Friday, 5 December 2008

Strawberry Cloud Cupcakes

The other day my husband dropped some enormous hints to me about baking a cake. I haven't done any baking since my mammoth session to make all the malteser cakes for our running club. I didn't have a lot of time so decided to make some cupcakes. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to cupcakes and normally just do a normal sponge mix and top with some butter icing. I have been known to experiment with chocolate ones too.

Well I fancied something a bit different and was inspired by some pictures in an old magazine I found laying about. These little cakes are delicious and so simple to make. I made mine to be strawberry flavoured but I think raspberry, cherry or even lemon would be srumptious too.

For the cakes:
  • 90g softened butter
  • half a teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam

For the fluffy frosting:

  • 220g caster sugar
  • 80ml water
  • 2 egg whites
  • pink coloured sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cases.
Beat the butter, vanilla extract and sugar in an electric mixer. I used my Kitchen Aid here but you could use a hand mixer. Add the eggs, flour and milk and beat on a slow speed until the ingredients are just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is fluffy and a paler colour.
Divide the mixture between the paper cake cases and smooth the surface of them. Divide the jam over the tops of the cakes and using a skewer swirl the jam into the cakes.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden and they spring back when touched.
Allow to cool.

To make the fluffy frosting combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Stir over the heat without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Boil uncovered and without stirring for about 5 minutes or until the syrup reaches 116C on a sugar thermometer. The syrup should be thick but not coloured.
Remove from the heat and allow any bubbles to subside. Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is operating add the hot syrup in a thin stream. Beat on a high speed until the mixture is thick and cool.

To make the coloured sugar, place the required amount in a plastic bag such as a small freezer bag. Add a tiny amount of colouring and work the colour through the sugar by massaging the plastic bag. My sugar was a little bright so my tiny dot of food colouring was still too much. Coloured sugar will keep in a jar indefinately.

When the cakes are cool decorate with the fluffy icing and sprinkle with the coloured sugar.

Tip - When you have poured the sugar from the pan, place the pan in a bowl of warm water. This will make it much easier to clean than if you leave the remainder of the syrup to set on the pan.