Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream - smiles guaranteed.


First I say that I have trouble putting berries into baked goods once we've passed the height of summer, and then I go making these scones and now these cupcakes. I don't know what came over me, but I am so glad that it did.


I know I've also said - maybe not on this site, but plenty of times offline - that I am not much of a cupcake person. Mostly because I all too often find the cake base too dry and the frosting cloyingly sweet. And then it is often topped with sparkly stuff or colored red (as for the famous red velvet cupcakes) and I can't help but think no glitter on my food please, and save the colors for the coloring books. Maybe I'm a bit picky, but I much prefer its more humble cousin, the muffin. As one can clearly see.


So, why these cupcakes?

Well, we had friends staying over, and one of them, being a cupcake lover, was on the hunt to find the best one in London. (According to her - not at Ella's Bakehouse, much better ones at The Hummingbird Bakery, and the best ones at Peggy Porschen). She brought home a few from Peggy's and I was blown away. They were amazing. So much so, that I was determined to re-create them at home. But sadly, my first-ever batch of cupcakes were nothing like Peggy's (I really don't want to talk about the frosting and the cake base was a little too dense). I was ashamed to offer them to her and promised that by the next time I'd see her, I would have perfected them. 


And so, I was determined. Also, I blamed the unsuccessful first batch on the recipe I had used. This time around, I'd choose the recipe more carefully. I researched cupcakes on different blogs, browsed through the Amazon bookstore and then went through over a dozen of cupcake cookbooks.


And finally, I hit the jackpot.


Oh people, people. Make these. Make these now. Because strawberry season is almost over and it would be a crime to wait another year. The base is so moist, with just the right amount of a strawberry jam filled centre - the frosting is so easy to make and tastes incredible. Not too sweet, but just right. These are so good, even a dieter had to take at least a bite and a person who had sworn off sweets after a slight overdose (no, I'm actually not talking about myself!) caved and ate one (and possibly a second one)... because, yes, they are simply irresistible.


Also, I think my muffins just got competition.

Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting
from Pimrose Bakery

It's important to have all ingredients at room temperature. And use the best-quality ingredients you can find! Also - the key to baking is precision. Weigh your ingredients rather than using cups! Lastly, if you have a food processor this recipe truly is a cinch!

These cupcakes are best the day they are made. But you can store cupcakes, unfrosted, in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to three days. The icing also keeps well at room temperature in a airtight container for three days.

--------------------------------

For the base
225g // 1 1/8 cups of caster sugar
210g // 1 3/4 (scant!) cups (see note above) of self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
25g // 2 tablespoons cornflour
125g // 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries, hulled and crushed (I very elegantly crushed them with my fingers directly into the mixture)
225g // 7.94 oz of butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces.
4 large eggs, at room temperature

To decorate
Good quality strawberry jam (1 teaspoon per cupcake)
Vanilla buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
12 small strawberries

--------------------------------

Start by making the base. Preheat oven to 180°C // 356°F. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

Combine caster sugar, flour, baking powder, cornflour and strawberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it comes together (about 4 seconds). Add butter and eggs and process briefly until you have a smooth mixture (about 10 seconds). (If you are using a handmixer, first cream butter and sugar, then add the eggs, and then add flour mixture).

Divide mixture evenly among cupcake cases, filling each case 2/3. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. The cupcakes will still be fairly moist once removed.

Let them cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove them and let them cool off on a rack completely.

Once cool, you can begin to decorate.

Make a small hole in the centre on the top of each cupcake (I used a chopstick to do this!). Then place one teaspoon of strawberry jam into the hole (again, I used a chopstick to force the jam down...). Wash 12 small strawberries, thinly slice off one side of each strawberry (this one can then be placed in the centre of the cupcake) and dice the rest. Place them on a paper towel to let them dry and to avoid excess water dripping into the vanilla buttercream frosting once they are placed on top! Frost cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and decorate with sliced and diced strawberries.


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This makes slightly more than needed for 12 cupcakes (probably enough for 15).

--------------------------------

110g // 3.88oz of unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml // 1/4 cup of semi-skinned milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
500g // 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

--------------------------------

Cream together butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the powdered sugar until smooth. This can take a few minutes. Once smooth, gradually add the remaining powdered sugar. The buttercream should be smooth and creamy.

Enjoy!


2 comments:

Ayca panpankedi said...

Hi! Great recipes and photos. This cupcakes looks tasty.

Christine said...

Hi Jenna, Your Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. To play, go here: http://knapkins.com/guess_games/358?source=blog Congrats again!! :)

Post a Comment