I'm not a major fan of chocolate cake with chocolate icing (although there are exceptions), and much prefer the latter on a vanilla sponge. I have also realised that filled cupcakes are really making waves in the cupcake world, especially in America: it's no longer enough for cakes to be iced purely on top, we need something exciting in the middle, something you can't immediately see. (If this is your type of thing, do check out my Lindor surprise cupcakes!) You bite into it thinking "This looks like your average nice cupcake", and then BOOM! Custard inside to tingle your tastebuds. I luuuurrve custard. Perhaps its down to The Great British Bake Off, but recently I've been wanting to challenge myself in my baking and try something new - these were perfect as they aren't overly difficult to be honest, and I'm no Mary Berry.
This is a recipe I've adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book, and it makes eight cupcakes. The plain cake in itself is really delicious in this recipe. As ever, do take your eggs and butter out of the fridge a good few hours beforehand so they can reach room temperature. I made the custard first, but you could do it while the cakes are cooling if you felt like mixing it up.
INGREDIENTS - Custard filling
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
25g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tbsp cornflour
40g unsalted butter, softened
140g caster sugar
120g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
150g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder
60g unsalted butter, softened
Optional toppings eg raspberries or Malteasers
1. Start with the custard: Whisk the egg yolk, caster sugar and two flours together by hand in a bowl until smooth and well combined. Pour the milk and vanilla essence into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
2. Once the milk is boiling and rising up in the pan, remove from the heat and pour two tablespoons of the heated milk into the egg yolk mixture to loosen it. Stir it in, then add the mixture in the bowl to the rest of the hot milk in the saucepan, stirring to incorporate it.
3. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly to prevent lumps (school memories, anyone?). Boil for 30 seconds to one minute to ensure the flour is properly cooked. Once thickened, tip the custard into a bowl and cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming (again, we don't want good old school-style custard.) Leave to cool completely for about 40 minutes (conveniently, you can bake the cakes in this time...)
|The custard after being left to cool.|
5. Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
6. Place the remaining ingredients in a jug and whisk by hand, then pour three-quarters of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing till smooth and thick, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until combined and smooth.
7. Spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them by about two-thirds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes - they should be well risen, golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool completely.
|It's hard to resist eating the plain cakes by as they are!|
9. Using a sharp knife, make a hole in the centre of each cupcake about 2cm wide and 3cm deep, keeping the scooped out sponge in tact, Spoon the custard into the hole in each cake, then replace the sponge lid (trimming if necessary, but you can use the sponge to really push the custard down so the top of the cake is level.)
|Cut out the sponge...|
|...and fill with custard!|