In celebration of this month's 'Say Yes To Gnomes' campaign on Life is Peachy, I thought I would share my recipe for Strawberry and Vanilla cupcakes, a perfect light summer treat and beautifully decorated with fresh strawberry gnomes.
These little fellas add something a bit different to your average cupcake and are a delicious light bite for the summer months or a themed afternoon tea! I use a Hummingbird bakery cupcake recipe as my base recipe for most sponge cakes, it's the lightest mixture I've found in my experiments!
Ingredients (to make 12 cupcakes):
For the Cakes:
280g Golden Caster Sugar
240g Self Raising Flour (you can also use plain with a pinch of baking powder)
80g Butter (softened at room temperature)
240ml milk (I use semi-skimmed)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Pinch of Salt
2 Large Eggs
6 Large Strawberries
For the Icing:
500g Icing Sugar
160g Softened Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
50 mls milk
12 Large Strawberries (chopped)
12 White Edible Pearls
Preheat oven to 190 C (fan oven) and line a cupcake/muffin tin with cases of your choice!
1. Place butter, sugar, flour and salt in a bowl and mix until soft and textured like breadcrumbs. Can either be whisked by hand or with a mixer - ensure to sift flour and sugar for a softer finish.
2. Once the dry mixture is combined, beat the milk and eggs together, adding the vanilla extract at the end to flavour. Pour half the milk mixture in and mix together until almost combined.
3. Add the remaining milk mixture a little at a time until all incorporated. Lastly, add the strawberries until evenly incorporated into the mixture.
4. Fill each cupcake case with the mixture until about two thirds full - pop in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sponge is golden brown and bounces back when pressed. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
5. Whilst the cakes are cooling - mix the icing sugar and butter, either by hand or with a mixer, until incorporated with a soft sandy texture.
6. In a jug, mix together the milk and vanilla essence. Add to the icing mixture and continue to beat together until creamy and stiff in texture.
7. Once the cakes have cooled completely,pour the mixture into an icing bag and, using a star shaped nozzle, pipe small star shapes onto the cake tops, creating a flower scene on each cake.
8. For the strawberry gnomes, cut each strawberry in half (the pointed half should be slightly longer for a 'hat' appearance. Squidge a blob of icing on each strawberry base, let a little drizzle out the 'front' of the gnome to create a beard and, finally, attached a pearl to create a nose.
9. To place on the cupcakes, drizzle an extra bit of icing on the base and secure in the middle of each cake.
The result is really quite cute, I've also been experimenting with the idea of placing the strawberry gnomes on royal icing toadstools with white chocolate buttons. Clearly this is a baking theme you can go to town with!
Here's to a great weekend!
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