Winter’s On, Yay!

For the last week or so now, the temperature in Hyderabad, India has dipped to a never-before level, heralding the arrival of Winter. The temperature never gets this cold in mid-November. Global Warming has just changed the entire familiar cycle of weather in my city.

Last Friday, I was out the entire day and it was so cold that I came back home with a splitting headache which needed me to sleep it off. Then why do I sound so thrilled about Winter? Because it’s strawberry season again! I’ve missed them so bad, so I am thrilled that they are back.

Last year I tried out these amazing Strawberry and Almond cup-cakes recipe from the BBC Good Food Guide . The first time I made them, as part of bake-with-a-vengeance exercise, they were muffin-sized and huge and a little more browned than I would’ve liked them to be (because of all the back-to-back baking I was doing), but were gone in a jiffy. Image

So the next time, I made them smaller and served them with this amazing syrup/sauce that is tangy and sweet and has you drooling like a baby. One of my extremely petite, fashion and diet-conscious friends (think Gabby from Desperate Housewives) ate 4 of them in the blink of an eye. I wish I had the pictures to show those.

I love baking with fresh fruit, so when Strawberry season was off, I tried them with  Oranges. And those were yummy too. The sauce was excellent, the kind I want to just drink up, if I didn’t know how much sugar had gone into it. You can follow the link I gave above to try the strawberry cup-cakes or simply replace the oranges in the following recipe with strawberries.

Orange & Almond Cup-Cakes

What you will need:

  • 140g softened unsalted butter
  • 140g plain flour
  • Eggs – 3 , beaten
  • Caster sugar – 140 gms
  • Grated lemon zest – 1 tspn
  • Ground Almonds/Almond meal – 85g (blanch the almonds, skin them, microwave them for 2 minutes and grind them)
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 1 tbsp
  • Oranges – 140g skin and seeds removed chopped into chunks

For the Orange Sauce:

  • 140g icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 60 ml lemon juice

How you make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder 3 times
  4. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the ground almond and continue to whisk.
  6. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time.
  7. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time till all of it is used up.
  8. Add the milk and gently fold in the chopped orange pieces.
  9. Distribute the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 20 mins or until golden, risen and springy to touch.
  10. Cool on wire rack to cool completely.
  11. In a bowl, add the icing sugar after sifting, add the orange juice and lemon juice and mix till you get a thick sauce.
  12. Dip the top of each cake into the thick sauce, leave to set, then serve.


Orange Almond Cup-cakes with the Orange & Lemon Sauce


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