Before autumn comes calling, some strawberry cheesecake cupcakes
Strawberry season is almost over here in the UK. You can still get strawberries that are grown in plastic polytunnels that provide the required ‘controlled’ warm environment, but somehow, they’re not as deep red or sweet as when the season is at its peak.
This means summer is almost over and soon, autumn will come knocking on our doors. I’m looking forward to the fruits that will come with the change of season, and all the baking I can do with them.
First though, some cupcakes from what may be my last purchase of strawberries this year. The idea for these cupcakes comes from Tarek Malouf’s Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook but the recipes are adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake. I love how this is slightly different from what you’d normally expect of a cheesecake – deconstructed cheesecake? Next time though, I’ll add cream cheese to the sponge and stir in the strawberry pieces.
To make the cupcakes
- 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A handful of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake baking tray with cupcake cases.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a freestanding electric mixer on a medium-high speed (speed 6 on my Kitchenaid for 8 minutes), until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs one at a time until creamy and well combined.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mix, and fold everything together gently using a spatula or metal spoon. You should have a light and fluffy mixture.
- Divide the cut strawberries between the cupcake cases and top with the cake mixture, filling each one about two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 minutes.
- Leave the cupcakes to cool in the oven for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese icing
- 50g white chocolate, broken into pieces
- 200g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g icing sugar (original recipe: 500g)
- Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl that fits over a pan of very gently simmering water (the base must not touch the water), and stir until it melts and is smooth. Be careful, as white chocolate is more temperamental than dark. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Using a free-standing electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Mix in the white chocolate and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until the mixture is fluffy.
- Using a small palette knife, smooth the icing over the cupcakes. Decorate with crushed digestive biscuits.
Aim to get 1 layer of strawberry pieces at the bottom of each cupcake case. You can also stir the strawberries into the cake mix, if you like.
The icing may seem a bit runny after mixing. I put mine into the fridge for a couple of hours to set after which it was fine to use. I also used it in its slightly runny form, served up for those who didn’t want so much icing on their cupcakes.
Yields 12 cupcakes