Cooking up a St Patrick’s Day feast in Malta
Food writer Lea Hogg shares her recipe for Guinness cupcakes with a Mediterranean twist
St Patrick’s day has become very big here in Malta. I remember one sunny day in March last year driving down the coast road during St Patrick’s weekend. I could not get over the crowds, different shades of green gathered. The traffic came to a standstill and I sat in my car absorbing the electric atmosphere, the anticipation, the excitement brought on by the sense of expectancy. This surpassed anything I have seen in the many different countries I lived in. I wonder if St Patrick’s day is big here because of the Catholic connection, or is it simply an excuse for merriment ?
With great pleasure, I have been doing some traditional cooking to mark this day so special in the Irish calendar. One of my favourite recipes is for Guinness cupcakes, given to me by the “Irish cupcake queen” on the island. If you do not do sugar craft, you will still get a lot of inspiration from her photos.
Martha’s Guinness cupcakes
440ml Guinness (one large can)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cup Greek Yoghurt and for those on the island local yoghurt is great
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
Heaped spoon of Mediterranean Carob Syrup, which you can omit if not available
Heat the oven to 175 C. Place cupcake liners into muffin pans.
Whisk together the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in the eggs until completely incorporated. Whisk in the sour cream or yoghurt.
Sift the flour, and sugar, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking soda, and salt. Gradually fold this mixture into the wet Guinness mixture. Pour the batter among the cake liners.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Set the pans on a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool completely before removing from the pan.
For the icing:
225 g package cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch fine salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound powdered sugar
Natural unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Method: Place the cream cheese in the bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Beat in the cream until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
With the mixer on medium speed mix in the powdered sugar until it is smooth.
Top each cupcake with frosting or pipe it.
Lea Hogg is a food columnist with L Orizzont and contributes to the Malta Independent weekly. She also write for Bizzilla, Air Malta’s magazine about seasonal food and cooking monthly. Lea is a qualified chef and pastry chef. More Irish recipes with a Mediterranean twist can be found on her blog, goodfoodeveryday.wordpress.com.