For those who don't know, St David's Day, on 1 March, is the national day of Wales. I've wanted to explore some traditional Welsh recipes for some time, but wanted to avoid the usual Welshcakes and Bara Brith ('speckled bread' - a fruit tea loaf). Traditionally, Tiesen Mel (honey cake) is made with cinnamon but as Mike doesn't like this, and my first batch therefore didn't get approval, I decided to play around and instead used vanilla. As I love making cupcakes, I also decided to make small versions and frost them, so in order to counteract what I anticipated would possibly be an overly sweet cake, I decided to use a lemon mascarpone buttercream (which in itself turned out perhaps a little sweeter than ideal). The result - Welsh Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Mascarpone Buttercream.
The cakes turned out fairly moist, almost fudgy, with a slightly toffee note where the sugar (I used soft light brown) and honey caramelised on the top. I really liked this contrast in textures, but Mike wasn't sure. We still thought they tasted nice.
Anyway, the inspiration for these was taken from a number of different recipes. I played around with the ingredients and measurements, so as much as anything, I think they probably are the first recipe I've developed myself. I hope you like them.
Ingredients (makes 12)
125g soft light brown sugar
125g softened unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
80g clear honey
1 tspn vanilla bean paste (or extract)
For the frosting
100g softened unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tspn lemon extract (I used Sainsbury's Sicilian Lemon extract)
Preheat the oven to 160 fan / 180 conventional. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well.
Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk gently to mix and aerate.
Add in thirds to the butter and sugar mix, and alternate with the buttermilk in thirds. You will get a fairly loose batter.
Add the honey and vanilla and mix till incorporated.
Scoop into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to continue cooling.
Make the frosting by creaming together the butter and mascarpone, then add the sifted icing sugar to get the consistency you like. Add the lemon extract (you could simply use lemon juice). Use the frosting and decorate how you like.
These Welsh Honey Cupcakes are just perfect with an afternoon cup of tea. Enjoy.