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Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop: Coffee Cupcakes by Jane Linfoot

My partner always saves my books to read when we go away on holiday. And every year it’s the same. He’ll look up from reading my paperback, narrow his eyes, and say ‘actually, there are quite a few things in here I recognise…’

As a writer I can’t help weaving items from real life into the imaginary worlds I create. Invariably it’s my favourite things that pop up in my stories. And coffee cupcakes are a perfect example.

The recipe came from my granny. I’m sure she would have given the Bake-off contestants a run for their money if she’d still been with us today. Of all the delicious cakes she made, her coffee and almond one was my all time favourite. I love the way the sweetness of the buttercream is offset by the bitterness of the coffee. And the crunch of the butter-toasted flaked almonds on top is the perfect finishing touch.  She usually made hers as a large cake, but these days cupcakes are more practical.

In Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop (http://amzn.to/1U2fReI), head bridesmaid Sera often turns to Poppy’s cupcakes to rescue her at stressful times. The coffee cupcakes Poppy makes for Sera were inspired by my own real life favourites. Somehow they seemed the perfect choice as I was writing. Sophisticated enough for London bride, Alice, who’s a bit of a Bridezilla. And sweet enough to give Sera the sugar rush she needs to cope with a wedding which is threatening to career over the edge of the nearest Cornish cliff at any moment. Baked to perfection, by cake maker, Poppy.

To give you a taste of the book, here’s my recipe.

coffee cupcake 2

COFFEE CUPCAKES TOPPED WITH TOASTED ALMONDS.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

150g sugar

150g butter

150g self raising flour, sieved

3 eggs

Two heaped teaspoons instant coffee

A little warm water to dissolve the coffee

For the icing:

100g butter (softened)

200g icing sugar, sieved

Two heaped teaspoons instant coffee

A little warm water to dissolve the coffee

For the topping:

100g flaked almonds

 

Method for the sponge cakes:

  1. Preheat the oven, 170C Fan/ Gas Mark 5/ 190C Electric. Prepare a 12 sectioned cupcake tin with your chosen cupcake cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, using an electric whisk.
  3. Add the eggs, and mix again.
  4. Add the sieved flour, and fold into the mixture until it’s all combined.
  5. Put the coffee granules into a cup, and add a tiny amount of water. Mix until the coffee has dissolved, then add to the cake mixture. Stir gently until it’s all mixed in and the mixture is a uniform colour. You can very the amount of coffee, to give a darker or lighter cake.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling to about 2/3 up the side, to allow for the cakes to rise.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through. (Check by sticking a sharp knife in, it comes out clean when they’re done.)
  8. Place on a cooling tray, and ice when cool.

 

Method for the buttercream icing:

You can make the buttercream icing while the cupcakes are in the oven.

  1. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the softened butter and cream together.
  2. Put the coffee granules into a cup, and add a tiny amount of water. Mix until the coffee has dissolved, then add to the icing. Mix until the icing is a uniform colour. Use more or less coffee depending on how dark you’d like your icing.
  3. Spoon the icing into a piping bag, with the pipe of your choice. When the cupcakes are cool, pipe the icing in swirls on top of the cupcakes.

 

For the nut topping:

  1. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan, add the nuts, and stir over a gentle heat until the almond flakes are toasted and golden brown.
  2. Leave the toasted almonds to cool, then and sprinkle on top of the cupcakes as soon as they are iced.

 

As an alternative to almonds, walnut halves also work well with the coffee icing. You can pop these on top of the icing without toasting them

 

These are totally delish!!

Cofee cupcake

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