Thursday, 7 February 2013

Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes

Once again I've gone about trying to find a good way to flavour my cupcakes with strawberry, since we don't seem to get strawberry extract over here in the UK.  This week's attempt was inspired by the hot-chocolate cupcakes I made a couple of weeks ago.  I was lying in bed, thinking about cake, when I suddenly thought I could get a similar effect adding milkshake powder in place of the drinking chocolate powder.  So that's how the idea was conceived.  I decided I also wanted to make a strawberry milkshake flavoured buttercream to go on top, rather than have whipped cream, because when I think of milkshakes they usually come topped with foam, not cream.  And what else comes with milkshakes?  Straws!  So I was determined to try and make edible straws too, just to complete the look.

I was considering making the cakes in dariole moulds, rather than in cupcake cases, since they have a more glass-like shape to them, which would look nice for the overall effect.  It would have taken me longer though, since I only have four moulds, and would have made them a bit unstable due to being top heavy.  Not that that would have been a problem, except they needed to make it to Dundee via a train so that didn't seem like a good idea in that case.  Next time I may make them in the darioles.

The cakes and buttercream were pretty simple.  I got worried briefly when doing the buttercream, because I didn't have as much icing sugar as I thought, and was worried I wouldn't have enough buttercream to decorate all 14 cakes.  But I managed it!  Just!  I literally had enough to ice them.  I couldn't have done any more.  So that was a relief.  It was the straws that gave me the most problems, since I wasn't sure how to go about them.  Ideally, I would have wanted them to be hollow, but I didn't have anything strong enough to do that with.  Really I need something like acetate.  I did try with foil but it didn't work.  So I resorted to filling plastic straws with chocolate instead.  This meant they wouldn't be hollow but solid straws was better than none at all.  Getting it to work took a bit of trial and error, especially when it came to getting them out of their cases, but I got there in the end and am overall quite pleased with the result.

The taste testers enjoyed them.  The fiance really liked them, putting them in the higher bracket of his ranking.  He described them as tasting "like the foam on top of a strawberry milkshake, only with more strawberry flavour and cake!" I personally think the buttercream is divine!  It has such a wonderful taste which reminds me of something strawberry flavoured I used to have as a kid.  I think it's strawberry Mini Milk ice lollies, but I'm not sure.  Possibly even strawberry ice cream.  Whatever it is, it is so yummy that I want to use it on other things.

Recipe - makes about 12

  • 240ml/8.5fl.oz full fat milk
  • 60g/2.1oz Nesquik strawberry milkshake powder
  • 80g/3oz unsalted butter
  • 280g/10oz caster sugar
  • 240g/8.5oz plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pink food colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to slowly whisk them together until you get something resembling fine breadcrumbs.  You can probably get this result with a spoon but it will take a long time.
  3. Put the strawberry milkshake powder in a jug with the milk and mix in until dissolved, then add the eggs and beat together.
  4. Add three quarters of the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until well incorporated and smooth.
  5. Add the rest of the strawberry milk, as well as enough food colouring to produce a very pink mixture, beating until smooth.
  6. Divide the mixture across the muffin cases, filling each about two thirds of the way up.  You may have excess mixture, so just put it into spare muffin cases and bake those too.
  7. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until the cakes are risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

  • 30ml/1fl.oz full fat milk
  • 40g/1.4oz Nesquik strawberry milkshake powder
  • 375g/13.2oz icing sugar
  • 130g/4.5oz butter
  • Pink food colouring
  1. Dissolve the milkshake powder in the milk.
  2. Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until they are smooth.
  3. Add the milkshake and food colouring and mix in until you get the desired colour.
  4. Fit a piping bag with a large, round tipped nozzle and prepare a small bowl of cold water.
  5. Pipe 'bubbles' onto the top of the cake.  Do this by holding the nozzle perpendicular to the surface of the cake, squeeze out a small, round blob of buttercream and pull away.  You will get a point left over but don't worry.  Repeat until the whole cake is covered.  You can vary the size as you go.  When the cake is covered, dip your finger in the water and press the points on each blob down so you get a rounded finish.
Chocolate straws:
  • 55g/1oz white chocolate
  • 4-5 plastic drinking straws
  • Bamboo skewer
  1. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Cut each drinking straw into 3 or 4 pieces of equal length so you have enough for each of your cupcakes.
  3. Fit a piping bag with a small, round tipped nozzle and fill with the melting chocolate.
  4. Put the nozzle in one end of a straw piece and squeeze the bag, filling the straw with chocolate.  Be careful not to let any come out the other side.  Set on a plate and repeat with the rest.
  5. Freeze the straws for about 1 hour so they set.
  6. Remove from the freezer.
  7. Take one of the straws and place the blunt end of the skewer against one of the entrances.  Run your fingers down the straw to loosen the chocolate a bit, and push up with the skewer.  The chocolate straw should come out the top of the straw.  Place it back on the plate.
  8. Repeat with all the straws then put them into the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up again.
  9. Stick into the buttercream at a slight angle.

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