Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello sweet friends,

What a beautifully gloomy weekend. You won’t find me complaining about cool, rainy days. They epitomise my favourite weather perfectly. Give me a cosy fireplace, good book and cup of earl grey tea over long hot summers by the beach any time.

While I still don’t feel cold enough to put on my favourite boots, or wear any long sleeves (thanks menopause), the temperature has dropped enough to start thinking about warm, wintery comfort foods. Bring out the stews, bangers and mash and tasty soups for dinner. We are stoking up our fire and eating dinner in front of it most nights.

Winter is undoubtedly my favourite season and one day I hope to live where there are dramatic seasonal changes, cooler summers, no humidity and freezing winters. Surely I’m not being unreasonable?

I also like to shop and bake seasonally. Have you ever eaten grapes in winter? There is just something profoundly wrong about it, plus they never taste quite right. Our orange, lemon, mandarin and lime trees however, bulge with citric goodness, dosing us up with flu fighting vitamin C right when we need it. Pumpkins are another winter favourite and we often have a flourishing vine in our back yard.

I spend a lot of time daydreaming about new cupcake flavours. I love the challenge of turning brilliant flavour combos into cake. With this in mind, and in my quest to bring you delicious wintery comfort recipes, let me introduce the Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcake.

While I haven’t technically tasted a pumpkin spice latte, or ever seen one actually, the combination of home cooked, puréed pumpkin with aromatic winter spices and a shot of coffee is pretty irresistible in my books. Add a drizzle of caramel over the top and you’ve pretty much got heaven in a cupcake.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcake


Moist cupcakes made with real pumpkin puree and aromatic winter spices, topped with ccoffee swiss meringue buttercream. A perfect treat for the cooler days.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 2 tblsp cinnamon sugar, extra

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 300 grams butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee Granulated coffee or a double shot of espresso

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with 18 cupcake papers
  • Peel, cube and steam enough pumpkin to make 1 cup of puree. Mash when cooked and leave to cool while you make the cupcake mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, mix together eggs, oil and sour cream.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients - Flour, sugar, bicarb soda,baking powder and spices.
  • Add pumpkin to the wet mixture. stir until combined.
  • Carefully pour the wet mixture into the dry mix, stirring well with a rubber spatual until combined. Using an icecream scoop, fill cupcake liners until each is 2/3 full.
  • Bake in moderate oven for 18 minutes. Leave on a wire wrack to cool. Top with coffee buttercream. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired.

Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, hand whisk egg whites and sugar until well combined.
  • Place bowl over a saucepan with about 2cm filled with water (like a double boiler). Simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Place bowl in electric mixer, with whisk attachment, on high, until stiff peaks form.
  • Turn mixer onto low. Add cubes of butter two at a time. The mixture will deflate, then turn soupy and have the consistency of scrambled egs. This is normal. Eventually the buttercream will come together with a silky smooth texture. This may take up to ten minutes.
  • Add coffee to buttercream a little at a time. Keep mixing on low until well combined.
  • Pipe buttercream onto cupcake sand sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

I mentioned on an instagram post this week how I never tire of baking and photographing my cupcakes. It’s difficult to describe the joy and satisfaction it gives me creating these tiny works of edible art and styling them on their own little stage. It’s like telling a story without using any words.

Sometimes I chuckle to myself thinking ‘Oh my goodness Anna! They are only cupcakes, get a grip!’ But the reality is that they are  so much more than that. This little baking venture is my cup filler, my happy place, my window to the world of creativity that has nothing to do with raising children, keeping house and being a mum. And at 52 I just might be in need of a little diversion.

Ahh dear.

Speaking of diversions, the kids are all on holidays now and let me just say that I can smell adventure in the air! Not your run of the mill family adventure, but something extra special. Before you all get carried away thinking what an amazing mum I am to plan super fun things for my kids all holidays, I need to clarify that this is a Mum only adventure. That’s right, this is a ‘no kids allowed’ space and definitely a ‘no Mum guilt’ zone. While the dear sweet treasures will be having a lovely time at home with Papa Bear and the beach, Mama Bear will be taking time out to fill her cup until it runneth over, doing something new that will bring a taste of freedom as she gives herself room to stretch those wings and see if they can still fly. I can’t wait to share it with you. 

Until next week,

Love Anna xx

 

1 comment

  • I can’t wait to hear about your adventure Anna!! So exciting!! These cupcakes look amazing! I love sweets with pumpkin in them!! Xo

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