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Wow! I learn something new every day! I can’t believe I have several Jewish friends and never thought to ask what the real story behind the Menorah is. Well, here it is… Hanukkah, the festival of lights, celebrates the successful Jewish revolt against Syrian Greeks. When the Jews wanted to rededicate the Temple that had been destroyed in the fighting, only a day’s worth of oil remained to light the menorah. Miraculously, that oil lasted for eight days. Nowadays, many Jews commemorate this by lighting wax candles instead of oil lamps. And, can you believe they are “supposed to” eat oily foods for eight days in a row? Jelly Donuts are a traditional treat for them during this time of year. But, there are other ways of integrating oil into other delicious, modern desserts like… Jelly-filled Cupcakes!  

Jelly-Filled “Sufganiyot” Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (or other oil suitable for baking)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk–dairy milk or a nut, rice, or soy milk all work fine
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup jam or jelly of your choice
1 batch buttercream frosting, with ¼ cup cocoa powder added if desired.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Outfit a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another medium bowl, beat eggs. Then add sugar, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk together, then mix in the milk.

Gradually add flour mixture to the liquid mixture, stirring as you go.

There are two ways to get the jelly or jam filling into your cupcakes. One is to add it at this point, before you bake the cakes, and the other is to cut a hole into each cupcake after baking, fill with jam, and then close the hole. The first method is faster and perfectly tasty, but with the second method, the cupcakes look more attractive when sliced or bitten into.

If you’re planning to fill the cupcakes before you bake them, fill the liners with batter about 1/3 of the way. Add a level teaspoon-sized dollop of jam or jelly in the center of the batter. Add more batter so the liners are ¾ of the way full.

If you’re planning to hollow out the cakes after baking, go ahead and fill the cups ¾ full in one step.

Either way, bake for 20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

To cut out the center: Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool until they are comfortable to handle. Using a paring knife, cut out a section about 1 inch in diameter, starting at the top of each cupcake and going down about ¾ of its depth. Slice out the section, which will look like a cork-shaped piece of cake, and fill most of the hole with jelly. Cut off part of the “cork” and place it back in the cupcake (check out a picture of what this will look like here).

Frost cupcakes with buttercream.

Makes 12 cupcakes

The following link will provide you with three delicious Jewish cupcake recipes:  http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/At_Home/Foods/hanukkah-cupcakes.shtml

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