These were the happiest accident, ever. They happened at the end of a long day baking on commission – I found myself with leftover odds and ends of just about anything and I was determined to find a way to use it all.
Coconut and I have always gotten on in a pretty casual sort of way. You know, like that person you know down the road who you see on the same bus sometimes; they’re alright and you vaguely mean to get to know ’em a little better but you just never quite get around to it. It’s not that I have anything against coconut; I just never get around to it.
This is cold weather food right here. Right now, it’s late, I’ve had two car rides and two train journeys to get home, the wind is battering the windows and rain is trying to drill a hole in the pavements outside – I have a feeling that nights like these are what make these gorgeous, gooey centre cakes even better.
These were as difficult as hell to make. I’m not kidding. But -goddamn. Everyone needs to try one of these, at least once in their lives.
Here’s how I interpreted their genius!
Meringue Batter Cake:
250g plain flour
Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Large Egg Whites (I was terrible and got the egg whites in a carton)
300g White Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Buttercream:
360g Butter (yes, really)
125g Smooth Peanut Butter (more could be added, to taste)
Couple Dashes Vanilla Extract
900g Confectioners’ Sugar
125ml Double Cream
Strawberry Jam of your choice
1. Preheat your oven! If it’s a fan oven, like ours, I’d try about 160 degrees celsius. Go for 180 if it isn’t fan-endowed. Look apprehensively around your kitchen, wonder if you have enough bowls.
2. Line cupcake trays. You’ll be expecting to make about twenty four of these things so please ensure that you have enough people around to eat them. Use cute cupcake liners.
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In another large bowl, blitz the milk and egg whites together with an electric mixer, ’til they’re about halfway towards doing that magical meringue mix thing. Then leave them be. This will work out, honest.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR BUTTER IS SOFT. Otherwise you will end up finding this bit very hard – blitz the sugar, vanilla and butter together in yet another large bowl, electric mixer again. Blitz the crap out of them, seriously – three minutes so that the mix is all super light. Now, do this: add half the flour, and keep blitzing. Half the eggs, keep blitzing. Rest of the flour, keep blitzing, rest of the eggs. Now blitz that stuff til it’s perfect enough to make angels cry. Movie cupcake batter, that’s what you want to see. Take two or three minutes after all the ingredients have been combined.
6. Spoon the mixture into your cleverly pre-prepared cupcake liners in the cupcake trays (you totally already had that done and didn’t have to go do it all of a sudden, huh?) Aim for each cupcake liner to be a little over half full.
7. Stick those lovely things in the oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes (mine took twenty). Keep an eye on them. They’re done if when you stick a knife in them, the knife slides out clean.
8. While the cakes are baking, it’s icing time yo. Room temperature (i.e. soft) butter and peanut butter go in a big bowl together, and you get that electric mixer out again – you know what to do at this stage. Blitz that shit til even, then at a low speed dose it up with icing sugar gradually til the whole lot is in there. As you get to the end, you’ll find the sugar is starting to roughen up the icing texture because there is so damn much of the stuff. That’s what your cream is for – add it into the blitzing mixture til you have some pretty, lightly peanut coloured buttercream that looks smooth and ready to go.
9. When your cakes are out of the oven, let them stand for at least twenty minutes, then go at them with – if you have it – an apple corer! (If not just use a knife and your genius, you’ll be alright.) You need to ‘core’ a centre into each little cupcake. Then fill that core with jam to your taste. Spread a little on the top of the cake, too.
10. When the cakes are completely cool, you can pipe, spoon, spread or fling your icing onto the top of them. As you can see from my pictures, I had no piping so I spooned it on unashamedly.