I like the flavour of liquorice but I find I have to be in the right mood for it. I had some liquorice Pontefract cakes sitting in my kitchen that I had bought when I fancied some but had never finished them all. It got me wondering if there was anything I could bake with them and my mind immediately turned to cupcakes. After a hunt through some cookery books and a browse on the internet I was amazed to find no reference to a cupcake containing liquorice anywhere, although plenty suggest it as decoration. By this point I had become determined to make cupcakes containing liquorice and so decided to see what I could create myself.
I decided to melt the liquorice in order to add it into the cake mix and as it’s quite a thick and sticky substance by nature, I melted it slowly in a pan with some butter. This worked, although the liquorice refused to dissolve into a smooth consistency, but it did turn extremely soft and mushy which meant it still distributed evenly when beaten into the rest of the cake batter.
I was expecting the colour to be an inky black, but it actually turned more of a milk chocolate colour. The batter was also quite….elastic, is the best word for it, and I was worried that it would bake flat and hard but it actually baked up wonderfully tall and light.
The flavour of the cupcakes is quite subtle at first bite, but it builds up a treacley/molasses flavour with a slight tongue tingling sensation I always get when eating liquorice. I wanted the flavour of the liquorice to be the most prominent and so simply drizzled them with a little plain icing to add a touch of sweetness. I was really pleased how the cupcakes turned out and would love to try baking it into a layer cake, maybe paired with raspberry or lemon buttercream for an interesting twist. These are a must try for any liquorice fan.
75g caster sugar
110g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
120g soft liquorice
2 tbsp milk
Icing sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
Chop the liquorice into small pieces and place in a small pan along with the butter.
Melt slowly, allowing the butter to completely melt and the liquorice to go very soft. It will not dissolve completely, but this is ok.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until doubled in volume and pale in colour.
Add the liquorice mixture and beat well until well incorporated.
Sift over the flour and baking powder and beat again.
Add the milk to thin down the mix and spoon into the muffin cases, filling three-quarters full.
Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool before drizzling with a little icing made by dissolving icing sugar in a little water.