Cherry Whim-Wham Cupcakes

baking, cupcakes, recipe

When I was little and growing up in Yorkshire, sometimes as a treat my family and I would take a drive to a place called Brymor Farm in Masham for ice cream.  It may have been a quite few years ago now but I can still remember the taste of my absolute favourite flavour, Cherry Whim-Wham, which was vanilla ice cream rippled with cherries.  Now, while I still believe the ice cream can’t be beaten, I didn’t think it would hurt to pay tribute to it with a cupcake!  The result – a light little sponge rippled with cherry compote, and topped with light and fluffy vanilla buttercream with more hints of cherry.

The first thing you need to make is the cherry compote.  You could buy it but there’s something about home-made that makes this extra tasty.

You’ll need:

  • 400g cherries (fresh are better, I tried frozen but they tasted a bit over-ripe)
  • 110g caster or granulated sugar

Chop your cherries in half, removing the stones, and pop in a pan with the sugar over a medium heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, pressing the berries with a spoon to break them up and release the juice.  You want the mixture to thicken slightly – when it’s done so take it off the heat and blitz it up with a hand blender so it’s nice and smooth.  Have a taste – if it’s too sour add an extra sprinkling of sugar, if it’s too sweet add a squeeze of lemon.

Now it’s time to move onto the cupcakes themselves.  I’ve just gone for a standard mixture, so feel free to use your favourite, most reliable vanilla sponge recipe instead.  These ingredients will make 12 cakes:

  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter/stork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarb
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons milk

To start, preheat your oven to 170 C and pop 12 cases into cupcake tins.

Put all your dry ingredients in a large bowl, or freestanding mixer, add the butter and eggs, and beat for a minute or so til combined.  Add the milk and vanilla and give it another good mix – it should look light and creamy.  That’s your cupcake mix done!  Divide spoonfuls of it between the cases so they’re about two thirds full.  You don’t need to be too fussy about smoothing out the mixture though, dollops are fine.

Now it’s time to add the ripple effect.  If you’d rather a stronger cherry hit, then feel free just to bake your cupcakes simply as vanilla, then pipe cherry compote into the middle of the cakes once they are cool.  I think rippling the cherry is more fun, and truer to the ice cream flavour I’m trying to recreate, so here’s how to do it.  All you need to do is take teaspoonfuls of the cherry compote you made earlier and pop it on top of the cupcake mixture.  Aim to use half to two thirds of the compote, the rest you will need for icing.

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Then, using a cocktail stick or the thin end of a spoon, swirl the compote and cake batter together til you get a ripple effect, you’re looking for something like this:

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Now, pop the cakes in the oven.  They should take around 18 minutes to cook and are ready when a skewer comes out clean.  See how the ripple effect has baked into the cakes?

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While the cakes cool you can make the butter cream.  You’ll need:

  • 150g soft unsalted butter
  • 340g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the butter for a good couple of minutes until very pale.  Add the icing sugar in two stages, beating well between each addition.  Then add the milk and vanilla and beat for another few minutes.  You want it to look very pale and fluffy, almost like ice cream!

Now take the remaining cherry compote and drop spoonfuls of it into the buttercream.  With a spatula very gently mix it in til slightly combined, you still want the icing and fruit to be a bit separate just like ripple ice cream.

Finally, it’s piping time!  I used an open star nozzle to give the swirly effect you get with whippy ice cream.  But however you get the buttercream on, these cakes will be super tasty!  The sponge should be light and jammy, with light and creamy icing on top.  For me, these cakes are a perfect reminder of a childhood treat, and just enough to tide me over til I can make a return trip to Brymor Farm.

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