Giant Spiced Apple Cupcake Surprise

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I was a little tired of the typical twee cupcake thickly coated with icing everyone scrapes off and throws out. (Dudes, icing sugar is expensive yo.) Instead, I went the other way and made giant cupcakes. The good thing is that this method cuts down on the bother of filling a zillion neverending cupcake cases. I made five in this recipe instead of the usual 15 or so. To make things a little special, I soaked some dried cherries in kirsch and filled the cupcakes with these little surprises.

The recipe itself is the same as the Orange Clove Cake, just that I added two grated apples to the cake mix for a fruitier, slightly denser and moister cake.

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Ingredients:

240g plain flour
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cream of tartar
½tsp salt
¼tsp ground cloves
170g butter
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 egg whites
½cup milk
2 red apples, grated

big handful cherries, at least 30
good splash of kirsch or vodka

Method:

  1. The night before, soak the cherries in the kirsch. They should be plump and juicy when ready.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  3. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and ground cloves.
  4. Beat butter and sugar till creamy. Add in the eggs one by one, beating in between each addition, followed by the egg whites and vanilla extract. Beat till light and creamy.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture and milk alternately till you get a thick batter. Stir in the grated apple.
  6. Fill up each giant cupcake case halfway, fill with a generous spoonful of cherries, then top with remaining batter till about ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 5.

Two Odd Vodkas

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Vodka is traditionally made from grains like wheat and rye. Trust the French to make it with grapes.  The five times distilled Cîroc I had was another novelty item at what was really meant to be a whisky night. I know it’s unfair to the vodka to say that it was bland in comparison, but that’s what vodka is like. Here, the usual clean and rather smooth spirit had a whiff of floral aromas, the usual smell of grape ferment. I wish I could describe it further but I wasn’t paying attention and was too distracted by the excellent single malts on offer that evening.

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Just to prove that I’m not such a vodka fan, this 50 cl bottle from Mongolia has been sitting around my kitchen for the past eight years. Despite doing the usual vodka shots and vodka watermelon at parties, it just hasn’t shifted. I think it means more that I need to have more parties.

Chinggis Khan is a wheat-based vodka. (In case you were wondering, Chinggis Khan is the way Genghis Khan really should be pronounced, it’d somehow got lost in translation/phoneticization.)  It’s pretty much top quality, exceptionally clean and smooth. Not much in terms of nose, unless you count the sting of alcohol. It was very warming and immediately set to work by tickling the back of my palate. Nice and tingly.

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[edited: 15 April 2009, 3.50 pm]