Finally the sun is shining and it was my friend Helen’s birthday last week so that could mean only one thing….cocktail inspired cupcakes!
I visited Cuba two years ago and this idea was born whilst chatting to our tour guide Leoel. He came from a family of bakers and he was telling me about Cuban tradition of a massive tray bake sponge cake soaked in sugar syrup and iced to protect it from drying out the harsh sun as the bakers carried the trays on their shoulders selling squares of cake to passers-by on scraps of cardboard.
I asked him if there was a mojito flavoured cake and he said no. We sat in the sun and dreamt up with a light vanilla sponge soaked in a mojito reduction syrup topped with creamy rum and lime icing. I came back, researched and tested recipes and came up with this. A love child of a few mojito cake recipes which together fit the brief we set in Cuba. I like to think Leoel’s father is now selling a mojito cake similar to this.
You can also use a 20x30cm tray bake tin rather than individual cupcakes which I find feeds a BBQ crowd well. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Makes 14-16 cupcakes For the sponge 280g caster sugar 80g unsalted butter, softened 240g plain flour 1/2 tsp salt 3 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs 240ml milk 1 tsp vanilla essence For the syrup 75g light brown sugar 20ml water zest and juice of 1 lime 40ml white rum 1 to 2 sprigs fresh mint For the frosting 160g unsalted butter 500g icing sugar 1 tsp lime zest 6 tsp milk 6 tsp white rum To decorate 1 tbsp caster sugar 1 tsp chopped mint or lime zest
Preheat oven to 160c and line a muffin tin with cases. Make the sugar syrup first to allow the flavours to infuse. Put the sugar, water, lime juice and rum in a medium pan over a low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 2–3 minutes until the syrup thickens. Add the mint and lime zest and set aside.
Using an electric hand mixer, mix together the butter, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar until you have a crumb like consistency. Lightly beat the egg, milk and vanilla in a jug and gradually pour this into the dry mix mixing until you have a smooth batter.
Spoon the cake batter into the cases up to 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until the cakes are a light golden brown and springy to the touch.
While the cakes are still warm, prick with a cocktail stick then spoon the rum reduction over them – approx 1 tsp per cupcake – then leave to cool completely.
Beat together the butter, icing sugar and lime zest with the hand mixer until combined in a sandy consistency. Stir together the milk and rum and add this while still beating, whisk until light and fluffy. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star or plain nozzle and pipe large swirls on each cake.
To finish, mix together the caster sugar with 1 tsp of lime zest and sprinkle over the top.