Yup! Say that 5 times fast!
After a weekend of spectacularly failed macarons, I was left with containers full of delicious buttercream filling in my fridge. Lacking my planned home-cooked Mothers' Day presents, the humble cupcake came swiftly to the rescue.
I can't admit to ever having made s cupcake entirely based around icing before, but I thought chocolate brown would look pretty against the pale marshmallow colours of my buttercream. While mixing the cupcake batter I thought of some apricot preserve leftover in the fridge from Easter's hot-cross buns; I thought it might add a bit of interest.
This is a really light and moist cupcake recipe and, as they cook, the jam mixes in with cupcake batter, falling to the bottom of the patty-pans. You end up with delicious fluffy bites of cupcake with a nice hint of warm apricot to follow each mouthful.
Apricot Jam and Chocolate Cupcakes with rosewater and vanilla bean buttercream Icing
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- 125g self-raising flour
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g butter
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbspn orange juice
- 4 tbspn apricot jam
- 2 tbspn cocoa powder
For the buttercream icing:
(Adapted from the incredibly talented Tartalette)
- 1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 tspn rosewater essence
- a few drops of red food colouring (it just depends on how coloured you want it)
- Innards (the seeds) of 1 vanilla bean
For the cupcakes :
- Preheat oven to 180C (conventional), and line a cupcake tray with patty-pans
- Combine the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl and beat (using electric beaters if you have them) until pale and creamy.
- Add the eggs in, one at a time, beating until fully combined after each.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and add the orange juice; stir until fully combined and the batter is smooth.
- Divide the mixture into the prepared cupcake tray holes.
- Put about 1/2 tspn of jam onto the top of each cupcake (I used my finger to make a little well in each). You may find this easier if you microwave the jam for about 15 seconds, or heat it over the stove until it's at a honey-like consistency.
- Bake your cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. They're done when puffed and the centres are springy to the (gentle) touch. If unsure, insert a skewer halfway in, and check it comes out with no wet cupcake batter (just remember the jam - it will still be wet)
- Allow to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes (only so you don't burn your fingers like me!) and turn onto a rack to cool.
For the buttercream icing:
- While cooling, you can make your icing! Place a mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure your saucepan doesn't touch the water.
- Place your egg whites and sugar in the bowl and whisk/beat until the it feels hot to the touch, and the mixture looks like what Tartalette describes as "marshmallow cream". This will take about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat
- Using an electric mixer beat the mixture until you have a very thick, very sticky meringue that forms stiff peaks, and it has cooled. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add your butter, about a tbspn at a time, making sure it is fully combined after each addition. Continue to beat for 5-10 minutes until thick and smooth. Divide your mixture into halves.
- To one half, add the food colouring and rosewater essence, and beat for a further minute to fully combine
- To the remaining half, add the vanilla bean innards, or vanilla essence, and beat for a further minute to fully combine.
- Once your cupcakes are cooled, you can ice them with the buttercream however you like. I piped mine on with a 1cm plain nozzle.
While I've used apricot preserve, there's no reason you couldn't use something else, or leave it out altogether.
Like all cupcakes, these are best eaten same day, but I find these tend to stay nice and moist for a couple of days. If they're getting towards the end of their lifespan, I microwave them for 10-15 seconds and they become nice and warm and soft.
I'd suggest icing these when you're ready to eat them. The buttercream really needs to be refridgerated, but that's not the best place for cupcakes.
If you're not going to use the buttercream immediately you can keep it in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for up to a month.