However, whilst putting this post up England have been knocked out (it’s a fast changing world...) so these are now England memorial cupcakes.
It’s a bumper time for sports fans, what with Wimbledon also in full flow, so I wanted to pick a cupcake that couldn’t be any more English even if it donned a pearly hat and coat and started going on about tea and crumpets. What could be more English than strawberries and clotted cream?
The yoghurt makes this a mega-light sponge and it domes nicely making a lid to keep all the strawberry and creamy goodness in situ! The almond adds moisture and a little more interest than a normal plain sponge. A nice dollop of jam goes into the cupcake first:
Then it's topped with clotted cream – surely England’s greatest gift to the world?
Far more pleasing than football!
Now I must digress slightly….there is a tradition in my family – OK, so it only started with the last World Cup but all traditions have to start somewhere – that I make World Cup footballer biscuits. Unfortunately I didn’t have my blog last time round and hadn’t acquired the somewhat obsessive habit of photographing everything I made, but let me tell you that my Ronaldinho biscuit was so lifelike it was frightening. I think you can tell from the artistry of this years’ haul what a talent I have for this…they could practically be team photos. Here is a selection of my artistry along with little Vuvuzela Bouffle – my lovely little knitted dog, purchased during the world cup:
I used my favourite biscuit recipe but used almond extract instead of vanilla, just for a change– the recipe can be found here.
Now I am by no means a football fan – in fact, rather the opposite but the World Cup is hard to ignore. What struck me this year is the absence of standout personalities or looks. I’ve picked a selection of players:
Here’s Ashley Cole with his mobile phone sending a last minute text before kick off. I wonder what he’s sending?
Thierry Henry with a ball…on his hand…surely he should be scoring with his feet? (this one is me showing solidarity with all my Irish readers).
Wayne Rooney seems to have been Mr Angry in this contest – you can sense the rage coming off him in this snap:
Peter Crouch suffered quite a severe injury in transit – his head fell off. Mind you, for most footballers that wouldn’t be as serious as a leg injury!
Poor Didier Drogba didn’t let a broken arm stop him from joining in the football (and biscuit) fun:
Finally a tribute to a man who, not only has the best name in the World Cup, but possibly the world – step forward Chile’s Waldo Ponce:
For the sponge:
175g golden caster sugar
140g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g ground almonds
150ml natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 190˚C/fan 170˚C/ 375˚F/gas mark 5.
Line a cupcake pan with paper cases – these are big cupcakes so avoid using shallow cases.
Place the sugar, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a bowl and stir together.
In a separate bowl beat together the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla – don’t whisk them too much, just so they’re nicely combined.
Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and pour in the yoghurt mix and melted butter.
Fold in with a metal spoon until just combined – don’t overwork it.
Spoon into the cases; they will be quite full.
Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes of until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
At this stage the cakes will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.
Either cut the tops off the cupcakes or use a corer to remove some of the middle of the sponge – it depends purely on which look you prefer.
Spoon a generous helping of jam onto the sponge followed by a generous spoonful of clotted cream.
Top with a strawberry and replace the sponge lid (if you haven’t already eaten it – cook’s perks!)
Once made up the cakes must be kept refrigerated.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.