Friday, 8 April 2011

Sneaky Cupcakes

At the Children’s Book Swap Event that I attended last week, I sold a number of Fruit and Veggie Cupcakes and had a couple of requests for recipes, so here over the next few days are a few of my tried and tested methods for making what I like to describe as sneaky cakes - where you can shove in a whole lot of goodness in without the kids knowing about it. It's also not a bad idea to consider individual cupcakes for kids birthdays. You can still decorate them to theme, but you normally end up with a lot less left overs and waste.

Each recipe makes around 12, but you will get variations on that depending on how big your cake cases are and the consistency of each cake mix. You can make all of these cakes without an egg if you want them to be completely free of animal products. However, two things tend to happen if you're not using egg and you have decide if you can live with it. Either you have a smaller, crumblier cake, or you have a denser cake that is harder to get our of it's wrapper.

Standard Content
115g of plain flour
115g of sugar
75ml of oil
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Butternut Squash and Ginger

Use golden caster sugar and sunflower/rapeseed oil for this recipe.

Take 120g of thinly sliced Butternut Squash and a large finger sized amount of root ginger, very finely sliced. Lay on a baking tray with a touch of oil and bake at 190C for around 30 mins, with a loose foil cover, until soft (turn your oven down 180C) Add to a blender or mash until a chunky salsa like texture (you can puree to smooth but this can make your mix a little on the sloppy side.

In a bowl add the sugar, oil and squash mix, and 1 egg if you are using. Beat together to avoid curdling then slowly shift in the flour and baking powder, making a figure eight shape until combined. Take a tablespoon and put heaped amounts into cake cases. These cakes are perfect with a soft creamy icing (see below), but he you choose not to ice, add a little sprinkling of ground ginger to the tops of your cakes at this stage.

Bake in the oven for 15mins, turn out on to wire rack to cool.

Simple Dairy Free Icing.

Using a Vegan or Dairy Free Spread is an incredibly easy way to make a simple soft icing for most cakes. Spread is a lot smoother than hard butter and you don't have to spend as much time beating out the lumps. Measurements are always a bit hit and miss and will depend on the texture you want. I normally start off with a heaped spoon of spread and two heaped spoons of icing sugar, with a small squeeze of lemon, and go from there.

Tomorrow: Apple and Courgette Cakes

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