My friend John bought these little beauties around to my place when I invited him for dinner recently. I love the little silicon cups: this was the first time that he had used them; the cups not only look attractive and are functional, but they are also ‘cup’ cakes. And like his mother he placed a teaspoon of flavour inside each one – a teaspoon of apricot jam or sweetened passionfruit.
Like his mother he cut the top of each cake, placed a dollop of whipped cream on top, divided each top in half and returned the two halves to the cake: these looked like wings. Being Australian she appropriately referred to them as called them Butterfly cakes or Fairy cakes and it is easy to see why. These cakes were very popular at children’s parties and were never called Cup cakes (cupcakes), this perhaps is an American or British term. Cupcakes is what we call them in Australia now. Have they lost their wings?
John asked me if Sicilians make cupcakes and they do not, but there is no reason why his very simple recipe cannot be infused with Sicilian flavours.
This is how John’s mother wrote the recipe. The mixture is simple and very Anglo:3 oz butter 3 oz sugar 2 eggs 4 oz SR flour 1 tbs milk essence of vanilla bake 475 for 15 minutes.
Because the above only makes a small quantity, the following recipe could be more useful. John also found that his cup cakes were a little dry, so we have reduced the amount of flour in the following recipe.
Cool cupcakes before cutting off the top. Fill with whipped cream, cut the to that you have removed in half and replace it to the top of the cake again.
To make Sicilian type cup cakes, I would add the following ingredients:
150 g of chopped pistachio nuts or blanched almonds (both are grown in Sicily and very common in sweets).
Use sour cherry jam (sour morello cherries are popular in Italy/ Sicily).
If the cake appears too dry after it is baked, sprinkle a little Maraschino liqueur on the top (adding liqueur to moisten cooked cakes is definitely Italian/ Sicilian).
Instead of whipped cream, use ricotta whipped with a little vanilla flavoured sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon. Add a little cream if the mixture is too dry.
I would also place a sour cherry or a pistachio on top.
Presto, Ecco, Fatto… Here they are. Bake them in tea cups, call them Dolcetti fatti in tazza (small cakes made in cups) and they do sound exotic!.