There are many fantastic things about living by the beach in Hong Kong. Sunshine, fried rice, lying in bed listening to the waves, wearing flip flops in January…. However there are some things that just aren’t so great. Cleaning gecko poo of the walls and tourists peering in the windows on a Sunday afternoon are prime examples. The thing that perhaps annoys me the most though is my oven. Or perhaps more correctly lack of oven.
I do have something which claims to be an oven. It’s about the size of small microwave,looks about a hundred years old and has a door that doesn’t seal. If doesn’t get hot enough to really count as an oven, yet if you put the top element on everything burns on the top, if you put the bottom element on, things burn on the bottom. It’s a delicate balancing act, constantly changing settings, trying to save whatever is cooking.If you fancy pasta bake or toast it’s perfect. Anything more ambitious than that however is at best a challenge, at worst a disaster. This week has been one of those disaster weeks. I thought it was the perfect time to make bread. I was wrong. Several failed loaves and the odd tear of frustration later I returned to what I knew would work; cupcakes.
I’ve previously made cookies and cream brownies which were delicious and gooey with a satisfying cookie crunch. Similarly, anything which lets you enjoy cookies and cupcakes simultaneously must be good in my books.
To make them I used the same basic sponge recipe I baked with my Mum when I was little. It’s probably the first thing I learnt to cook, and one of the most reliable recipes I know. This recipe makes about 10 cupcakes, but is really easy to make more or less. Just make sure that you have double quantities of dry ingredients compared to eggs.
4oz self-raising flour
4oz caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa power
For the Frosting
2tbsp butter at room temperature
A splash of milk
Three crushed oreo cookies plus more to decorate
– Begin by creaming together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Next add one egg and a little flour and beat together. Do the same with the second egg and the rest of the flour. Slowly combining the egg and flour stops the mixture curdling. Stir in the cocoa power until everything is well combined. Put into cake cases and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and spring back to the touch. Take out the oven and leave to cool.
– While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Sift the icing sugar into the butter and cream together along with a splash of milk. Once you’ve got a nice creamy consistency, add in the crushed oreo cookies. I used the back of a spoon to crush mine up in a bowl, but you could use a food processor. Ice the cakes and top each one with half an oreo.