Suzy’s Strawberry Cupcakes

When you look at a cupcake, you’ve got to smile. – Anne Byrn

Suzy's Strawberry Cupcakes

Suzy’s Strawberry Cupcakes

I am pleased to say that the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning – Macmillan Cancer Support at York St John University was a huge success. We raised over £360!
For my entry to the bake-off competition,  I made some strawberry and white chocolate cupcakes. Although they sadly did not win (you can’t win them all I suppose!) they did sell out extremely quickly and I had some really lovely feedback. As such, I feel confident to share this recipe with you. 
One of the trickiest things for me was trying to get a strong strawberry taste but I think (hope!) I have managed it, thanks to Pamela for the tip!

Suzy’s Strawberry Cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 punnets of strawberries, washed and hulled
150gr. Self-raising flour
120gr. Butter
120gr. Caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1\2tsp. Baking powder
250gr. White chocolate
4tbsp. Double cream
1tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1further tbsp. Caster sugar
Pink food colouring
(some extra milk)

Method

  1. You will need to make the icing the night before so it firms up enough to pipe onto your cupcakes.
  2. To make the icing, chop up 6-8 strawberries and add to a metal saucepan.
  3. Into the saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of caster sugar.
  4. Gently, on a low heat, mash up the strawberries with a fork and mix well.
  5. Once all the strawberries have broken up, pass through a sieve into a jug. You will need 2 tbsp. strawberry coulis for the icing. Leave to cool.
  6. Break up 200gr. white chocolate into a saucepan
  7. Add 4tbsp. double cream to the pan and heat up on the lowest setting until just melted. Stir with a spatula every so often to thoroughly incorporate the cream and chocolate and to ensure the mixture does not burn.
  8. Mix in 2tbsp. of the strawberry coulis. It’s fine if you mix in slightly more, but no more than 3 tbsp.
  9. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Once cooled cover with Clingfilm and place in the fridge to firm up overnight.
  10. The next day…
  11. Line a 12 hole bun tin with cupcake cases.
  12. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until you get a light and fluffy texture.
  13. Add the eggs with half the flour and whisk.
  14. Fold in the rest of the flour.
  15. Blend about 12 strawberries in a food processer, pass through a sieve and add to the rest of the cake mixture and mix through.
  16. You should get a dropping consistency so if the mixture is too liquid, add some more flour, or if it is too firm, add some extra milk until you get the consistency required.
  17. Add an equal amount of mixture to each cupcake case. For this I use an ice-cream scoop which means I get the same size of cupcake nearly every time. My oven seems to have different ideas!
  18. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. They are ready when they are golden brown and you can stick a skewer in the cake and it comes out clean.
  19. After they come out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack to cool.
  20. Take the ganache icing out of the fridge. To make the icing look more pink, add some pink food colouring until it reaches your desired pinkness.
  21. Place the icing into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.
  22. For the decoration, take 12 small strawberries of equal size and dry them off as much as you can. Place onto the middle of the cupcake.
  23. Melt 50gr of white chocolate. (I melt the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl at 20 second intervals, stirring between each interval.)
  24. Drizzle over the cupcakes as per the picture above.

Suzy says:

  • Although they may take longer than normal cupcakes, I think the result is worth the time. I have been working on my decoration skills and this is one I was really pleased with.
  • Adding balsamic vinegar does seem to intensify the flavour of the strawberries and I would like to thank Pamela for this tip.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate! (Terry Moore)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

My husband has suffered from ME for nearly seven years now. Back in 2010, my parents suggested that he should pilot a gluten free diet for a while to see if it would make any difference to his levels of fatigue. We have found this lessens his symptoms to a certain extent and so now we try to avoid gluten whenever possible. I am not saying this will help all people who have ME but it is something that has worked for us.

One of my first attempts to cut out the gluten was a flourless chocolate cake. The recipe I first saw used a lot of icing sugar- too much for my liking, so I experimented with the measurements and added different ingredients like ground almonds and crushed gluten-free cornflakes instead. They all worked! I am determined to carry on experimenting so watch this space…..

Flourless Chocolate Cake (serves 8+)

Ingredients

For the cake mixture

4 large eggs separated
125 grams icing sugar
50 grams ground almonds or an extra 50 grams icing sugar.
100 grams of butter
200 grams of dark chocolate

Decoration

200 grams milk chocolate
200 grams of white chocolate
8 tbsp. double cream plus a bit extra (around 250ml in total)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/350F
  2. Take a 20 cm diameter non-stick baking tin and put a circle of baking paper in the bottom.
  3. In a microwaveable bowl, add the 200 grams of chocolate and the butter and heat until melted. Leave to cool. I Microwave the chocolate 15 seconds at a time and stir at each interval, ensuring the mixture does not burn.
  4. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until it forms stiff peaks.
  5. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, ground almonds and icing sugar until incorporated.
  6. Once mixed, fold the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Gradually fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon until there are no white bits. Take it slow and keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  8. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. It is ready when you stick a knife in the cake and it comes out clean.
  9. Take the cake out of the oven and leave to rest before turning it out onto a cooling rack.
  10. To make the ganache icing, melt the white chocolate in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of double cream. Once it has completely melted, pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
  11. Do the same with the white chocolate.
  12. Once cooled, mix some more cream into the mixture until it is loose enough to pipe onto the cake. Design your cake in anyway you like, slice and serve.

Suzy says:

  • The first time I made this cake, I tried whisking the egg whites without an electric whisk. Let’s just say that to form the stiff peaks took some time! So it can be done, but it isn’t advisable.
  • As you maybe can tell, I am no expert with piping but the more I try it, the better I get. One day, I would like to take some courses to perfect my technique but for the time being, I will keep on practising!

Bon Appetit!