Few months ago I found this recipe in one of our cookbooks. It’s called Bake-a-boo – the cookbook of a one of the cutest London’s bakery shops, and we know now there will be more treasures to be found in it.
The amazing thing about these dainty cakes is they are unbelievably fast to master, yet they are a kind of treat no one will be ashamed to put on the table for let’s say an afternoon tea party.
Not that afternoon tea is a meal and tradition popular in Bulgaria… in fact it’s not at all. But we’re fascinated and attracted to it, which is another story.
We adopted this recipe for a simple reason – ever since we started ShareMyKitchen our families and friends have been expecting “culinary miracles” from us… or at least to defend our foodie status. And therefore we are trying to deliver and even surprise them, while seeking to have fun at the same time. It’s usually quite easy when we know in advance we’d have guests coming for dinner and have the time for planning and cooking. But not so fun when a friend calls with “I’m in the neighborhood, see you in half an hour” notice.
So for moments like those, when we need an “instant” sweet treat, these cute cakes are just perfect. They are impressive, easy make and quick to master. They really don’t keep for long and this is the reason for the ingredients quantities, so to yield smaller quantity. Regarding the lemon zest over the icing, it also doesn’t keep for more than 2 hours without wilting.
Makes 6 middle sized cupcakes or 12 mini cakes
Prep and baking time: 20 minutes
150g/5 ½ oz butter, soft
150g/5 ½ oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g/5 ½ oz self-raising flour, sifted
Zest of one lemon
½ tbsp lemon juice and
4 tbsp icing mix* or
For the lemon icing:
450g/ 14½oz icing sugar, sifted
100g/ 3½ oz butter, soft
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp water
Zest of half lemon
*For these cakes I usually use readymade powdered icing mix, containing icing sugar and a small amount of dry egg white, which I blend with ½ tbsp lemon juice. For me it is the easiest way to decorate these cakes. But if you don’t like using this kind of products, or just don’t have it, I guess you’ll like the lemon icing from the original recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Line a 6-hole muffin tray or 12-hole mini muffin tray with paper cases.
Lightly cream the butter until light and fluffy, than beat in the sugar until just combined. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the vanilla essence. Gently fold in the flour, taking cake to not overwork the mixture. Fold in half of the lemon rind until evenly distributed, reserving the longer stripes for decorating.
Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for about 14 minutes for normal sized cupcakes and 10 minutes for mini versions. When golden take them out of the oven and cool in the tray.
Meanwhile blend the icing mix with 1 tsp lemon juice and when the cakes are lightly cooled, pour the mixture over the cupcakes and sprinkle the lemon zest.
If you prefer the classic icing – place the icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat in the butter, followed by the lemon juice a little at a time. Add the water to loosen the icing and mix in the lemon rind. Using a teaspoon swirl the icing over the tops of the cupcakes.