Rose & Almond Fairy Cakes

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Summer is just around the corner down here in Kiwi-land, and the first of the roses are blooming. It’s the perfect time to celebrate their arrival with these Rose & Almond Fairy Cakes.

Now, in all honesty, I’ve never been much of a cupcake fan. As pretty as they tend to be, I often find them to be a little dry or worse… tasteless. Then there are these babies… With their glorious flavours of almond and rose, along with a tangy lemon icing, they are uber delicious. They’re also amazingly soft and moist and the addition of ground almonds adds a wonderful texture. Not only will they completely satisfy your tastebuds, they’ll also leave your kitchen smelling of roses.

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Thanks to Good Food.UKTV.co.uk for this fabulous recipe. I stuck with the recipe fairly religiously, though I did substitute gluten-free flour for standard flour – trust me, you’d never know the difference.

I have no hesitation in saying these are the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. I can see them becoming a regular family treat and I won’t be waiting for an excuse to make them again.

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ROSE & ALMOND FAIRY CAKES

Makes 12 mini cupcakes

Ingredients: (This recipe uses metric measurements; click here for Unit Converter)

For the almond rose cakes:

  • 115g (4 oz) butter, softened
  • 115g (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 30g (1 oz) flour (I used a gluten-free blend)
  • 115g (4 oz) ground almonds
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon full-fat milk

For the rose icing:

  • 140g (4.9 oz) icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon distilled rose water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Optional: Crystallised rose petals, to decorate (see note below)

Method:

For the almond rose cakes: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Place 12 mini paper cupcake cases in a muffin pan (normal sized cases are too big).
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gently beat in the rose water and almond extract. Beat in about half the beaten eggs, then sift the flour over the mixture and beat in, followed by the remaining egg. Mix in the ground almonds, followed by the milk.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases (filling them about 3/4s full). Bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes have risen and are golden. Test by lightly pressing with your fingertip: the sponge will spring back if cooked and an inserted skewer will come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before icing.

For the rose icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rose water, followed by the lemon juice, until you have a thick, smooth icing.
  2. Drop a teaspoonful of icing on to the centre of the first cake and tilt the cake slightly so that the icing spreads out evenly over the surface of the cake (I found spreading the icing with the back of the teaspoon worked well). Repeat with the remaining cakes.
  3. Once the icing begins to set, gently press a sugared rose petal onto each cake. Leave until the icing is firm.

Notes:

You can buy crystallised rose petals in good baking shops or you can make your own. Take a freshly picked, unsprayed rose. Ideally, it should be heavily scented, but it’s not essential.

Separate the petals. Beat a little egg white and, using a brush, delicately coat the first petal in egg white, before liberally dusting it with caster sugar. Lay out on some greaseproof paper to dry (putting them in a warm, dry place hastens the drying period). Repeat with the remaining petals. The sugary coating needs to harden before use. This will take about 1 hour.


Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting

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