the edges are very nearly burnt, baking and I are not a great combination, certainly if you’re judging by Great British Bake off standards. However, as April is birthday time for me, I felt I should have a go at some cakes to take into work so this month you’ve got some sweet treats. And bonus, there’s two different types of cake because I’ve only got enough muffin tins to make a maximum 18 cupcakes and I wasn’t going to have to do two batches!
First up was Jaffa Cake cupcakes. I’ve had this recipe for ages. I love chocolate orange so this sounded like heaven but it needed a birthday to justify it! It was simple to make – basic vanilla cupcakes which you then remove a core from in order to insert smooth orange marmalade before topping them with chocolate buttercream. The recipe called for a sort of all-in-one method for the sponge where instead of creaming the butter and sugar, then adding the wet ingredients and then folding in the flour, all the dry ingredients were whisked together then all the wet ingredients added in one go. Not the way I’m used to making sponge, but it worked very well.
Making these should have been very simple, except of course I’d left it to the last minute and was busily topping them at midnight the night before my birthday when my ancient piping bag literally burst at the seams, resulting in a chocolate buttercream explosion all over my kitchen. I’ll admit to a slight sense of humour failure at that point and I may have been heard to mutter “I don’t know why I don’t just buy the cakes to take in, like everyone else does.” Hence why the piping is not the neatest ever seen! Please forgive me. (To be fair it probably wouldn’t have been much better than that even without the explosion. See above comments re presentation.)
This recipe was an opportunity for me to use the genuine vanilla extract I bought home from my trip to Mexico and boy, did it make a difference to the finished product. I’m definitely not ever going back to artificial vanilla flavourings. I’d also invested in good cocoa powder (Green & Blacks organic!) which I think made a difference to the buttercream as it wasn’t too sickly sweet. I used only about half of the buttercream the recipe suggested as I like to taste the cake as well as the frosting and not overload on the sweetness.
All the hard work (and cleaning up!) was rewarded when everyone pronounced the finished product light and tasty. The recipe was from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home, but it’s reproduced in this blog: http://baked-a-cake.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/jaffa-cake-cupcakes.html
This is a recipe I’ll definitely be keeping, for the base cupcake as much as the topping. The only slight change I might make would be to add orange to the actual sponge. I thought about popping in some orange juice but worried that it might make the milk curdle and I didn’t have any orange essence. Nevertheless, scores for this one are:
Healthiness – 1/10 (these are a treat, not an everyday)
Ease of prep – 8/10 (better if you don’t have a buttercream explosion!)
Flavour/taste – 9/10 (chocolate and orange, what could possibly be wrong with that)
The Lager & Lime cake was another recipe I had wanted to try out for a while but was waiting the right audience for. This was a more traditional sponge method – starting with creaming the butter and sugar. I felt that it was perfect for the lads at work, and so it proved to be. Eaten up in record time, I just about managed to get a picture of it before it was gone!
The flavour comes from lager, added to both the cake mix and the buttercream filling, and lime zest and juice in the sponge with added lime juice in the icing. It was very limey! For me, the taste of the lager didn’t really come through but it did give the cake a lovely moistness and a nice sticky glaze. Adding the lager to the cake mix was a little odd as it created a very yeasty smell but that didn’t translate to the finished product, much to my relief.
Scores for this recipe:
Healthiness – 1/10 (again, it’s a treat)
Ease of prep – 9/10 (a standard sponge preparation, the difficult bit was persuading my oven to bake the two halves evenly)
Flavour/taste – 7/10 (good texture and a tasty cake but I was a bit disappointed that the beer flavour didn’t come through)
If you want to try this one at home, here’s the link: