06 October 2008

Cloud cakes

These little cakes are a firm favourite with my children, they are Nigella's Love buns from Feast, in which Nigella suggests these Mr Whippy-esque cakes as part of a romantic valentine's day meal.

The first time I made them my daughter renamed them Cloud cakes, as the soft gooey meringue topping looks like clouds. The name has since stuck and they will always be cloud cakes in my house.

The recipe is very straight forward, basic cupcakes topped in the most dreamy cloud like topping, a soft meringue cooked on a double boiler. A word of warning though, these cakes don't like heat, they wilt very quickly in the heat of my kitchen, note the landslip starting in the pictures, so I store them in the fridge, yes the cake does suffer a little for it but I prefer the topping straight from the fridge, the texture changes slightly once it's been chilled going a little more marshmallowy, in fact just like a Tunnocks teacake. Heaven!

Love buns (more aptly named Cloud cakes) from Feast.

For the buns:
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 tbsp milk

for the topping:
2 egg whites
4 tbsp golden syrup
100g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1tsp vanilla extract
(heart shaped sprinkles to decorate - if using on Valentines day.)

Take everything you need out of the fridge in time to bring it to room temperature - this makes a huge difference to the lightness of the buns later - and preheat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200c.
Put all of the ingrediants for the buns, except for the milk, into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel, to make a smooth dropping consistency.
Divide the mixture into a 12-bun muffin tin lined with papers or heart patterned cases, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They should have risen and be golden on top; you want a little peak if possible.
Let them cool in their tin on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.

This is a topping that has a kind of meringue base, by which you whisk egg whites over heat until they are stiff and gleaming. Think Mr Whippy. So make a double boiler with a bowl that will fit snugly over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and put all the ingredients for the icing, except for the vanilla and sprinkles, into the bowl. Whisk everything with a electric beater until the icing becomes thick and holds peaks like a meringue. This will take about 5 minutes, so be patient.
Take the bowl off the saucepan and onto a cool surface and keep whisking while you add the vanilla. Then keep whisking until the mixture cools a little. You want a proper peaked and whipped covering here, so spoon some icing over each bun, and then dollop another spoonful over in a swirly fashion. Cover with sprinkles if using.

Do try this recipe, it would be perfect as Nigella suggests for a Valentine's dessert but even better for kids to get in a mess with, just keep some baby wipes handy as the topping gets everywhere, around mouths, in hair, oh the joy of having children.


Rosie said...

Oh Erica your "cloud Cakes" look beautiful like fluffy clouds as your daughter says. I have baked these before and they realy are lovely cupcakes.

Rosie x

Beth said...

I made some last christmas and deocrated with silver balls. They are lovely

Maria said...

Erica your "Cloud cakes" are so beautiful and fluffy! I made these for Valentines once and are great.


Anonymous said...

They look so good, very cloud like indeed.

The Blonde Duck said...

I just found your blog and I love it! So cute!

Anna said...

cloud cakes :-)
What a great name - better than love buns I think!

Coby said...

I have STILL not made these:& Rather annoyed at myself at seeing your beateous creations KG! You've even made them with the kids, while I lust after them feeling just a little afeared;) Not sure why as I have made the Tropical Chocolate Cake which has a similar topping I am sure?

Kelly-Jane said...

Cloud cakes is a perfect name for these cakes! and they do look lovely :)

Indigo said...

I love this kind of meringuey frosting, mmm. Nigella's 'Feast' is such a great book ^__^

Linda F said...

Erica they look just gorgeous- fab pic too :)

Glossy said...

They look absolutely delicious. I am not a great fan of Feast so very rarely look at it, I must give these a go.