Sunken blackcurrant squash love cupcakes

Sunken blackcurrant squash love cupcakes

Recipes From a Normal Mum
David Loftus

My mum didn’t do can’t-haves; she fed me well and allowed me treats. I think it worked in that I don’t lie awake at night wishing to gorge myself on leftover cake and roast potatoes. However, there was one thing that was off limits – Ribena. And of course that meant I loved it with a passion. I buy the sugar-free version for drinking, but the full version for baking. These cupcakes use polenta, a gritty baking addition that makes you think you’re eating something very sugary. If you like lemon then add a little zest to the batter, as the crunch of polenta and the zing of lemon are natural bedfellows.


Quantity Ingredient
115g salted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
70g fine polenta
125g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon custard powder
85g dried cherries and berries
275g icing sugar
40ml blackcurrant squash
12 heart-shaped sweets


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with cases. Beat together the butter and caster sugar until very light and fluffy; this will take about 5 minutes with a mixer or double that time using a wooden spoon. Dribble in the eggs about a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until they are all incorporated. Sift the polenta, flour, baking powder and custard powder into the creamed mixture and fold it together with a large metal spoon, using slicing motions so as not to knock the air out of all the ingredients. Don’t worry if you do knock a lot of the air out, however – it will just mean you’ll end up with slightly dipped cupcakes, which will mean you will just have to use more icing.
  2. Pop 1 tablespoon of mixture into each case, sprinkle with a few dried cherries and berries and top with another tablespoon of the mixture. Repeat until all the cases are full then bake for 20 minutes until well risen, golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cupcakes clean. Remove them from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Mix the icing sugar and squash together until very stiff and spoon over the cooled cakes. Add a sweet to the top of each and allow to set before eating.

Ideas for polenta

  • Serve polenta in place of mash – with lots of Parmesan and finely chopped rosemary stirred through, sausages on the side and a poached egg on top. Or add crushed garlic and leave to cool and set in a lined tin, then cut into fingers, brush with melted butter, grill and serve with chargrilled peppers, onions and courgettes.
Great British Bake Off
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