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:
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:
125g caster sugar
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
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.