Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Raspberry Passionfruit Cupcakes

When I was a little girl, my family and I lived in a house that had a massive backyard (well it seemed that way at the time). In that backyard my parents took great delight in planting things that would yield food for us to eat. We had banana trees, which the cat enjoyed using as his personal scratching post. We grew strawberries and green beans in the veggie patch, which the dog enjoyed eating straight off the stalks. We had a peach tree, which never produced a peach worth eating. But we did have a lemon tree that fruited magnificently (which Mum frequently made lemon meringue pie from – a story for another day) and a passionfruit vine, which I regarded as my personal fruit supply.

I would watch with anticipation as the passionfruit flowers bloomed and bees buzzed around them, working their magic. Soon after, green fruit would bud in the middle of the flowers and I would conduct daily checks to monitor their progress as they fattened and ripened. The second the passionfruit turned purple, I’d pluck them, bite off their tops and scoop out the seeds and pulp with my tongue – then throw the empty skins on our compost heap.

As an adult, I have lamented the limit city living places on childhood pleasures such as these. But at last I’ve taken up residence in a house where suddenly a passionfruit vine is possible! This spring I’m putting up a trellis around a dangerous barbed wire fence designed to stop idiot tenants walking on the garage roof, and I’m planning on planting passionfruit vines at its base. I cannot wait to show my baby son the magic of growing our own fruit. Nor can I wait to taste the tangy sweetness of freshly picked passionfruit pulp on my tongue!

Raspberry Cupcake
250g salt reduced butter, cubed
2 cups caster sugar
1 tblsp vanilla essence
3 cups self raising flour
5 large eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking powder
350g frozen raspberries

Passionfruit Butter Cream
1.25kg pure icing sugar
175g salt reduced butter, cubed
120ml full cream milk
Pulp of 3 fresh passionfruit
Mauve Corella food colouring (or purple or even dark pink)
Silver cachous

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (160 for fan faust).
2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a large mixer. Mix on low speed until combined.
3. Add the flour, eggs and buttermilk, then mix on low speed to combine. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl sides down thoroughly to incorporate any of the butter and sugar mixture stuck to the sides. Add the baking powder, then start the mixer again, beating on high speed for 3 minutes.
4. Gently fold the frozen raspberries though the batter – do not over mix or the raspberries will end up mashed and the batter stained!
5. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with white cupcake papers and drop spoonfuls of the mix into each, ensuring the raspberries are even distributed. Fill the cups to two-thirds full for a good sized cupcake.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake tops are golden brown and the cake is firm to the touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.
7. Combine the icing sugar, butter and milk in the large bowl of a mixer. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase speed to high, beating until all ingredients are well combined (about 2 minutes). Mixture will be quite stiff at this point.
8. Stop the mixer and add the passionfruit pulp. Mix on slowest speed to incorporate through the icing – if it appears a little wet, add a dessert spoon of extra icing sugar one at a time to bring it back to a thick spread consistency.
9. Set three or four heaped dessert spoonfuls of passionfruit butter cream aside. Spoon the remainder into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tube. Pipe icing anti-clockwise around the top of each cake in a beehive shape.
10. Add three to five drops of mauve food colouring to the remaining icing. Mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star tube. Pipe star shapes of mauve icing on the peak of the passionfruit icing. Top with a single silver cachous in the middle of the star.
11. This recipe makes at least 24 cupcakes. They’ll keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.