I decided this morning that a cupcake just wasn’t enough. I wanted a cupcake that was really a dessert.
I can make a pretty mean banoffee pie as it is, courtesy of my Mum’s recipe, which I normally make whenever a dessert is called for at any occasion. It’s a sure-fire winner, and is so easy to make. I needed a new challenge, and this was it.
First of all, I started with my basic cupcake ingredients. These are the usual things you need to make plain vanilla cupcakes. So far, so good. And set your oven to Gas Mark 5 to heat her up a lil’.
I found it at the back of a cupboard, cleaned it meticulously with an array of scouring pads, cotton buds and a toothbrush, and voila! Brand new. Except from the burning smell it emits whenever I used it. You get used to that though.
You need to pulverise the ingredients into a lovely sandy texture. I have provided a picture of said sandy texture incase you have no idea what I am wittering on about.
Once that’s done, you can move onto the funsies. Getting your mix on with your own built in utensils- your fingers!
Eggs, vanilla essence and milk have to be mixed together by hand in a wee jug. I like popping the yolks with my fingers. It feels like the slimey stuff you used to beg your Mum to buy you out of the Pound Shop.
Add 3/4 of it to the mixer on a slow speed, then add the rest on a higher speed, until its all mixed in just lovely.
Next, the ‘ban’ part of the cake comes into fruition. I’ll leave you with that fruit based bit of comedy genius there. Mull it over.
My Nan used to mash bananas up for me in a bowl with sugar and I LOVED it. Watching the fork smoosh the bananas down, wafting the smell up my nostrils, took me right back to her wee kitchen. Happy times.
Take your mashed bananas and tip them into the mix, stirring them in until they are nice and combined. Get all the stuff from the bottom of the bowl scooped up too, incase the mixer has missed it. (Again, not a problem I would have with a Kitchen Aid…)
Done! All you have to do to finish off the sponge is whack it in the oven!
I used yellow and brown cases. Banana and toffee, see? I know, I am brilliant.
This cupcake tray is from TK Maxx, the God of all kitchenware. I could spend all day just browsing through the weird and wonderful House and Home section in there. The clothes are crap mind you.
You need a muffin tray, because regular trays aren’t big enough for the cases, which are hearty and man sized, precisely the way cakes should be.
Oven Time! I never time my cakes, instead I just keep my eye on them and make sure they ain’t burnt. As a rule of thumb, I’d say 15-18 minutes usually does the trick. Give them a wee poke to see if they are bouncy.
When I started baking I used a knitting needle to test if they were cooked. Skewer it into the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s cooked! Sitting them out of the tray on a wire rack helps cool them quicker too.
The next part was the difficult bit. The cupcakes are topped with a toffee custard. I do not have a great track record with custard, as it’s usually as lumpy as an elephant’s arse, but God loves a trier.
My milk was put on to boil, whilst I mixed flour, cornflour, sugar and FIVE egg yolks in a bowl. Five! I now have five lonely egg whites in the fridge if anyone wants them.
Separating eggs is fun. Some folk think it necessary to use a fancy-dancy egg separator thingy from the Betterware, but the old finger utensils come in just as handy in this exercise too.
Mixing them together was hard, because it stiffens up pretty quickly. Don’t let anyone tell you that making cakes isn’t a workout! (Which means you can eat them guilt free, of course.)
Get that poured into the remaining milk on the heat, and get whisking furiously. You can’t muck this bit up because this is the crucial point in the custard making process. One wrong move and BAM! You’re out the game and left sobbing on the floor. Or maybe that’s just me.
Mine whisked into a very thick custard, and I added more than the recommended amount of delicious tinned caramel. You always need more than the recommended amount of this, and it is absolutely imperative to the baking process that you lick the spoon afterwards.
Pour the custard out (in my case, the custard thudded out) into a bowl or a tray, cover with cling film, and whack it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
I have to be honest, when I saw it, I thought I had ballsed it up. It is so thick and lumpy! But don’t worry! Stick it in the fridge and forget about it, I promise it will all come together just fine.
You have to give your lovely banana-ey sponges time to cool down before you lather them in custard, so open a window or door and let them take in the breeze.
The custard should set in that half hour, and then comes the double cream whipping (I did mention that these weren’t a diet version, didn’t I?) and the folding in of all the delicious goopy goodness.
Do not whip the cream into the custard though, but fold it in instead.
Now for the piping! I left my custard mix to set for a bit, although it didn’t make much difference. This is not conventional frosting, so it is very, very soft, and will slide through your piping bag. It looked like I had had a custard slinging war on my kitchen table.
Decorating cakes is always fun although I find you can’t do too much with flavoured cakes and toppings, because you don’t want to ruin the taste.
I just simply grated some milk chocolate all over the cupcakes, most of which fell onto the floor and was licked up by my little doggy, Ollie. He always tries to get in on the act!
More effort than your usual, run of the mill cupcake, but damn good!
If you want the full recipe, then just ask, or buy The Hummingbird Bakery’s amazing book, Cake Days.