Bites of sunshine: Mini mango cupcakes

August 2, 2010 § 2 Comments


The Washington D.C. metro stations are located deep underground, requiring long escalators to transport you into the depths of the tunnels. For the eternity you are in the tunnels, packed in like sardines with the other commuters — and tourists depending on the time of day — all other life seems to stop beneath the fluorescent lighting. And then, you emerge on the other side, the sunlight hits your face from the top of the escalator, and for a moment, you stand there blinded until your eyes adjust to the new streets.

Ascending from the escalator of the Eastern Market Metro station was like arising into a different city; it projected me back to my hometown of San Francisco, where street vendors, farmers’ markets and flea markets are in full force on Saturday morning. Buckets of plump, juicy blackberries, soft enough to crush between your fingertips, and wooden crates overflowing with fuzzy peaches, both yellow and white lingered in the sun as we made our way past the first tables of the market. Our eyes were drawn to the glittering silver earrings, paintings of the city bursting with color and bright friendship bracelets in patterns I would never have attempted in 5th grade. One man sat behind a wide array of baking dished painted with bright blue and yellow flowers, inducing child-like delight in me.

On the corner, a photographer brought her lens up close to an old man strumming a guitar and a younger, slightly worn-down, man peddled the Street Sheet. We sat down for lunch at the Montmartre Bistro, where we ordered buckwheat crepes stuffed with prosciutto and cheese and fluffy omelets filled with spinach and fresh tomato. I finally saw crates of summer heirloom tomatoes, brilliant reds and oranges swirling together on their smooth skins. People sat on the sidewalks, eating grilled crab cake sandwiches and sipping lemonade, each poured over an entire lemon. We bought marbled soaps, made in a woman’s home kitchen, cut off of long slabs, in scents of African earth and pure peppermint.

When we finally descended back into the Metro tunnel, we were exhausted, stuffed and bearing several packages. It would only be fitting now to leave with a recipe made with fresh, seasonal fruit. These mango cupcakes are like tiny bursts of sunshine; the cake is studded with pieces of caramelized fruit and the frosting is a light buttercream, folded with mango purée. I actually preferred them without the frosting, when they are just barely sweet, much like those of the original author of the recipe. This is a special post, for the simple reason that the recipe is written in French. I am moving to Paris at the end of August and, over the next few weeks, I will be transitioning a lot of my baking to French to gain a fuller immersion experience. For this recipe, I used mango instead of apricots, for which the original recipe calls, though I am sure these cupcakes are equally good — or better — with apricots. Apricots bring to mind childhood summers spent in the south of France, though I am unsure of whether the apricots are real memories or ones I have sentimentally fabricated over the years.

Original recipe reprinted here, can also be found at Les Gourmandises d’Isa

PETITS GÂTEAUX AUX ABRICOTS ET AMANDONS

Pour 8 personnes :
12 abricots
12 noyaux d’abricots
1/2 tasse ( 125 g ) de beurre fondu
2 cuillères à table de miel
3 oeufs
3/4 tasse ( 150 g ) de sucre
1 cuillère à thé d’extrait de vanille
1 et 1/2 tasses ( 180 g ) de farine
1 et 1/2 cuillères à thé de poudre à pâte ( levure chimique )
1/2 tasse ( 60 g ) d’amandes en poudre

Préchauffer le four à 400 F ( 200 C ).
Préparer un moule à muffins en les garnissant de 8 caissettes à cupcakes.

Dénoyauter les abricots en réservant les noyaux et coupez-les en petits dés.
Fondre 2 cuillères à table de beurre, prélevé sur la quantité initiale dans une poêle et faites-y revenir les abricots avec le miel durant 10 minutes, en remuant régulièrement pour qu’ils caramélisent de tous côtés.
Casser les noyaux d’abricots afin d’y récupérer les amandes. Plongez-les une minute dans de l’eau bouillante, puis enlever la peau qui les recouvre.
Hacher grossièrement les amandes et réserver.

Blanchir les oeufs avec le sucre, au batteur électrique puis ajouter la vanille.
Ajouter la farine et la poudre à pâte, puis le reste de beurre fondu, les amandes en poudre, les amandes d’abricots hachées et les abricots.

Séparer la préparation dans les moules préparés et enfourner pour 25 à 30 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les petits gâteaux soient dorés et qu’un cure-dent inséré au centre, en ressorte propre.
Sortir du four, et laisser refroidir sur une grille.

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§ 2 Responses to Bites of sunshine: Mini mango cupcakes

  • ritz says:

    Hi Is it possible for you to translate the recipe in English?

    • souffledays says:

      Apricot and almond cupcakes
      Makes 8 servings

      12 apricots
      ½ cup butter
      2 tablespoons honey
      3 eggs
      ¾ cup sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 ½ cups flour
      1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
      ½ cup ground almonds

      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare 8 muffin molds (either butter and flour, or use cupcake wrappers).
      Skin the apricots and cut into small pieces. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pot on the stove. Add the apricots and honey to the pot and cook for ten minutes, stirring regularly, or until the apricots are caramelized on all sides. Take the pot off of the heat and set aside.
      Cream the remaining butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and baking powder, making sure not to over mix. Then mix in the apricot mixture. Finally, fold in the ground almonds.
      Separate the batter into the prepared cupcake molds and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool.

      When I made these, I used mango instead of apricots and so I omitted the step in the French version dealing with the apricot stones, which, frankly, confused me a bit. I iced them with a buttercream frosting, folded with fresh mango puree. I reckon you could do the same with an apricot version.

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