…for you and also some toffees! Money! Who wants some money? Have a sixpence…no dash it have a guinea, five guineas…and gin. All must have gin. Now who wants this miniature horse?
These are the words with which Mr Skinflint Parsimonious – ironically the most generous of men – is introduced in the wonderful Bleak Expectations radio drama. This ironic use of names is one of the ways in which Bleak Expectations – Mark Evans’ Dickens parody has fast become one of the funniest things on the radio, along with literary tropes, hilariously overdone similes and a generous application of sound effects. The show follows Sir Phillip ‘Pip’ Bin as he narrates his life being cruelly kippered, then fixed up a bit, then re-kippered again some more thanks to the evil plans of his undead ex-guardian Mr Gently Benevolent. Mr Gently Benevolent’s plans extend far beyond the usual Victorian tropes of boarding schools, opium addiction and pretending to be a Southern Belle in order to marry Pip and steal his millions, but include aliens, zombies and space travel in plans that threaten the continued happiness of all of London, England and the world. Sucker that I am for a good literary apocalypse, especially one so humorously Dickensian in character, I had been enjoying listening to Bleak Expectations while I was baking….until I laughed so hard I nearly cracked an egg on the floor and decided it was best for everyone’s safety that I’m not near sharp or hot things whilst listening to something so dangerously silly. Still, that doesn’t stop it being an inspiration for baking, hence creating Mr Skinflint Parsimonious’ Generous Gin Cupcakes. The only problem with these is that as soon they are made, you will have to generously share them with everyone. Even your evil, undead ex-guardian.
Month of Marks
I didn’t really intend to make these cupcakes today. As today’s task for the month of marks, I just gave myself the freedom to experiment with some flavours (building up to something that I have been wanting to create for ages and have only just had the creative guts to do so). This was a happy by-product of that experimentation. The creative process for this started off by making a basic cupcake recipe, adding three tablespoons of London Dry Gin (because that’s what I had in the cupboard) and the zest of half a lemon. I then added enough flour to bring the batter to a good consistency – sorry, no exact amounts today! The icing is also experimenting on the standard recipe of soya spread and icing sugar, with additions of gin, lemon zest and lemon juice to get to the required taste and thickness.
The resulting cupcake was delicious – if the reactions of Mr Dourly Pessimistic and Mr Sensibly Retiring reactions were anything to go by. The gin had a definite flavour without becoming too biting as gin can sometimes do…although I would up the amount of gin in the icing for people who are fans of that gin hit. The combination of the lemon and the gin provided a refreshing, slightly fruity taste that really is too good not to be shared.
Recipe after the jump.
For the cupcakes
112g soya spread or butter
120g flour – this is a bit of a guestimate as my scales broke today, so it might need more to get the batter to a good thickness….it should drop of a spoon without being runny
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup of gin
dash of milk (lacto-free yay!)
1) Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy.
2) Add the eggs and beat well until fully incorporated into batter
3) In a separate bowl, measure out flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest, and whisk together.
4) Add one third of the flour mix to the batter and mix until incorporated, then add one half of the gin and mix till incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and gin mix. Add a dash of milk if the batter is too thick – it should drop off the spoon without being too runny.
5) Spoon batter into cupcake cases and bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes at 180C, 160C fan. The tops should be springy, but these cupcakes don’t go golden brown very much, they remain pale, so don’t try and go by colour. Allow to cool before icing.
For the icing
80g soya spread or butter
175g icing sugar
3 tablespoons gin
lemon zest and juice – to taste, I used about a tablespoon of lemon juice and the zest of a quarter of a lemon.
1) Beat soya spread or butter with the icing sugar
2) Add gin, lemon zest and juice and mix.
3) Add more of icing sugar, gin, and lemon juice to get the taste and thickness you are after…I do not wish to be prescriptive about how much you like the taste of gin or lemons!