Andrew’s Tottenham Cupcakes

The Tottenham Cake is a classic British sponge cake topped with a pink icing, sometimes sprinkled with desiccated coconut. And I have put my usual twist on the classic cake by turning them into fairy cakes (or cupcakes) and upgrading the flavour of the sponge. These are my Tottenham Cupcakes!

The icing was originally coloured pink using mulberries which grew in the garden of Tottenham Friends Meeting House. The cake is called Tottenham Cake as it was sold by a baker local to Tottenham and each slice sold for a penny. While the cake is still sold in local bakeries and remains popular, I have put my modern twist on the cake by making the sponge more luxurious and finishing off the cake with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

Below is a clip from The Great British Bake Off about the history of Tottenham Cake.

I have used the all-in-one method for this sponge which involves placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and mixing them together into a cake batter. This is a very quick and convenient method of making cake and even though air is not incorporated in the same way as the creaming method (where the butter and sugar are mixed until light and fluffy), chemical raising agents help to make the sponge light and fluffy. I use self-raising flour here but give the cake an extra boost by adding baking powder. The end result is one of the lightest and delicate sponges!

For the cake batter:

  • 225g margarine or unsalted butter, soft
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • Half a teaspoon of baking powder
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • 4 large eggs (or 5 small eggs)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half a teaspoon of almond extract
  • 75ml whole milk

For the icing and decoration:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • About 1 tbsp water
  • Pink gel food colouring
  • Desiccated coconut, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan. Line 20 holes of two 12-hole muffin tins with cupcake cases.

In a large mixing bowl, place all of the ingredients for the cake batter and using either an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the ingredients for 1 minute until the batter is well mixed and even. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and finish mixing the batter by hand.

Use two spoons to divide the cake batter evenly between the 20 cases, filling the cases about two-thirds full. The cake batter will spread naturally so there is no need to level out the batter in the cases.

Bake the cupcakes for around 16 to 18 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, well risen and a cocktail skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before lifting out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

When you are ready to finish the cakes, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar with the water until it is thick enough to not flow off the cupcakes completely but thick enough to spread easily. Add some pink gel food colouring and mix until the icing is evenly mixed.

Use a teaspoon to spread a small amount of icing on top of each cupcake. Before the icing sets, sprinkle the top of each cupcake with some desiccated coconut and then allow the cupcakes to set at room temperature.

The cupcakes will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container.

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