Orange and Beetroot Cupcakes with a Plum Surprise
It’s the last day of National Cupcake Week and I’m just getting in by the skin of my chinny chin chin. With the Great British Bake Off in full swing everyone seems to have gone baking mad. Home Bargains is one such and they have given me a helping hand with my cupcakes by sending a box full of baking goodies. Their brief was to create a Home Bargains showstopper.
The kit they sent included a tin of pink cupcake paraphernalia, so I decided to go totally pink for the occasion and why not? I had recently made a few jars of plum jam that was not only very tasty with a sharp tang to it, but was a rather beautiful shade of pink. I’ve been wanting to attempt cupcakes with a blob of surprise jam in the middle for a long time and it couldn’t wait any longer. After my blackberry and white chocolate melt experience, I was a little concerned that the jam would either sink or spurt out all over the place, so I went for a thicker batter than I would normally do, in the hope it would hold the jam. The mixing bowl provided was perfect for the job, large enough to mix easily whilst being light and sturdy at the same time. I decided to flavour the batter with orange and use beetroot to colour the cake. Before it was cooked, the batter was a lovely shade of pink, but on baking it sadly resumed a more normal hue.
I’d intended the icing to be a white chocolate one with a swirl of pink plum jam running through it and I was going to use the piping nozzles and bags included in the kit to apply it. However, time began to run out, so the cakes morphed along the way. I ended up omitting the jam and using beetroot juice instead; I then just applied the icing with a palette knife. A few of the pink sprinkles provided in the kit were then applied, to good effect I thought. Annoyingly, I couldn’t assemble the accompanying pink presentation box. I made several attempts then realised it was a two person job and CT wasn’t around. The cakes were presented on a plate instead. I was rather taken with the “eat me” flags that came as part of the kit and the colour alone makes these a Showstopper to remember.
The cakes were destined for friends with whom we were dining that night and I was hoping the shocking pink wouldn’t offend them. As it happened they had made a pink summer pudding for dessert, so the cakes fitted in rather well. They received appreciative comments and thankfully the jam stayed in the middle – for most of them at least. Little Jack Horner could have stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum, if he’d so wished. CT is no fan of beetroot, so expressed his relief when he couldn’t detect the taste. It’s true, it was the colour of the beetroot rather than the flavour that emerged.
NB: When I say beetroot juice, I mean the water left over from simmering beetroot in a pan. I only use a little water for this, so the juice is a good strong colour. I’d also like to point out it’s #OrganicSeptember and everything here bar the eggs, sugar and icing sugar is organic, including our home grown beetroot. Oh and here’s the plum jam made from some rather tart plums from my mother’s garden.
Thanks to Peppermint Soda for my Home Bargains Showstopper kit, I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
I am sending these off to Laura over at I’d Much Rather Bake Than … for her Biscuit Barrel challenge which is all about birthday celebrations this month. Happy Birthday Laura and congratulations on the Biscuit Barrel being one year old this month.
The theme for this month’s Love Cakes with Ness over at JibberJabberUK is Back to School – Something New. Well I can honestly say I’ve never put beetroot in icing before and nor have I tried to bake jam into the middle of cupcakes either.
- 260 g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white)
- 2 scant tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200 g cardamom sugar (golden caster sugar)
- 3 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 120 g + 110g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp orange zest – grated
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 50 ml + 2 tbsp beetroot juice (I used water from boiled beetroots)
- 150 g icing sugar
- 100 g white chocolate (G&B)
- 15 tsp pink jam ( I used plum)
- Cream the first lot of butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the orange zest.
- Beat in the eggs one by one, adding a little of the flour in between each one to prevent curdling.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir adding a little of the beetroot juice as you go along.
- Spoon half the batter into 15 cupcake cases, make a slight dent in the middle and add a tsp of jam to each. Top with the remaining batter.
- Bake at 180C for 20 minutes until the cakes are well risen and golden on top. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
- Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and allow to cool a little.
- Cream the icing sugar and 2nd lot of butter, then beat in the white chocolate.
- Beat in the 2 tbsp beetroot juice one by one until a smooth icing consistency is reached. If the mixture curdles and won’t come together, add a little more beetroot juice and continue to beat.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cakes and leave for an hour or so to set.
The beetroot is more for colour than flavour.