Thursday, 15 March 2012

Random Recipes: Leaning Tower of Praline Cupcake

Last weekend A went away. He was off to a music festival and when discussing whether it was something I'd enjoy and wish to attend, our conversation went a little like this:

A: Do you fancy coming to a music festival?
Me: Is Adele playing?
A: No
Me: (pulls face)
A: But it is at Butlins, that might be fun?
Me: Hmmm. Will the water slides be open? 
A: I don't think so
Me: Do they have a wave machine?! You know how I feel about wave machines. Best. Fun. Ever.
A: I think it'll just be all about the bands
Me: How about the cake? What's the ratio of band to cake?
A: Zero. There'll probably be lots of beer though
Me: Beer cake?
A: No. Just beer. 

Once I'd firmly established that the music festival he was heading to did not involve Adele, water slides or copious quantities of cake I headed to the kitchen. And  I spent virtually 48 hours fighting with flour, brawling with butter and scuffling with sugar. There were some disasters (as always) and there were these: my Leaning Tower of Praline Cupcakes. The nutty equivalent of the most famous slanting Italian landmark.

All in aid of this month's Random Recipe Challenge, hosted as always by Dom from Belleau Kitchen. This month's theme is Lucky Number 17.

Leaning Tower of Praline Cupcakes 

For the Leaning Praline:
150g caster sugar
100ml water
75g flaked almonds

For the cupcakes:
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract

75g butter, softened
125g icing sugar
Sprinkling of ground almonds

1. To make the praline: Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the syrup has turned into a golden caramel. Stir in the almonds straight away and then turn out onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Set aside to cool, until the praline becomes brittle
2. To make the cupcakes firstly line a bun tin with 12 paper cases and preheat the oven to 190C/170C (fan)/Gas Mark 5. 
3. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour, baking powders, almonds and extract
4. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden and springy to touch. 
5. To make the icing: beat the icing sugar and butter together until pale and creamy. Spoon onto the cooled cupcakes. Snap the praline into jagged pieces and use to decorate the cupcakes. Sprinkle a little ground almond onto each cupcake

Baker's notes...
  • I've adapted the recipe somewhat, using an age-old, dog-eared, yellowed recipe for almond cupcakes that I love, torn out of a magazine which I've long forgotten.  
  • Other nutty options include a pecan version
  • How do wave machines actually work? Are there a group of invisible people jumping in at the deep end at the same time? Answers on a postcard please. Best answer gets cake.

All wrapped up to take to my mates


  1. I'm actually coming to Maida vale today and if I don't get one of these.... I think wave machines are created by lots of people farting in the shallow end?

  2. I think I'm in love with your blog - your posts make me laugh out loud every time I read them. Cake and baking sounds like a much more fun way to spend the weekend than in a beer swilling festival tent, and this creation is amazing. Pisa would be proud :-)

  3. What fun cakes, I'd far rather bake then go to a music festival. I bet your collected welcome you with open arms when they see you arrive with a full cake tin! Jude x. Now I'm off to ice my second leprechaun trap for my daughter's class tomorrow.

  4. Wow - they look fab, and so pretty wrapped in cellophane - I am getting hungry just looking at them!

  5. Wave machines are made made by a lodge of beavers (yes that is the collective noun) all holding on to those deep-end bars with their teeth and beating the water with their tails in perfect synchronicity.

  6. SUCH pretty cakes and I LOVE the lean!! I think my money is on baking.....

  7. Hehehe - great post, as always! Not 100% sure how wave machines work to be honest, I've never actually come across any in my travels and now feel I am missing out on the experience of a lifetime lol. Fab cuppies too, can't beat the well tried and tested with a twist ;0)

  8. Wave machines work by displacement of water in response to inductive energy in accordance with the equation u(x, t) = Asin(kx –wt + ø). I have no idea what I'm talking about. Great looking cakes. (I had no idea that Butlins still existed. I'm clearly living in a world of my own.)

  9. I've never been near a wave machine, but they sound fun. And I am appalled at the idea of all beer and no cake, what an idea? Glad you made up for it, your cakes have a brilliant lean to them and sound delicious too.

  10. I have no idea how wave machines work but I can bake a cake :) Love the leaning look of this cupcake.


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