430g (15 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
265 g (91/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
125 g (41/2 oz/1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
375 ml (121/2 fl oz/11/2 cups) full-cream (whole) milk
125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
150g chopped pistachios
150g dried cranberries
2 batches swiss meringue buttercream frosting
4 tbsp orange blossom honey
1 tsp almond extract
150g dried cranberries
160g granulated sugar
15g liquid glucose
1 egg white
150g orange blossom honey
20 maraschino cherries
200g chopped pistachios
200g dried cranberries
Add the sugar, glucose and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer until it reaches 50C on a sugar thermometer.
While that’s happening, add the honey in a separate saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue simmering until it reaches 120C.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks in the bowl of a stand mixer. When the honey has reached the correct temperature, slowly pour the honey into the egg whites while the mixer is on high speed. Repeat with the sugar syrup once it’s reached the correct temperature.
Continue beating for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and glossy.
Fold in the pistachios and cranberries. Place in a large piping bag and set aside.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line two cupcake tins with the cupcake liners.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs, milk, oil, yoghurt and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the pistachios and cranberries and fold into the batter using a spatula.
Fill each liner three-quarters of the way. Using an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process, and ensures each liner contains exactly the same amount of batter and that the cupcakes will bake evenly. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To prepare the frosting add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
To prepare the crumb coating, add the pistachios and cranberries into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Core the centre of each cupcake using an apple corer and fill with nougat filling.
Fit the end of a piping bag with a large round tip and frost a large bulb of buttercream. Coat in the crumb coating.
Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton 6b piping tip and frost a swirl of frosting on top of the coated frosting. Finish with a maraschino cherry.
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated and thawed 40 min before serving). Although I’d recommend baking and serving on the same day.
EQUIPMENT: Can be made using a hand mixer (always mix on lowest speed) or a hand whisk. Take care not to over mix the batter.
OVEN TEMPERATURE: Each oven is different. Some are old, some are new. Some ovens can be hotter on the inside than the temp you set your oven at. If you find your cupcakes, cakes or macarons are browning or cracking, turn the oven temp down 10C. A handy trick is to get an oven thermometer which sits inside the oven and will give you an accurate temperature reading. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased online or at your local kitchen supply store. And always bake in the centre rack of the oven for best results!
BAKING TIME: These cupcakes will typically bake on a lower temp and for a little longer than regular cupcake recipes. I find a low temperate and a slow bake results in flatter tops and no caramelisation so that if the cupcakes are coloured they don’t change colour and brown. After 40 minutes, stick a skewer into the centre of one of the cupcakes, if it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 10 minutes until the skewer comes out with crumbs or completely clean.
Large mixing bowls
Magic Whisk for wet ingredients
Stand mixer (or hand mixer)
Cupcake baking tin
Ice cream scoop (optional)