I think that nothing says “I Love You” quite like a homemade or personalised gift. A cupcake is the perfect home baked gift, pretty, delicious and individual.
For my Valentine I baked cupcakes using Pixley Berries cordial in the cake and the icing, which gave a delicate taste of blackcurrant and a pretty pink colour to both sponge and frosting.
I am a huge fan of “posh” cordials and juices, it is all to easy to fall into the habit of reaching for a glass of wine at the end of the day, when a large glass of something non alcoholic can be just as delicious, refreshing and considerably better for you.
The delightfully named Pixley Berries are delicious blackcurrant based cordials free from preservatives, additives, artificial flavours and are made not-from-concentrate. Made from blackcurrants grown at Pixley Court in Herefordshire, the cordials are available in three flavours. Blackcurrant – a refreshing not too sweet cordial, with a lovely deep colour. Blackcurrant & Raspberry – is lighter, fruitier and sweeter than the 100% blackcurrant, with the flavour raspberries and pears clearly identifiable. Blackcurrant & Ginger is the most “grown up” of the cordials, with its nicely balanced hint of ginger.
As well as baking with them the cordials can be enjoyed with iced water, or added to white wine, fizz or gin. Also perfect as a winter warming hot cordial either simply with boiling water, or spruced up to a hot toddy with the addition of cinnamon, brandy or rum.
If you need an excuse to enjoy the cordials, blackcurrants are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C. According to research done by the Common Cold Centre in 2007, hot cordials can help to reduce cold symptoms too.
Pixley Berries Valentine Cupcakes
(Makes 10 small cupcakes)
For the Cakes
1 egg (free range please)
75g plain flour (or use self raising and omit the baking powder)
62g butter or baking margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 dsp Pixley Berries blackcurrant cordial
Few drops pink food colouring (optional)
Add the eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt to a bowl and beat with a hand whisk until blended. Add the cordial and briefly mix again. The batter should be loose enough to dollop off a spoon.
Line a bun tin with fairy cake cases. Fill each case 2/3 with batter and bake at 190C / GM 5 for about 12 minutes.
For the Frosting
If you will be spreading rather than piping your frosting you will need rather less.
250g icing sugar
1 – 2 tbs Pixley Berries blackcurrant cordial
The secret to fluffy buttercream is to beat the butter really well before you add any sugar. I have also recently learnt the hand trick of making butter cream in the food processor to prevent the kitchen being covered in clouds of icing sugar. You can make it with a hand mixer, but will need to add the icing sugar slowly to the butter.
Put the butter in the food processor bowl and process for a minute or so, until soft and fluffy. Pour in the icing sugar and cirdial, put the lid back on and cover with a damp tea towel, and process again. Scrape the sides down adding more cordial or icing sugar if needed and process again.
Decorate your cakes, using sprinkles and lovehearts.
Both raw cake batter and the frosting freeze well.
Pixley Berries cordials are available from Waitrose and fine food shops nationwide, 500ml bottles retail at £3.19.
Thank you to Pixley Berries for my free samples of the cordials.