I've seen a couple of recipes around recently using cream as an ingredient, not surprisingly, Dan Lepard is behind a couple of them, but Suelle started a discussion on Dan's forums about using cream as an ingredient in baking which was very interesting. I decided that I really ought to do some investigating into this..... well, seemed only right to have to try out a recipe and see what the texture was like for myself.
Baked and ready to be filled
I decided to make Dan's Orange custard cream cupcakes, fairly recently published in the Guardian How to Bake column. Except that I was planning to be lazy and not make the orange cream filling - I wanted to fill them with curd. I meant to go to Waitrose because they do a Jaffa orange curd, but I didn't make it so decided to switch all the flavours to lemon, lemon curd being much easier to get hold of (yes, my lemon curd is from Waitrose, I'd already bought it on a previous occasion!) The only other change I made was to use self raising flour instead of plain plus baking powder, which is just my personal preference.
I don't have posh lemon oil, mine is from Sainsbury's and the label tells me that it's only 12% lemon oil, not pure lemon oil, so I decided to use 2tsp rather the specified 1tsp. I'd love to try the real deal here though!
It was rather therapeutic, digging out a little mound of cake, and lopping most of it off (mmm, baker's treat!) before filling the hole with lemon curd and replacing the lid.
Lids all replaced, ready for the final icing.
You can see that some of them showed their secret a little more than others... over-generous hand with the lemon curd, or insufficiently deep hole!
Anyway, nearly enough photos now, what did they taste like? Very good! The texture (see picture below) was extremely fine grained, they were very delicate cupcakes. The lemon flavour was good, but I bet it would be stunning if I'd used the extract Dan recommended. I really must repeat the recipe with that extract! The lemon curd filling worked well with the cake - it contrasted nicely as a rich, smooth texture against the slightly drier, yet still moist cake crumb. The sweet lemon icing on the top was good too - another contrast. Next time I'll use a finer grater than my coarse microplane, and I might add a little of the lemon extract/oil to the icing too, just for a further flavour boost!