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"This is a traditional tart eaten in Naples at Easter," says Ingram. "The legend goes that a mermaid called Parthenope in the Gulf of Napoli would sing to celebrate the arrival of spring each year. One year, to say thank you, the Neapolitans offered her gifts of ricotta, flour, eggs, wheat, perfumed orange flowers and spices. She took them to her kingdom under the sea, where the gods made them into a cake. I love to add nibs of chocolate to Parthenope cake because I think it marries nicely with the candied orange and sultanas, but, really, do you need an excuse to add chocolate to anything?" Start this recipe a day ahead to prepare the pastry and soak the sultanas.
The mix of candied apple and dried apple combined with a sticky cinnamon glaze provides a new twist on an old favourite. These buns are equally good served warm on the day of baking, or several days later, toasted, with lashings of butter.
When raspberries are in season, use fresh, but for the rest of the year frozen raspberries work just fine.
Tips for cupcakes
* Bring all ingredients to room temperature before you start for ease of incorporation. That goes for butter, eggs, milk and other wet ingredients.
* Prepare your moulds by lining with cupcake papers or buttering and flouring before you start.
* Make sure your butter is soft but not melting. Coarsely chop it while it's cold and place in mixing bowl minutes before you start.
* Scrape down sides of your mixing bowl regularly to prevent lumps in the batter.
* Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. If the mixture shows signs of splitting (it'll look grainy), add a tablespoon or two of flour to the mixture and stir to combine before you go any further. A split mixture will result in tough cakes.
* Beat butter and sugar, and eggs, in an electric mixer, but stir in dry ingredients and milk by hand to avoid overworking the mixture.
* Fill moulds to 5mm below tops, unless otherwise specified.
* Bake cakes in centre of oven and turn halfway through cooking time to ensure even baking (except for sponge cakes, where an even oven temperature must be maintained).
* Remove cupcakes baked in paper cases from the moulds and place on a wire rack to cool, to avoid sweating.
* Be patient and let cakes cool before icing or filling.