Lovely Lychees

I have a feeling that lychees are the Marmite of the fruit world - you either love them or are completely freaked out by their slimy eye-ball-ish texture. With that introduction you might think I'm in the latter camp, but no, I'm very much a lychee lover!

I remember getting them occasionally as a kid - which was really exciting, bearing in mind that this was the 80s in rural Scotland and supermarkets weren't quite as exotically stocked.

Turns out ASDA in Leith in 2012 still isn't, however it does sell fizzy lychee flavour juice (why doesn't that surprise me!), which formed the starting point for these cupcakes.

They smelt fabulously tropical whilst baking, but when tried one disappointingly just tasted mainly of cake, whilst taunting me with their lychee aroma. So to spite them, I decided to drown them in fresh strawberry icing - take that plain cakes!

The end result was pretty tasty - fluffy little tropical scented cupcakes with a sweet berry icing. I'm guessing you could substitute pretty much whichever fizzy juice took your fancy, so there's plenty of scope for experimenting with this recipe.

Lychee Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing (makes 10-12 small cupcakes)

  • 1/4 cup margarine (I used dairy free)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Self Raising flour
  • 1/4 cup plus a splash of fizzy lychee juice
  • 2 tbsp strawberry compote, (made by lightly stewing fresh strawberries with a little icing sugar and a splash of lemon)
  • Icing sugar - start with 1/2 cup and be prepare to add more

Line a cupcake tin with paper cases and preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
Zap the margarine in the microwave until very very soft (almost melted but not quite) then beat it into the sugar.
Add the egg and beat again, then fold in the flour.
Lastly add the fizzy lychee juice and mix briefly until combined, then spoon into the prepared tin.
Bake for 15-20mins until risen and golden then cool on a wire rack.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, mash the compote well with a fork to break down the pieces of strawberry.

Sieve in 1/2 cup icing sugar and mix to a smooth paste. Add more icing sugar or compote as required until you reach your chosen icing consistency.