I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, certainly not for mass-produced sweets, chocolates or cakes. They’re way too sweet and it really masks the interesting base flavours like chocolate or fruit. So when I do eat something sweet it tends to be natural, either fruit or dried fruit, or a little square of very dark chocolate so the natural flavour of the chocolate is apparent.
Sometimes though you need a nice little cake, and so I took my first steps with cupcakes for a girly evening. Often I don’t like cupcakes because the icing is teeth-shatteringly sweet and the cake is dry and bland. Seriously, why do we pay $3 for something that is beautiful but lacking anything other than half a ton of sugar? I guess it’s the same reason people buy Vogue.
Inspired by Middle Eastern flavours, these cakes were not overly sweet and the icing was at least as tangy as it was sweet. The cake was moist because of the ricotta and tasty with zesty lemon, to top it off was a tangy pomegranate molasses cream cheese icing and pistachio sprinkles. No boring, expensive cupcakes for me.
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Pomegranate Molasses Cream Cheese Icing and Pistachio Sprinkles
Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
1 1/3 cup of low fat ricotta (400g)
2/3 cup oil (I like rice bran oil)
1 cup caster sugar (225g)
2 well packed cups of plain flour (350g)
3tsp baking powder
The rind and juice of 1 large lemon
Pomegranate Molasses Cream Cheese Icing
250g of cream cheese (that’s about 8 or 9 ounces – find a packed that size)
80g of butter
2tbs pomegranate molasses (closer to 3 tablespoons if using a 15ml size)
400g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
A few drops of pink or red food colouring
50g pistachios chopped finely
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F). Mix the eggs, oil sugar, ricotta until smooth.
Sift in the dry ingredients and mix through until smooth and well combined.
Add the lemon zest and juice, again, make sure this is all well mixed in.
Divide the batter between 12 cupcake wrappers and bake at 180 degrees Celsius (350 F) for 25 to 30 minutes (until a skewer comes out clean).
Allow the cupcakes to cool for a couple of hours before icing.
Beat the cream cheese and butter until really smooth and fluffy.
Add the sugar in about 4 lots beating it in well each time. Finally add the pomegranate molasses to taste. If you have real pomegranate molasses (which you can find in Middle Eastern food stores), it isn’t likely to be bright pink, and for my girly evening I wanted it to be pink. So add a few drops of colouring.
Ice the cupcakes and sprinkle some pistachios on top.