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Blueberry & Lime Cupcakes

Yes, I’ve used the C word. Cupcakes, as these are what I think of as cupcakes due to the prolific swirls of buttercream on the top, though they are more of fairy cake proportions.There has been a slight delay on posting these as they were made for a secret 30th Birthday Party. The person in question reads my blog and follows me on twitter so I had to keep these under wraps. For the party I also made Nigella’s Chocolate Cloud Cake that I topped with fresh strawberries.

For a while I’ve been meaning to buy a “Mr Whippy” style tip for piping icing with and the lovely Julie from Vintage & Cake recommended me the Wilton 1M open star tip along with the disposable piping bags. She also gave me tips on how to make certain patterns with the icing. Usually I’m not a huge fan of throw away things, but these bags I can highly recommend. Not only are they bigger than conventional piping bags but you don’t have the faff of cleaning them afterwards. So much easier to use and you don’t need to worry about a coupler.

These cakes were a bit of an experiment that worked surprisingly well. I used blueberries because I had some blue edible glitter that I decided HAD to be used on the birthday boy’s cake so blueberry was the natural choice. Icing wise I really liked using the 1M tip and the swirls it produces. For fantastic advice on how to pipe buttercream see Ruth’s guest post on A Thrifty Mrs. I need a bit more practice to get the swirls uniform but overall I was pleased with them.

Blueberry & Lime Cupcakes
makes 12 fairycake sized cakes

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

75g (1/2 punnet) of blueberries

zest of 1 lime

Buttercream icing

90g unsalted butter

180g icing sugar

1 tbsp lime juice

75g (1/2 punnet) of blueberries for decoration

blue edible glitter

1) Preheat oven to 180°c and line a bun tin with fairy cake liners.

2) In a bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until it is light and fluffy then one at a time stir in the eggs. Don’t worry if it begins to look curdled. Mix in the vanilla extract.

3) Carefully fold in the flour then lime zest and blueberries.

4) Fill each liner 2/3 with cake mix.

5) Bake for 15-20 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool before icing.

6) In a bowl beat together the butter, icing sugar and lime juice until light and fluffy. Pipe icing onto cakes.

7) Place the blueberries and a small pinch of edible glitter into a bowl then roll the blueberries around to coat them in the glitter. Then decorate the cakes with the glittered up blueberries.

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Courgette & Pistachio Cake with Lime Cheesecake Icing

I can’t believe how fast the last few weeks have gone. I visited my parents at Easter, met up with the lovely Claire from Claire’s Cake Bake, been back in work 2 weeks, wondered if my sister was ever going to get back from New Zealand…oh and resigned from my job. I’m leaving to become a freelance food geek specialising in kid’s cookery & Primary Curriculum; something I’m very excited about. It all came to me, randomly, during a Hairy Biker’s episode that featured a Food Historian. Fed up of waiting for the perfect job to come to me I decided to create my dream job and take it to the people. I just pray I manage to pull it off or we’ll be back to eating Value beans on toast before long. Good sign is that I already have clients lined up even before I’m officially trading. Most of my free time has been spent business planning and developing recipes to try with my pupils. With Jamie Oliver investing his own money to improve Food Education, I think he needs to call me…

With everything going on I’m cooking lots of quick simple meals with the odd cake to keep us going. I’m also working on quite a few recipes to make them more suitable for teaching. This recipe probably isn’t one of these recipes, but it is full of hidden vegetables!

After speaking to mum about my Mini Carrot Cakes she wondered how courgettes and pistachio would work together. I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work as courgettes are often used in cakes not really for the taste, but because they give a fantastic moistness to the cake. Although they are not in season yet, as any grow-your-owner knows these vegetables have a habit of taking over the garden and there is only so much courgette you can eat in more traditional form. This I think is quite an edible alternative.

One thing I did find out when making this cake is that it works out cheaper to buy pistachios out of their shells. I spent far too long shelling 150g of pistachios only to be left with 75g of actual nuts. The resulting cake has beautiful green flecks throughout it due to the courgette & pistachio nuts. To complement this I grated lime zest into the icing. This cake keeps well in a tin for a few days.

Courgette & Pistachio Cake with Lime Cheesecake Icing
Makes 1x 2lb loaf

140ml vegetable oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing
2 eggs
200g muscovado sugar
300g grated courgettes, (Don’t bother peeling them. I blitz them in the food processor)
100g raisins
70g unsalted pistachios, chopped (optional)
180g self-raising flour
tiny pinch of salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg or mace ( I like mace as it has a hint of citrus)
½ tsp mixed spice

Lime Cheesecake Icing

50g cream cheese, chilled (full fat works best)
50g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 lime, zest only

1) Preheat oven to 150°c. Line 2lb cake tin with liners or lightly grease.
2) In a large bowl beat the egg, then add the oil, sugar, courgette and pistachios. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3) Fill the tin with the cake mix. Bake for 75 min, or until cake is risen and cooked through. Allow to cool before icing.
4) Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, lime zest and butter then gradually add the icing sugar. The icing sugar will stiffen the icing the more you put in, but taste as you go along to make sure you don’t make it too sweet. Once the icing is ready, spread onto cake and leave for a few hours for the icing to harden slightly.
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