I came across a recipe for pink grapefruit drizzle cake in Martha Collison’s recipe book and instantly wanted to try it myself. Grapefruit is so beautiful in cakes, it loses some of the sharpness that is iconic of the fresh fruit, however it still keeps a sweet tang and is wonderfully refreshing.
I decided to adapt the recipe into cupcakes as I thought they would be a great snack to take to a picnic when the weather picks up, or even for a celebration. This is where the prosecco kicks in, as I’ve always been curious to try prosecco buttercream.
The result was devilishly good and not too sweet, making it the perfect companion for the fruity cupcakes. If grapefruit isn’t for you, prosecco buttercream pairs with most citrus fruits. I would recommend trying it with orange and lemon bakes.
For the decoration, I use a Wilton 2D nozzle; this is by far my favourite nozzle to pipe with. I bought mine from Hobbycraft, but they are available at most cake supply stores and even Amazon and Ebay. The nozzle creates a delicate rose pattern with minimal effort, and everyone I’ve baked for absolutely loves the finished look!
One final note: I have to say, Martha’s technique for sponge cake is not one I’ve come across before, so I was sceptical to try it! However, the cakes were just as lovely, so don’t let that put you off.
80g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
200ml whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 pink grapefruit
For the drizzle
Juice of ½ pink grapefruit
150g granulated sugar
For the prosecco buttercream
3 tbsp prosecco
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pink food colouring paste
12 cupcakes cases
Disposable icing bag
Wilton 2D nozzle
Preheat the oven to 170℃. Place cupcake cases in a muffin tray, or if you have paper cases that stand up on their own, place them on a baking tray.
Put the butter, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl if you’re not using a mixer. Mix on low until all the butter is rubbed into the dry mixture and has a sandy texture. To do this by hand, rub the butter into the mix with the tips of your fingers, as you would to make pastry or shortbread. I found that I had to use my hands to get the last little bits of butter rubbed in, so don’t worry if you have to do that too!
In a jug, beat together the milk, eggs and vanilla. You can do this with a hand whisk or an electric hand-held whisk, but this is your chance to get as much air as possible into the mix, so really go for it!
Pour the egg mix gradually into the dry ingredients bowl, and beat until everything’s mixed together. When all the mixture has been added, beat on a high speed in your stand mixer for two minutes until the mix is well combined and smooth. You can also do this with an electric whisk if you don’t have a stand mixer. Zest the grapefruit and combine into the cake mixture.
Using an ice cream scoop or a pudding spoon, divide the mixture between your paper cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until springy and a cocktail stick comes out clean.
While your cupcakes are baking, make your drizzle by heating your sugar and grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until the sugar has fully dissolved.
With your cupcakes out of the oven and still hot, pierce halfway through the cupcakes with a cocktail stick in several places, being careful not to pierce all the way to the bottom of the cases.
Pour the drizzle over the cupcakes with a teaspoon and they’ll soak up the syrupy goodness to make them extra moist and tangy. Leave to cool.
As your cupcakes are cooling, start making your prosecco buttercream. In a stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream the butter till soft and light.
Sieve in your icing sugar and pour in your prosecco and vanilla essence. Mix on a high speed or with an electric hand-held whisk for 5-10 minutes, until the icing is pale, fluffy and super delicious. You can always add more prosecco if you feel you want a stronger taste, but be aware that the more liquid you put in, the runnier the buttercream will be.
Add a small amount of the food colouring paste on the end of a toothpick into the icing, and mix until the colour has been incorporated into the mix. I always use paste as you get a stronger colour and only need a small amount, so it doesn’t affect the taste of the icing.
When your cupcakes are completely cool, you can start to ice them. First, you will need to core your cupcakes. To do this I use this cupcake corer that my mum gave me which is really handy, however you can just use a knife. Core your cupcakes halfway down the paper case.
Once your cupcakes are cored, snip the end of your piping bag and drop your nozzle into the bag from the wider end, feeding it through so the end of your nozzle sticks out of the hole.
Transfer your icing into the piping bag, and twist the end so your icing doesn’t come out of the top when you squeeze it! Stand with your icing bag vertically above the cupcake, and fill the hole in the cupcake till you get to the top, then ice in a circular motion from the centre of the cupcake outwards to the edges of the case. This creates the rose effect that I created below.
Finally, sprinkle some pink glitter on the top of the cupcakes to add some extra sparkle and glamour.
And there you have it, gorgeous rose cupcakes! It can take some practice to get your roses looking perfect, so you could always practice your technique on baking parchment before icing onto the cupcakes.