Tonight is Burns Night – an occasion on which the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns, is commemorated. A traditional Burns Night supper usually involves scoffing a haggis, neeps and tatties. I didn’t really think that a Haggis cake would prove too popular, so instead I decided to concoct some Irn Bru-based goods instead.
I’ve loved Irn Bru ever since my Glaswegian grandad used to buy it for me and my brother as kids. If you’re not familiar with this tasty beverage, it’s a bright orange fizzy drink from Scotland. As well as being popular with sweet-toothed kids, it’s also well known as an effective hangover cure, probably due to the preposterous levels of sugar and caffeine that it contains. And so, without further ado, here’s my recipe for Irn Bru cupcakes. They go particularly well with a wee dram of whisky.
What’ll you need:
For the cakes:
125g plain flour (sieved)
125g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
125ml buttermilk (or regular milk with a squirt of lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter
85ml Irn Bru
For the icing:
110g icing sugar (sieved)
50g unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Makes 12 cupcakes
What to do:
First pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C (fan oven)/Gas mark 4, then line a cupcake tin with cases. So far, so easy. Now get yourself a large bowl and mix together the flour, sugar, bicarb, baking powder and salt. Next get a pan and gently heat the butter and Irn Bru on the hob until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat.
Next, get your buttermilk ready in a measuring jug. If you can’t find, or don’t have any buttermilk, use regular milk instead, add a squirt of lemon juice and leave for five minutes. Beat the egg and vanilla extract into the milk. Once you’ve done that, add the butter mixture and the egg mixture to the dry ingrediants and combine with a wooden spoon. I also added some orange food colouring paste at this point to enhance the colour, but it’s not essential. Now spoon the mixture into the cases, dividing it evenly between all 12.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. All ovens vary, so you might want to check on the cakes after ten minutes (without opening the oven door). They should be ready once they’ve risen and are firm but slightly springy to touch. If you want, you can double-check by inserting a skewer or cocktail stick into the centre of one of the cakes. If it comes out clean, they’re ready, if it’s covered in wet cake mixture, then they need longer. Once done, take the pan out of the oven and leave to stand for five minutes. After that, transfer the cakes to a cooling rack.
Once the cakes are completely cooled, crack on with the icing. Using a fork, combine the (sieved) icing sugar with the butter in a bowl. If you want to, add the vanilla extract. Then either spread the icing on with a palette knife or pipe it on and add whatever sprinkles or decorations you see fit.
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