sunflower cupcakes

30 Apr

Cupcake maths:

Healthy courgette cupcakes + cream cheese icing = totally suitable for breakfast

One bowl, one spoon cupcake mix + fancy piped flowers = minimum effort, maximum effect

Cupcakes normally suffer fom being too sweet, too dry, too boring. Just a vehicle for towers of icing. They look pretty. But are really kind of stupid.

These are intelligent cupcakes, made with sunflower oil and brown sugar and yoghurt. Grated courgettes for subtle flecks of green to avoid a dry base. A handful of sunflower seeds for crunch, and because, why not?

The best thing about them is the pretty flowers on top. Proper buttercream piped in petals and stars and swirls. (It is possible that I am practising for my pastry exam…) The icing is coloured with turmeric and cocoa for bright cool sunflowers, because I was lacking in food colouring. It makes them quirky, beautiful, nutritious. This is a balanced cupcake. Good math.

Sunflower cupcakes

makes 12 medium sized cupcakes

60 ml ( 1/4 cup) sunflower oil

1 egg

125ml (1/2 cup) yoghurt

70g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar

100g (1 cup) grated courgette

zest of 1 lemon

190g (1  1/4 cup) flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

50g (1/4 cup) sunflower seedor mix of seeds

for the icing: 100g cream cheese

50g soft butter

100g icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 175C. Grease a muffin tray / line with cupcake cases.

Mix the oil, egg, yoghurt, sugar and zest. Gently pat the grated courgette dry with a paper towel. Stir in. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, then the seeds. Dollop into cases, smooth. Bake for 18-20 minutes until firm, a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Whisk cream cheese and butter together until very smooth. (If the butter is not soft enough, it might go lumpy. In that case, put the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water for a few seconds and whisk again. Do not heat too much or the butter will melt.) Whisk in sugar and lemon juice. Put 1/3 of the icing in a separate bowl, stir in cocoa. To the remaining 2/3 add the turmeric.

When the cupcakes are perfectly cool, ice them. You need a piping bag and a fine star tip. (Or else, use a sturdy sandwich bag, cut a small hole off the corner.) For the petals, pipe a blob then gently pull back your hand to make the point of the petal, without pressing on the piping bag. For the centre, pipe lots of little starry blobs. The yellow will be more runny than the brown.

What do you think?

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