Lately I’ve embarked on a spate of baking. With the cooler weather there seems to be a never ending demand for cake. For school lunch boxes, cake stalls, afternoon teas and bring a plate get togethers. Whatever the request a tray of freshly baked cupcakes usually does the trick. Quick and easy to whip up with a minimum of fuss. Although I will admit decorating them has always been my particular achilles heel.
To sidestep the problem I have embraced the philosophy of less is more. Naked cakes adorned with nothing more than a lazy dusting of sifted icing sugar or a sweet syrup glaze. Occasionally for something a little fancier I’ll go all out with a piping bag and lashings of butter cream, although I much prefer the simplicity of a dollop of melted chocolate to anchor sprinklings of hundreds and thousands or cachous. Then there’s this glorious idea. No cake decorating required. All in one berry cupcakes baked with a blanket of meringue and a scattering of flaked almonds.
Raspberry and Almond Cupcakes With A Baked Meringue Topping
Makes 12 Cupcakes
Note: one standard Australian cup holds 250ml
For the Cupcakes
200 grams unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups self raising flour
2/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup raspberries, thawed if frozen
For the Meringue Topping
2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
generous pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup flaked almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
PREHEAT oven to 160 C. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.
CREAM butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until very light and fluffy.
BEAT in eggs one at a time until well combined.
FOLD in flour and almond meal with just enough milk to achieve a batter of dropping consistency.
WHISK the egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one tablespoonful at a time until the mixture is thick and glossy. Fold through a generous pinch of cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue.
SPOON the cupcake batter evenly into the paper cases, filing each case until about two thirds full.
SCATTER over a few raspberries, then spread over an even layer of meringue mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and brown sugar.
BAKE in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.