I had one of those days when I said to myself “I just want some cake”. OK, I say that to myself most days. But most of the time I resist and have something to drink (because most of the time when we feel hungry we’re actually thirsty) like apple and blackcurrant squash which seems to distract my mind away from cake. Other times I whip up some plain old sponge cakes, or some slightly unseasonal mince pies with the leftover mince meat. This time, I saw apricots and pistachios. I tried out a basic recipe with them just chucked in, they were OK, nothing spectacular and a little dry. But I loved the flavour combination, so I tried again. Here’s what happened.
I adapted a recipe for rhubarb cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery cookbook. To make about 16 cupcakes you will need:For the apricot puree 8 apricots 50g brown sugar 2 tbsp honey (I used orange blossom honey which was amazing) For the cupcakes 110g butter or Trex 225g caster sugar 2 large eggs 200g plain flour 70g ground pistachios 1 tsp baking powder 80ml milk or dairy free milk alternative (I used almond as it goes well with pistachios) ¼tsp pistachio or almond extract 50g ready to eat dried apricots, chopped small most of the stewed apricots A few dried apricots and pistachios chopped very small to decorate For the frosting 250g icing sugar 80g butter or Trex 50ml milk or almond milk a few drops of rosewater
This might look like a lot of processes but trust me it’s worth it.
To make the apricot puree, put all the ingredients in a small pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the apricots look mushy. Scoop the apricots out into a blender and whizz up, pass it through a seive and set to the side. (You can reduce the poaching liquid and pour the syrup into a sterilised bottle for a lovely treat on pancakes, in your porridge, anything!)
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160 for a fan oven. Line two muffin tins with cases.
For the cupcakes, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well after each addition.
Sift the flour and the baking powder into a separate bowl and stir in the ground pistachios. (You can grind the pistachios in a spice or coffee grinder) Alternately add the flour and milk, starting and ending with flour.
Stir in the dried apricots. Fold in most of the apricot puree, add as much as you like until the mixture is quite loose but not runny. Spoon in the cases about 2/3rds full. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden.
For the frosting, beat the butter in a stand mixer. Add spoonfuls of icing sugar while the mixer is going. Once you’ve added about half the icing sugar you may need to dribble in some milk to loosen it. Continue adding icing sugar and add the milk at the end to give the desired consistency. Add a few drops of rosewater at a time to taste.
Decorate with a sprinkle of the apricots and pistachios.
I took some to my friend’s for dinner. As I don’t drink I took some fancy looking Shloer, which went down very well with these!