Thursday, 27 September 2012

Liz McLarnon's pumpkin cupcakes for British Cheese Week

I don't watch Masterchef, celebrity or otherwise. I can't deal with the manufactured drama and the hosts irritate me beyond words. I didn't know who Liz McClarnon was until I googled. Still, I was quite happy to be approached with some recipes developed by Celeb Masterchef winner Liz McClarnon for Cathedral City Cheddar, as part of British Cheese Week.

As you may have noticed, for me all weeks are Cheese Week, but I still don't think it hurts to put the spotlight on the lovely cheeses we make in Britain from time to time. I also live with someone who has more of a savoury tooth, so it's always easy to get him to taste something cheesy.

I had a few minor quibbles with the recipe. Firstly, it says that it makes 20, but the instructions are to use 12 cupcake cases. It also says that the preparation time is 15 minutes, but that only works if you have some leftover roast butternut lurking around the house. Also, it is something of a pet peeve of mine to have an ingredient listed in the title of the recipe (chilli) and then only feature as a garnish. You don't call it a cocoa tiramisu just because there is a dusting of cocoa powder on it, do you? A final, nitpicky peeve, these are muffins, not cupcakes. The difference is in the method - cupcakes are a creamed batter, muffins add a wet mix to a dry mix. I am only letting this one through because of the conceit of decorating them like a cupcake, which is cute.

I made a half recipe, because of the very short keeping time. That turned out to be 9 muffins. I may have been using smaller eggs than they did when they tested it, because my mixture was terribly dry so I added a second egg to it. I added a good pinch of chilli flakes to the batter to get a bit of warmth into it. When they were cool I looked at what a half quantity of the topping looked like... and made the full quantity. 25g each of cream cheese and crème fraiche just looked so sad in the bowl.

I'm still not interested in seeking out Liz McClarnon's body of work as an actor, but these were delicious little savoury muffins. Next time, I will increase the amount of chilli, because it didn't come through at all, but other than that, I think these were very successful.

Liz McClarnon's Cathedral City Mature Butternut Squash and Chilli Cupcakes

Makes: 20 cupcakes
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the cupcakes:
2 eggs
175ml semi-skimmed milk
250g mashed, roasted butternut squash
125g Cathedral City Mature, grated
3 chopped spring onions
80g uncooked rolled oats
125g whole wheat flour
125g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. maple syrup

For the topping:
Chopped spring onions (the darker green part)
50g crème fraiche
50g soft cream cheese
Chilli flakes


Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a cupcake tray with 12 paper cases.
In a large mixing bowl combine the squash, milk and eggs.

In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt, making sure they are evenly rubbed through. To this bowl, add the spring onions, Cathedral City Mature, oats and syrup and mix until evenly distributed. Pour in the egg mixture and mix until it is just about combined.

Fill the cupcake cases about 3/4 full with the mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until they are a golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding the topping.

To make the topping, mix the crème fraiche and the soft cheese together until smooth. Pop this in the fridge for about 10 minutes to get it to a good piping consistency. Using a piping bag with a star tip, pipe small 50p sized tops onto the cupcakes.

Dress this with a couple of sprigs of chopped spring onion and a smattering of chilli flakes. These will keep in an airtight tin for 24 hours.

I struggled to make my chilli sprinkles even


Barbara said...

I'm so with you on your pet peeves. Sometimes the recipes have little errors than make all the difference.
Anyway, these are truly unusual cupcakes. I love the kick in the frosting.

kat said...

I hate when recipes by professional chefs aren't proofread for things like the quantity they make. I would call these muffins too.

Simona Carini said...

Your peeves are totally justified. Glad to know it is British Cheese Week: I agree that it is nice to celebrate a rich heritage and what you made looks quite interesting. Now that butternut squashes are in season again, I can see myself giving these cupcakes a try.

Faux Fuchsia said...

loathe master chef but these look amazing!

Unknown said...

How fun are these! What a unique, delightful recipe.

grace said...

i'm glad you battled through your pet peeves (many of which i share!) to make and post about these little cupcake muffins--the flavors sound really delicious!

Choclette said...

I've no idea who Liz McL is, but those muffins sound really good, Adding oats to muffins seems to be all the rage at the moment, I've seen quite a few containing them.


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