• Inspired by Leith’s Cookery Bible (Bloomsbury), these are a LOT of work, but well worth it.

    Brioche cupcakes

    Serves: 12
    Cooking Time: 4 hours plus overnight for chilling


    • 90ml milk
    • 15g fresh yeast
    • 40ml castor sugar
    • 500g cake flour
    • 7,5ml (1½ tsp) salt
    • 6 large eggs, beaten
    • 340g butter, softened
    • 500ml (2 cups) fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries
    • 1 large egg yolk, beaten, for glazing



    Scald the milk, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.


    Dissolve the yeast in the milk and stir in a pinch of the sugar.


    Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour-salt mixture, pour in the milk mixture and eggs and work into a sticky dough. Beat the dough in a mixer or knead it by hand until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.


    Cream the butter and remaining sugar until smooth. Using an electric mixer, beat in 15ml (1 tbsp) of the butter mixture at a time into the dough. (If using your hands, push the knob of butter right into the centre of the dough and knead until the dough becomes a smooth, silky mass.) Repeat until all the butter is worked into the dough.


    Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a cool place until it has doubled in size again. (If the dough gets too warm at this stage, the butter will start to melt, resulting in greasy brioche.)


    When the dough has risen, gently knock it back by folding in the edges and patting it down again lightly. Repeat several times.


    Gently fold in a handful of the raspberries, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.


    Preheat the oven to 190°C.


    Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake papers.


    Half-fill the cupcake papers with small balls of the cold dough. Top each cupcake with about 5 whole raspberries. Lightly cover the tray with oiled plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it reaches the tops of the cupcake papers.


    Lightly brush the cupcakes with the egg yolk and bake until golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.


    Before serving, squash the cooked raspberries a little so that they coat the tops of the cupcakes.