Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian family and friends, and Happy Independance Day (on the 4th) to all my American family and friends! This is a really special celebratory year in Canada, marking 150 years of Canada being an independant country.
I can still remember the centenary celebrations of Canada's independance in 1967. I was in Grade six at school and there were all sorts of exciting things going on across the country throughout that year.
One activity which stands really out in my mind was the Centennial Train which made its way across the country, bringing a taste of Canadian History to every town it visited. We went en masse as a school to view it in Kentville where it was visiting and I can remember, in particular, learning about the role Canada had played in two World Wars, etc.
There was a Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant which saw 10 crews of canoe teams beginning a 104 day journey to replicate the fur trading route of the original Canadian Voyageurs, launching on the North Saskatchewan River at Rocky Mountain House, Alta. Competitors, representing eight provinces and two territories, traced a route through rushing rivers, along windswept lakes and across gruelling portagesas a way of paying homage to the fur-trading voyageurs and explorers who opened up the country.
A great Centennial flame was lit by our Prime Minister at the time, Lester B Pearson, at the Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. All school children were given a special Centennial coin to commemorate the year, and a fabulous Word Fair opened in Montreal, called Expo 67!
A a family we were quite keen to attend the Expo 67. We started off by visiting my father's family in Northern Quebec (where he was from), but while we were there some bombs exploded in the washrooms of the Expo, and my mother decided that we were not going to be going to the Expo after all, but instead would take a short trip down through the US to visit family there instead. Good times!
In any case, I wanted to do something special to mark this very special Canadian Anniversary, and of course the 4th of July as well, which follows close on Canada's heels! Its a fact that most Canadian towns that border on the American border celebrate both holidays together most years with four days of activities and celebrations, and the fourth of July has also become somewhat of a celebration here in the UK (although not a holiday) as there are quite a few Americans living here now.
Everyone loves Butterfly Cakes. A Butterfly Cake is a type of cupcake that has a cone shaped piece of cake cut out of the top, and is filled with jam and buttercream, and then the cone shape is cut in half and placed back on top of the buttercream, resembling butterfly wings!
For the holidays I added a patriotic touch of colour with fresh bright blueberries and red raspberries! You could of course use freshly whipped cream instead of the buttercream icing if you wished. The buttercream is nice however, and works well against the contrasting tart sweetness of the fresh berries. Altogether these are lovely and will be quite welcome at your traditional holiday cookout!
*Patriotic Butterfly Cakes*Makes about 12
These are simple to make and so very cute when they are done. Not only that, but they are quite delicious. Food for the eyes and the soul, and the perfect way to say . . . I love you!
For the cakes:
125g softened butter (1/2 cup)
115g caster sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 TBS)
2 large free eggs
115g self raising flour (3/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla or a grating of vanilla pod from a vanilla pod grinder
For the Icing:
170g softened butter (1/2 cup plus 4 TBS)
240g icing sugar, sifted (2 2/3 cups)
fresh blueberries & raspberries
icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Line a medium sized muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
Tip all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat well with an electric hand whisk for two to three minutes, until well blended and smooth. Spoon into the paper lines cups, filling each one half way.
Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown and a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean. Remove from the oven and the tins, placing on a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding.
Make the icing by beating the butter and icing sugar together until smooth and well blended. You may think it is never going to come together when you start, but be persistant, it will . . . just like magic.
Cut a small slice from the top of each cake with a sharp knife, cutting down into it a bit, like a small cone. Cut this slice in half so that you have two wing shaped half moon pieces. Spoon a bit of strawberry jam into the hollow that has been left ineach cake. Top the jam in each with a healthy dollop of buttercream. Place the half slices of cake into the icing at the curved edge fanning them out a bit to look like wings. Place a few berries down the centre of each. Dust the completed cakes with some icing sugar to finish.
Sit back and wait for the applause.
I broke one open so that you could see the lovely texture of these cakes. It was originally a Mary Berry recipe and used all margarine. She says in her recipe that it makes 18, but I have only ever gotten 12 at a stretch. I adapted it to use butter and of course added the jam and the berries. I also added vanilla because I think a bit of vanilla makes most tasty cakes even tastier. Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays! Let the summer begin!