Saturday, September 26, 2009

Berry berry quite contrary

             Children's day is upon us and what better way to show my appreciation for these little ones by baking. After being told by my 6 year olds that the best part of my butter cupcakes was the frosting when I last baked for them, I decided to teach them about the wonderful flavours that a cake can have. After taking a massive poll, the top flavours that emerged were strawberry and chocolate.

           Which brings me to today's post. I have never made anything strawberry before and this posed as  somewhat of a challenge. I'm a chocoholic and alcoholic. I've probably run the gamut of chocolate during my experiments, white, dark, milk, 60% coco to 90% coco, ganaches, chocolate frosting, fudge, covurture, confectionary.
          In fact, I own three cookbooks dedicated to chocolate. You name it, I've probably done it or have the recipe. Strawberries on the other hand, are rather intriguing. The closest I've come to working with berries( other than jams) were raspberries, which were epically difficult to work with seeing how I pureed them and was left with delicious raspberry snowskin mooncakes and a broken blender.

      Broken kitchen equipment is probably the biggest turn off I reckon. Nonetheless, I love these children enough to want to perfect this.
          I decided I wanted a light, fluffy cake filled with strawberry jam that creamed    screamed lightness yet at the same time create a sensation equivilant of a strawberry field.
         I modified my favourite butter cake( one with a nice sugar crust, good crumb and melt in your mouth texture) to create what I call strawberry cupcake BETA. Beta because I have yet to reach perfection. I was relatively pleased with the results, since it was moist, dense and had an explosion of flavour, plus pretty to boot. Downside was that the parts without the jam were rather lackluster.
           I shared them with my colleagues and they all loved it. My closer friends gave honest ratings and I one said, I quote, " Its fantastic until you get to the bottom. It tastes like flour when you get there" Hahahah. But you live and learn, and I intend to chart my culinary journey via this blog, both triumphs and failures.
          The wonderful thing about jam filled cupcakes is that the longer they sit in jam, the more moist and flavourful they get. I just had a bite and after 24 hours, they were reallly delicious. But I still think it needs a tad more sugar.

           Are you ready for the shape of my heart?

After they cooled, I dusted the cupcakes down with icing sugar and then used a cookie cutter to hollow out the center and piped jam into them. WARNING: The icing sugar melts so I suggest dusting the sugar on the day or just before serving and piping the jam.

This time, I actually bothered to take some process shots so lets take a look

                      Battered and ready for the great bake. After 35minutes...

The spirit of randomness overcame me and I just had to make one that looked like this:


Its a duck in case you's all wondering.

Here's the recipe, suggested improvements in red:

Strawberry Jam filled cupcakes, adapted from
Makes 8 large cupcakes
110g (175g) of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
125g  of butter
200g (225) of white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
(1 teaspoon of strawberry emulsion?)
3/4 cup of milk flavoured with 1/4(1 tsp) teaspn of strawberry emulsion (or strawberry milk)
250g strawberries(diced)
250g of strawberry jam
Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C( 145 for fanforced).

Sift together flour and baking powder

Cream the butter and blend in the white sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Stir until just blended. Fold in strawberries. Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full.

Bake at 175 degrees C (145 for fanforced) for 35mins or until skewer comes out clean. Cake should spring back when lightly touched.

Once cooled to room temperature, dust cupcakes with icing sugar and hollow out centers with cookie cutters of your choice. Using a small sharp knife, gently dig out the cake that's within the cookie cutter.

FIll piping bag with jam and pipe into hollowed center.

I love culinary experiments. They thrill me to no end.

No comments:

Post a Comment