I was a teenager in the 90’s and embraced – as you do – all the trends that came along with that oddity of a decade. The first few years were an 80’s hangover with side pony-tails, layered colour blocking, boxy crop tops and atrocious floral prints… you know, about what the runways and chain stores are flogging right now. I am currently refusing to shop anywhere that resembles the inside of my closet 20 or so years ago. Step away from the neon, step away.
Then came grunge – the biggest revolt against colour and oversized shoulder pads you could imagine. A new age of music and bands and coffee culture charged out of Seattle and took over the world with hard riffs… aaaaand triple frozen mocha peppermint lattes… oh well.
About the same time a little bakery in New York City was quietly turning out innocent dessert treats – having no idea at the time that they would be featured on a new show – catapulting their little bakery to cult status and putting them firmly at the forefront of a food trend that would last for decades.
The 90’s wrapped up in a haze of Sex and the City and Cupcakes.
As a side note, the famous bakery has by no means the best cupcakes in NYC – that honour in my very expert and oh so humble opinion goes straight to these guys (wayyyyy after the fact update, nope, not Crumbs anymore they went downhill around 2014, however the Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Soho is still great and I’d love any recs you have!) – but I digress.
When Baker’s Secret sent me a cupcake pan recently and issued a challenge to create something inspired by the 90’s for the Great Australian Bakeline competition three things came to mind – Chocolate Lava Cakes, Tiramisu and Cosmopolitans.
Now Chocolate Lava Cupcakes sounded wonderful and decadent but a bit, tame. I tossed around making a Tiramisu Cupcake – even considered actually making lady fingers as the base before stacking all the other bits on top, but that layered delicacy along with those side ponytails were a bit of a hangover from the 80’s.
So Cosmos it would be – but how? A few tests later this magical creation arose from my kitchen. A Cranberry and Lime infused Vanilla Sex and the City Cupcake stuffed with Cranberry Jelly and topped with Cointreau spiked Cranberry and Lime Swiss Meringue Buttercream. How’s that for a delicious mouthful?!
Now, since I got fun pans to bake with, it’s only fair that you get some too. UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed, thank you to everyone who entered! Our winners are:
Baker’s Secret has generously supplied some goodies for two lucky readers. I’m making this an easy one – no entry widget, no follow here, or like there, or subscribe to this [although you are of course welcome to!].
To enter: Just leave a comment to tell me your absolute best-loved dessert and the best memory of eating it – my favourite two answers win!
- Prize one: Baker’s Secret 2-in-1 Springform Pan – with flat base and bundt pan inserts, 12-Cup Madeleine Pan and Set of three silicone spatulas
- Prize two: Baker’s Secret 12-Cup Loose-base round dessert pan, Magnetic measuring spoon set and Off-set mini icing spreader
My favorite dessert? The list is long and distinguished and Sticky Date Pudding comes close but the best has to be my Mom’s Chocolate Cake with a big scoop of proper Vanilla Ice Cream, for all the birthdays of my childhood – and our second wedding reception in America-land – heavenly!
I hope you enjoy the Cosmo Cupcakes and I can’t wait to see what everyone shares!
UPDATE: My recipe was selected as the winner of the Bakers’s Secret Great Australian Bakeline competition!
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 c sour cream or natural greek yogert
- 1/3 c oil
- 1 3/4 c flour
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 c cranberry juice
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 tsp jellied cranberry sauce
Preheat oven to 180C[350F]. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with papers. Scoop out 12 tsp of cranberry jelly and set aside on a plate.
With a whisk, beat eggs and sugar by hand for a minute. Whisk in sour cream and oil until smooth. Combine juices and extract in a small cup. Sift together dry ingredients and add to egg mixture alternately with juices – flour, juice, flour, juice, flour – whisking only until just combined each time.
Divide half the batter evenly into the 12 lined cups. Place a tsp of cranberry jelly into each cup then top with the remaining batter. Each cup will be 2/3 – 3/4 full.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until firm on top and a toothpick comes out clean with no batter sticking to it. Turn out of pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Frost cooled cakes with Cosmopolitan Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Cosmopolitan Buttercream and sprinkle with extra lime zest. Makes 12 Cupcakes.
Cosmopolitan Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 c sugar
- 100g butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 Tbsp jellied cranberry sauce
- 1 Tbsp cranberry juice
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp Cointreau [or orange juice for the kiddies]
- 1 c icing [powdered] sugar
- one drop of red or dark pink food colouring – optional
In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk egg whites and sugar together. Place bowl over a simmering pan of water – making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk gently for 5 minutes* until all sugar is dissolved and mixture is 70C [160F].
Remove from heat and scrape into a large heat-proof bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or fancy bench-top mixer on high until peaks are starting to form and the mixture is cooled to room temperature – about 5-7 minutes.
Beat in butter one small chunk at a time, this will take 5-10 minutes. If soupy, refrigerate for 5 mins then beat again. If it splits or looks curdled keep beating until thick and creamy*.
Once smooth, slowly add the sauce and juices – and beat for another 5 minutes. It will break and look curdled, it’s ok, just keep beating! After 5 mins place in fridge – even if it looks broken and curdled. Remove and sift over icing sugar* then beat again – it will all of a sudden come together into perfect, magical, creamy, dreamy icing. Stir through food colouring if using. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
Make enough for 12 cupcakes piled high.
- The purists are screaming – you don’t put icing sugar in Swiss Meringue Buttercream – to them I say – pfffffft. It’s my icing and I’ll do what I want. It stabilises it and brings it back from the brink of splitting after adding all that liquid.
- I don’t have a candy thermometer so I whisk over a double boiler for exactly 5 mins and figure it’s done when it is just too hot to keep your finger in the liquid, but not so hot you can’t rub a bit between your fingers to check that the sugar is dissolved. It gets crazy round these parts I tell you.
- Still scared of Swiss Meringue Buttercream? Check out this great how-to and be afraid no more…
Bonus Round 1: Cosmopolitan Buttercream
Don’t want to deal with egg whites? You could always make a regular Cranberry and Lime Buttercream
- 100g butter, room temperature
- 3 1/2 c icing sugar and juice and sauce as above – easy!
- 1 Tbsp each jellied cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, lime juice
- 1 tsp Cointreau [or orange juice for the kiddies]
Beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, beat in juices and sauce until creamy.
Bonus Round 2: Use raspberries!
In the cake – substitute cranberry juice for raspberry puree strained to remove seeds then thinned with a bit of water to juice consistency. Use raspberry jam in the cakes before baking.
In the icing – substitute cranberry juice and sauce for 2 Tbsp strained raspberry puree.
This post has been sponsored by World Kitchen and Baker’s Secret.