Monday, November 7, 2011

Ribena Cupcakes

If this entire blog wasn't already enough of a testament to my extreme sweet tooth, I'll share another bit of information. Throughout most of primary and high school my Mum could not get me to drink plain water, no matter how hard she tried. I would only drink Ribena, I loved the stuff. For those of you not familiar with Ribena, it's a super sweet blackcurrant cordial and I used to drink buckets of it. I'm not quite sure why I stopped drinking it as much, but I think it was replaced with an addiction to apple juice boxes when I moved to Sydney. And then I remember there was all this scandal because some school students found out that ribena had something like NO vitamin C in it, but I just shrugged it off since that was never the reason I drank the stuff.
So I decided to test out a new cupcake flavour as a tribute to this super sweet drink; Ribena Cupcakes. I was a little worried since I figured the cordial was probably not strong enough in flavour to make my cake batter and icing taste distinctly of blackcurrant. But then I happened across blackcurrant jam in the supermarket (I can't believe I've never bought it before, maybe because the jar looked so similar to the blackberry jam that I passed it by) and the jam tastes exactly like a super concentrated ribena. It worked like a charm, these cupcakes taste just like ribena. And to top it all off, a blackcurrant pastille on top. Does anyone love blackcurrant pastilles as much as me? I usually force myself to avoid them because if I buy them I will eat the entire pack in one sitting and end up with a black tongue, purple lips and a crazy sugar high.
I used my foolproof cupcake recipe as the base of the cake batter, replacing the liquid with ribena and reducing the amount of sugar. That's why it's my foolproof cupcake recipe, it seems to handle whatever kind of crazy adaptations I make to it. The cake itself doesn't have a super strong flavour of blackcurrant, just a pretty purple hue. But I filled the centres with a big dollop of blackcurrant jam to make up for it. I was playing around with the idea of doing a Swiss meringue buttercream for the icing, but I realise that these days I still prefer eating a regular butter icing. And this one tastes pretty awesome. In the same way that my strawberry jam buttercream is so full of flavour, this blackcurrant icing really packs a delicious punch.
There's so much about these cupcakes that are very me. Look how purple they are! When I got the idea for these cupcakes in the middle of last week, I couldn't resist ordering these adorable papers from emerald + ella and they arrived in time for my weekend baking :) And they really do taste like ribena, even though the thing making them taste like ribena isn't the ribena haha. I'd consider it my early birthday present to myself, but my birthday isn't for another week so I still have time to make myself a crazy birthday cake if I want to...I'm not sure if I can be bothered...We'll see!

Ribena (Blackcurrant) Cupcakes
(makes 12-14 cupcakes, adapted from my foolproof cupcake recipe)
1/3 cup ribena cordial (not mixed with extra water)
2 eggs
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 jar blackcurrant jam (1 tsp jam per cupcake)

For the icing:
Note: if you are looking for a slightly lighter topping, you could either do a simple icing sugar and ribena glaze, or a Swiss Meringue Buttercream with ribena added
210g butter (about 1 3/4 sticks), chopped into small cubes
375g (about 3 cups) sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp ribena cordial
3 tbsp blackcurrant jam
Optional: Blackcurrant pastilles to decorate

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) (if fan-forced use 180°C (350°F)) and line a cupcake tray with paper cases. There are two options for preparation, either work just as well as the other. Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blend for 2 minutes. If you have extra time and are worried about over-mixing the flour like me, blend the ribena, butter, sugar and eggs together first for one minute, then add the flour and blend for another minute. If you don't have a food processor, cream butter and sugar together using an electric beater until light and smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat in well. Add the ribena and flour and quickly mix until combined, avoid overbeating the flour.

Pour cake mixture in paper cases, filling them about 3/4 full. It's usually easiest to use a table spoon to scoop the batter and then drop it into your paper cases. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and cool cakes on wire rack completely.
Prepare the icing; remove butter from fridge 30 mins before starting. Beat chopped butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high until smooth and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add sifted icing sugar until combined, then beat on high until smooth and fluffy. Add ribena and jam gradually, you may need to add extra icin sugar to ensure your icing is the right consistency. It should be smooth but not runny. Use a small knife to cut a circle of cake out of the middle of the cupcakes. Fill the centre with a teaspoon of jam (you may need to use a small spoon to dig out more cake so there is enough space) and replace the cut out cake tops. Pipe icing over the top of the filled cupcakes. Decorate with blackcurrant pastilles on top and serve immediately. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days, serve at room temperature.
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  1. YUMM!! I love everything about this! I used to be obsessed with ribenna and I always used to save the blackcurrant pastiles til last because they were the best! <3

  2. Just when I thought I was on cupcake hiatus you go and post this...... YUM!

  3. Yum, those are so beautiful, and they sound delicious too!

  4. Awe, they look so pretty and yummy! :P

    Have a nice week!


  5. Ribena is the best! I recently discovered blackcurrent jam as well, it's so fantastic. These look awesome Steph!

  6. ooh I love Ribena and blackcurrant pastilles are my favourite! Whenever I go to Hong Kong I buy heaps of them (just the blackcurrant flavour) and take them back to Sydney with me because I can never find them over here

  7. you never cease to amaze me with your creativity! i never look at engineers the same way after i knew about u haha! love the colour of the ribena icing

  8. I totally love these, especially the sound of the jam in the middle. Yum! And you've reminded me how long it's been since I made cupcakes...

  9. tooo pretty and sweet!!! I really love it! :)

  10. Wow, I love your idea of using Ribena. Looks so gorgeous!!

  11. Oooh yum! I was also addicted to ribena. I once fell off a countertop aged 3 because I'd climbed up to get to the ribena :P

  12. Yum. What a great idea. Blackcurrant pastilles used to be my favourite lolly purchase ever and who doesn't love Ribena?

  13. There has been a constant supply of Ribena in my household ever since I was a kid. As my mother doesn't drink it, it's no longer stocked in her household but has migrated to mine instead haha.

    And fruit pastilles? Rowntree! Which doesn't seem to be available here apart from on import nowadays =( And I'm pretty much happy with any flavour from the pack!

  14. Gosh. You are seriously one of a kind. Your creativity just keeps getting better and better! Ribena was one of my all-time favourite drinks growing up too and like you, not sure why I stopped drinking when I moved to Australia. Maybe because the weather isn't as hot so I don't crave them as much anymore. ANYWAY, love this recipe. It's so fun and I'm sure it will get a lot of ppl excited because who doesn't love Ribena? Who?! Good stuff, love this thanks!

  15. Hmmm, I think I know what kind of cupcakes I will try next. I love the colours and the textures, can't wait to try the taste as well :-).

  16. You create something new every time i turn around!! These will be so welcomed by the little kids! and by us adults...

  17. These look SO SO delicious! Love these - so pretty! :)

  18. I can feel the cavitys with every post but am lovign every minute of it lol! Stud is obsessed with Ribena and was similar to you as a cahil apparently so I think he would love these. Def have to make them for him. They're so pretty too :)

  19. These look truly amazing!!!! Oh the memories of ribena!!! Although I wasn't much of a cordial drinker (strangely I always preferred water) when I did turn to cordial Ribena was it. I really love how you've incorporated all sorts of blackcurrant flavours and textures with the jam, cake, frosting and pastilles! They look so pretty too!

  20. Oh, even I have a sweet tooth! Loved these cupcakes! Yummy!!

  21. hi steph, these reminded me during my childhood years too where ribena was the 'drink'. I think as malaysians, we do have some sort of memory associated with ribena. We were even teased as ribena kids lol. anyway, love the photos!

  22. Great post! Just have to share it on our FB page!

  23. Wow! These look and sound AMAZING! I'm definitely going to have to try making them! Mmm blackcurrant pastilles! I have the same problem as you, if I buy them (or really any sort of pastilles) they'll all be gone within 10 minutes! Thanks for sharing such beautiful cakes!

  24. Hi, I just "discovered" your blog and I just wanted to say I like it a lot, and I love how many kinds of macarons you have, it's a great inspiration! I'll be back here soon :)

  25. these look incredible, can't say i was a ribena addict but would love to give it a go in this form!

  26. oh wow these are the most amazing cupcakes i have ever seen. i can't believe you have managed to create a heart shaped filing in that first photo. brilliant! great blog.

  27. Your cupcakes look delicious and like a work of art. I love your photography. And I am still drinking ribena. It's a staple we always have in the house. I think the scandal re the vitamin C is that they claimed it had more Vit C than orange juice but this is not the case.

  28. oh my goodness! i googled ribena and found these! linking them from my blog now.. these are going to be an awesome surprise for my ribena-loving husband on his birthday. thank you!

  29. Made these at the weekend and they were stunning and went down very well with the boys who were watching football. Couldn't get blackcurrant pastilles but found Rowntrees berry jelly sweets and used those. They had cute little faces on them so really suited the quirky cake.

    Can't wait to make these again! Another triumph!

  30. Really bad, the icing is runny ): i can't pipe them out nicely!

    1. If your icing is runny then you added too much liquid. Beat in more icing sugar and chill the mixture to thicken it.


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