Saturday, 21 February 2015

Strawberry and Raspberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

Last week I was asked to contribute to some cupcakes for a charity cocktail evening. My friend from the society, which organised the event, said to make about 50 cupcakes as they already had a professional bakery contributing about 70. Now I could have made 50 vanilla cupcakes. But with the cocktail theme I just couldn't quite leave it at a drop of vanilla extract. So I mind-mapped what I could make and settled on 5 flavours:
Strawberry Daiquiri,Pina Colada,Mohito,Salted Maple and Milk Chocolate,Plain Jane Vanilla (posh name for just vanilla). 
The Salted Maple and Milk Chocolate Cupcake I admit is not a cocktail (though there should be one with these flavours!), however I just thought of it at midnight after baking the other 4 flavours and thought it'd be a nice idea. Similarly I accept that the Vanilla cupcake is also not a cocktail, however I don't think you can have a collection of cakes without the classic vanilla playing a starring role. I will be posting all five recipes for the above cupcakes. Let's start with a strawberry where's that beach and sunshine to go with it... (goes and wonders to the airport with suitcase and sunglasses in tow).

For the Cupcakes:
6 oz / 150g caster sugar
6 oz / 150g margarine
6 oz/ 150g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon rum essence
5-6 strawberries (finely diced)
2 packets (40g) fruit flakes, like these
12 raspberries
Pink food colouring (1 teaspoon liquid colouring or ½ teaspoon colouring paste)

Filling (Strawberry and raspberry puree):
8 oz / 200g mixture of strawberries and raspberries (diced)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch

Buttercream Icing:
4 oz / 100g soft unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry and raspberry puree (above)
10 oz / 250g icing sugar
Dash of pink food colouring (if necessary)
6 strawberries (halved lengthways), 12 raspberries, 12 mint leaves, freeze-dried strawberries, glitter

1) Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180°C / Gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. Cream the caster sugar and margarine with the rum essence and pink food colouring. In a separate jug, whisk together the eggs. Bit by bit add the beaten egg and sieve the flour into the butter-sugar mixture, mixing after each addition. The batter should be ‘just drop off the spoon’ consistency.

Stir through the diced strawberries and fruit flakes. Spoon evenly into the muffin cases, pushing a raspberry under the batter of each one. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

2) Make the puree: Place the strawberries, raspberries, icing sugar and corn starch in a saucepan on a low heat. Once the sugar has melted increase the heat slightly to bring the berries to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly Use a masher to squash the berries (alternately blitz them in a food processor beforehand). Sieve the berries, using a spoon to get the most out of the berry pulp. Discard the pulp and set your fresh puree aside to cool.

Pre-simmer puree

Simmered and sieved puree, ready to use.
3) Once cooled, pipe the puree into the centre of each cupcake, leaving at least 2 tablespoons for the buttercream.

4) Make the buttercream: Cream the butter and a dash of milk together. Add the berry puree and food colouring, if using, and gradually sieve in the icing sugar whisking well after each addition (I always find an electric mixer does the best job here). Once all of the ingredients are well combined, the icing should be smooth and spreadable. Due to the addition of the puree, the icing could curdle; if this happens keep adding icing sugar and beating it into the icing well until the curdling disappears. Spread or pipe icing onto the cupcakes and decorate as desired with the berries, mint leaves and optional freeze-dried strawberries and glitter. If you’re feeling extra crazy stick a straw in each cupcake to mimic the cocktail get-up. Now pretend you’re in an exotic beach-front setting, watching the sun go down over the glistening sea.