I'd been pondering for ages what cake(s) to make to celebrate Valentine's Day. I'd been intent on making some vanilla cupcakes with white fondant icing, then festooned with red hearts. But when I thought about it more carefully, I decided that vanilla cupcakes weren't special enough. After all, when I'm not baking something with chocolate and bananas, I'm more often than not baking something vanilla flavoured. With cupcakes in mind, I flicked though my Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and fell upon their Strawberry Cheesecake cupcakes. The fact that they have fresh strawberries in them probably means they are more of a summer cake, but I knew that my local Waitrose would have them so my mind was made up. I also knew that I could still get away with decorating them with red hearts. All in all, a Valentine's day winner!
Coincidentally, and through our regular three-way tweeting, I established that I wasn't the only person baking a Hummingbird recipe yesterday. Two of my best Twitter buddies, @dickybundock and @lilmssquirrel were tweeting about how they were busily baking another of their recipes, a rhubarb and almond loaf. What good taste the three of us have!
FOR THE CAKES:
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 and a half tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml whole milk
half a tsp vanilla extract
12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces
200g digestive biscuits - you really don't need this quantity...I used about 6 biscuits!
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese
Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degs C/gas mark 3.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
3. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat on a medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
4. Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases...
...then spoon the cupcake mixture on top until two-thirds full...
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tin before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
6. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld whisk) on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is fully incorporated. Turn the mixer up to a medium-high speed and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. Don't overbeat as it can come become runny.
7. Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor. Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of the biscuits. Enjoy!
This recipe can be found in The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.