Hello! I’m back! I am sorry for the long hiatus… i’ve been so busy with work and home life, that I haven’t had a chance to do any baking! Or at least any baking that is blog-worthy. 🙂
Anyway, last night I couldn’t sleep as I listened to the rain banging against the window of my bedroom… I kept thinking ‘it’s still August, right?!’. While this is typical of an irish summer, I’m just not quite ready to accept that the sun is going down a little earlier, the rain is getting a little more frequent (and heavy) and it’s even starting to get a little chilly!
So, in an attempt to keep the summer around a little bit longer… here’s a delicious, fresh, and sweet summery recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy.
Strawberry and basil work so well together (especially in a cocktail!!) and these flavours combined in a cupcake are a perfect match. The cake itself has a subtle flavour of basil and just a hint of strawberry and I decorated it with the fresh strawberry buttercream.
Tip: You’re probably wondering how to combine the basil without leaving little leafy ‘bits’ floating in your cupcake batter. I googled this and came up with a perfectly simple way – just blitz the basil leaves in a food processor with the sugar! They will combine to form a crumbly, green sugar that smells absolutely incredible that you can add to your bake without the issue of any leafy bits!
These measures will make about 12-14 cupcakes, depending on size.
For the strawberry and basil cupcake batter:
- 225g plain flour
- 115g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 large free range eggs
- 200ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 10-15g fresh basil leaves
- 100g strawberries
For the fresh strawberry buttercream:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 500g icing sugar
- 50g fresh strawberries, puréed
- 1 tbsp whole milk (only if you’re finding that the buttercream is too thick to pipe)
- A food blender or food processor (a stick blender would work too!)
- An electric mixer or a good old fashioned bowl and wooden spoon!
- A spatula
- Various bowls to hold each weighed ingredient
- Two spoons
- Heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4.
- Add the basil and the caster sugar to the food processor and blend until the basil has been chopped completely into the sugar. The sugar will turn a bright green and smell delicious! Remove the basil sugar and place to one side.
- In the same food processor, purée the strawberries to a pulp (no lumps!). Again, place this in a bowl and leave aside.
- In the electric mixer, add the basil sugar and butter and beat for 4-5 minutes until light, pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to this mix one at a time, beating slowly until combined.
- This is the trickiest bit. You will need to make four additions to the mix as you continue to mix the ingredients slowly. First, add in half of the flour and the entire teaspoon of baking powder. Second, add half of the buttermilk and continue to mix. Third, add in the rest of the flour. Lastly, add in the remainder of the buttermilk with the teaspoon of vanilla extract and continue to mix until just combined, ensuring that the sides of the bowl have been scraped down to capture any loose flour!
- Take the bowl off the mixer and use a spatula to gently fold in the pureéd strawberries. Do not beat, or you will end up with flat (or sunken!) cakes.
- Divide the mixture among the lined cupcake tin and pop into the oven for 25-30 mins. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150c at this point.
You’ll know your cakes are done when you poke a skewer (or in my case, a knitting needle) through the centre and it comes away clean. You can leave these to cool as you prepare the buttercream icing.
Fresh strawberry buttercream
- Using your electric mixer, beat the butter for 8-10 minutes until soft, pale and very fluffy!
- Add in the icing sugar in a number of additions, slowly beating it in until all of the loose sugar is combined, then speeding up to add air. Continue to beat for 5-6 minutes.
- Add in the puréed strawberries and continue to beat for 30 more seconds. At this point, you can add the tablespoon of milk, if your icing is too thick to pipe.
To ice your delicious strawberry and basil cupcakes, attach a wide wide star nozzle to a piping bag (You can buy disposable piping bags and nozzles here) and fill with the fresh strawberry buttercream. Twist the top of the bag to push out the air and squeeze out a test strip of icing. Then, with your bag at a 90 degree angle to the top of the cupcake, pipe a small star in the centre of your cupcake. Maintaining the same pressure on the bag, drag a line of icing out to the edge of the cake and follow around the edge, working your way in a clockwise/anti-clockwise fashion to the centre of the cake again. Finish off your cakes with a sprig of basil and a chunk of fresh strawberry. Yum!
Today, I posted the method and recipe for these cupcakes using the new Stories feature on Instagram. For these and more recipes make sure you’re following me on Instagram @here_goes_muffin!