A lightly spiced, currant and nut-stuffed fluffy cupcake, with a layer of marzipan on top and in the middle.
I’ll tell the truth– I had no idea my usual Saturday baking experiment was really of traditional substance. All I knew was that I needed to use the marzipan which called my name out sadly every time I opened the little pantry door, as well as the currants I kept for but never used over the Christmas break. So I diddle-daddled, thumb-twiddled, and decided to make these 2-layer marzipan currant cupcakes, only to realise after a bit of research later that these babies are already a thing, and what adorable, moreish things they looked right there on my screen. And so I made them, with heavy tweaks. And loved them.
This cupcake is truly a thing of beauty– the crumb is of unbeatable lightness, yet the crumbs adhere just the right amount to each other so the cake itself is not too forgiving; the top and bottom bits of the middle layer of marzipan ooze into the adjacent airy crevices a tad, sweet goo cemented to buttery crumb, like little cilia on epithelia (is that too far).
The amount of eggs used in this recipe is almost double what I expected, but all at the right cost, for that volume provided the perfect amount of moisture, lightness and bind. I substituted the oil with melted butter because I didn’t have any oil on hand, and used almonds and yoghurt as extra additions. Another thing I love is that the use of mostly liquid ingredients here lessens the workload and time needed to make these (by the way, the perfect cook time here is ~25 minutes, tried and tested).
Once out of the oven, the flat top so characteristic of cupcakes as well as the sides boast an almost-firm, sugary crust, which is why I highly recommend eating these straightaway or at least the same day, for the following day that outer texture will be much less pronounced.
That belly goo, though.
Double Marzipan (simnel) Cupcakes (makes 12, heavily adapted from BBC Food)
275g white caster sugar
115g (one stick or a half cup) butter, microwaved until softened (melted is fine too)
3 heaping tbsp (50g) honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain all-purpose flour, plus some extra for rolling out marzipan.
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
60g (1/4 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature (I microwaved mine to quicken the warming process)
60ml (1/4 cup) yoghurt
150g raisins or currants, or use a mix of both
100g chopped/flaked almonds
Line your cupcake tin with 12 liners, and preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Roll the marzipan out on a surface lightly floured, or lightly dusted with some icing sugar. Cut out 24 discs– 12 that are 6cm wide, and 12 that are 5cm wide. All should be 3mm thick, as specified in the original recipe (lesson learnt: using an actual ruler beats doing this by eye by a mile).
In a medium bowl, briefly whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, chopped almonds, and currants/raisins. In another, larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, cream cheese, yoghurt, honey, vanilla and eggs.
Tip in the dry mix and mix until everything is well incorporated.
How easy was that.
Spoon a tablespoonful of batter into the first liner. Place a 5cm-wide circle of marzipan on top, then fill the liner with batter until it’s 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.
Once the cupcakes are out, top each with the 6cm-wide marzipan circles. It’s important, as the recipe states, to do this while the cupcakes are still warm, for this helps seal the top bits of marzipans to the cupcakes, forming a nice and even (and aesthetically pleasing) layer.
For reasons mentioned above, try your best to consume these the same day. Nevertheless, these may be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.