You might be thinking “savoury cupcakes, doesn’t she just mean muffins?”. Well, I’d say you’re right, but there are some who disagree*. The debate started recently at work, with a colleague who wanted to know why there couldn’t be such a thing as a savoury cupcake. My definition of cupcake vs muffin is all in the process, however I thought it would be possible to make a savoury muffin in a cupcake liner and decorate it in a way similar to a cupcake. Because today was the birthday of the colleague who asked the original question, I thought it fitting that I attempt savoury cupcakes in her honour.
It is technically a muffin recipe, this is true. The nod to cupcakes comes through with the cupcake liners and the size, and also with the topping. The recipe is modified from an AWW recipe, and it made 24 savoury cupcakes.
½ cup polenta (cornmeal)
1 cup milk
200g finely diced bacon or ham
3-4 spring onion stalks, finely chopped
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125g corn kernels, not drained
100g melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated cheese
Preheat oven to 200C. Mix polenta and milk in a small bowl, drain the corn kernels and add the juice but not the corn, and allow to stand for 20 minutes. This helps to soften the polenta and makes it less gritty in the final baked result.
Fry the bacon and onion for about 5 minutes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Mix the flour, sugar, corn kernels, grated cheese and bacon mixture together in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs and polenta mixture, and mix briefly until just combined.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes.
To make the topping I mixed a tub of spreadable cream cheese with a large handful of finely chopped parsley, and spread this on top of each cupcake once they were cool. I then topped each cupcake with a small amount of tomato relish, but chutney could also work. The cupcakes can be served at room temperature or warmed slightly.
If you wanted to make a vegetarian option, you could omit the bacon, add more corn, and maybe also add some sun-dried tomatoes or toasted pine nuts.
*Although most people seem to think that this counts as a muffin, not as a cupcake, as you can see below from the (informal) vote we ran today…