Boy, were these a hit! I took them to work and they just disappeared! I got a lot of positive feedback too, so it seems that I’m onto a winner with this recipe. Either that, or my colleagues have joined forces and are subtly trying to encourage me to bring them more baking. It wouldn’t surprise me. I decided that one good use of my abundant strawberry and cherry jam (see here!) would be to make some cupcakes. I wanted them to be based on a nice, soft, delicious vanilla cupcake, so I hit up Google to find the best vanilla cupcake recipe out there. Turns out that over on Life, Love and Sugar, Lindsay has done the hard yards of optimising recipes to get the perfect vanilla cupcake. I sure am glad she has, because I would not have had the patience to work through that many variables nor that much butter (I do enough method optimisation at work!).
I found the instructions a little bit odd, because you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, not the other way around. This meant that there were lumps of butter in the batter. Of course they melt away when you bake them, but next time I might try creaming the butter and sugar first, adding in the wet ingredients, and then the dry ingredients; the way I normally would.
I made a few modifications (of course)… I used vanilla bean paste instead of essence, just because I had some. And, of course, I put a spoonful of jam in the centre. The jam kind of sunk to the bottom of the cupcake because the batter was quite liquidy, but that didn’t really bother me.
I’m not usually into buttercream icing, but this time, I thought they really needed it. I made up some strawberry buttercream using frozen strawberries, and it was delicious. Unfortunately I’m pretty rubbish at piping. I think mastering this skill will be one of my goals with this blog, so any tips would be appreciated. I think the nozzles I have might be too narrow. I tried but it looked silly, so I just smeared it on. Yum.
In the end, I think the results speak for themselves…
Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 170g salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 125g sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam
For buttercream icing:
- 1 cup strawberries, frozen or fresh
- 110g butter
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Line muffin tray with cupcake cases (about 15).
- Into a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder. Add sugar and combine.
- Add butter, sour cream, egg whites, vanilla paste and milk and mix with electric mixer until just combined. Take care not to over mix.
- Fill cupcake cases up about 1/3 with batter. Spoon in a dollop of jam. Cover with batter to fill the cases to about 2/3.
- Bake for about 18 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.
For buttercream icing:
- Mash or purée the strawberries. Pass the purée through a sieve to remove lumps and seeds.
- In a small saucepan, bring the strawberries to the boil and simmer until the volume has reduced by about half. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Beat the butter until pale and creamy.
- Sift in 1/2 cup of icing sugar. Beat until combined.
- Add vanilla essence and 1 tablespoon of strawberry puree. Beat.
- Sift in the rest of the icing sugar and mix until combined.