Monday, 3 September 2007

Rum Baba Cupcakes

These are delicious juicy little sponges steeped in a sugar rum syrup. I’m not a lyrical sort of person but the only way you can understand the joy of these is if you imagine eating a cloud - a cloud that’s full of sweet sugary rain.
Serve at room temperature with whatever floats your boat e.g. cream, custard, ice cream etc. In this picture – which can only be described as food porn – I’ve served them with lightly whipped vanilla cream (which is simply cream whipped so it just holds it’s shape, with some vanilla extract – repeat extract – I will not sully my cakes with ‘essence’. Nor should you.)

125g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
6 tablespoons hot milk
60g unsalted butter
Vanilla extract (put as much as makes you happy – I tend to go for 3 teaspoons)
450ml water
150g caster sugar
6 tablespoons rum
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

How to make:
-Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan oven/350°F/Gas Mark 4
-Take non-stick muffin pan (1 tray of 12 will be enough) or, if you have silicone cupcake moulds use those. Do not use any paper liners as they will disintegrate when you steep the cakes in syrup.
-Using a mixer, cream the egg yolks with sugar until pale and creamy. When the mix turns to a puffy batter you’ll know you’re there.
-Keeping the mixer running, add the hot milk, the flour, baking powder and vanilla. Mix until it looks smooth and well combined.
-In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff (i.e. you can tip the bowl and the whites don’t move) but not so stiff that they’ve lost their gloss.
-Fold the whites into the batter. Add one spoon of egg white first to slacken the mix and then add the rest. Folding is much easier when you use a metal spoon.
-Pour the batter (it will be runny) into the moulds – about ¾ full.
-Cook for approx 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. This is the ONLY way you can guarantee a cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and don’t be disheartened as your puffy little delights sink before your eyes. Be glad, as this will give you a much easier time of pouring the syrup over them.
-Leave to cool in the mould. This is very important.
-Now make the syrup. In a saucepan bring the water and sugar to the boil and then let boil for 2 minutes.
-Remove from the heat and add the rum and vanilla.
-Slowly pour over the cupcakes until all the liquid is used. At first it will look like there is far too much syrup but, if you do it in stages, your little sponges will eventually suck up all the juice.
-Keep the cupcakes in the mould until you’re ready to serve – this will allow them maximum opportunity to juice up. I’d also recommend keeping them in the fridge but make sure you serve at room temperature.
-Bask in glory at the wonderful things you have made.

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