Last week Rooby, one of my oldest friends, came out to visit. In direct contrast to this week’s rain and gloom, Hong Kong treated us to a wonderful blue sky week. I had a brilliant time showing Rooby my city, being a tourist again, remembering why I love this place so much.
We went up The Peak, rode the star ferry, drank Tsing Tao at the highest bar in the world, and we ate, and ate, and ate.
One of my favourite nights, however, was a night we just stayed in. It’s so good to just do normal things with friends you don’t get to see very often. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the notion that you need to do special things, to make the most of your limited time together. Sometimes I forget that the best times with friends are often the simple times, just being together, talking about old memories, laughing over old jokes and making new ones together. Few people make me laugh quite like Rooby.
We cooked Nandos chicken at home, always our venue of choice back in England, and we baked these little cupcakes.
Like springtime in a cake, these lemon and raspberry cupcakes are wonderfully fresh and light. The perfectly suited the weather we were having that week.
The lemon sponge is bursting with fresh and freeze dried raspberries, the fresh fruit giving the cakes wonderful colour and texture, the freeze dried giving extra, intense raspberry flavour.
While they’re still warm from the oven, we drizzle over a lemon syrup, giving an extra citrus hit, and giving these cakes a delicious stickiness, like mini lemon drizzle cakes, keeping them beautifully moist inside.
They’re topped with a smooth, soft mascarpone topping. It’s unexpectedly light, unlike a buttercream, or a cream cheese frosting. Its sweet, but not overly so, and it works beautifully with the tang of the lemon.
As you bite into these cupcakes, you’re hit with a sensation of summer, memories of eating outside, thoughts of sunshine.
Lemon, Raspberry and Mascarpone Cupcakes
(makes 8 medium cupcakes)
for the cupcakes
120g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
120g self raising flour
juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons milk
60g fresh raspberries
3 teaspoons freeze dried raspberries
for the lemon syrup
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons icing sugar
for the mascarpone icing
180g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
additional fresh or freeze dried raspberries, to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180c/350F.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in the eggs and flour.
Fold in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Add the milk.
Finally, carefully stir in the fresh and freeze dried raspberries, being careful not to break up the raspberries too much.
Divide the mixture between 8 cupcake cases. My cupcake cases are medium sized, if you wanted to make larger cupcakes in muffin liner papers, you’ll end up with fewer cupcakes and may need to bake the cakes for a few additional minutes.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cupcakes are firm to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are baking, make your lemon syrup. Stir together the juice of one lemon, with 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. Heat over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Spoon about a teaspoon or two of the syrup over each cupcake while they are still warm from the oven. Allow to cool completely.
Once cool, make your mascarpone icing.
Beat the mascarpone until just smooth.
Sift in the icing sugar and beat until just combined. Fold in the lemon zest.
Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes, then pipe or spread onto your cupcakes.
Finish the cupcakes with more fresh, or freeze dried, raspberries.