These steamed cupcakes (khanom pui fai) come in vibrant colours and, as they cook, they ‘smile’ by bursting open at the top, like a crown. This ‘smiling’ is meant to symbolise growth, making them an auspicious Thai treat to serve when there is something to celebrate. The batter is usually spiked with jasmine extract – just a splash – to add an exotic note. But rosewater, vanilla or pandan extract will also work. This recipe only makes a small amount, as all the cupcakes need to fit in the steamer and should really be eaten straightaway. You can double the recipe if you have a larger steamer and more hungry people to feed!