Baking: Hot Toddy Cupcakes

Yep, I’m on a diet. Nope, I shouldn’t be eating cakes. Especially not moist stick cupcakes, slathered in zingy sweet alcoholic icing, drizzled with tangy, spiced ever more alcoholic syrup.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.14.24_zpsc05yoh56.jpgBut these are SO DAMN TASTY.

Just the right amount of spice to warm, the right amount of lemon to make you feel energised, and enough sugar to add some life back in…these are wonderful winter bakes. With or without the whisky (I love the stuff) these are enough to chase away a cold, brighten up a miserable afternoon, and put a smile on anyone’s face. They’re like a hug in a cupcake.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.14.18_zpsjxfdtogb.jpg photo 2015-01-03 18.13.36_zpstsbxnxwo.jpgI like to avoid cupcake and proper cake mixing, as they are so much better when made with an electric whisk. I refuse to add to my kitchen equipment with one yet – my parents will undoubtedly disown me if anything else gets purchased. These were made using my boyfriend’s electrical items…and now he has a shiny purple KitchenAid (when are we moving in together?!) I’m hinting that he really doesn’t need a hand-held one too…BUT anyway, if you fancy making these by hand, have two as you’ll have burnt off enough calories!

 photo 2015-01-03 16.01.18_zpsf74tpdmm.jpgNow, there’s a lot of ingredients here, but the recipe is simple, many of them are easily found in the average cupboard (I had everything but the cloves). The amounts make 11 generous cupcakes – I reckon they’d be great as mini fairy cakes too!

Ingredients (sponge)

  • 120g self-raising flour (the advantages of a well stocked kitchen, I normally stick to plain!)
  • 115g caster sugar (again, I usually use ordinary granulated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 big teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 140g very soft unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon, along with two tablespoons of juice
  • Splash of milk, if the mix looks too dry

Ingredients (icing)

  • 150g butter, again very soft
  • 325g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of whisky

Ingredients (syrup – makes a little more than you need, add some to hot water for a warming drink!)

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons whisky
  • 3 cloves

 photo 2015-01-03 15.33.34_zpsthefjgq2.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.00.14_zpsofburr7y.jpgStart by making the sponge. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.03.53_zpstjrjfvzx.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.07.33_zpscribqyil.jpg photo 2015-01-03 16.08.59_zpsnasm0tcd.jpgAdd everything else (not the milk) and beat until combined. Add the milk if needed.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.09.07_zpsjqrikkdq.jpgDivide between cupcake cakes and bake for around 18 minutes at 170C.

 photo 2015-01-03 16.09.15_zpsfaq64jff.jpgWhilst the cakes are baking make the syrup; it needs plenty of time to cool. Put all the ingredients into a good saucepan and heat, slowly and on a low heat, until simmering. Simmer until you have a syrup-y consistency, but you don’t want the mix to darken – it will taste burnt if it does. Try not to stir (or it will crystallise) but instead swirl the pan from time to time. Pass through a sieve into a jug and let cool.

 photo 2015-01-03 17.26.40_zpszsl83aph.jpg photo 2015-01-03 17.26.49_zpssxzsmp80.jpgAnd while the cakes and the syrup cools, make the icing. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar in stages. Yep, this causes the kitchen to suffer a bit of a ‘snowstorm!’

 photo 2015-01-03 17.29.27_zpsf9kohue6.jpg photo 2015-01-03 17.29.54_zpstpe4h6gh.jpgOnce the icing sugar is all mixed in, beat in the honey, lemon juice and whisky. Taste and adjust if necessary.

 photo 2015-01-03 17.47.07_zpshtorltno.jpgAdd the icing to the cupcakes – I had a lovely boyfriend ready with his piping bag but otherwise I’d have just piled it on with a spoon. Drizzle over the syrup, and there you go.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.15.52_zpsuvxpdbwi.jpgZesty, spicy, warming cupcakes with the most delicious whisky kick. One of my best bakes.

Have you baked anything recently, or are you trying to be ‘good’ too? I promise I’ll be back to more healthy recipes soon!