The sun might be out up here in Whitley Bay, but it’s a good 10 degrees below London temperatures during this so-called Spring heatwave. I venture into my sun soaked garden expecting warmth, but am greeted with a not very subtle nip in the air.
I was warned that it’d be chilly up here, and they weren’t exaggerating. I’m not feeling optimistic that i’ll be wearing sandals anytime soon. I’m still wearing a winter coat and buying snuggly blankets to wrap myself up in of an evening.
When it comes to food at this time of year, it’s hard to beat lemon if you want to express the uplifting flavours of spring sunshine. It’s probably one of my favourite ingredients in both savoury and sweet recipes, and obligatory in a post 6pm G&T.
These sunshine cupcakes are packed with lemon zest and juice. I probably went a bit OTT, but I like the punch of citrus as I don’t have an insanely sweet tooth.
They’re also a fun bake to try with the kids as they can help crack the eggs, zest and juice the lemon, do the mixing and of course have a go at decorating too. Why not bake a batch to jolly up the stall at the school bake sale?
I’ve created these super lemony cupcakes to celebrate the release of Annie on Digital HD, one of my all-time favourite childhood shows.
“The Sun’ll Come out, tomorrow, so you gotta hang on till tomorrow, come what may…”
My parents took me to see the show in London when I was really small, and I got the cassette of the soundtrack which I relentlessly played over and over again. My love of musical theatre began at that point I think.
My poor family were subjected to endless renditions of the songs from the show, belted out in my bedroom as I drowned out the cassette. I think I still know all the words. But i’m not really allowed to sing these days without getting told off for being embarrassing by Sam and Arlo!
The re-make of Annie, starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz is out on Digital HD on 20th April.
Serves: makes 12
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
For the cupcakes
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
125g self raising flour
1 lemon, zest and juice
For the frosting and decorations
250g icing sugar
1 lemon zest and juice
orange/yellow food colouring
orange jelly sweets
1. For the cupcakes: pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Fill a muffin tin with 12 orange/yellow cupcake cases.
2. In a bowl cream the softened butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one by one until combined, then add the flour, lemon zest and a tablespoon of the juice beating until smooth and creamy.
4. Put about two teaspoons of batter into each cake case and then bake in the oven for approximately 16-18 minutes. Insert a cocktail stick into the centre of a few of the cakes, if it comes out clean the cakes are done.
5. Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. For the frosting and decorations: beat the softened butter and icing sugar together with the lemon zest and a tablespoon of the juice until smooth. If it’s too stiff simply add a little more juice to make it fluffier.
7. Add a little yellow/orange food colouring and beat it into the frosting, building up the colour slowly until the desired sunshine shade is achieved.
8. Spread an even layer of sunshine frosting on top of each cupcake.
9. Cut the jelly sweets into even triangles and dot around the outside of each cake to form the sun’s rays. If you like you can scatter sprinkles in the centre. Serve on a plate for a summery teat-time treat.
Disclosure: I have been paid to develop this recipe and to let you know about the release of this film on Digital HD