150g soft unsalted
150g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
120g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp milk
For the filling
Raspberry jam made with 100g fresh raspberries
1 tbsp lemon juice, or use 150g shop-bought jam
For the icing
400g icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
Juice of 1 lemon, strained (use the lemon that was zested earlier)
12 glacé cherries – use different colours for the wow factor
A 12-hole muffin tin
12 greaseproof paper muffin cases.
The ones I use have a bottom diameter of 50mm, top diameter of 80mm and are 44mm high. I use white cases, as I like the stark look of the cherries on an all-white backdrop. A cupcake corer will cut out a neat well for the jam, but if you don’t have one, carefully use a small, sharp knife instead.
These little cakes pay homage to the Cherry Bakewell, a tart that is thought to originate in Bakewell in Derbyshire in the mid-1800s. The Cherry Bakewell had an almond-flavoured fondant topping with a single half glacé cherry on top. These cupcakes are made from lemon- and almond-flavoured sponge with a raspberry jam centre, topped with an amaretto-flavoured icing. If you want to make them for children, replace the liqueur with an extra teaspoon of almond extract and lemon juice. If you are low on time, it’s fine to use good-quality shop-bought raspberry jam. Take a little time when icing them to fill them all consistently and gently press a whole glacé cherry bang in the centre. I always take a box of these when going to visit friends or need to make an entrance. They never fail to impress on all levels!
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/320°F/gas 4.
2 Place a muffin case in each hole of your muffin tin.
3 Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy; this takes about 5 minutes in a kitchen mixer fitted with a paddle, or a little longer with a hand mixer. Add the flour, almonds, eggs, baking powder, lemon zest, almond extract and milk, and mix well until combined.
4 Next, I put the cake mixture into a disposable piping bag, cut the end off the piping bag and pipe the mixture into each muffin case. Don’t fill each case more than halfway – we want the sponge to rise but leave room at the top of the case to hold a good quantity of icing later on. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the tops are firm and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out completely clean.
5 Remove the cakes from the oven, take them out of the tin and immediately place them on a wire rack to cool.
6 Once completely cooled, use a cupcake corer to remove a piece of sponge from the centre of each cake. Fill the hole with about 1 teaspoon of jam and push the core back in.
7 To make the icing, place the icing sugar, almond extract and amaretto in a bowl. Add the lemon juice a little at a time and stir until you have a thick, smooth, glossy icing. Add a few drops of water if you don’t have enough lemon juice to achieve the right consistency.
8 Spoon some icing on the top of each cake, until it’s perfectly level with the top of the case, and place a whole glacé cherry in the middle of each one. Take your time here and make them all look the same for a stunning set of cupcakes. Leave the icing to set for a couple of hours or overnight before enjoying.
Recipe courtesy of Luis Troyano. Troyano's new book 'Bake it Great' is out 20th August, published by Pavilion.
Recipe photography: Clare Winfield