For some reason I always resist making cupcakes. They seem like a lot of effort to me, and I think it’s because cupcakes nowadays are generally equal parts cake and icing. Don’t get me wrong, icing is delicious, but in practice I only tend to add it to cakes I feel unsure about. Made a vegan cake of questionable texture? Add icing! Something weird and bubbly has happened on the top? Icing! Icing is sweet and delicious and hides many mistakes, and when piped and laced with edible silver bobbles and flowers it is undeniably pretty. But to be honest, I’d still prefer a really good plain cake oozing with fruit or chocolate.
Anyway, my cupcake resistance is why I didn’t even consider making these in cups. Because really, they’re cakes. They look like cookies, but in truth they’re little flat cakes. And no, that was not what I intended when I put the first few in the oven, but I’m still posting them because they are absolutely delicious and just because they aren’t so easy to categorise doesn’t mean they don’t deserve love. I’m open-minded like that. But yes, I’m sure they’d be just as lovely if you put them in a cupcake tin. The secret to the joy of these cakes is the ricotta combined with the berries on top. The outside ring of the cake just tastes like any other cake: light and moist and vanilla-y. But the inside, around where you’ve pressed in the berries, tastes wonderfully of fruit and ricotta. I don’t know how the berries somehow concentrated the deliciousness like that, but it’s great. These are best made in small batches because, like cupcakes, they taste best on the day of baking.
100g butter, softened
120g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
raspberries/blueberries/other fruit to top
Takes 10 minutes to put together, 10 minutes to bake
These are really easy. No stages! Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C. In a bowl, preferably with an electric mixer, beat the butter and caster sugar together. Then add the ricotta, vanilla and egg in until evenly mixed. Finally, mix in the self-raising flour until just combined into a firm dough. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and scoop out the dough into balls using a table spoon. These are going to spread out and puff up, so leave at least 2 inches between them! Press the fruit of your choice into the top.
Bake for 10 minutes until they start to go golden around the edges. You’ll need to be gentle when removing them from the baking tray, as they will be very soft. Enjoy as soon as possible!