Friday, 4 May 2012

Margarita Cupcakes - Or Get Your Cinco De Mayo On!!
I do realise that the 5th of May is really a celebration for the good people of Mexico but it has spread into the mainstream of US culture so I thought it only right and proper to honour the occasion with some slightly tipsy cupcakes...obviously this is strictly for my US bloggy pals, the rest of us have absolutely no excuse whatsoever for tipping Tequila into a cake mix...or frosting...hic!  Now, a cupcake is a thing of beauty: a single serving (assuming you can restrict yourself to just one) of cake which can contain the complete spectrum of cakey delightfulness.  It could be elegantly simple - like a vanilla vanilla, or completely decadent and OTT like a triple choc fudge.  As a general principle I have a few standard combinations I return to over and over with just the icing and embellishment reflecting the particular occasion they are celebrating.  My standard flavours are: vanilla bean, citrus (orange, lemon, lime or a combination), and chocolate.  For the recipe below I've started with a citrus base and then added a couple of things to both cake and frosting.  Just so you know, each cuppy has approximately 5ml (1 tsp) of alcohol in the frosting - I have assumed that it cooks out of the cake part.  Oh, and the pink cupcakes below are the 'virgin' version for non-drinkers and kids.
For the Cakes:
100g / 4oz unsalted butter softened
100g / 4oz caster or superfine sugar
130g / 5oz plain or all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 or 2 limes depending on how big they are - use a microplane if you have one
Juice of the limes you just zested
2 tblspns Tequila
1 tblspn Triple Sec or Cointreau (if you don't have any just increase the Tequila)
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  2. If you have a freestanding mixer just put all the ingredients in the bowl, beat on slow for about 30 seconds until everything is combined, then on medium for 2 minutes until the batter is pale and fluffy.  
  3. If you don't have a freestanding mixer, you can just as easily use a bowl and a wooden spoon.  Cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and 2 tblspns of the flour, beat again.  Add the alcohol and lime juice, beat well.  Then add the remainder of the flour, the baking powder and the lime zest - beat until the batter is pale and fluffy.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, level the tops slightly, then bake for about 15 mins (depending on your oven) or until they pass the clean skewer test.
For the Frosting:**
200g / 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
500g / 1lb 2oz icing or confectioners sugar sifted
2 tblspns Tequila
2 tblspns Triple Sec or Cointreau (if you don't have any, increase the Tequila)
Zest and juice of a large lime (use a microplane if you have one)
Zest of another lime cut into fine shreds for decoration
12 bendy straws cut down a little for decoration
  1. Using a freestanding mixer, beat the butter and sugar together - start slowly so you don't disappear in a cloud of sugar!  Once they are combined increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until very pale and fluffy.  Add the alcohol, the lime zest and juice and beat again for another minute.  Now, if the icing seems a little soft place the whole bowl in the fridge for 20-30 mins.  If it seems firm enough to pipe carry on with step 2.
  2. Pipe big swirls on the cupcakes using a medium open star tip then decorate with a few shreds of lime zest and a straw.
  3. Strike up the Mariachi Band and get dancing on your hat!
** In response to a viewer's question(!):  If you'd prefer to spread the frosting more thinly on the cuppies instead of piping it in a big swirl, you can either a)half the quantities and use an offset spatula to spread it...or...b)make the same quantity and freeze the bit you don't use.  If you put the left over frosting into a zip lock (or grip seal) bag, squeeze out the air, seal it, then wrap the whole thing in another bag or cling wrap, it'll last a good 3 months in the freezer.  Except it won''ll be making another batch of cakes way before then!!

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