Sunday, 18 May 2008

Strawberry and vanilla cupcakes

I’d like to think that I have a seat reserved on any cake bandwagon and at the moment, the trendiest thing in cake seems to be cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cupcake but I’m not sure they deserve to hog the limelight to the detriment of all the other beautiful cakes out there! Having said that, these are quite divine...perhaps they do deserve the limelight...

They have a tasty secret. When you spoon the cake batter into the cases, add a little strawberry jam and swirl it into the cake mix. This is easiest to achieve if you use a cocktail stick. The little baked cupcakes reminded me of jam roly poly pudding. Mmmmmm, jam roly poly pudding.

I used this much jam in each cupcake:

Swirl it in with a cocktail stick:

And voila!

The swirl remains even when cooked:

The part of this recipe that grabbed my attention was the buttercream. It’s a standard swiss meringue buttercream with a twist: when you’ve made the buttercream you beat in some strawberry jam. This not only gives it a fruity flavour but also a rather lovely pink tone. Could a cupcake get any girlier?

The buttercream is so light it’s like eating a whippy ice cream:

What cupcake isn’t improved by adding some sprinkles?

I tweaked the recipe slightly and used vanilla sugar instead of plain caster sugar. This arrived during the week from Vanilla Bazaar and I couldn’t resist using it as soon as possible. Normally I am disappointed with vanilla sugar but I could see that this was special – not only can you see thousands of vanilla seeds in the sugar but each jar also has a vanilla pod in it. The vanilla and sugar infuses for several months and it was all I could do not to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

These are seriously cute little cakes – and just look at how smooth the buttercream is!

The sponge and the buttercream work beautifully together and are both very easy to make:

This could be one of those ‘ok, just me then’ moments but doesn’t it look like the halves of cake are having a chat?

For the cupcake:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed, not skimmed)
3-4 teaspoons of strawberry jam (I used a seedless jam)

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam

For decoration(optional):
Sugar sprinkles

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases.
- Start by making the cupcakes. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, flour and milk and beat until well combined and smooth.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 paper cases.
- Spoon a little jam onto each cake and, using a cocktail stick, swirl the jam into the batter.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Now make the swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.
- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.
- Add the butter and vanilla to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.
- Beat the jam into the buttercream. If you want it pinker, add a little food colouring.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and swirl onto each cupcake.
- Finish off with some sugar sprinkles or decorations.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Trekkie said...

Those look seriously good.

Tatty Ratty said...

What fantastic fantasy cupcakes - a sort of uber cupcake - can't wait to try the recipe - thanks CC

Cakespy said...

Little works of art! I love how in the cut halfway picture, they look like little mouths singing (like the characters in the Peanuts Christmas Special). The frosting looks like a mound of deliciousness...and with sprinkles...two for me please!

glamah16 said...

Too cute. I can see the talking cupcakes in a commercial. And these cupcakes actually look tasty unlike a lot of those overly ices trendy cakes out there.

Margaret said...

So, so pretty!!

Big Boys Oven said...

this is such as cute strawberry cupcake, I like your swirl!

Dee said...

They look almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Rosie said...

WOW what beautiful cupcakes infact perfection!!

Rosie x

Blog Princess G said...

Mmmmmmmmmm... the way the icing looks reminds me of frozen raspberry yoghurt. How yummy.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Great minds think alike! ;-) These look like they were really tasty.

OpheliaKnits said...

The cupcake on the left in the last picture definitely has a beehive hairdo.

Carolyn said...

I have wandered over here from Soo's blog.

What pretty cupcakes - and all the other things you bake, seriously scrummy! I love baking too, but I'm nowhere near your league ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling! Those look awesome. Thanks for sharing!

jen said...

Those scrumptious-looking cupcakes are definitely having a conversation... Wonder what they're saying?

Elizabeth said...

I was extremely dissapointed when I made these! I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out to be so buttery and sweet I felt like I was eating pure butter by itself - definitely not enjoyable!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Elizabeth

Sorry these didn't float your boat. It sounds like you might not have whisked the buttercream enough - you have to whisk it for an awful long time to get through the buttery stage and reach the light, whippy, almost mousse-like texture.
Maybe if you're not mad on butter and sugar Swiss meringue buttercream isn't for you?

Elizabeth said...

O I whipped the butter and sugar until it was in a mousse-like state, but I found out what it was missing - vanilla extract in the cake mixture as well as the buttercream. I think it turned out wrong for me because you already had a vanilla pod infused in your sugar? thanks for the recipe anyway!

Rachel said...

Please could you tell me where you get these muffin cases - i cannot find them anywhere! And how do you get the cupcake out of the case once you have put the icing on top as per your picture?


The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Rachel

They're made by Wilton and are called "nut and party cups" rather than muffin cases. If you google them under this name you'll find loads of sellers!
The cup is pleated and if you pull gently with both hands the pleats open out and the cup ends up a flat disc - it's like magic!

Hope this helps!