Who else has been watching The Great Comic Relief Bake Off? I'm so glad to see the Bake Off tent back on my screen alongside the fabulous Mel, Mary and Paul. We're only two episodes in but already I've been laughing out loud - especially at Dame Edna and Jonathan Ross' attempts at baking. I've also been inspired to get back in the kitchen, particularly as the rest of last week's bakers (Zoe Sugg, Gok Wan and Abbie Clancy) were all so talented! I had a major craving for cake (or even just cake mix) watching them create cupcakes and cake-buildings but had to wait until I was back in my flat this weekend before I could get creating.
I know a few people who have given up chocolate for Lent, so I decided that these cakes would have to be chocolate free in order to be fair (sorry to anyone who's given up cake though!). I thought I'd try something a little different, and inspired by one of my favourite treats (the classic Bakewell Tart) I decided to use almonds and cherries on these vanilla cupcakes.
The sponge is gluten free but feels and tastes exactly like normal sponge. The cakes are light and springy and the perfect sweet pick-me-up for a February weekend (or a snack to keep you going while watching the Bake Off!). The cherry jam is the perfect addition - great flavour without being too sweet- and the crunchy flaked almonds really finish them off. Plus the glacé cherry on top makes these proper cupcakes in my opinion...
To make 12 cakes, you will need:
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
115g self raising flour (I used plain gluten free and added an extra 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
1/4tsp baking powder
1/2tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream icing
65g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
Paper cake cases, a cupcake tray
(Basic recipe adapted from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking, Linda Collister)
1. Get together your ingredients, taking butter and eggs out of the fridge in advance if necessary. Lay out the paper cake cases in the tray. Turn the oven on to 180°c.
2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs and milk into a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add the vanilla extract. Beat the mixture together with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until smooth and light.
3. Use a spoon to put the mixture into the cases as evenly as possible, then place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Once baked to a light golden colour, take the cakes out of the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool fully - it shouldn't take much more than about 15 minutes if you're impatient like me!
5. Use a teaspoon (or the baking measurement ones are ideal) to dig out a small hole in the top of each cake. Fill each one with about a teaspoon of cherry jam. (Feel free to eat all the excess sponge - for tasting purposes, of course!)
6. Make the buttercream by putting the butter into a mixing bowl and beating with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until creamy and pale. Sift in the icing sugar and add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat everything together until smooth.
7. Use a spoon to drop the icing onto the top of each cupcake and then use a flat knife to spread it, taking care not to drag the jam through the icing.
8. Finish off by decorating each cake with a glacé cherry and a sprinkle of flaked almonds.
What do you think? What have you been inspired to make thanks to the Great Comic Relief Bake Off?