My first post back after the break was always going to involve cake wasn’t it!?
A combination of friends coming over and having been glued to the latest series of Great British Bake Off meant that I wanted to make something sweet that we could snack at, but that I was feeling more up for a challenge than usual!
Now…I am a pretty confident cook, but I have a few food phobias! I have never made a soufflé, and I have been terrified of making monstrously awful meringues! It’s time I got over these little niggles and just had a go – the worst that could happen is that I entertain you all with a fail!
These delicious cupcakes are from my favourite recipe book – British Baking by Peyton & Byrne, and even after the enormous success of the double chocolate cupcakes these certainly did not disappoint….in fact I’d go as far as to say these are even better.
To make a dozen of these cupcakes you will need:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 50g strawberry jam
- 12 fresh strawberries to decorate
And for the icing you will need:
- 2 large egg whites
- 150g caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp strawberry jam
- 4 medium strawberries, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
The sponge mix is nice and straightforward, just cream the butter and sugar together before adding the eggs and flour. When mixed, add the yoghurt, vanilla and strawberry jam and continue to mix until just combined. There should be enough cake mix to fill 12 cupcake cases about three-quarters full, and they need about 15 minutes in an oven at 170 degrees (mine needed a couple of minutes more and certainly were not overdone for it).
While the cakes are cooling on the rack it’s time to make the icing. Now – I know the cakes will smell amazing at this point and you’ll want to eat them straight away but I promise they are worth the wait when iced and finished off! You need to whisk the egg whites and caster sugar together (without stopping so it’s a good workout for your arm!) for about 10 minutes in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. You’ll be able to tell when you’ve done enough as the syrup will feel completely smooth and without grains.
At this point and while the syrup is still warm to touch it needs to be removed from the heat and whisked for about 10 minutes or until you get fluffy peaks in your meringue and the mixture has cooled. The recipe says to use a hand whisk but I fell back on the trusty Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment on!
While continuing to whisk, chunks of the softened butter need to be added in a few at a time. The recipe does mention that the icing may split at this stage but that it will come back together with a bit more whisking persuasion. Finally, add the strawberry jam and mashed strawberries to have a yummy strawberry meringue icing! Spread the icing onto the cakes when they have cooled using a palette knife and top each one with a strawberry. YUM!
I think there is a little much icing for the amount of cake – even with a very generous topping I had some icing left – although it’s yummy enough to just eat on its own so this isn’t a massive problem!
The verdict? AMAZING! Make these now even if you have shared my meringue phobia! These are the nicest cakes I have made and were a huge hit with my friends. The yoghurt keeps the sponge very moist, while the freshness of the strawberries and the lightness of the meringue keeps the whole thing from being too cloying and sweet.
Next stop soufflé? Maybe not just yet!