Monday, 10 September 2012

Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes with Not-too-Sweet Cooked Buttercream

I was bored this evening and wanted to bake.  But what?  Nothing too complicated but still more interesting than just my usual cupcakes with a bit of glacĂ© icing, even though that's probably my favourite cake to eat.  That's boring!  So I decided to make a slightly fancier version, with a stripe of strawberry flavoured, pink sponge running through the middle.  I also thought it was time to try that not-too-sweet buttercream recipe I stumbled across a few weeks ago.  You may know that I'm not the biggest fan of buttercream.  It's usually far too sweet (and yet I like glacĂ© icing...).  So discovering a recipe for a less sweet version intrigued me.

It is quite a fascinating buttercream.  It's cooked for a start and reminded me a fair bit of something I've made before from last year's Great British Bake Off Book.  It's very like the 'cream' in the Melting Moments Mary-Anne made.  It also remains lovely and soft.  It doesn't seem to harden slightly like other buttercream.  Personally I don't know if I like this.  I think it's too soft.  But that's just me and I'm ridiculously picky.

The stripe idea worked quite well although it's not really visible from the outside, which is a shame.  You can see patches of pink but otherwise the stripe won't be seen until the cake is bitten into.

I ended up making up the decoration as I went based on what I had in my cupboard.  Since it was pink buttercream, I thought white would set it off nicely so dug out the white chocolate stars.  Then I remembered I had Milky Bar buttons, so got them out too.  After dilly-dallying a bit, I thought I would make chocolate button butterfly wings.  Suddenly it occurs to me that I have strawberry chocolate buttons in my cupboard which are a bit smaller and would do for the lower wings! Hence two tone butterflies.  I got the strawberry buttons from the baking section of the supermarket.  They're made by Silver Spoon.

It was a fairly successful little experiment and quite a nice tasting cake.  Not my best but still yummy.

Recipe - makes 6

  • 55g/2oz caster sugar
  • 55g/2oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 55g/2oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp strawberry flavouring
  • Pink food colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 6 hole muffin tray with paper or silicone cases (I used silicone).
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat the egg in a jug and then add to the sugar butter a bit at a time, mixing in well after each addition.
  4. Sift in the flour and fold into the mixture.
  5. Transfer 1/3 of the mixture to another bowl.  To this 1/3, add the strawberry flavouring and a couple of drops of pink food colouring.  Mix in.
  6. Add the vanilla extract to the remaining 2/3 and mix in.
  7. Distribute half the vanilla mix between the six cases, trying to cover the bottom of each completely.
  8. Put equal amounts of the strawberry mixture into each case and again, try to smooth it over so it reaches the edges.  Do this gently otherwise you'll start to marble the mixture.
  9. Put the remaining vanilla mix on top and smooth slightly.  It will melt and spread out when baking so this isn't so important.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes so that a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

Buttercream - adapted from YoyoMax12 
  • 120ml/4.2fl.oz milk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 115g/4oz caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pink food colouring
  • White chocolate buttons
  • Strawberry chocolate buttons
  • Any other decorations you want
  1. Put the flour and the milk into a medium saucepan over a medium heat. 
  2. Whisk the mixture constantly over the heat until you get a thick-ish paste.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. When mixture has completely cooled, add the vanilla extract and then beat with a hand mixer until really soft and fluffy (about 4 minutes).
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until really pale and fluffy (again, about 4 minutes with an electric mixer).
  5. Add the sugar butter to the flour mix and beat with the mixer for another 3 minutes until really creamy.
  6. Add the food colouring and mix in. 
  7. Attach a large star nozzle (eg. Wilton 1M) to a piping bag, spoon in the buttercream and pipe swirls onto each cake.
  8. Break a white chocolate button in half and stick onto the buttercream so two of the points stick up and the rounded sides face outwards to look like wings.
  9. Do the same with a strawberry button, placing it below the white button.
  10. Add any other decoration you like.

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