There was a nice idea and theory behind these cupcakes, a chance to slap the cold, miserable days of January in the chops and taking a bite, let your mind wander, happily, to a warm, summers afternoon. They kind of succeeded, and kind of failed. But most importantly of all, they taste gorgeous!
They contain the fruit of summer - Strawberries, and also Bananas which, amongst their other many qualities, are high in tryptophan which aids production of the mood-stabiliser Serotonin and therefore in my theory will stop you getting any January blues!, the healthy goodness of rolled oats and oat bran so that you can feel no guilt at all from eating them ;), a hint of dark chocolate, and we all know that chocolate = happines! Topped off with with hazy warm sunshine lemon tinged buttercream. See, a recipe for complete January joy.
It's a nice theory, but the truth of the matter is I'm like a kid throwing whatever sounds good into a bowl and hoping for the best. In the recipe I made the strawberries get lost under the taste weight of the bananas. It didn't help that I had to use tinned strawbs as the local shop had no fresh ones (In January!?! shocking! - ed), and the cakes were quite sticky to the cases, although they were much better when chilled in the fridge. I'll come back to the idea of a taste-of-happy-sunshine cupcake in the future when I have more knowledge :) but for now, here's what you need and do:
- 250g Plain flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 40g Porridge oats
- 40g Oat bran
- 40ml Vegetable oil
- 60ml Milk
- 1 Free range egg
- 100g Light brown sugar
- 100g Strawberry Yoghurt
- 100g Strawberries
- 1 large or 2 small ripe bananas mashed.
- 50g Dark chocolate chopped small
- Preheat the oven to 180c/170c Fan/Gas 4.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
- Sift the flour, Bicarb, Baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Put the Milk, Oil, Yoghurt and Egg into a separate bowl and mix in the Oats and Oat bran. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Mash the banana and chop the strawberries smaller.
- Add the Sugar to the liquid mixture and stir.Leave for 5 minutes.
- Chop up the Dark Chocolate into choc chip sized bits.
- Add the Liquid mixture, the banana, and Strawberries to the Flour bowl and mix together thoroughly making sure all the flour is mixed in.
- Spoon or pipe the mixture equally between the muffin cases.
- Bake for 25-30 mins or until an inserted skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean.
- Cool in the tray for 10 mins, then transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Eat as they are or decorate.
- I used the Depression Era Buttercream from the Melting Moments (I'm an addict and wanted to see what it was like as a topping), but for a generous covering for 12 cupcakes you'd need about 190ml milk, 3 tbsp Flour, 165g butter, 165g caster sugar and 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract. I also added some grated lemon zest. I then took a third of this and added red and yellow colouring for the sun, and added blue colouring to the other two thirds.
- To make Banana and choc version, leave out strawberries, use plain or another flavour yoghurt. Drizzle with melted choc of choice.
Happy Happy Sunny Joy Joy!
One of the happiest, sunniest tunes out there - Katrina and the waves - Walking on Sunshine
Going back even further, a funky bit of Donna Summer - I Feel Love
Haha, sing along to the chorus of LFO - Summer Girls! You do know it! Oh yes you do!
Oh, I nearly forgot this! How could I??? Fuzzbox - Pink Sunshine
And now, it's time for pointing at your body parts! Yay! It's almost a workout if you point dramatically, a choice of the original Beach Ft Tia - Suntan with video, or the Freemasons Vocal mix without video!
And finally, grabbing the last bit of sun as it melts into the hazy horizon, Sunshot - Stop Me. (An awesome 90's band featuring Toby Bricheno on guitar, you know Toby! brother of Tim! Tim! Yes, Tim from All About Eve, Yes, that Tim! )