This recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery’s new cookbook Home Sweet Home. It is such a lovely book, there are so many recipes in this book that I want to try such as Chicago Fudge Cake, Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf, Chocolate Malt Cake, Peanut Butter and Jam Swirl Cookies and the list goes one, so it was hard choosing which one to go for first. I decided upon the Liquorice and Blackcurrant Cupcakes. The reason for this is that I was intrigued by the liquorice flavour. I’d never heard of using this flavour in a cupcake before. I only made a few changes to this recipe. First was the flavour of tea bag. The original recipe specifies to use liquorice tea bags, however I had some liquorice and peppermint tea bags that I wanted to use up so I thought I’d give it a go in this recipe. I left out the blackcurrant jam that fills the middle of the cupcakes and I swapped the black currant cordial frosting for my own Peppermint buttercream to ice them with. I did this as I wanted to match the peppermint from the tea bags. These cupcakes turned out a little small for me I have to say. Personally I think that these would make great fairy cakes. I like my cupcakes to be a little bit bigger.
The method for making these took me by surprise as I haven’t come across it before for making cupcakes. When I make cupcakes, I use the creaming method of mixing my butter and sugar together until it gets light and fluffy. However this method involves mixing the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and the salt altogether at the same time until a crumble consistency is formed. This method of making the cupcakes gives you a very runny batter, the crumb is dense and light and very soft. I like to try new methods of baking, its fun and provides you with many different technique’s to try, that way you find the perfect one that works well for you.
The liquorice flavour in these cupcakes is very discreet. You get a warming breath of the aniseed flavour from the crumb, it is not at all overpowering. The peppermint works beautifully I think, the mint is soothing alongside the liquorice. I choose to ice the cupcakes with my own peppermint buttercream recipe. I put a tiny drop of peppermint extract in, it’s all you need. It echo’s the freshness of the mint in the cupcake and doesn’t overpower the liquorice flavour either. I choose to bake the cupcakes in a some pretty metallic purple cupcake cases and I love how they look with the cupcakes sitting snugly in them. I also like how you can match the icing and decoration to the cases. I iced my cupcakes in two different colours. I left half the buttercream plain and I coloured the other half with 2 drops of Americolor soft gel paste in electric purple. For final decorative touches I sprinkled them with some lilac sprinkles. These are great little cupcakes with great flavour. Make a new cupcake flavour today whether it be this flavour combination or not. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by which flavours work so well together.
Yields 12 cupcakes
4 Liquorice and Peppermint teabags
210 ml Milk (I used semi-skimmed, full fat is listed in the original recipe)
70 grams (2 1/2 oz) Unsalted butter at room temperature
210 grams (7 1/2 oz) Plain flour
250 grams (9 oz) Vanilla scented caster sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt (I used Maldon)
2 Large eggs
1. In a small bowl soak the tea bags in the milk, leave them for at least 2 hours.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 170C,(325F) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases. Set to one side.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and the salt and mix together until you have a crumb like consistency.
4. Squeeze the milk out of the tea bags, discard the tea bags. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl (I do this just in case I get a bad egg as I don’t want to ruin my batter) then add the eggs to the milk and whisk to combine.
5. With your mixer on medium speed, add half of the milk mixture and mix until smooth, with no lumps left. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula and add the rest of the milk doing the same as before.
6. Divide the batter among the cupcake cases equally and bake for 20-25 minutes. They should be done when the tops are golden brown and cake tester inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
7. Leave the cupcakes In the muffin tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely.
*Adapted ever so slightly from The Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home from their Liquorice and Blackcurrant Cupcake recipe*
* The Cupcakes will last for up to 3 days in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Now for the icing on the cupcake.
I iced the cupcakes with my own peppermint buttercream, so here is the recipe.
The peppermint in this icing is very mild. I didn’t want to overpower the flavours in the cupcake and by just using a tiny drop of peppermint extract I was able to achieve a light, cooling flavour.
Yields enough to ice 12 large cupcakes.
120 grams (1 stick, 2 teaspoons) Unsalted Butter at room temperature
500 grams (3 Cups) Icing Sugar, sifted (You may need more to achieve the desired consistency)
1/4 teaspoon Pure peppermint extract
5-6 tablespoons Semi-skimmed milk at room temperature or Full fat (You may need less or more to achieve the desired consistency)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter, icing sugar, peppermint extract and 3 tablespoons of the milk with the speed set on low for 5 minutes.
2. Turn the speed of your mixer to high and add the rest of the milk a little at a time until you have the consistency you want. Keep on mixing for 5-8 minutes until your buttercream is nice and smooth.
3. Add any food colouring now if you’re using it and continue to mix for another 5 minutes to make sure that its been evenly incorporated.
Best used straight away.
* If your icing get’s a bit runny when you add your food dye, then simply add a little more sifted icing sugar to thicken it up. I find that some brands make your icing more runny than others, so keep a close eye on your buttercream when adding any colouring.
When the cupcakes are cold, spread your icing on the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.
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