Pineapple Hibiscus Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1.5 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups carrot, grated
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1.5 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp water
12 slices of pineapple, wafer-thin
2 tbsp butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp lemon zest
1.5 cups powdered sugar
The main feature of these cupcakes are some amazingly beautiful "flowers" on top, and it does take some time to create these beauties. First step - dehydrate some pineapple. Mix sugar and water together in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Brush both sides of pineapple slices with this syrup and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 to 1.5 hours until the pineapple is dried and turning brown on the edges.
Immediately after removing the pineapple from the oven, crumble the slices and place them on an egg carton to dry completely. I let mine dry overnight and they were mostly fine, though they probably could have dried for longer to make sure they kept their shape.
For the cakes, combine oil, eggs, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add in carrot and crushed pineapple. Divide mixture among 12 baking cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack then remove from the muffin pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese in a mixer until smooth and fluffy. Beat in lemon zest. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Spread frosting on cakes and top with a pineapple flower.
Flavorwise, these cupcakes were delicious. The cake itself was not too sweet but had good flavors from the pineapple and carrot (plus having fruits and veggies makes these things healthy, right?). The frosting was the sweet counter to the cupcakes with a delightful lemon twist.
Between the cake and the frosting, these were good cupcakes, but the clincher was the flowers. People were genuinely amazed by the them and most thought they were real flowers upon first inspection. Plus, they tasted good with a fruit-leather texture. In the end, this recipe gave both an amazing visual but also delivered on taste.