Our cupcake recipe comes from our wonderful colleague and talented baker – Helen White who spoils us with her amazing baked goods every Monday morning. Before we dive into the recipe, find out more about Helen.
Tell us more…
Hels’ Kitchen combines several of my longstanding loves: cooking, travel and climbing. Alongside regular recipes, a principal focus is to explore what hungry climbers can cook on their travels. Rock climbing has been a huge part of my life for 15 years now and after too many unidentified pasta “schlops” after climbing in beautiful places offering beautiful produce, I decided to champion making time on trips to embrace regional cuisine (and explore wines to match, of course). The aim is to create/reinvent recipes that are van/camping-friendly. I run HK as a side-line and often treat my lovely C&B colleagues to leftover baked goods.
What’s your favourite pairing of all time?
All time?! Oof… I’m frankly hopeless at choosing a favourite anything. I’ve been lucky to have a travelled a fair bit and to have enjoyed a variety of cuisines so there are plenty of happy memories to conjure-up. I am a big fan of sherry pairings, however (which is apt for this recipe). Possibly the OG “food wine”, after a spell languishing at the back of the nation’s sideboards, sherry has latterly enjoyed a much-warranted revival. Tapas (or any multi-plate style meal) appeals to me because I love sharing seemingly never-ending options. This style of eating also means there’s an opportunity to try different food/wine pairings (which is great when you struggle with choosing!). There’s also something rather lovely about rocking-up to an unprepossessing taberna, ordering a sherry and receiving a surprise little plate of something tasty to match it with.
What flavours do you find difficult to match?
Just as classic pairings stand the test of time, so do the no-go’s. Egg and artichoke are notoriously tricky to match, but in this age of the constant strive to reinvent the wheel, anything goes (to a certain extent…). To be fair, on a sunny picnic you probably wouldn’t worry too much about drinking a lightly chilled rosé with an artichoke frittata.
Do you have one or two wine recommendations?
I’ve been at C&B since August 2021 and in that time have had the opportunity to acquaint myself with a decent portion of their list. My top (“everyday”) pick is the Muchietto Primitivo. I’ve bought this again and again and have bought it for others too. I’m an Italophile but this is glorious and such cracking value. Superbly succulent, black fruit wrapped around a satisfyingly chewy structure. Excellent kick-back drinking or open whilst cooking and finish off with your meal.
My current white pick is the Veigadares Albarino. This varietal often gets my vote when I see it on a wine list and the Veigadares is a delight. It’s a richer style but the creamy, rounded, peachy palate is beautifully supported by an elegantly mouth-watering minerality. Super Spring supping. Neither of these would be out of place at an Easter gathering.
Now to the cupcakes…
- 100g light brown sugar
- 100g butter (softened to room temperature)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp almond essence
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75g plain flour
- 25g ground almonds
- 25g currants
- 25g raisins
- 25g mixed peel
- 25g flaked almonds (optional)
- 1 tblsp PX sherry (if you don’t want to include this, you could sub it with 1 tblsp milk)
Bakes: c. 25 mins (but check after 20). Preheat the oven to 180C (GM4). Line a standard muffin tin with cases, this recipe makes c. 9 cupcakes (standard muffin sized).
Pop the raisins and currants into a little bowl and cover with some boiled water – to plump them up a bit.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Next beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then do the same with the almond essence and the zest. Then fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder until well-incorporated. Drain the dried fruit and stir this in, along with the mixed peel and flaked almonds. Then, finally, stir in the PX. The mixture might look a bit like it has curdled but it will be fine.
Spoon evenly into the paper cases in the tin, filling each to half the height (this should give you 9 – which then gives you one to test – I like even numbers!). Pop the tray into the oven and cook until light brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack.
I iced mine, as you can see, but they are equally delightful naked (the cakes, not you – unless, of course, that’s your thing). They are definitely even more delightful with a tea.
I used ready to roll white icing which I coloured. Then you can just cut out little ears from some other coloured icing. For the tail I used a little flower cutter and folded the edges up. You can secure them with a little icing sugar mixed with water.
Find more recipes at https://helskitchen.co.uk/