1 cup (200g) butternut pumpkin, skin on, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 cup (175g) light soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
1 cup (150g) plain flour, unsifted
1 heaped teaspoons baking powder
a small handful of walnuts
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/5 cup 90ml olive oil
For The Frosted Cream Topping:
zest of ½ clementine
zest of ½ lemon and juice of ½ a lemon
70ml soured cream
1 heaped tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
optional: lavender flowers or rose petals
½ tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line your cupcake tin with paper cases.
2. Whiz the pumpkin in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the sugar, and crack in the eggs. Add a pinch of salt, the flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and whiz together until well beaten. You may need to pause the machine at some point to scrape the mix down the sides with a rubber spatula. Try not to overdo it with the mixing – you want to just combine everything and no more.
3. Fill the paper cases three-quarters of the way up with the cake mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see whether they are cooked properly by sticking a wooden skewer or a knife right into one of the cakes – if it comes out clean, they’re done. If it’s a bit sticky, pop them back into the oven for a little longer.
4. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack. As soon as the cupcakes are in the oven, make your runny frosted topping. Place most of the clementine zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the soured cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.
5. Taste and have a think about it – adjust the amount of lemon juice or icing sugar to balance the sweet and sour. Put into the fridge until your cakes have cooled down and you’re ready to serve, then spoon the topping on to the cakes as and when you want to eat them.
6. Serve on a lovely plate (or on a cake stand if you’re feeling elegant, or on a rustic slab if you’re more of a hunter-gatherer type!), with the rest of the clementine zest sprinkled over. For an interesting flavour and look, a few dried lavender flowers or rose petals are fantastic.
1. The skin of a butternut pumpkin goes deliciously chewy and soft when cooked, so there’s no need to peel it off.
2. Mix your cupcakes until just blended otherwise your cupcake texture will be dense.
3. Stop the processor after a couple of minutes and scrape the mix down off the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
4. Make sure your oven is preheated and ready to go before you start whizzing your pumpkin – the cupcakes need to go into a hot oven as soon as they’re mixed up if you want them to rise well.
5. If you feel like making something less indulgent, these cupcakes are delicious without the topping. If you do choose to add the frosting then make sure you allow the cakes to cool before applying it otherwise the heat will make the mixture too runny.