Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Australian Citizenship Cupcakes: Asian-Aussie Longan Fairy Cakes with Lemon-Lime Buttercream

My sister-in-law became an Australian citizen yesterday! We were so excited! We went to Parramatta Town Hall for the Citizenship Ceremony and it was very nice indeed. There were 124 new Australian citizens being "made" (not in a Goodfellas way, of course). It has been a long process to get to the ceremony stage. Certainly not something you could just wake up one day and decided to do on a whim. On a side note, if you have never sat the Australian Citizenship Test, you should have a go. You can access the practice tests online. It is very interesting. The passport question threw me. Probably because my passport expired late last century, so I'm a bit out of practice!
Another thing I didn't know about becoming an Australian citizen is that after the interviews, exams, background checking, all of the ins and out, you then find out if you have passed (or not) and you are hopefully informed that you're eligible to become a citizen. But then you have to wait until you are sent an invitation to a Citizenship Ceremony. It has been months in between the acceptance and the actual ceremony. But the day was finally here!
On the weekend I made these little cakes in a Chinese-Australian fusion theme to celebrate. They are longan flavoured fairy cakes (sort of look like little Opera House shapes) with lemon and lime buttercream. Now, they are not the most beautiful cupcakes I have ever made because I was in a bit of a hurry. Also, they are not gluten and egg free (sharp intake of breath, eyes open wide). I know. I was making them for the masses, who don't need special diets, so regular baking would do.
This is a basic fairy cake recipe made with eggs and wheat flour. I used longan essence instead of vanilla. You can buy longan essence at most Asian grocery stores. You will find it with other exotic essences like pandan, lychee, tropical, green apple, peach, rambutan, etc. I find these essences to be quite powerful, so take it easy when adding it. They are a little thicker to pour, which is good for more control in measuring. I used one teaspoon for a double batch of cake mixture.
Longans are a delicious tropical fruit commonly grown in Asia. You can buy them in cans of syrup, like lychees. As they are the lychees cousin they are similar except they are smaller, more firm to the bite and not as sweet. Fresh longans look beautiful. They are little yellowy brown balls on a bare twiggy branch. I love seeing bunches of them tied up with string. They make beautiful decorations or table centres. In a lot of Asian countries you can buy a little twig of fresh longans at roadside stalls (brings back memories) for a few cents. They have a smooth, stiff, papery sort of skin that once punctured is easily peeled off, and there is quite a large black or dark brown seed in the centre which separates from the flesh easily.
Apart from longan essence, I added some yellow food colouring to the mixture because I was going for a green and gold effect. I was very wary because this Wilton yellow has made things come out decidedly orange sometimes. In hindsight, I could have used a little more, I think.
Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I cut a disk shape from the tops and halved it.
Then I piped some lemon and lime buttercream (just regular buttercream however the liquid component was fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice from our trees) that was then coloured a bright green. I used a tip on the piping bag that is sort of shaped like the turrets on a castle. I quite liked it. It created little beads of icing that stick out quite a bit from the mainly flow. Pipe the icing in a swirly pattern in the hole. Then push the two halves of the piece you removed back on top, cut centre edges into the icing first. Dust with icing sugar if desired.

Here's a photo of the disaster that was my bench. I am a messy creator.

And another one...  I really am messy when I bake.


All ready to go:

 Top view of how the wings should look:

Would you like one?
And here are some photos of the Ceremony program.

Thanks for stopping by!

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