It has been pouring here in Hyderabad…all through the weekend….and though I love the rains, I know it must have played spoilsport for all those who had major plans for the long weekend…. But with my better half working the most odd hours, I have so much time on my hands that sometimes it drives me insane….( I am not a TV watcher)…. That leaves me with enough time for my experiments in the kitchen…..
Hot on the heels of my earlier post on hot cross buns, come the cupcakes I made to celebrate Easter…. I saw Deeba’s little chocolate cupcakes….and I had to try my hand at icing….I’ve never done it before…and am very wary of the butter and cream and sugar it involves….but what the heck!! It was for Easter….browsed around (as has become mandatory before entering the kitchen these days) and got loads of ideas from many websites with special cupcakes for Easter….. Check out this site for some fabulous ideas to decorate cupcakes and this one too…..
I’ve made cupcakes a couple of times and they’ve all been enjoyed…. But I wanted to try another recipe….after all the browsing I did, I settled for what looked like a really interesting recipe from a lovely book simply called The Cookie book (it has some cup cake and brownie recipes too). I have previously baked the date and fig ravioli and the chocolate pinwheels from this book….it has more than 300 recipes and they look very simple with easily available ingredients….. I chose to make honey and yoghurt cupcakes. Flavoured with nutmeg, and sweetened with honey, I made them using whole wheat flour and they turned out excellent. The flavor of the nutmeg is wonderful and the honey is so subtle…..this isn’t one of those cloyingly sweet recipes but the flavours are all very subtle…. I was in a great dilemma about icing them….. they deserved to be eaten on their own….but I started off wanting to decorate them…so I did….and they were good iced too…. I added the least amount of sugar possible…so as to not overpower the flavor of nutmeg….and it worked….the icing is buttery and mildly sweet…and the flavor or nutmeg is what remains long after you’ve gobbled it all up!!
I spent about half an hour with the icing all 12 cupcakes….I figure I will get better with time…..from whipping the butter to the final product…..I got hassled because I couldn’t figure out how to get the icing nozzles into the icing cone (I used butter paper) since I have only one icing bag and I needed more for the colours that I was going to use….. I restricted the colours to just two…pink and yellow (not my favourites) to signify spring (k was so appalled with the colours!!) and to ensure I didn’t go insane with all the icing bags!! All in all, it was fabulously fun!! It was to me what playing with paint for the first time is to a child!! I was upset when I ran out of cupcakes!! I will do this again am sure….it’s just too much fun!! Of course I agonized over the pictures online, because of the many thousands of sprinkles and sugars and what not that is available abroad….. So after I finished, I sat down and made a list of things I am going to ask a friend to bring for me on her trip to Hyderabad from America ….. There’s a lot that can be done with whatever is on hand….but still I would love the indulgence of excesses!!
Yoghurt honey muffins
4 T butter
8 T honey
1 cup natural plain yoghurt
1 T grated rind of lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup plain All purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used ashirwad chapatti Atta)
1 ½ t bicarbonate of soda
½ t grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C, grease 12 muffin tins (I used two pans with 6 muffin indentations each) or line with muffin cups
Melt the butter and honey in a pan and set aside to cool slightly
In a bowl whisk together the yoghurt, egg, lemon rind and juice.
Add the butter and honey mixture
In another bowl sift together the flours, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg. Fold in the dry ingredients into the yoghurt mixture just enough to blend them.
Fill the muffin pans 2/3 full and bake for 20 -25 minutes till a tester comes clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Butter cream icing:
Beat to a smooth consistency 2/3 cup white butter and add 2 T of icing sugar and whisk till blended.
Divided this into 3 equal parts and mixed a drop of yellow and pink liquid food colour in one part each, leaving one portion white.
I made cones using a triangular piece of butter paper and filled it with the cream icing, snipped off the point to pipe away.
For the chocolate ganache icing:
Melt ½ cup of chopped dark / bitter chocolate with 2 T of white butter.
Mix to blend well and add 1 T of icing sugar (optional). Set aside to cool. Put it into a piping bag if you want to make designs.
To decorate the cupcakes, I covered the tops of the cupcakes, half with white butter cream and half with chocolate ganache using a butter knife. Piped designs onto them with the piping bags and decorated with coloured candy and sprinkles.