Thursday, 23 August 2012

Maple and Baileys Cupcakes - Happy Birthday Anna!
Lately I've been developing recipes for cocktail cupcakes: some of them based on well known and loved mixes and some new ones. The first fabulous child of those endeavours is a cupcake that is highly addictive!  I made them for my sister in law as part of her birthday banquet...but she won't mind me sharing them here!  So, the cake itself has a resinous slightly smoked depth of flavour with the addition of some good quality maple syrup (please don't even think about substituting anything "maple flavoured"), while the icing is laced with Bourbon Vanilla and Irish Cream Liqueur.  Now, my preferred flavours are always on the bitter or sour side of the spectrum...and I love a good gin and tonic, but even I have fallen in love with these, I urge you to try them!

For the Cupcakes: 
150g / 6oz unsalted butter softened
150g / 6oz caster or superfine sugar
3 large eggs
195g / 8oz plain or all purpose flour sifted
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
60mls / 4 tblspns good quality (organic preferably) maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C / 350 F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for about 3 minutes until very light and fluffy. If you're using a free standing mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again briefly. 
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. If necessary scrape down the bowl and beat again. 
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add the sieved flour and baking powder. Once they are incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat for a minute or two, the mixture will become slightly paler. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the maple syrup, beat only until it's thoroughly mixed. 
  5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven, the tops should feel slightly springy to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
For the Icing:
200g / 8oz unsalted butter softened
400g / 1 lb icing or confectioners sugar sifted
60mls / 4 tblspns Bailieys (or other) Irish Cream liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract (Bourbon preferably)
  1. Cream together the butter and sieved icing sugar, pulse the mixture to begin with so you don't cover yourself in the sugar! Once the mixture is combined, increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes until very light and fluffy. 
  2. Reduce the speed to slow and add both the liqueur and vanilla extract. Beat well to combine. 
  3. Spoon the icing into an icing bag fitted with a medium round tip. Either start at the centre and pipe outwards, or pipe from side to side...just ├žos it makes a change from a swirly frosting!  Garnish with a few chocolate sprinkles and a piece of drinking straw so that your guests know which of the cupcakes are child friendly and which are strictly adults only. I challenge you to have just one!
Now, you'll see from the photo that I also added hearts as decoration.  These were made from some scarlet fondant I had left over from another project.  I simply rolled it out to about 2 or 3mm thickness, cut out the shapes with a mini cookie cutter and left them to dry on kitchen paper for about a week.  They store quite happily in an airtight box.  For more ideas on combining types of icing please click here .