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A couple of cakes

It was the annual Macmillan Coffee Morning recently, raising money for the cancer support charity.  I had a couple to go to, at Toby's school and at Theo's playgroup, so I flicked through my recipe books and came up with these.  They are based on a recipe from sensational cupcakes by Alisa Morov, which has all sorts of interesting flavours (green tea cupcakes, anyone?)  This is a lovely combination.

Apricot cupcakes with ginger buttercream



Cupcakes
50ml whole milk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
225g plain flour
190g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
200g butter
140g packet chopped dried apricots

Buttercream
200g butter
400g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
crystallized ginger, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170C.  Mix the milk, eggs and vanilla in a jug.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and baking powder.  Make sure your butter is nice and soft, then add it to the dry ingredients with half of the egg mixture.  Mix slowly until everything is moist, then on high speed for one minute.

Add the remaining egg mixture and mix on medium speed for another minute.  Fold in the apricot pieces.  Spoon into 18 cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until springy.  Leave to cool.

For the icing, beat the softened butter, icing sugar, milk and ground ginger together until fluffy.  Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes and decorate with crystallized ginger.


And this was going to be my recipe of the month for August, but I didn't end up doing a Monthly Munch.  It's an old recipe in my handwritten book; I'm pretty sure it originally came from one of my mom's American recipe books, either Betty Crocker or Better Homes & Gardens.  Interestingly, it produces almost the same texture of cake as the apricot cupcakes (using almost the same technique) but uses considerably less egg.  I made this recipe once, and it vanished so quickly I had to make another very shortly afterwards.

A word on both of these recipes: you really do have to make sure your butter or margarine is SOFT, otherwise you'll just end up with flour flying everywhere.

Busy Day Cake



85g / 3 oz margarine
200g / 6 oz plain flour
150g / 5 oz sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
6 fl oz / 200ml milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 190C.  Grease and line 9x9 inch baking pan.
Place softened margarine in mixing bowl.  Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add the egg and half the milk.  Mix until flour is moistened, then beat 2 minutes on medium speed.
Add the remaining milk and vanilla; beat 2 minutes longer.
Pour into pan and bake about 20-25 minutes.  Cool on rack.
Ice with buttercream as above, omitting the ginger or adding other flavours if you wish.  Decorate with sprinkles.

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