Sunday, 18 June 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes - Recipe

 In this sweltering weather (all three days of it), cake isn't the top priority. But Summer Fete Bake Off beckoned and duty must be done. These strawberry shortcake cupcakes were inspired by ChocolateWithGrace and are a perfect summer bake. Sweet strawberries with a light creamy icing and fluffy cake inside are delicious with a cup of tea or a cheeky Pimms...

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Makes 12
Prep Time: 20 mins plus 10 mins
Cook Time: 15-20 mins


For the Cupcakes:

115 g butter
200 g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
195 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
115 ml milk (or cream)

For the Buttercream:

115 g butter
350 g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk (or cream)
Red food colouring

For the strawberry filling:

12-15 strawberries
2 tsp white caster sugar


Heat the oven to 180 C and line a muffin tin with 12 cases.

For the cupcakes:

Beat together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Sieve in the flour and baking powder and beat again until thoroughly mixed, then add in the milk/cream and keep mixing until very smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool. If you wish, you can gently chop off the risen dome in the centre for a smoother finish.

For the buttercream:

Beat the butter for several minutes until very smooth. Sieve in the icing sugar, beating further, then add the milk/cream and keep beating until very smooth. Add a drop or so of red food colouring until you get a soft pink colour.

Using a small  palette knife or spatula, spread a small amount of buttercream over each cupcake, scraping off any excess. This gives a smooth crumb coat and prevents any strawberry juices from seeping into the cupcake.

Using a small flower nozzle, pipe the icing in a circle, starting around halfway in, and working out to the edge, then back in, but do not fill in the centre - this gives a sort of basket shape, leaving space to fill in with strawberries.

For the strawberry filling:

It's best to prepare the filling just before serving, a few hours at the most. Dice the strawberries into half centimetre pieces and spread in a flat layer on a plate. Sprinkle with the sugar and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes, and they start to release their juices. Then carefully spoon a teaspoon or so into the centre of your prepared cupcakes.

Happy Summer!

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Boxcar, Marylebone - Soft Launch Preview

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the exclusive preview party of Boxcar in Marylebone. It's an exciting new venue which multi-tasks like the best of them. Not only is it a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it also doubles as a deli, a butcher's and, just for me, a cocktail bar.

Specializing in prime cuts of meat sourced ethically, independently and locally (I believe Cornwall is local enough when it comes to meat, I can't remember seeing any cows grazing in Hyde Park recently), the menu is short but specific. A mighty good burger, the finest steak and chips, and veggie burgers to end all veggie burgers. Pork pies and in-house barbecue sauce are an absolute must-try - just try not to get the gravy all over your new white shirt...

Fitted out in sections, dark inky tiling with copper trim gives the venue a clean and contemporary look. No stainless steel or blood-stained aprons, the downstairs Butcher's counter offers advice on your meat purchases, the cuts, the cooking, and even a butchery masterclass, if you are so inclined.

Outdoor seating at the front is at the moment taken up by a rather large (and beefy looking) bull, but for summer, there will also be outdoor dining, for enjoying a cocktail or two. Which, by the way, are worth popping in for. If you prefer, there's independent spirits and wines on offer too, making Boxcar pretty much a local corner shop with bells on.

Located just at the back of Marble Arch, this new concept in eating out (or cooking at home, if you prefer) is the perfect stop-off after a hard day's graft in the office, or in the shops. For a short time, Boxcar are offering 50% off their menu, so I recommend trying it now!

Boxcar Butcher & Grill

23 New Quebec Street

Photos courtesy of PalmPR

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Today we say goodbye (for now) to a friend and colleague going off on maternity leave. I made her Naked Wedding Cake a couple of years ago, and these are sort of linked. Rose flavoured cupcakes. The rose petals were also on her wedding cake. The storks were simply made following ThenIBecameAMum's tutorial.
She doesn't know if she's having a girl or a boy, though I suspect a girl. I don't know why...

Good luck with everything, Roya! Looking forward to seeing what the stork delivers <3