Last week I was invited to a leaving party for a family friend who has moved to Spain for the year, what better opportunity to experiment with new flavours combinations!
So, where to start? What is Spain famous for? Tapas, Bull Fighting, Sangria – only the latter really inspired me flavour wise. After much deliberation, I decided that there are rather too many components in sangria to incorporate them all into just one cupcake (wine, orange, sherry, orange liqueur…) so I choose the two that Spain are really famous for, Seville oranges and Sherry.
I spent quite a long time deliberating making piñata cupcakes (filled with mini smarties – they look amazing and I want an excuse to make them!) but I decided that they are really associated with Mexico, I didn’t want people to think I’d made some horrific cultural mistake/mix up. As my family will testify, geography has never been my strong point!
So back to the cupcakes… I decided to make an orange cupcake by adding the zest of an orange and about 2 tablespoons of marmalade to the basic cupcake mixture and to focus the sherry in the icing (although I did add a little to the batter for good measure).
I filled the centre of the cupcake (method explained in the basic cupcake recipe) with mum’s yummy marmalade loosened with sherry until it was of dropping consistency. I replaced the lid of the cupcake and brushed it with sherry.
To the basic buttercream recipe I added as much sherry as I could until it was on the verge of curdling, this was a risky business but the buttercream needed quite a bit of sherry for the flavour to come through. I decided to use a Fino sherry as it is sharper and I thought it would be more effective at cutting through the sweetness of the buttercream.
I decorated the cupcakes with candied orange peel which is very simple to make. Peel an orange and cut the zest into strips, minimising the amount of pith that is on the peel. Dissolve 100g of sugar in 100ml of water, add the orange peel and simmer until the sugar/water mixture has reduced to a syrup. Remove the peel and toss it in caster sugar then leave to dry on a plate (preferably over night).
The result was an unusual but tasty combination – definitely a more adult cupcake! As the party was on a Sunday, I thought it could count as this week’s Sunday Smiley Cupcakes – we have been continuing the trend but thought we wouldn’t blog about it every week or we may start to bore you all!