Pineapple & Ginger Tea Mini Cupcakes

“Like being on a beach
With pina colada in hand,
Celebrating the sun
And the warm, golden sand.
Like sitting with your feet up
In freedom, on a watery bay,
This bite-sized cupcake
Is essentially a holiday!
Like sipping afternoon tea
With sweet gingery spice,
Clearing all your worries
Making the world seem nice.
Like taking the day off
From a schedule insane,
You think it’s a phase
But life will never be the same...”
Ingredients (makes 24 mini cupcakes)
For the cupcakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup canned pineapple pieces, diced into small pieces and split into 2 parts
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (adjust to taste) + 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp whole milk
1 egg
1 tbsp Indian black tea
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

For the frosting (optional- the cupcakes were quite moist and tasty even without this!)
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 of the pineapple ginger tea mixture (see below)
½ cup canned pineapple pieces

Pre heat the oven to 375 degree F.
Sift the flour, salt & baking soda and keep aside.
Cook half the pineapple, ginger, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and black tea in 1 cup of water, till the pineapple is completely broken down and the tea is fragrant and dark – approx ¼ of the water should have evaporated. Strain and cool.
Cream the butter and sugar till the sugar melts and the mixture turns slightly fluffy. Add the egg and beat till the mixture becomes light – both in color and texture. Stir in 2/3 cup of the cooled pineapple ginger tea and mix well. Add a tablespoon of the flour mixture to this, and fold it in till all the flour has been incorporated. Finally add the milk, vanilla essence and remaining pineapple pieces and mix till smooth.
Divide the mixture into a 24 mini muffin pan, and bake for 18-20 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
In the meantime, beat the heavy cream with the remaining tea mixture and refrigerate. It won’t get too whipped because of the added water, but will be enough to insert into the cupcakes or frost on top.
I used a filling nozzle and filled the cupcakes with some of the frosting and then topped with a piece of pineapple.
As an afterthought (and once I had taken all my pictures!) I decided to caramelize the pineapple pieces used as garnish. Not only did it look better, but also the caramelization added a nice deep to the cupcake (see the difference in the pictures below?). To caramelize, throw the pineapple pieces in a non-stick pan and cook on medium-high flame till they are brown on the outside and you can smell burnt sugar – around 4-5 minutes. (Note-Canned pineapples have enough sweetness to caramelize without adding any additional sugar).