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The perfect milk tart cupcake recipe for every occasion

By July 28, 2023FinGlobal, Newsletter

The perfect milk tart cupcake recipe for every occasion

July 28, 2023


Are you looking for the ultimate delicious treat for parties, church bazaars, weddings, christenings, school cake sales, braais, or other celebrations? You can never go wrong with milk tart cupcakes! Milk tart cupcakes, or Melktert kolwyntjies as they’re known in Afrikaans, are a delicious twist to the traditional South African milk tart and guarantee decadent, creamy, and tasty bite-sized delights that turn every occasion into a memorable experience.

What is milk tart?

South African milk tart is a traditional sweet pie with a sweet pastry crust with a lighter and milkier custard filling. It’s an iconic South African treat that traditionally featured a generous dusting of cinnamon on top. Milk tart is so popular that it has its own day in the South African culinary calendar on the 27th of February, when the dessert is celebrated.

You can make South African milk tart in various ways, whether baked or unbaked, with a sweet, shortcrust pastry, a no-bake buttery cookie crust, a traditional flaky pastry crust, or no crust at all.

Where did milk tart originate?

It’s believed that milk tart is a variation of the Dutch dessert Mattentarrt, first introduced to South Africa by early settlers who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th Century.

The original milk tart recipe included almond milk, eggs, sugar, and buttermilk and created a dessert that was more like a cheesecake or curd cake that was light and crunchy. Over the years, milk tart has become a part of South African heritage and has been adopted and adapted into various South African milk tart recipes. Local Cape Malay bakers added ingredients like imported spices like cinnamon and combined fresh dairy to create the rich, creamy, custard-based tart with a hint of cinnamon.

Today, there are endless variations of the milk tart recipe thanks to its long history, with some closely guarded ones being handed down within families over generations. Most South Africans have their version of the milk tart recipe and can feature differences depending on location or who is preparing them.

The consistency can vary when making milk tart cupcakes, but the milky cinnamon taste remains the same and will certainly hit the spot, whether it’s a party dessert, midday treat, or a midnight snack.

How to make milk tart cupcakes

Making melktert kolwyntjies is simple and easy whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Here is a simple milk tart recipe from South Africa you can try out to create delicious milk tart cupcakes to enjoy with friends and family and feel like you’re eating a cloud of light, fluffy air.

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • 2 cups cornflour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup salted butter (softened)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1sp cinnamon
  • 800 ml full cream milk
  • ¼ tsp salt

What to do:

  • Start by combining the dry ingredients. Mix the baking soda, cornflour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon gently using a wooden spatula or mixer. Add the flour slowly to avoid lumps or press them out.
  • Combine the wet ingredients, including the eggs, butter, and vanilla, and beat them until thoroughly mixed to create the cupcake batter.
  • Place the cupcake wrappers on a baking dish and fill each around 2/3 of the way with the batter.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 min at 162oC until a skewer comes out clean. The cupcakes will look puffy when taken out and may slightly collapse, which is normal because of the density.
  • Place them aside to cool as you prepare the custard.
  • For the custard, combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and cornflour in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow it to heat until bubbles appear on the edges of the pan, and continue to stir until thick while avoiding clumping. It can take around three to four minutes.
  • Remove the custard from the heat once thickened and set aside to cool. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it cool for about an hour in the fridge.
  • Prepare buttercream by combining the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Place the mixture on low heat and cover it for a minute before removing it.
  • Next, gently fold the custard into the buttercream until it changes from pale white to a golden yellow colour.
  • The final step is assembling the cupcakes. You can slather the custard and buttercream mix over the cupcakes with a butter knife or scoop the mix into a piping bag and pipe it over the cupcakes.
  • Sprinkle each cupcake with cinnamon and sugar to your desired amount, and enjoy!

You can tweak this mini milk tart recipe from South Africa according to your preferences to make it more enjoyable, and you can also serve the cupcakes warm or cold. You can also use a box of pre-made vanilla cupcakes or make them from scratch, as the flavour comes from the custard and buttermilk mixture. You can make the milk tart cupcakes well in advance, lasting in the fridge for three to four days. Just cover them with a wrap, then when ready to serve, simply dust them with cinnamon.

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