These aromatic little cakes were inspired by an idea to combine two of our favourite foods. The sweet, tropical flavours of pineapple pair well with the exotic, herbal flavours of liquorice – pineapple is often combined with star anise in desserts and syrups, and a fennel and pineapple slaw makes a great summer salad.
The cakes have a light and fluffy centre and a nice crusty top. The spelt flour brings some subtle earthy nuttiness, and the molasses helps create a caramelly, almost gingerbread-like quality. Speckled with chunks of pineapple and liquorice and topped with velvety buttercream scented with pineapple, these cupcakes are certain to surprise and delight.
Pineapple Licorice Cupcakes
Makes 48 small or 24 regular cupcakes
- 300g liquorice, 200g chopped roughly, 100g cut into small chunks
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or another vegetable or nut oil)
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups pineapple, cut into squares about 5mm wide
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2x 24 1/4-cup cupcake trays or 2x 12 1/2-cup trays with shells.
Combine the 200g of roughly-cut liquorice with 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened.
Combine the flours, baking powder, soda and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well.
Transfer liquorice mixture to a processor and blend until smooth. Repeat with molasses, then oil and then egg yolks.
Add the chopped liquorice, pineapple chunks and liquorice liquid to the dry mixture. Mix gently until well combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add egg whites to the cake batter and fold through gently until combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared trays and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out dry.
Wait until cupcakes are thoroughly cooled, then ice with the buttercream icing and devour!
Pineapple Buttercream Icing
- 250g butter, softened
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with electric beaters until smooth and well combined.