Thursday, 28 April 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Now I know, cupcakes are so over and clichéd and girly and uninteresting, but wait! Firstly, these were made for a Royal Wedding party, hence a bit of girly tweeness is not only permissible, it's practically mandatory. Secondly, these ones are a bit more interesting than your standard vanilla + buttercream (large quantities thereof) = massive sugar rush. That's right, these are the Hummingbird Bakery's strawberry cheesecake flavoured cupcakes and they really are delicious. They're also pleasingly, patriotically red and white on the inside (well, red and brown, but you see what I mean).

Each little vanilla sponge has some chopped fresh strawberry added before baking and even with sub-standard, out of season fruit, this does make the cakes a whole lot more interesting, adding a jammy sweetness and a different texture. The cream cheese icing is the perfect topping, a bit of tang cutting through the sweetness.

BUT I had a total nightmare with these. You see, I went for novelty gold and silver cake cases (for the royal wedding innit) which was mistake number one - when it came to removing them from the tin, the bloody cases had leaked and disintegrated, cementing the cakes to the tin and meaning six - yes, half! - of the cakes never made it out alive. Emergency eating of destroyed cakes ensued. Then, mistake number two, I only had reduced fat cream cheese and tried to use that to make icing.The icing gods laughed in my face and turned it into something with the consistency of milk, totally impossible to use even after fridging. I bodged together a topping with some of the cream cheese carefully, carefully stirred with icing sugar (not stirred too vigorously or it would go runny again) but it was still by no means ideal. 

However, I got them iced and it was decorating time! The tasteful, elegant, appropriate garnish is some crumbled digestive biscuit symbolising the cheesecake crumb base - see, the name makes sense now, doesn't it? However, this is a Royal Wedding! No time for tasteful, elegant or appropriate (and I'm sure Miss Middleton's dress will have those bases covered anyway).

I went for glitter gel icing pens and a wobbly Union Jack. The right decision, no?

Three cheers for the Happy Couple! As the wedding is so early, you can breakfast off these cakes and a glass of bubbly. What? It's a special occasion! 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook
Makes 12

- 120g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 40g unsalted butter
- 120ml milk (they say whole, I only had semi-skimmed)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 12 strawberries

Preheat the oven to 170, line your fairy cake tin then cut up your strawberries into little bits and share out among the paper cases. 

For the cakes, be warned that the Hummingbird method is weird - they say to blitz the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter with a processor or mixer. Obviously they mean a massive Kitchen Aid, but I just used my little Kenwood beaters and they were fine, not to mention £400 cheaper. Once this lot looks like sand, beat in the milk and vanilla, then the egg, then divide among the cases. Cook for 20-25 minutes and good luck getting them out of the tray.

Ice with cream cheese icing and for the love of God, don't use reduced fat cream cheese. Or, if that's not the reason why mine died, don't do whatever I did (I couldn't have overbeaten it, I barely did it for a minute). Either way, cross your fingers, hold your breath and think of the tackiest possible decoration. Then do it! 

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