Saturday, May 12, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

Strawberries are in season.  They are at their best right now!  And it won't be long before you won't find them at the market!  I wanted to make as much use as possible this year, and amongst other things, have found this great recipe for strawberry cupcakes. 
These cupcakes are exactly what I was looking for! So good!

To be honest, I searched high and low and could not find many recipes that didn't have some kind of essence, or weirdly enough, jelly powder that was strawberry flavoured.  others used pink colouring, but all I wanted was an all natural recipe that tasted like strawberries.  Maltese strawberries are so intensely flavoured that i figured there is no need for any kind of essence! I also wanted a light, moist cake.  Nothing too heavy, nothing too dense.
I'm in love with these cakes.  they are the cutest things ever! I much prefer natural decorations when possible!
I came across a recipe here which was quite similar to what i wanted, so I adapted it (changed the frosting, changed the milk into yoghurt for added moistness and fluffiness of cake), so here's my version :) 
If you want the topping to be something a  little more "frosting" like, please see the website above.  I opted for a fresh cream topping as the cakes were so delicious, delicately strawberry flavoured and sweet, that with the added strawberry on top, all I felt they they needed was a little creamy freshness rather than a heavy cream cheese based frosting.  But horses for courses of course :D 
Happy cupcakes :D
Strawberries and Cream cupcakes (makes about 16 large cupcakes)

2 cups of fresh strawberries, cut in half and stem removed
1 tablespoon demarera/cane sugar
***NOTE!!! Keep the prettiest tiniest strawberries for decorating.  (I make more sauce than i need, and am freezing it in portion size for this cake, so that I can make fresh strawberry cakes all year around!)

115 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract if unavailable - no essence!!!)
1 and 1/3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup strawberry sauce
1/4 cup natural yoghurt (runny, not greek)


Fresh cream for whipping
approx 2 tablespoons icing sugar (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Macerate the strawberries by adding about 1 tablespoon of sugar to them, stirring and leaving for 15 minutes. 
Put strawberries (with all the juices) in to a small-medium pan
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. 
Cook strawberries for approximately 15 minutes till strawberries become soft and mushy.
Cool, and blend into a purée.  Cool before using in recipe. (I actually did this the day before)
Red red strawberries make red red sauce :)
Preheat oven to 170C. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. 
Sift flour with baking powder, bicarb and salt. Set aside. 
Measure out Yoghurt and strawberry sauce together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in a free standing electric mixer until light and fluffy. And I mean, do not stop creaming until the butter mixture is almost white.  Scrape down the sides with a spatula each minute or so. This will take about 3 minutes. 
Delicate, white and fluffy.  Important for soft, tender, moist cakes.
Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
Add about 1/4 of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine. 
Add about 1/3 the yoghurt/strawberry sauce mixture and beat until combined. 
Repeat until all the yoghurt/flour has been added.  End with Flour!!
Such a pretty pink colour.  such  tasty mix when raw!

Spoon into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes). 
I like a pink cupcake.  the only pink things i like really.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 2 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Cool completely before adding topping!
They lose the pink colour, but trust me, the flavour is not lost! :D
Whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla and fold through.  Then add sifted icing sugar to taste and fold through.  

Pipe large blobs of the cream onto each cupcake, topping with half a strawberry.  
My goodness, they satisfied my strawberries and cream AND cake cravings :D

Serve and enjoy! :D

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