You know, this recipe is probably going to prove controversial. Or as controversial as things get in the world of baking. We’re at a level slightly above using a whisk instead of a wooden spoon when making a sponge. My annoyance with the oh-so-fashionable idea that we should only eat things that are in season locally is building. Of course, it would be great if we could get all the nutrients and flavour we need from British, organic ingredients all year round. But we can’t. Not as winter comes. Not if we want to avoid rickets, or re-learn how to preserve the leftovers from our measly crops. Yes, it’s very bad for the environment to fly berries from half way across the world. But it’s good for us. These berries are no worse than those forced from a Scottish polytunnel. They’re good fruit, full of goodness and something to be celebrated. What better way to celebrate them than with baking? The importing of fruit and vegetables is necessary to maintain our health. You wouldn’t look down on someone for taking a well-deserved holiday in the sun this winter, so don’t lambast those who pick up a packet of Peruvian asparagus.
First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Line a set of muffin or cupcake tins with cases.
Into a large bowl, weigh your butter. If you’re in doubt that it’s super soft, give it a buzz in the microwave until it’s basically melted. Add in your caster sugar and eggs, and beat until smooth and light.
Add your flour and baking powder, then gently mix until the mixture is just smooth and no more. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with bready cakes.
Scoop this mixture evenly between your prepared cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and bouncy on top. Leave these to cool whilst you make your icing.
In another large bowl, weigh your cream cheese and your icing sugar. Carefully mix these together so as not to make a mess, and once they have come into a clump, you can beat and beat them. They’ll go gloopy, then smooth, then light and stiff. You just need to keep beating.
Finally, fold in your raspberry jam to make a ripple effect, or you could just mix it in to make the icing generally jammy. Scoop or pipe this on top of your (cool) cupcakes, then plop three unseasonably fresh raspberries on top of each to finish them off.