For many years I thought that if I ever had a daughter, I would call her Lara. I secretly wished for a boy during my first pregnancy, and my wish was granted. I still remember the scan lady announcing to us during the 20-week's scan "I can see gender!" (how very American to say gender rather than name the actual body part). I am blessed with two boys, and I love them to bits. They are my Universe, my alpha and omega, my everything. Life would be meaningless without them. But sometimes, just sometimes my heart is aching for that little blue-eyed girl who I never had and never will.
Just the other day I was looking at the photos of a little lady called Lara, a daughter of the talented blogger Attachment Mummy and thinking that this little girl seems to have inherited the strong will, great personality and beauty of her namesake. She is a perfect modern Lara.
In a wave of nostalgia for my long-left homeland, I decided to bake some cupcakes (always a mood-enhancing process). Coconut frosting might not be a Russian ingredient as such, but it does remind me of the snow and frosty mornings. I also had a jar of the blueberry curd that I wanted to play with.
I have seen the reports on the new limited edition blueberry curd created by The English Provender to celebrate the birth of The Baby George (and I don't mean Peppa Pig's little brother), but haven't seen it in the shops. Luckily I was able to satisfy my curiosity when I came across The English Provender's stand at The Big Feastival. This curd looks very Royal indeed: a gorgeous deep purple colour, and tastes intensely fruity and sweet. And while I prefer my curds to be more tart and tangy, I thought this curd would be perfect in baking.
Coconut cupcakes with blueberry curd (makes 8)
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
3tsbp dissicated coconut
2tbsp ground almonds
100g butter, melted
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange
4tsp blueberry curd
For the frosting:
100g caster sugar
1 egg white
4tbsp dissicated coconut
2+tbsp icing sugar
Queen writing icing/icing pens and Dr Oetker soft silver pearls (optional)
In a deep bowl beat two eggs with the sugar and vanilla essence. Add the coconut, ground almonds, baking powder, flour, mix well. Add the melted butter and juice, and mix again.
Spoon the cake mix into paper cupcake cases and place them in the muffin tin.
Make the indentations inside the cupcakes and add half a teaspoon of blueberry curd inside each hole. Top up with more cake mix to cover the curd.
Place the tin in the oven preheated to 180C. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool.
For the frosting bring the sugar and water to boil and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg white and slowly add the sugar syrup to it, continue whisking. At this stage it is still quite runny. Add the icing sugar and coconut and whisk again, until you get a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
Decorate with the icing pens and soft silver pearls (optional).
I've been testing the OXO Good Grips juicer recently (I received it together with an OXO Good Grips box grater for the blogging challenge, see my post Apple and pine nuts cupcakes), and used this handy kitchen gadget to juice lemon and orange for this recipe. It has two different reams for different-sized fruit. The base has measurement markings, so you know exactly how much juice you've got. My only suggestion for improvement is to make the strainer slots smaller so that they would catch all the pips (the smaller ones keep falling through inside the base cup). Otherwise, no complaints, it is very convenient to use, very steady and easy to clean.
And just because I wanted to use my new Spode Seasons plate in the photo, I have decorated one of the cupcakes with the blue icing pen. Can you believe, I found this treasure in a charity shop for £8.95?
Eddie scoffed his cupcake in 60 seconds, pearls and all (don't know why they are called soft pearls, they are actually crunchy).
And now he's wandering in circles around the kitchen, counting the remaining cupcakes: One for Papa, one for Mama, one for Sasha, one for me...
These cupcakes are for Lara: the passionate Lara of the classic novel, Leta's blue-eyed beauty and the little girl that I would never have.