I’ve noticed that there’s a certain kind of recipe that appeals to me when I’m feeling particularly devoid of inspiration – those periods when I find it hard to muster up the enthusiasm to do anything other than order a pizza for dinner.
For some reason, it’s normally some form of cake that captures my imagination rather than a brownie or cookie or anything else that I usually like to eat/bake. The cake itself is generally golden brown, laced with vanilla and with a tender crumb. It tends to have a simple ingredient list. I think part of the appeal is the knowledge that I already have everything that I need on hand. It shouldn’t require too much effort or fancy equipment either. Nothing is more likely to discourage me from turning the oven on than the thought of having to wash up multiple bowls or lug my food processor out of the cupboard.
As soon as I saw the golden milk cake that Sara posted a couple of weeks ago, I knew that it was just the recipe that was going to pull me out of my current kitchen funk. It arrived in my inbox on a Friday morning and it was all I could do not to leave the office immediately and head home to make it. I managed to hold out until the end of the day and, that evening, I was rewarded with the most fragrant and delicious cake that I’ve eaten in a long time.
I’ve made a few small tweaks to Sara’s recipe to make it gluten free but other than that, the recipe is pretty much hers. The first time I made it, I used my mini bundt pans but the version I’m sharing here is in cupcake form, topped with a luscious mascarpone cream and a few berries because I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal not to do so at this time of year.
If you don’t know Sara’s blog, you’re also in for a real treat. She does the most fantastic illustrations (I have several of the prints from her ‘Commute‘ series which I adore) plus she recently documented the day she spent eating pizza in her hometown of Lebanon, PA. How can you not love this girl?
As soon as Sara posted this recipe, I knew that I had to make it asap. It’s really my perfect kind of cake – rich and butter-y with a dense crumb but still somehow light enough that it’s possible to eat three or four at once. I generally can’t resist eating one as soon as it comes out of the oven; the heady smell is so intoxicating. This type of cake is traditionally known as a hot milk cake but I much prefer Sara’s name for it!
- 90g (3/4 cup) rice flour
- 30g (just under 1/3 cup) ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon corn flour (corn starch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 100g (just under 1 cup) unrefined sugar of some description
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 55g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 120ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 240ml (1 cup) double cream, at room temperature
- 225g (1 cup-ish) mascarpone, at room temperature
- Icing sugar, to taste
- Berries, for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F and line a cupcake tin with paper cases. My liners were really small hence I got 18 cupcakes out of the mix but with a more substantial liner, you’ll be closer to 12.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the various flours, ground almonds, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In another bowl – or the bowl of a stand mixer – beat the egg, sugar and vanilla for 5 – 10 minutes until light and frothy. Fold in the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a small pan over a low heat, melt the butter and then add the milk. Bring it up to the boiling point, stirring to make sure that it doesn’t scorch. When the milk is ready, take it off the heat and slowly pour it into you batter, folding it through until combined. You’ll have a fairly think and pourable batter.
- Divide the batter between the paper cases and fill each about 3/4 of the way up but no more than that unless you want your cupcakes to end up looking a mess. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and firm. They’ll rise in the oven but will sink a little as they cool. No worries.
- When they’re cool, whisk together the cream and mascarpone until thick. It won’t take long and if you beat it too much, the mixture will curdle due to the relatively high fat content. Add sugar to taste (I find the cupcakes on the sweeter side so prefer to go light in the sugar in the frosting but it’s up to you).
- Dollop the frosting on top of the cupcakes and add a few berries for decoration. Job done.
Cupcakes barely adapted from Sara’s golden milk cake