A friend of Georgie's went to Shannon Bennett's Cafe Vue soon after it opened in Little Collins St. and bought what she described as the best cupcake ever. Oh boy, we couldn't get in there fast enough to try them out, and she was pretty much right - they were fantastic. Shortly afterwards Nick gave us a voucher for dinner at wonderful Vue de Monde for Christmas. At the end of the evening we were chatting with our charming waiter (really he was more attentive host than waiter), and Cafe Vue came up in the conversation. I mentioned the cupcakes, which he said he too loved, and he offered to email me the recipe. He obviously forgot, because I never got it, but a similar one appeared shortly afterwards in the Financial review magazine. I didn't get around to making them because the recipe used pistachio paste, which I could only find in big expensive catering-size jars. THEN, delicious magazine had a full page article about Shannon Bennett, Cafe Vue and their pistachio cupcakes...and it included the "real" recipe. Thrilling! I made a batch straight away, tweaking the recipe a little and using ground almonds instead of marzipan. From what I could remember of the original cupcakes the results were pretty good.
We went back to Vue de Monde with friends from Adelaide in August, and I reminded our (same) charming waiter about the cupcake recipe. Apologising profusely for not sending it, he disappeared for a minute and returned with a zip-lock bag of pistachio paste to make up for his forgetfulness - how sweet! So I made them again, this time with the paste, but still with ground almonds. Then a few days ago, I finally found some good quality marzipan which the recipe specifies, so I made them a third time, this time with all the correct ingredients. They've been delicious each time, but with a slightly stronger almond flavour when I used the marzipan.
All ingredients should be at room temperature:
100 g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts plus an extra 30 g
100g unsalted butter
85g caster sugar
1 of either : 75g good quality marzipan (minm. 50% nuts)
OR 75g almond meal
OR 55g marzipan plus 20g pistachio paste
2 drops vanilla extract
30g semolina (I use plain flour)
1 Tab Kirsch (I use milk)
extra pistachio nuts for decoration
Preheat oven to 170 C. Blitz 100g pistachios in food processor for a couple of minutes until finely ground. Roughly chop the other 30g. In electric mixer beat butter, sugar and vanilla (and pistachio paste and chopped marzipan if using) until light and fluffy and all lumps are removed. Add eggs singly, then stir in ground and chopped pistachio nuts, flour and milk, and almond meal if using. Dollop into paper-lined muffin tin and bake 20 - 25 mins. Cool in tin a couple of minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Ice with glace icing (Shannon makes his green, I prefer pale pink) and top with a pistachio nut. Makes 10 - 12.