There is always a lot of citrus baking happening in January and February. There’s not a lot of fresh local fruit and vegetables around at this time of year, and after the excess of Christmas it’s time to turn away from chocolate (unless you’re making this, in which case I am rather envious). Also, when the weather is grey and cold the zing of citrus acts as a great pick-me-up. And when combined with rich buttercream and soft cupcake, citrus baking sounds pretty good to me.Depending on where you live, the flavours might not be tropical at all but pineapple, lime and cherries aren’t grown round London! I’ve only baked with pineapple once before but I loved the results here. The pineapple chunks are sweet and juicy and add fresh bursts of flavour as the cupcake is eaten. Lime is also not an ingredient I have regularly used but it’s sharpness stops the buttercream becoming sickly. This recipe was extremely easy to make – oil takes the place of butter in the cake so there is no creaming done and everything is simply stirred together in one bowl. The cake is also delicious without the buttercream, becoming more like a muffin and far less rich. I wanted these cupcakes to be bright and colourful so I used spotty cases and decorated them with Dr Oetker jelly beans and sprinkles, which made for a cheery kitchen! This vibrancy combined with the lime tang and juicy pineapple made these cupcakes a winner for me. Enjoy!Tropical Cupcakes
Makes 12-15, depending on your cupcake case size
Ingredients: 200g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
50g dried tropical fruit
3 medium eggs
100ml sunflower oil
75ml buttermilk (or 75ml milk and 1/2tsp white wine vinegar)
1 x 227g tin pineapple slices, chopped finely and fully drained
Buttercream: 200g icing sugar
1 lime, the zest and juice
1. Preheat the oven to 190’C (170’C fan oven). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases, although you may need a few more if your cases are small like mine.
2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar and dried fruit into a large bowl.
3. Put the eggs, oil and buttermilk into a jug and whisk until all combined.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour, and add the pineapple pieces. Stir everything together until combined and divide between the cupcakes cases – you can fill the cases quite high as the cakes do not rise hugely.
5. Bake for 15-20minutes until golden and risen slightly. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
6. For the buttercream: Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and fully mixed. Either pipe or spoon the icing over the cupcakes, and decorate how you wish. :)