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Pineapple Jam Cupcakes.

CHINESE New Year has just passed and you’re most likely nursing a food coma. And despite your overworked tummy, here I am suggesting that you try a new recipe! But this isn't just any old recipe. It's inspired by one of the greatest and essential Chinese New Year treats — the pineapple jam tart.

So what is it? It's pineapple jam cupcakes with a fresh cream frosting! This recipe makes for an excellent idea for any future Chinese New Year gatherings. After all, it would be nice to bring something new to the table.

The great thing about this treat is that it's not too sweet so you know your Po Po won't complain when you decide to serve them. Furthermore, she’d probably be quite taken by how pretty they look.

Another fabulous thing about these cupcakes is that not only can they be whipped up for Chinese New Year, they can also be served at any other time of the year. After all, who doesn’t love a good cupcake?

GETTING STARTED

Make sure to drain your canned pineapples before crushing them.

So how do you make these little treats?

Start by pre-heating your oven to 180C. I can't stress how important this step is. Placing cake batter into a cold oven is a recipe for disaster. More specifically, a recipe for a flat cake. So make sure you pre-heat it the second you plan on making them.

The next thing to do is get your dry ingredients together. To ensure that your cupcake has a “light” texture, you'll need to sieve your dry ingredients together. This will include all-purpose baking flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then you'll need to whisk the dry ingredients together, ensuring they’re mixed evenly. You don't want half your cupcakes to be salty and flat, while the other half bland and over puffed. Set your mixed dry ingredients aside, while you start on the creaming process.

All you need to do now is cream your butter and sugar together until they're pale and fluffy. The trick to doing this is simple — make sure your butter is at room temperature, and soft to the touch. You can't cream butter and sugar together with cold butter, no matter how strong your mixer is. And if you don't have a mixer, don't worry — a whisk or a wooden spoon will do just fine. It only takes a little more elbow grease. Then you can mix in your eggs and vanilla extract.

Now, before you mix your dry and wet ingredients together, this cupcake takes one extra step. You'll need to get a 565g can of cubed pineapples, which you’ll need to drain and crush. I tried to dice the canned pineapples, but they ended up getting smashed instead, leaking precious pineapple juice onto your countertop.

So instead, I suggest you drain the can of pineapples, place the fruit into a bowl and crush them with your hands. This takes only a couple of minutes, and leaves no mess behind. Make sure to keep all the juices that come out of the pineapple.

This recipe makes a perfect dozen.

Then, mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, and fold in the crushed pineapple and its juices. And you have your batter! All you need to do now is bake them in a cupcake tray, lined with cupcake liners, for 20 - 22 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. They make a perfect dozen so you can double or triple the recipe if you have more guests.

As the cupcakes bake, you have to get the icing ready. All you need is 300g of cold whipping cream and 100g of pineapple jam. If your pineapple jam is rock solid, add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to give it a slightly more liquid consistency. This will make it easier to whisk into your cream. Using a whisk, just beat your cold cream and jam together until the mix is thick. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to pipe.

Once your cupcakes are cooled, you can remove its centres and fill them with more jam OR you can pipe a cone shape using your icing, leaving a hollow cone in the middle to fill with jam. I opted for the latter because I didn't want to waste any cupcake “meat”. Finally, it’s time to decorate with some dried pineapple and gold sugar beads.

However, if you’re a little scared about the decoration, you can serve these cakes without any icing whatsoever. They taste great as a simple cake, but it would be nice to serve it with a little jam on the side — in a nod to its ancestor, the pineapple jam tart!

Pipe some jam into a hole you make in the icing.

Ingredients:

Cake:

200gAll-purpose flour

1 tspBaking powder

½tsp Salt

113gUnsalted butter, at room temperature

170gSugar

1 tspVanilla

2 Large eggs

565gCanned pineapple

Icing:

300gWhipping cream, cold

100gPineapple jam

Filling

150g – 200gPineapple jam

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