After months of baking cupcakes following other people’s recipes, I thought it was about time to try to create my own. Following the big success of my savoury feta and courgette cupcakes (taken from Cupcake Magic by Kate Shiazi) I decided to make a twist using a recipe from an old vegetarian cookbook for a ‘kuku’, a Middle Eastern oven baked omelette. I made the kuku for a dinner party recently and it was delicious, packed with spinach and spiced with cumin. After making it for the second time last week as a tasty hangover cure, the light bulb went on and I realised that this would make a perfect cupcake. Plus how amazing is the word kuku?
With ex work colleagues coming over to my place that evening, it seemed like the perfect time for the trial.
I followed the original recipe and switched courgette with spinach and added fresh mint leaves and cumin from the kuku recipe. It all looked OK in terms of batter so they went into the oven with hope and crossed fingers.
The timings were worrying but after ensuring they were slightly golden on top, it was time to release them from the oven.
I nervously tasted one and SUCCESS!! Nom Nom Nom! They were just as I had hoped. Mouthwateringly moist with spinach and with just the right amount of cumin to spice things up a bit!
If any further proof was needed, all 16 of the cupcakes were devoured by the end of the evening with echoes of ‘mmmm’ and ‘aaaah’ and ‘can I have the recipe please?’. So here it is:
Makes 16 small or 12 large
400g spinach/14oz spinach
200g/7oz plain flour
2 tsbp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
3 medium eggs
2 spring onions
250g ricotta cheese
150g feta cheese
110g/4oz butter, melted
60ml/2 fl oz milk
Handful of chopped mint leaves
Ground black pepper
Put the oven on to 170˚C to preheat.
1. Gently cook the spinach till soft. I did mine in the microwave in batches – it does shrink a lot once cooked after the initial spinach kitchen takeover. Then place in a colander and press out all the water. I used the bottom of a large bowl to get better surface area. Roughly chop the squeezed spinach.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt & cumin in a sieve over a large mixing bowl and sift to ensure all dry ingredients are mixed.
3. In a 2nd bowl, mix together well the spinach, eggs, finely chopped onions, ricotta, feta, melted butter milk and mint. Season to taste with the pepper – I like a lot.
4. Put the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Ensure you get all the flour from the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be thick and lumpy and smelling delicious.
5. Put spoonfuls of the mixture into cases placed in a cupcake tin. For even sized cakes, I use a heaped 50ml measuring spoon. This will give a good sized cupcake.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes to start with. If they are too high they will brown too quickly. I kept checking them every few minutes. Once the tops seem cooked and starting to turn golden, take them out. I found that the insides seem a bit under cooked when first taken out, but after resting to cool the insides will cook out to leave them perfect.
7. Scoff away and enjoy!