Friday, 16 November 2012

Bonfire Parkin Cupcakes

I've had a couple of Guy Fawkes' Night inspired cupcakes in mind for a couple of weeks.  Admittedly, since November 5th was over a week ago, I'm a bit late on getting them made, but never mind.  There shall be one set for this week and another for next week.

So this week's cakes are inspired by bonfires.  The cupcakes are made using a recipe for parkin cake, which is apparently a traditional cake for eating on Guy Fawkes'.  I only found that out recently but thought, why not?  They are quite gingery, so would have quite a warm flavour, if that makes sense.  The fire is a two-tone buttercream, with the orange being orange flavoured, and the yellow being lemon.  If I had not been feeling so tired, I was considering making little biscuit 'Guys' to sit on the fire.

Since I read that parkin tastes better after it has had time mature, I actually made the cakes last Wednesday (so almost a week ago) and them kept them wrapped in a tin until Monday.  Then I added the buttercream. 

Since having them taste tested, I get the impression parkin is an acquired taste.  The fiancĂ© doesn't know what to make of them, but he clearly doesn't like them that much because he's not keen to eat them.  He also said they taste a bit like liquorice, which I found odd since they're meant to be gingery.  Oh well.

Makes about 14

It is recommended making the cake part a few days before you want to serve them so they can mature.

Cake - adapted from Cake Decorating Magazine issue 31
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 275g/9.7oz fine oatmeal
  • 175g/6oz black treacle
  • 150g/5.3oz butter 
  • 110g/3.9oz dark brown sugar
  • 150ml/5.3fl.oz milk
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and put 14 muffin cases into muffin tins.
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oatmeal and mix together with a balloon whisk.  Set aside.
  4. Put the treacle, butter, sugar and milk into a small saucepan.
  5. Place over a very low heat on the stove to melt them together.  Do not allow the mixture to boil. 
  6. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the egg and beating it in with a metal spoon.
  7. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until well incorporated.
  8. Divide the mixture across the cases, making sure not to overfill them.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cakes are dark brown and firm to the touch.  A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  10. Leave in the tin to cool for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  11. When completely cooled, put in a cake tin lined with greaseproof paper and allow to mature for at least two days.
 Lemon and Orange Buttercream
  • 140g/5oz butter
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • Yellow and orange food colouring
  1. Put the butter and icing sugar into a medium bowl and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Divide the buttercream in half and put one half in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the lemon extract and yellow food colouring to one bowl, and the orange extract and orange food colouring to the other.  Mix.
  4. Fit a piping bag with a large star nozzle and fill with alternating tablespoons of yellow and orange buttercream.
  5. Pipe large swirls on top of each cake to look like flames.

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