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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Strawberry Cupcakes


I love strawberries and these cupcakes contain 1 punnet of fresh strawberries, both in the cake itself and the frosting.  This recipe comes direct from Martha Stewart 'Bake' and all I have done is adapt the ingredients to sub the 'cake flour' Amercian's use so much and also slightly reduced the amount of strawberries due to comments left by other bakers about the cakes being a little too wet due to the strawberry moisture.  I converted all the measures from cups to gram for us UK bakers - that is why you my wonder why the amounts are not rounded up like most recipes.

The recipe I give below is based on Martha's Yellow Cake recipe and on the show she shows three different uses for it - a simple orange chocolate cake, fruit topped cakes and these strawberry cupcakes.  The recipe makes 30 cakes, yes I know lots!!  And I did find the I had quite a bit of frosting left over, maybe I should have used more on the cakes?  I have not changed the amounts she suggests due to the fact I had already played around with the cake flour sub and I didn't want to introduce another element that could mean these went wrong.  However, now I have baked them and am happy with the outcome I believe you could quite easily half the amounts for both cake and frosting and make about 18-20 cakes instead of the bumper 30.

It is important that all the cake ingredients are at room temp - butter, milk, eggs, etc.

You WILL need a stand mixer to make the frosting, I really do not think a handheld would cut it.

You can store these at room temp until needed or in the fridge, but its best to remove a good hour before serving otherwise the buttercream sets solid.




Strawberry Cupcakes
by Martha Stewart

for the cupcakes
410g plain flour
26g cornflour 
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
226g butter, unsalted, room temp
343g caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml whole milk
6 oz strawberries, diced smalled (about half a punnet)

for the frosting
8 large egg whites
562g sugar, I used granulated to save wasting caster.
680g butter, unsalted, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
165g strawberry jam (best quality)
6 oz chopped strawberries (the rest of the punnet)


Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two 12 cup pans with papers, if you have it another smaller pan with 6 more or you can bake another batch after the first have finished.


In a large bowl sift together the flour with the cornflour and salt.  A double sifting would be good here.  Leave to one side.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixer and beat for 4 minutes until light.

 
Add the eggs, one at a time, and allow each to be mixed in to the butter/sugar mixture.

 
Add the vanilla extract.

Then, place two large spoonfuls of flour in to the mixture and beat ON LOW.  Add about 100 ml of milk and mix.  Repeat with more flour and milk, then again, until the mixture is just about coming together but there may be some bits unmixed round the sides of the bowl.


Add the strawberries and mix well, make sure the bottom of the bowl is scraped.


Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cake liners, fill almost full as they do not rise that much.


Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are slightly raised and when pressed spring back a little.  A toothpick inserted will come out clean.  If necessary bake for another minute.


Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes - do not be alarmed if your domed cakes now sink and flatten - this is actually want you want.

Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.




To make the frosting, place the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl and add the sugar.  Over a pan of simmering water whisk the eggs until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to touch - this can take about 4 minutes.


Transfer the mixer bowl to the machine and fit the whisk.  Whisk on full power for at least 8 minutes.   The eggs will mix up very high and cool as they whisk.

 
Only when the mixture is much cooler than you started is it safe to add the butter...a chunk at a time.  Your frosting will start to collapse and may even look soupy as it whisks.  Keep adding the butter, as you get to the last bits of butter you will notice the frosting starts to clump together around the whisk and magically becomes smooth buttercream.

Add the strawberry jam and vanilla extract, whisk in.  

Make sure your strawberry pieces are smaller than the ones you placed in the cake batter - otherwise you may find they get stuck in your pipping nozzle later on.

Add the strawberry pieces and beat in.  Remove the bowl and transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.  It may be safe to use half and pipe, then refill the bag with the rest.


Pipe LOTS of buttercream on top of the cooled cakes...aim high, you will have more than enough for each cake.


I finished mine with a drizzle of strawberry ice-cream topping.


Enjoy.