There comes a time in a period of dieting, when boredom and hunger overrules any desire for a bikini body. Then, one turns dreamily towards those gleaming kitchen utensils, the blocks of golden butter and jars of sugar, with only one thing on their mind and one word on their lips. Baking.
Now, I tend to contradict myself a lot on the facts of my diet, such as “I don’t really eat dairy”, or “I mostly eat just meat and vegetables”, leaving out the fact that I have a terrible, terrible sweet tooth. Although, I reckon it is only fair to give yourself a break every once in a while and eat that cupcake or piece of chocolate. No? We’re only human after all, and frankly, why not!?
Also, when you have such fresh ingredients like homegrown Passionfruit, it’s hard to resist using them. I adore the fact that we have such an abundance of fresh produce less than 5 metres away from our own kitchen including passionfruit, avocados, grapefruit, plums and courgettes. Not only does it make things more convenient and affordable, it gives great satisfaction to advertise the homegrown aspect of the ingredients in the food we cook at home.
The inspiration behind these little cupcakes was initially brought about by an unbearable sense of boredom. At the moment in Auckland, the temperature sits anywhere between 24 to 28 degrees with humidities of up to 75%. Not my type of weather, especially being English born and bred, heat is not my thing at all. As a result, I have spent most of the past few days lying on my bed with the fan on full speed just to muster the energy to face the day. Dramatic I know, but that’s what the heat does to me.
Nevertheless, having revived myself from a heat-induced slumber, I got busy in the kitchen, organising an array of ingredients that I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with yet. First the Ricotta, then the Passionfruit caught my eye and ideas began forming in my head. Straight to Google I went and found this recipe from besthomechef.com.au, which actually pairs the muffins with passionfruit curd, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough to make it. Which reminds me! This recipe actually calls for quite a lot of passionfruit, so if you were planning on making it, I would buy a big bag of them because you’re going to need it!
- 380g g plain flour
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 x free range eggs lightly beaten
- 300 ml buttermilk (or I used a ratio of 3/4 yogurt, 1/4 milk)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g melted butter
- 150 g fresh ricotta
- 200 ml passionfruit pulp
1.Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
2. Combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and butter in a separate bowl. Add egg mixture to flour all at once.
3. Add ricotta and passionfruit pulp and fold gently, leaving a few lumps. Do not overwork mixture.
4. Spoon mixture into 8-12 muffin tins and sprinkle with sugar.
5.Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing:
- 100g butter, at room temperature
- 150g cream cheese
- 3 cups icing / confectioner’s sugar, plus extra to dust
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Blend butter and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
- Add icing sugar, a tablespoon or two at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- For filling, spoon some of the inside of the cupcake out, putting the cupcake lid aside. Then using a piping bag or teaspoon, fill the hole with icing. Place muffin lid back on.
- Top cupcake with icing in desired design.
Admittedly, I have never been that great at decorating with icing, it always ends up looking a little bit messy and frankly like a cartoon poo. However, I am rather proud of how the filling has turned out.
Just when you think the fun was over, you bite into the cupcake and BOOM, there is more delicious lemon icing to tingle your tastebuds and satisfy your sweet tooth.
These beautifully fluffy, rich cupcakes are perfect for those bearing an outrageous sweet tooth, whilst still maintaining an element of sophistication, with those subtle flavours of ricotta and lemon and the occasional burst of passionfruit as bits of pulp explode upon your tongue. If you are like me, and feel as though chocolate should be put on everything sweet and were feeling a bit deprived of it, try a white chocolate ganache filling/icing which would complement the passionfruit perfectly!
Treat yourself, you know you want to.