Fairytale Food is now on sale – hurray!
Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy – it means a lot.
I thought I’d share one of the recipes from the ‘Wonderland’ chapter – Alice’s Amaretto Cakes.
Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova
Alice’s Amaretto Cakes
Alice, bless her little stripey tights, is regarded by most of us these days as something of an icon. She’s young, striking, fearless, intelligent and witty, and an all-round decent role model for us girls. Of course, I wouldn’t actively encourage anyone to start plummeting down rabbit holes or strike up a conversation with a smoking caterpillar, but I do think there’s something to be said for having an adventurous spirit! I mean, life without a little bit of mystery and freedom would be very dull indeed, wouldn’t it? Alice certainly wouldn’t be the Alice we all know and love if all she did was study and play in the garden with her cat. My adventures are of course with food, and for me, any sort of culinary restriction results in sheer and utter panic. In particular, the mere thought of a life without a slightly boozy, cherry cupcake would be close to disastrous, so it’s just as well that Alice’s inspirational recipe for these glorious Amaretto-soaked cakes is ever-present. Phew, major disaster averted!
80g glacé cherries, chopped into small pieces, washed and dried
110g self-raising flour, sifted
110g softened unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ tablespoons Amaretto (to soak into the cakes once they are cooked)
60g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon Amaretto
(If you prefer a stiffer icing increase the icing sugar to 300g and butter to 70g)
edible glitter, pink sugar strands, cake flags (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5 and fill a 12-hole muffin tray with paper muffin cases.
- Chop, wash and dry the glacé cherries, then toss them in a little flour and set to one side.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Add the milk and almond essence and mix well.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add to the mixture a third at a time, mixing well to ensure that all the dry and wet ingredients are combined, then gently stir in the cherries.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tray, filling the paper cases about two-thirds full. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20–25 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown, springy to touch, or a skewer comes out clean.
- Place them to cool on a wire rack and spoon a little Amaretto over each one so that it soaks into the sponge.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream icing. Place the softened butter in a large bowl and whip it up, using an electric hand mixer. Add the icing sugar a bit at a time and cream it together with the butter. Next add the milk and Amaretto and mix well until you have a smooth, creamy icing.
- When the cakes have cooled completely, pipe or spread the icing on top of each one and decorate as you wish.
Don’t worry if your cherries sink to the bottom of your cupcakes. Washing and drying them and tossing them in flour should help prevent this, but it’s not the end of the world if they plummet like Alice down the rabbit hole – your cakes will still taste delicious!