I have fallen in love with these little bites of heaven so I have decided to put this recipe on the blog! So here it is…
250g Butter or low fat spread (depending on if you want the cakes to be slightly lower in fat) at room
250g Caster Sugar
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
3 Large organic, free range eggs
Filling for the cakes:
Strawberry and Champagne jam 1 tsp per cake if you cannot find this jam then plain strawberry jam is just as viable.
Champagne (whichever one you prefer)
200g Caster sugar
The Butter cream:
550g Icing Sugar
Pink food colouring. Use as much as it takes to reach a perfectly pink cake. If you have professional colouring paste, then only use a small amount as you don’t want the cakes to turn fluorescent.
200g Cream Cheese (Full fat) I like to use the original Philadelphia
200g Butter at room temperature
Champagne (which ever you prefer and season to taste)
Set the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and fill a muffin tray with either cupcake liners or muffin liners, however large you want your cakes.
Cream the butter and sugar together until the consistency becomes pale and fluffy. Then, add the eggs one by one, making sure you mix well between each addition. Add the salt to the flour a slowly add in 1/3 at a time, mixing well between each addition. Repeat this step until all of the flour has been used up. Add the Vanilla extract to the batter and whisk thoroughly, this will make tiny air pockets within the batter, so when the cakes are cooked, helps them to have a light and fluffy texture. Once whisked, carefully spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full, which is ample room for the mixture to rise without spilling out all over the tin and oven, creating one giant mess. Place the tray ionto the oven for 15- 20 minutes and keep a close eye on them, ensuring to check them regularly, to make sure they are not burning. Once the cakes have gone a delicious golden brown colour, place a skewer into the centre of each cake, once removed, if it comes out clean, then the cakes are done and you should remove them from the oven. Leave them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. These 10 minutes give you a perfect amount of time to get cracking on the syrup.
This syrup needs to be made as quickly as possible because it needs to be able to sink into every air pocket within the texture of the cake; this gives the cupcakes that explosion of flavour with every bite. Get a saucepan on the stove, at a low heat and add the sugar and water leave to warm and bring to the boil. Once the consistency thickens, take off the heat and leave to cool. Once the liquid is cool, add the champagne. I like to use 2-3 tbsp however, if you want it a little stronger then flavour to taste.
Once the cakes have been removed from their tins, leave them to cool for less than 5 minutes and then pour the syrup over the top about 2 tsp. Once you have soaked the cakes, the syrup should harden on the top, creating a perfect sugary base for the fondant or these cakes can be served just as they are. The key is trial and error.
Once the cupcakes have been dressed with the syrup, ensure that you leave them to cool. Some wrap them up in cling film and leave them to chill in the fridge however, I am not a fan of this as it changes the whole structure of the cakes and can make them too hard and once they warm up to room temperature, and they can become soggy. I like to leave them in a cool area until they firm up naturally. Once they are cold, then the cakes are ready for the next step, which is the icing.
Firstly, take a melon baller or a small scooper. If you have neither then being extremely careful, take a teaspoon and dig out a small hole in the tops of the sponge. This spare sponge can be used for research purposes, like for example; how much can the baker eat before the kids, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife gets home? It could be a valid hypothesis! Once you have removed the tops of the cake, take one teaspoon of the strawberry and champagne jam and spoon into the hole. Once you have filed every hole, set to one side and crack on with the cream cheese frosting.
On a medium setting, stir the butter until it goes from a yellow colour to a white colour and stiffens this could take up to 5 minutes. Then add the cream cheese and mix until well incorporated. Then add the champagne to taste. Turn the mixer off and add the icing sugar, little by little as if you put it all in at once the kitchen will look like it has snowed as the icing sugar will go everywhere. Between each addition of icing sugar, turn the mixer onto the lowest and slowest setting; continue this step until all the icing has been used. Once the icing has stiffened, add a small amount of pink colouring paste. Use as much as you want but remember these are; ‘Strawberry and Champagne’ cupcakes, not florescent nightclubbing cupcakes! Leave to chill for 30 minutes and then the icing is ready to either be smoothed on with a palette knife or piped on.
Once you have added the cream cheese icing to the cakes then you can decorate them with washed and cut strawberry segments or even freeze dried strawberries.
Then serve with afternoon tea.