The lovely people at All Things Cupcakes featured this pineapple hibiscus cupcake on their Weekly Roundup of Cupcakes. Woohoo! How exciting is that? :)
I don't know if its something to be proud of but I can eat a whole baby Bethonga by myself. Bethonga Pineapples are in season now which means that I have squirreled three Baby Bethongas away in my fridge which I will then attempt to eat by my greedy self. I refuse to eat the normal acidic, tongue burning pineapple, it gives me the same react as sour lollies, that of gagging and wanting to rip my tongue out. By the time that my husband reads this post, the Bethongas will be long gone. I can be ruthless this way.
I did put half an pineapple aside for the decorations which are an interesting way of making these gorgeous yellow "flowers". The cake itself is easiness personified, no beaters or creaming, just stirring in one bowl. The fussy bit are the hibiscus flowers although this requires exacting knifework (being able to very thinly slice thin pieces of pineapple) and patience (waiting for it to dry in a low oven for over an hour). Neither of which I possess.
I made these pineapple hibiscus cakes for Tropfest, the outdoor film festival at the Domain in Sydney. I confess that I was too lazy to make a batch of the lemon cream cheese frosting, instead using some sour cream icing that I had leftover. The consequence of my laziness was that the sour cream icing was too runny to sufficiently hold the flowers properly. I just hate it when laziness isn't rewarded...
Hibiscus Flower cupcakes
For the cupcake
½ cup mildly flavoured vegetable oil
3 eggs at room temperature
1 self-raising flour
½ cup cornflour
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups grated carrot
¾ cup crushed pineapple (make sure to drain this well)
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of water
36-45 slices fresh pineapple as thin as you can slice it while keeping the slice whole (I used 3 slices per cupcakes for the effect that you see pictured). I have stipulated extra as some burn when you bake them. I used Baby Bethongas but if you use regular large pineapples you may be able to do 1 or 2 slices of pineapple per cupcake
Cream cheese frosting
30g butter softened
80g cream cheese
1 1/2 cups icing sugar sifted
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Step 1 - First make the Pineapple flowers, they are time consuming and fiddly.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 150c fan forced or 170c non fan forced.
Step 3 - Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix on low speed until combined and then a higher speed until batter becomes pale. Spoon into patty tins.
Step 4 - Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in tin.
Step 5 - Make cream cheese frosting. When cupcake has cooled (it must be cool) spread with cream cheese frosting and then add fold three pineapple flowers into a flower shape and using the traction from the frosting secure them onto the cake.
Making the Pineapple Flowers
Step 1 - Heat oven to 100°c fan forced. Dissolve sugar in water together in a small saucepan on low heat and then boil for 1-2 minutes (do not allow to caramelise). Using a pastry brush, brush each sides of pineapple slices with this sugar syrup. Place these candied slices in a single layer on a wire racks over a baking sheet. Leave to dry in low oven for one hour (approximately, do watch these as they can catch and burn). As soon as your time is up remove slices from rack, and shape into flowers inverting them over the bottom of small cups until they set that way.
Making the Cream cheese icing
Beat butter and cream cheese in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, gradually beat in sifted icing sugar and lemon juice.