Monday, October 08, 2007

"Lil Punkin" Saffron Honeycakes

These cupcakes were made from the recipe of the second place winning cake at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin & Harvest Festival, and specifically made for Cheryl and Garrett's Cupcake Round Up 2!

They are called "Lil Punkin" Saffron Honeycakes and are the spawn of their mother, the Pumpkin and Saffron Honeycake. They have a special dried fruit paste filling. I used local and seasonal ingredients. I took a basic pumpkin cake recipe and transformed it into an autumn celebration of Persian flavors.

Here is the recipe. You can simply use cupcake tins to bake the cakes instead of the rounds. Just decrease the baking time. If you use the little glass votives, you can even steam the cakes in the microwave! About a minute for each little votive. Sweet!

Cupcakes with their mother watching proudly behind!

The Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tsp granulated sugar

Fruit Paste Filling:
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice from one lime
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs honey

The Topping:
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coarsely chopped and toasted pistachios (optional)
Pomegranate seeds (if in season)

1. The night before the cake is to be made. prepare the fruit filling:
Place dried fruit in a small bowl and cover with pomegranate & orange juice and juice of one lime to soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the next morning and blend in the food processor with the vanilla and honey. Add some of the drained juice if needed. A spreading consistency is desired. After fruit is thoroughly blended, set aside for later use.

2. Prepare the cake: Muddle the saffron threads with the 1 tsp of sugar with a mortar and pestle and when add 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer while stirring, then remove from heat and let cool.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-in cake pans. Set aside.

4. Stir together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Set aside.

5. In a mixer, combine butter and both sugars. Beat on high until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix pumpkin with the saffron mixture, then stir in slowly (mixer on lowest setting) with the butter and sugars. By hand, stir in flour mixture until it is fully incorporated.

6. Pour into prepared pans and bake cake until it is done. This should take about 20-30 mins. Cake will be done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and turns golden on top.

7. Let the cakes cool in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert pans and let cool completely.

8. When cakes have finished cooling, use serrated knife to level off the top "layer" and then place this layer on the bottom of a plate. Drizzle 1/4 of the honey on the top of this layer.

9. Spread reserved fruit filling on the layer and then top with the other layer (the bottom of one of the layers will end up being the top so that the finished product will look more elegant). Drizzle the remaining honey on the top of the cake, and then sprinkle the pistachio nuts over the cake to finish.

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