Hanging on to the British summertime: Elderflower and Lime Cupcakes

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I’m not quite ready to let go of summer just yet – not in the kitchen at least. These cupcakes will perk up your afternoon with a lovely delicate cup of earl grey. To me, elderflower is the flavor that is quintessential of British summertime, and cordial (whether home made or shop-bought) is the perfect way to capture this all year round. Light, moist and zingy with the addition of lime zest and juice, they are the perfect antidote to those drizzly grey autumnal days that are boisterously edging their way in. Wait for a sunny day, sit by the window with a good book and pretend it’s July again… Makes 12.

Cake Ingredients:

225g Plain Flour

225g light brown sugar

225g unsalted butter

4 large free range eggs

Zest of 1 large lime (or 2 medium)

2 level tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

2 tbsp elderflower cordial

2 tbsp double cream

Lime Buttercream Ingredients:

200g unsalted butter

450g icing sugar

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1-2 tbsp double cream

Cake:

Preheat oven to 170C (338F).

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes on low, increasing speed to medium-high to incorporate a lot of air.

Add zest and continue to beat for 1 minute to unleash the oils.

Crack eggs into a jug (to avoid those niggly bits of egg shell getting in your batter!). Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, whisk to combine.

Add eggs in four stages adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture with each (to avoid mixture curdling). Add remainder of flour until just combined, being careful not to over mix.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and switching to a rubber spatula, gently combine the elderflower cordial and double cream to loosen up the mixture. Be sure not to over mix (the idea is to keep as much air into the mixture!).

Spoon into 12 muffin cases (each muffin case should be 2/3’s full).

Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of your oven, or until a cocktail stick can be inserted and removed with no raw batter attached.

Leave to cool while making the buttercream.

Buttercream:

In your stand mixer, beat butter on medium for 5 minutes.

Add half of the icing sugar and mix on low for 3 minutes, increasing speed. Tip: I like to first mix the icing sugar with a rubber spatula first to prevent a sugar cloud explosion!

Add remaining icing sugar in same way and mix for a further 3 minutes.

Add the lime juice and mix on low. Add 1-2 tbsp of double cream until desired consistency (should be fluffy and hold it’s shape for piping).

Mix for 2 minutes on high, then 3 minutes on the lowest setting (idea being to remove large air bubbles which can interfere with piping).

 

Decorate:

Pipe buttercream using a large, circular nozzle (or snip the corner off a sandwich bag as an alternative).

Cut long, thin strips of lime lengthways down the fruit. Wrap around a cocktail stick and hold for a few moments until it holds the curl. Cut thin, half-moons of lime. Place both on top of the cupcake.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Do let me know if you make them! You might ask what the point is of mixing the butter in the buttercream for so long, but trust me, little tiny air bubbles are what makes the texture so incredibly smooth, light and fluffy.

Enjoy!

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