ARRANGING: Onika Seepersad prepares a display of Easter treats. —Photos: Dexter Phillip

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Cupcake treats for EASTER

By Kimoy Leon Sing

Cake connoisseur and decorator, Onika Seepersad has added to the list of Easter treats with her unique line of ornate cupcakes. She has even put an interesting twist on a traditional favourite, the hot cross bun.
If Seepersad’s face looks familiar to you; it is. She first caught the attention of the public’s eye with her Anya Ayoung-Chee inspired cupcakes. In tribute of Ayoung-Chee’s win on Season 9 of the US reality television show Project Runway, Seepersad did Ayoung-Chee’s winning collection “Tobago Love” on cupcakes that she made and took photos of and put them up on Facebook.
Since that time, Seepersad shared what transpired after the Express did a feature on her and her amazing cupcakes.
She said, “The last time we spoke and the story came out, I got a lot of praise, recognition and cakes orders. I also got some prank callers too, however, I was welcomed with a lot of admiration from young and old.”
“When you think cake you normally think along the lines of chocolate or sponge. However with my cakes, I embrace fruits and food of our countrymen’s labour and give it its true recognition and well-deserved accolades. I like working with grapefruit, guava, mango, plantain, sorrel, cassava, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and bhandania. These give you a variety and a delicious stray from the norm,” she added.
Seepersad is the owner of Oishii Keki, which when translated means delicious cakes in Japanese. She currently runs the business from her home in Marabella.
She said business has been consistent and she has been able to hire two additional workers to help with her growing business.
She said, “We do cakes and cupcakes and to start this year we actually did some dessert tables for a few weddings.”
“When it comes to hot cross buns, honestly you can’t replace it, however my cupcakes are bursting with local fruit fillings and topped with scrumptious frostings that can definitely give hot cross buns stiff competition since they are absolutely delicious,” Seepersad said.
Giving a few tips as to what to look for in a good cupcake, Seepersad said, “A good cupcake should be moist with the exception of fruit cakes and such since it needs to be somewhat dense to hold the frosting or fondant. A cupcake shouldn’t be falling apart and crumbly when you eat them. And it is also important to keep in mind that cupcakes and frosting should complement each other.”
She said, “Every baker knows whether you are a pro or not, there are days when you bake and the cake/cupcake never turns out right ... even when it is a recipe you have used a dozen times. Things happen. Cupcake liners tend to give some trouble, when baking the liner does not always maintain its seemingly sturdy shape and instead folds in and attaches to the batter losing the circular shape. In an instance like that using grease proof liners/wrappers are key. They are a bit more expensive but it works. Another alternative is to double the lines when baking. You can also get flat cupcakes. That happens a lot so when baking keep in mind that if your butter is too soft it won’t hold air bubbles during the initial creaming stage. If it is too cold it won’t be “plastic” enough to hold bubbles so make sure your milk, butter and eggs are room temperature.”
Below, Seepersad shared some of her favourite recipes for guava and sorrel cupcakes to enjoy.


GUAVA
CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup flour
sifted
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
(granulated)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 ripened guavas
(remove seed)
Method
• Whisk all the dry ingredients and set aside.
• Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one ant a time and also the vanilla
• Puree your guava minus the seeds and taste it if it is not sweet enough u can add alilttle guava jam to your liking.
• Alternate the flour mix with your guava mix adding it to you butter mix starting and ending with flour .

• Bake for 20-24 mins
• Servings - 24-26 cupcakes

SORREL CUPCAKES
(Local spin on red velvet)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups boiled and strained sorrel
1/2 cup mixed peel
1 tsp dark vanilla essence
1/4 tsp red coloring
1/2 lb flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 lb butter
1 cup raisins (optional)
6 eggs
1/2 cup cherry brandy
1/2 cup sorrel juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Method
Prepare the sorrel, boil and strain reserve 1/2 cup for recipe and use the sorrel pulp for the cupcakes.
Take 2 cups of sorrel pulp and add to blender add the raisins, mixed peel, the vanilla and the brandy. You can leave some of the fruits out and blend half. Put aside and cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one by one - beat well and then add the fruit mix gradually and colouring.
Add the remaining dried ingredients to the fruit mix till smooth.

Bake for - 18-22mins
servings - 36-40 cupcakes
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