Vanilla Cupcakes with Peach and Raspberry Jam Frosting

The most restorative things about spending time at my grandparent’s house is the ease and simplicity of familiar routine. Without errands to run, and very few  social obligations timetabled, the time can be spent studying crossword puzzles in front of the fire with thesaurus’ and encyclopedias scattered across collective laps.

Another reason i find it so refreshing, is that 80% of the time is spent focused around food; picking the seasonal crops from the allotment, washing and slicing the vegetables for the roast lunch, kneading homemade bread to rise and bake for breakfast the following day and even using the infamous “crumb collector” to clean away the remnants of freshly enjoyed toast.

One of my favourite moments, synonymous with every trip to date, is the silent scramble to lick the jam spoon after the last dollop has been used in the lull of the post-breakfast haze. Coupling the use of jam as flavouring for the frosting in this recipe, with recollections of the fantastic homemade jam my gran makes in the late summer, these cakes bring about a only warm satisfaction that only happy food and fond memories can create.

INGREDIENTS – 200g all-purpose flour  – 150g golden caster sugar  – 40g vegetable oil  – 1tsp vanilla essence  – 200ml soy milk  – 1tsp apple cider vinegar   – 3/4tsp baking powder  – 1/2 tsp baking soda  – 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F)

1. Mix the vinegar and the milk in a small bowl and allow to curdle. In a larger bowl, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla essence, adding the curdled milk once thick.

2. Gently sift the flour, b.powder, b.soda and salt into the liquid mixture, and beat together until smooth. You can use an electric mixer if you want to ensure a smoother result, with slightly less effort.

3. Carefully spoon the mixture into cake cases. Note that the batter will be runny, so expect drizzly trails on your bake tray. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until they appear golden and pass the toothpick test.

FROSTING

INGREDIENTS  – 180g icing sugar  – 1Tbsp flour   – 80g margarine  – 1.5Tbsp peach & raspberry jam – a drop of red food colouring – sprinkle of coconut/glitter/sprinkles

4. Soften the butter in a medium bowl, and slowly sieve in the sugar and flour. Next mix in the jam and colouring, and set in the fridge while the cakes cool.

5. When cooled you can use either a piping gun (or just a spoon and a knife) to ice the tops of the cakes, and decorate with your sprinkle of choice.

Nostalgia until the last bite.

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