Sometimes I bake because it makes me happy, but most of the times I bake as it makes other people happy too. If I ate everything I make solely myself, my ass would be the size of China by now, so happily sharing my love of food with others serves three purposes: I get happy, they get happy, ass stays smallish.
The first sign of slight springiness came yesterday, when I managed to arrive home and it was still daylight, something which hadn't happened since last autumn, and which made me so happy that I decided to bake something to celebrate. My partner having been away for business for the week (in Athens nevertheless, which was unusually snowy but still full of my friends and family that HE was having fun with!) I was in food-smell-welcoming mood, so I decided to go for something he would prefer, and as he's a lemon nut (lemon cake, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart anyone?) I decided to make some lemon cupcakes. As our downstairs neighbour had given us some limes (she works in various events around London, and this week they were promoting, well... of all of things, limes...!) I decided to try a twist on the traditional, and I also added some lavender for good measure, making this the "triple L cupcakes" - Lemon, lime and lavender all in one!
I got inspired by this recipe from James Martin, who is a chef I really like, he's such an amicable guy and always makes me laugh with his additions of endless butter in Saturday Kitchen, and his usual "and if I was a Michelin star chef I would do this little thing with the spoon like that" (at which he does a fancy swirl/splat in the plate, which actually ends up looking pretty Michelin-star-chefy!). I found it bizarrely ironic that the recipe doesn't have butter (how on earth can it be a James Martin recipe? I was so shocked I almost went and licked a stick of butter!) but oil instead, and went for it... The house smelt lovely when the other half arrived, and the cupcakes were quite cute, although they got hard quite quickly. I think next time I'll substitute the oil with butter, (or even better, swede!) but for the time being, here's my adapted recipe, and the first sprigs of spring!
Lemon, lime and lavender cupcakes
Source: James Martin
- 2 eggs
- 85g caster sugar
- 240ml milk
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 300g plain flour, sifted
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 lemons, zest only
- 1 lime, zest only
- 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
For the icing
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 lemon, juice only
- a few dried lavender flowers to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C, and put some paper cupcake cases in a 12-muffin/cupcake tin. Mix the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the milk and oil and combine well. Gradually add the flour mixed with the baking powder, salt, lemon zest and lime zest. Spoon the mixture into the cupcakes cases and bake for 25-30 minutes.
In the meantime make the lemon icing by mixing the sugar with the lemon juice quickly with a wooden spoon. Cool in the fridge until the cupcakes are out of the oven and totally cooled. Spread the icing over the cooled cupcakes and decorate with the lavender flowers.