Lemon and vanilla cupcakes – Gluten-free recipe

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit an American style Diner in Chelsea called Corgi’s Deli (on Fulham Road). The place was filled with cakes and patisseries and stunning interior design – the kind of place where you would be proud to take your mother. They did a really good cup of coffee, but what was most appetising was the enormous array of cupcakes they had on display.

Cue a conversation with my friend about cupcakes – ‘they’re really fashionable at the moment, didn’t you know?’ ‘But they’re just fairy cakes, we’ve always made them?’ ‘Yes, I know, but a friend sent me one as a gift the other day, it was very sweet and well decorated.’ ‘Aren’t they a bit more like muffins?’ Maybe, but the saying goes that you eat a muffin, because you believe it might be healthy, you eat a cupcake out of love.

And the debate rages on… But I thought you’d enjoy this fai… er cupcake recipe that I found.

Makes 12

Cake ingredients

Frankly irrissistible and made with love
Frankly irrissistible and made with love

125g (4oz) unsalted butter
125g (4oz) caster sugar
125g (4oz) gluten-free self-raising flour
2 medium eggs
3tbsp milk
1/2 tsp salt
Few drops of vanilla extract

Buttercream ingredients
2 medium egg whites
150g (5oz) caster sugar
100g (3½oz) unsalted butter
Few drops of vanilla extract
2tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
Few drops lemon essence

Also
12-hole muffin tray
12 paper baking cups
Large piping bag, fitted with specially shaped piping tube eg. star or petal shaped

Preheat oven to gas mark 5 or 190°C.

1. Melt the butter and pour into a bowl with the sugar, flour, eggs, milk, salt and vanilla extract.
2. Beat the mixture into a smooth batter, use an electric hand whisk for good results. (The mix may appear a runnier than a usual cake mixture but don’t over-whisk as this produces holes inside the cakes.)
3. Line the tray with cases and spoon the mix into the paper baking cups.
4. Bake the cakes in the centre of the oven for 18-20 mins (or until they’ve risen and are a light golden colour).
5. Take the cakes out of the oven. After they have cooled a little, transfer them to a wire rack to cool properly.
6. To make the buttercream you need to mix the egg white and sugar in a bowl placed over the top of a pan of hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely (about 3 minutes).
7. Remove the bowl from over the pan and whisk the egg whites until stiff.
8. Gradually whisk in the butter and then, using a gentler speed, the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, then the vanilla and the lemon essence. The mixture may appear to separate, but once it is all added, keep whisking at a high speed until it’s light and fluffy.
9. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
10. Keep the cupcakes cool until you serve them. (Best eaten within 2 days of making – not suitable for freezing.)

If you want you can decorate the cupcakes with icing sprinkles. – These can be made by piping thin strips of coloured icing onto greaseproof paper using a very small size writing nozzle (no.2). Then leave the icing to dry and break it into short sprinkle type lengths.

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