28 February 2009

Cupcakes For Tea

Trips to the bookstore rarely see me emerge empty handed, and I say this with a touch of bashfulness because I admit my lack of self-restraint when it comes to retail therapy and especially when there is food porn in question. A recent purchase that had been sitting around on the coffee table for quite a while is 'Indulgence Cupcakes - A fine selection of sweet treats'. Published by Murdoch books, it boasts an array of cupcakes you wish you could just pick out from the book to taste.

While it has some of the usual suspects such as 'Rich Dark Chocolate Cupcake' or 'Chocolate and Almond Cupcake', it also had more intriguing ones like 'Mandarin and Camomile Cupcake' and 'Jam Doughnut Cupcake'. Flipping through the book on a Saturday afternoon, I was undeniably drawn to the former and it helped that the more unusual ingredients the recipe called for - Mandarin oranges and semolina - were things I somehow (still) had around the house.

In 2 hours, I chopped, measured, peeled, zested, blended, gently mixed, piped, baked and washed. The result of all that activity was 18 Mandarin and Sweet Mallow (I replaced the camomile with mallow tea) Cupcakes complete with Mandarin orange glaze.

The cupcake was put to the test when my friend came over for tea that Saturday afternoon, and it passed with flying colours - my gentle mixing of the batter towards the end of the mixing process paid off in a tender and utterly moist-crumbed cupcake. The orange flavours did not leap out onto the palate, but seemed to slowly acquaint itself with the palate, like two toddlers introduced to each other for the first time. Perfect for a light afternoon tea - the cupcakes of course.

Mandarin and Sweet Mallow Cupcakes
Adapted from Mandarin and Chamomile Cupcakes in "
'Indulgence Cupcakes - A fine selection of sweet treats'"
Makes 20 mini muffins
185ml milk
5g sweet mallow tea flowers
150g unsalted butter, chopped
230g (1 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsps finely grated mandarin zest
300 g mandarin, peeled, seeds removed
60g fine semolina
155g self-raising flour

155g (1 1/4cups) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp finely grated mandarin zest
2-3 tbspn strained, fresh mandarin juice

Preheat oven to 180 degress celcius, line 20 mini muffin holes with paper cases. (I used medium sized self-supporting cupcake cases)
Place milk and tea flowers into saucepan, bring just to boil. Stand for 5 mins to infuse then strain.
Place butter, sugar, eggs, mandarin zest and mandarin in a food processor and process until almost smooth.
Add milk mixture, semolina and flour, then process until smooth (be careful not to over process).
Pour mixture evenly among cases.
Bake for 8-10mins or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a cupcake.
Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

For glaze:
Place icing sugar, zest and enough juice to make a paste in a heatproof bowl.
Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and stir until runny.
Remove from heat but keep the bowl over the water.
Spread the glaze over each cake (do this fast as it hardens up quickly).

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