Honey & Brandy Cupcakes

I do apologise for being so tardy with my updates on this blog. I’ve been busy with work and have just returned from a 2-week break in the UK. FInding the time to bake is becoming increasingly difficult with the projects we’re getting at Material World. Even when I do find the time to bake, I often find it hard to blog about it after.

I was determined to create something this weekend. Initially, I had planned to “practice” making a wedding cake – I’d offer to make a friend her wedding cake as a gift. Unfortunately, one of my springform pans is missing a base. Frustrated that so much time was wasted searching high and low for it, I decided to fall back on making a batch of cupcakes.

We bought a batch of raw honey from Camden Lock Market. I was curious to see how they would taste in a bake. I selected this honey from Greece that is supposed to taste of oak (although I would have no idea how oak actually tastes like).

I thought long and hard about the flavour of the buttercream. While lemon seemed like the natural choice, I was craving for something more sophisticated, more “adult”. Remembering that I had bought a bottle of brandy from a recent trip to Tokachi, Hokkaido, I decided on a brandy-flavoured buttercream.

The overall result: The cupcake had a smoky honey flavour that wasn’t as sugary sweet as your usual honey. The brandy added a nice warmth to the overall flavour profile. It’s a simple treat and it was the baking-fix I needed after such a long time away from the oven.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes 

I think this is more for the adults than for kids ...

I think this is more for the adults than for kids …

1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tbsp white vinegar topped with milk to make 1/2 cup
1/4 cup raw honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the buttercream 
Whites from 3 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
185g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, slightly softened
1 tbsp brandy

Steps: 

To make cupcakes 
1. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Whisk salt into the flour mixture. Set aside.

2. Whisk oil and sugar until the mixture turns pale. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until pale and fluffy.

3. Add milk-vinegar mixture, honey, and vanilla bean paste.

4. Slowly add flour mixture into the wet mix until everything is well incorporated. Distribute evenly among 12 cupcake liners.

5. Bake for 18 minutes in 170C.

To make buttercream 
1. Whisk whites and sugar in a bowl over gently boiling water until mixture turns 60C. Remove from heat.

2. Beat the egg white mixture in a stand mixer until stiff white peaks are formed.

3. When the meringue is cooled, turn stand mixer to slow and add in the butter bit by bit.

4. Beat the butter in until you get buttercream. Then add the brandy and beat until well incorporated.

5. Pipe the buttercream over cooled cupcakes.

What an exotic sweet! Using brandy from Tokachi and raw honey from Greece (though I bought it from Camden Lock Market in London).

What an exotic sweet! Using brandy from Tokachi and raw honey from Greece (though I bought it from Camden Lock Market in London).

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