I do like this time of year, so many things are in season and it is so hard to choose what to cook with and eat next. Also the best thing is little garden gifts from relatives – their homegrown produce. We have been growing rhubarb this year and we exchanged a few stalks with my in laws for some of their lovely gooseberries and blackcurrants.
I am terrible for hardly ever just enjoying fruit as it is, I want to bake it or put it in jam or vodka, or something interesting. Rather than enjoying it in season as it is. Blackcurrants and gooseberries are different though, they do need to be cooked as they can be quite tart on their own, especially the gooseberries.
I have a shiny new cupcake/muffin pan this week and it was sitting there looking all new, so clearly – it was cupcake time!
I have a favourite basic sponge cake base that I nearly always use for cupcakes, and believe it or not it is from a book of student recipes, entitled ‘Student Grub,’ I don’t really use many of the other recipes (you know the one for beans on toast..) but this one is quite good for adding things to.
I wanted colourful cupcakes so I pureed half the blackcurrants and put the rest in whole. The whole ones burst slightly in the cupcakes during cooking so you get lovely bursts of pure colour in the cupcakes. The gooseberries were cooked down in a saucepan with some sugar and also a stick of rhubarb I had and spooned into hollowed out cupcakes once they were cool. And obviously some of them had frosting too, yum!
Blackcurrant & Gooseberry Cupcakes
For gooseberry sauce:
1/2 stick of rhubarb (mine was quite thin so use 1/2 a normal size stick)
3-4 tablespoons of sugar
Top and tail your gooseberries and cut your rhubarb into 1 inch long pieces. Add to a non stick saucepan with the sugar and a very small splash of water. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the gooseberries are soft and the skins collapsed. Cool slightly and taste for sweetness, if it is too tart, add a little more and cook on a low heat and stir til the sugar is dissolved. Puree with a blender. Set aside for filling the cupcakes later.
100g unsalted butter
100g granulated or caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium free range or organic eggs
150g blackcurrants – 75g pureed in a food processor, 75g whole.
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to gas mark 6 / 200c / 400f.
Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in your eggs one by one. Then add in your pureed blackcurrants, and vanilla. Stir lightly to combine, then add in your flour and baking powder slowly and fold in. Finally add in the rest of the blackcurrants and stir lightly to combine.
Line your cupcake pan with cases. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons into each cup, enough to fill them about 2/3 full. My mixture actually made 11 because I was a bit generous on some and less on others, but that is ok!
Bake for 10-15 minutes until tops are golden brown, and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the cake (look they are purple inside!).
Leave to cool for about half an hour, then for the fun bit! Cut little circles out the top of the cakes, go in about 1cm down and pop the top off the cake. Fill with about a heaped teaspoon of the gooseberry puree and pop the lid back on. Now you can leave them as they are or add some buttercream.
I frosted a few of mine with the rest of my butter, think a ratio of 1 part butter to 3 parts icing sugar, and I added some vanilla extract too, real vanilla bean would have been lovely though. Or you can flavour them with more pureed blackcurrant or mix in some of the gooseberry puree.