Everyone loves a cupcake, and a fairy cake with its little cake wings is so pretty.
I recently picked up some sugar plums, a late summer fruit. These are delicate little plums, perfect for adding a sugar coating.
So with a nod to Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker and The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, here’s a recipe for little cakes with a sugar plum topping. I made 6 large cupcakes for the recipe, but you could just as easily make 12 small cupcakes.
125g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
240 mls milk
2 free range egg yolks
10g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 free range egg white
100g caster sugar
6 sugar plums or any small plums
Icing sugar for dusting
For the cakes, preheat the oven to 180 degrees For this recipe you are making 6 large cupcakes – you should get 6 good size cakes from the mixture. Put 6 large paper cases in a Texas muffin tin.
Put all the ingredients except the milk in a food processor and blitz till smooth. Add the milk while pulsing to make a soft, dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling the cases equally.
Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes are cooked and golden on top.
Take the cakes in their cases out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the creme patissiere, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and slightly thickened. Whisk in the flour and cornflour.
Put the milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour about a third of the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan with the milk.
Bring to a boil, whisking until the custard thickens. Cook for a couple more minutes to cook out the cornflour. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and whisk in the butter.
Pour the custard into a bowl and cover with cling wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming.
To make the sugar plums, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Whisk the egg white to loosen. Sprinkle the caster sugar onto a plate.
Dip each plum in the egg white, then roll the caster sugar to coat. Place the plums in a baking dish lined with baking paper and place in the preheated oven.
Bake the plums for about 15 minutes or until the sugar has melted and the plums are crusty.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, cut each plum into two, removing the stone. The sugar will melt after a few hours, but the plums will still be baked and sweet.
To assemble the sugar plum cakes: take each cake and cut out the top of each cake. Cut each top in half. Put a couple of teaspoonfuls of creme patissiere on each cake.
Position the cut cake pieces on either side of each cake. Place one or two plum halves into the centre of each cake.
Dust the cakes liberally with icing sugar before serving.