Pimm’s No.1 Cupcakes

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Today has been a struggle. 80% of what I have eaten has not been cake. After a Jubilee weekend filled with cake I am suffering sugar withdrawal.

My Jubilee baking efforts began last weekend when I made Union Jack coloured Battenberg and Victoria Sponge to take to work- both cakes originated with our royal family and I thought it patriotic to get everyone in the Jubilee/work-is-unimportant mood.

Bizarrely, I have mainly made Battenberg this year.

I’m definitely in double figures and have been plotting a Jubilee assault on it since I first made it in February.

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(local strawberries)

I also thought it important to inject new life into my baking repertoire over the Jubilee weekend. The sun never sets on the British Empire etc.

Enter Pimm’s No.1 cupcakes.

Cupcakes are my baking nemesis. They lull you into a false sense of security as you watch them bake happily in the oven. The cake part is easy as pie. And then wham! Icing sugar flies everywhere and everything is stressful. The happy domestic haze is destroyed and you can no longer see out of your rose tinted glasses.

On Sunday (when I made these cupcakes) there was actual foot stamping. A piping bag may have been hurled across the kitchen counter. I was asked twice if everything was ok.

For someone with so many qualifications I can be very slow. Cupcakes and I just weren’t meant to be. I should have taken note last time: I will never be cupcake queen.

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(the calm before the storm)

Talking of cupcake queens, some friends of mine baked some spectacular cakes for a Jubilee party I went to. Their creations were so mesmerising I had trouble tearing my camera away from them to take pictures of friends, like normal people do.

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(The amazing Battenberg made by friends)

Despite my own personal issues with cupcakes I must admit that Pimm’s Cupcakes are a revelation. They taste like summer. There are four (yes, FOUR) different flavoured icings on each cake. Orange, cucumber, strawberry and mint buttercreams go into the piping bag and come out as one blended icing.

I would definitely recommend trying these. Just make sure you have some stress Pimm’s handy in case of emergency.

20120605-163744.jpg(My friends’ Pimm’s Cupcakes)

Pimm’s Cupcakes (adapted from uktv good food)

Makes 12

125g golden caster sugar
125g margarine
125g self raising flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
60ml Pimm’s

For the buttercream:

400g icing sugar
250g butter

For the strawberry buttercream:

8 strawberries
1 tbsp sugar

For the cucumber buttercream:

30g cucumber, seeds removed
Green food colouring

For the orange buttercream:

Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
Orange food colouring

For the mint buttercream:

8 fresh mint leaves
Green food colouring

1. Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

2. Put the butter, sugar, margarine, flour and eggs into a food processor and blend until smooth.

3. Mix in the Pimm’s and the vanilla essence.

4. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly coloured on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile make the buttercream. With an electric whisk, mix together the sieved icing sugar and butter until smooth and light in colour. Separate into 4 bowls.

7. To make the strawberry buttercream chop the strawberries finely and heat over a medium heat together with the sugar. Once softened push through a sieve and leave to cool before mixing into one portion of the buttercream.

8. To make the cucumber buttercream, chop the cucumber very finely and add to one portion of the buttercream. Add the green colouring so it is a light green (a couple of drops will do).

9. To make the orange buttercream mix the zest and juice of the orange into one portion of the buttercream. Mix in some orange colouring.

10. To make the mint buttercream chop the mint very finely and add to the final portion of buttercream. Add green colouring so that it is darker than the cucumber icing.

11. Fit the star nozzle to the piping bag and place the bag over an empty glass, hooking the bag over the edges to secure it. Spoon each buttercream into a separate quarter of the bag. Once you have done one ‘layer’ repeat- you don’t need to make sure the same flavour goes in the same side as before.

12. Carefully pipe the icing onto the cakes starting at the outside and working your way in. Decorate with fruit and sprigs of mint.

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