Saturday, May 28, 2016

Eton Mess cupcakes

Last week my friends D and J invited us to their house for a barbecue and to meet their new baby son. It was also J's birthday the following week and the first time we had been to their house since we moved there, so I decided to take some celebratory cupcakes as well as some food to go on the barbecue.

I wanted something a little bit unusual and also quite summery and as I've made some great recipes lately from my Hummingbird Bakery book Home Sweet Home, I had another look and decided their Eton Mess cupcakes sounded great. Eton Mess is a dessert involving strawberries, cream and pieces of meringue, broken up and mixed together.

I was a bit surprised to see the recipe involved making a custard, since that isn't normally part of the dessert. I wasn't going to have a lot of time to make the cakes and the custard part looked like it would take a while, so I decided to leave it out and just make a creamy buttercream instead.

As well as the strawberries that you can see on the top, covered with crushed meringue pieces (bought rather than homemade) there are chopped strawberries and a little bit of cream in the centre of the cake. The cream was my own idea but as I didn't end up actually trying one of these I can't describe what they tasted like - but a few people at the barbecue told me they were extremely good!

You need:
70g butter or margarine, softened
210g self-raising flour
250g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
210ml whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
to decorate:
2 strawberries per cupcake - I got 12 cupcakes out of this recipe
about 50g meringue (which equated to two shop bought meringue nests), crushed
for the buttercream:
125g butter or margarine
250g icing sugar
12 tsp double cream

Preheat oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with paper cases - I used red ones with white polka dots to go with the Eton Mess theme.

Beat the butter, flour, sugar and salt together to form a crumb-like consistency. This is different to the way I normally make cakes but it seemed to work!

In a jug, mix the milk, eggs and vanilla and pour gradually into the crumb mixture, mixing well (an electric whisk is easiest). Mix until you have a smooth batter.

Spoon into the paper cake cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the sponge is still bouncy when pressed gently. Leave to cool.

Use a teaspoon to remove a small core from the centre of each cupcake and set aside. Spoon 1 level tsp cream into the hole and fill with a chopped strawberry - you may need a little less than one whole strawberry as you then need to place the core of the cupcake you removed back on top and make it as level as you can.

Mix the butter and the icing to make the buttercream. Using a piping bag and star nozzle pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Top with pieces of meringue and a strawberry sliced in half.

I'm sharing this with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen for the Food Year Linkup, as next week is National Barbecue Week and these cupcakes are great for dessert at a barbecue.


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