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Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

These cupcakes are light, fluffy and packed with vanilla, while the frosting is smooth, creamy and bursting with strawberry flavour. The perfect Valentine’s Day treat! Happy baking!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Lots and lots of step-by-step pictures and the recipe are on my blog, Cloudberry Dreams.

Otherwise, you can find the recipe alone

VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

VANILLA CUPCAKES

2 3/4 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

200g softened butter

1 3/4 cups castor sugar

5 eggs (or 4, if you’re using especially large ones)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons strawberry essence

Pink food colouring (red, though, if you don’t want it to fail like mine did!)

1 cup milk


Firstly, preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius (that’s 340 degrees Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 3 – 4), line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake papers and grease a non-stick a 20cm round cake pan.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and set it aside.

Then, in a large bowl (or the bowl attachment of your stand mixer), cream the butter for 2 minutes on high speed.

Add the castor sugar 1/3 at a time, beating on high for 2 -3 minutes after each addition. Once all the castor sugar is in, beat the mixture on high speed for at least 2 minutes, until the sugar has almost totally dissolved. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture hits a light and fluffy consistency. Now add the vanilla extract and beat thoroughly.

Pour 1/3 of the sifted flour in the butter mixture and mix together using the lowest possible speed until just combined.

Then add 1/2 of the milk and continue to mix together on low speed until just combined. Repeat this, making sure that the last ingredient you add is the flour and that the mixture is smooth. It’s really important to not to overbeat during this stage – you’ll end up with dense, tough cupcakes if you do!

Now’s the time that we deviate from the regular recipe. Grab a separate bowl and spoon around 1/2 of the cupcake mixture into it, and set the bowl aside. With the mixture that’s left in the original mixer bowl, add the strawberry essence and the food colouring and beat on low speed until combined and the food colouring is evenly distributed.

Pour the coloured batter into the greased cake pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the cake is coming away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once you’ve pulled out the coloured cake, leave it to cool (I won’t lie, I jammed it in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool it down faster because I have literally no patience). Once cooled, remove it from the cake pan and set about cutting little hearts out of the cake, small enough to fit inside a cupcake. If you’re super-organised then you probably have a tiny little heart-shaped cookie cutter, so use that. If you’re disorganised like me, you’ll have to cut them out yourself. I used a small, sharp knife and just cut them freehand – they’re obviously all slightly different because of that, but never mind!

Once you’ve cut out your hearts (and yes, I did cut out too many – I kept trying to get them as perfect as possible, so I ended up with extras!), spoon a heaped tablespoon of the plain vanilla cupcake mixture into the bottom of each cupcake paper. Then gently press a heart into the middle of each, so that the hearts are standing upright.

Very carefully spoon enough cupcake mixture over the top of the hearts to cover them.

Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 20 minutes (but start checking after 15 in case your oven runs hot!). The cupcakes are done once they’re springy to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature before frosting.


STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

8 cups icing sugar, sifted

200g salted butter

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons strawberry essence

Pink food colouring


Cream the butter on high speed for 2 -3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Then add the milk, strawberry essence and half of the sifted icing sugar and beat, starting on low speed until the sugar is just combined and then turning it up to high speed for 4 -5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost completely dissolved.

Add the remaining sugar and beat again for 3 -4 minutes until the frosting is soft, fluffy and spreadable. Add a bit more milk if it’s too dry, or a bit more icing sugar if it’s too runny.

Now add the food colouring a little at a time, beating between each addition until you get the shade of pink that you want.

Frost the cupcakes using your favourite piping tip (I used a big open star tip, about twice the size of Wilton’s 1M) and decorate however you like – I used white and pink sprinkles and white chocolate hearts.

x-posted to bakebakebake & food_porn

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