Strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Sorry it took so long for me to upload this post, I’ve been having issues transferring my photos from my camera memory card to my computer.

So a few weekends ago I was home alone and got extremely bored so I decided to make cupcakes. We had some strawberries in the fridge as well as cream cheese, so I thought: Perfect combo!¬† I divided this recipe so that I got like three cupcakes out of the batch because, well, I wasn’t about to gulp down 12 of them on my own. That’s just not healthy. But I’m gonna post the whole recipe for you ūüôā

Also, I’ve decided to stop writing both US and metric measurments, because well, the conversion gets a little iffy sometimes and if you want it converted, it’s pretty easy to just Google for a converter. Hope that’s OK. Feel free to comment if you feel otherwise.

Makes twelve regular sized cupcakes

Strawberry cupcakes

120 grams plain flour

140 grams caster sugar

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

40 grams softened, unsalted butter

pinch of salt

120 millilitres whole milk

0.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 organic egg (my preference)

12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces

1 tablespoon corn flour (corn starch)

Cream Cheese Frosting

300 grams sifted icing sugar

50 grams softened, unsalted butter

125 grams cold cream cheese

zest of 1 lime

SMALL pinch of salt

How-to:

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius (325F)

Beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter into a mixer with the paddle attachment on low until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Pour in the milk and vanilla and turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until everything is well combined. Then add the egg and continue mixing untill everything is well incorporated.

Mix the chopped strawberries with the corn flour in a separate bowl until the berries are coated. This is to seal in some of the liquid the berries release whilst being cooked so that the cupcakes don’t become too mushy.

Divide the batter between the cupcake cases in your muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. A skewer should come out relatively clean. Leave them to cool slightly in the tin (this is to ensure they don’t lose their shape) and them move them onto a cooling rack. Do not frost until they’re completely cooled or the frosting will become a melted mess.

While the cupcakes are cooling, you can make the frosting.

Start by beating the sugar and butter in a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until combined. Then add the cold cream cheese and lime zest, continue beating until it comes together and is well mixed. Then turn the speed up to medium-high and mix for at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, cream cheese frostings has a tendency to quickly become runny.

Frost your cooled cupcakes with the frosting and decorate with sliced strawberries or whatever else you prefer.

Happy baking!

Advertisements

P√Ęte √† Choux – anyone can make it! (Chocolate √©clairs)

So, finally, this post goes LIVE! I’ve been deep in slumber for what feels like over 9000 years. See what I did there? No? OK… I have terrible pollen allergies and this year seems to have one of the highest rates of pollen particles in the air in a long time, that’s global warming for ya. Anyway, I’ve been working on a couple of drafts for a while but simply haven’t gotten around to finishing them, but here we go, the first of many to be posted.

So, √©clairs, you say? Yeah… Not an easy one. I’ve never had an √©clair before either, which didn’t help. Turns out, it’s really difficult to make something when you have no idea what the end result is supposed to smell, taste or look like. I did well though, my stepmother said they taste the way they’re supposed to but frankly I don’t see what the big fuss is about. Not my favourite pastry. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t inedible or anything, it’s just that, with all the time and effort that went into making these, I was expecting fireworks. What I got were a slight fizz and some smoke. But don’t get discouraged, I definitely think it’s something you should try! I learned a lot from this endeavour and I appreciate the experience. So give it a try! Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate √Čclairs by Pierre Herm√© (adapted recipe)

makes 20-24 éclairs

Ingredient list:

P√Ęte √† Choux
Cream Puff Dough

1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
1/2 cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature

Cr√®me P√Ętissi√®re au Chocolat
Chocolate Pastry Cream

2 cups (500g) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (75g) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tbsp (1 1/4 oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

optional: 1 teaspoon of instant coffee powder

Chocolate Glaze
This batch makes for about 1 cup or 300g of glaze, YOU WILL ONLY NEED ABOUT HALF OF THAT

1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
3¬Ĺ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

Chocolate Sauce – for the glaze
makes 1 ¬Ĺ cups or 525g – you will not need the full batch

4 1/2 oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 g) water
1/2 cup (125 g) cr√®me fra√ģche, or heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

P√Ęte √† Choux:

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly.Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.

Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry.

As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
The dough should still be warm. It is now ready to be piped and baked.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.
Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.


Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Cr√®me P√Ętissi√®re:

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and coffee powder to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F (60 C) remove from the ice-water bath and stir in the butter in three or four instalments. Return the cream to the ice-water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Chocolate Glaze:

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce. While still hot, dip the top half of your éclair in the glaze, or drizzle on using a spatula. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Sauce:

Place all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

It may take 10-15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Assembly:

Using a serrated bread knife, cut the éclairs in half (see picture above). Pipe the filling into the bottom half of one éclair, then place the glazed half on top. Serve immediately.

END NOTES:

  • Once the dough is made it needs to be piped immediately
  • If you don’t wan to bake the √©clairs right away, you can freeze them after they’ve been piped by simply piping the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, then slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
  • The pastry cream can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
  • Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
  • If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly? in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
  • It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104¬† F) when ready to glaze.
  • The chocolate SAUCE can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks in an air tight container. Before using, heat up slightly in the microwave or in a double boiler.
  • The √©clairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
  • I AM SURE I PROBABLY MISSED SOMETHING SO PLEASE TELL ME IN THE COMMENT SECTION IF I DID OR IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RECIPE! THANK YOU!