summer

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Syrup Injection

Another summer surprise. If only the British weather could make its mind up. This summer has just been the worst so far, honestly, it just cannot make its mind up. Last weeks bake was fitting of the weather, this weeks bake a little less so. It had to be done though. The fresh ingredients were sitting in the fridge staring at me, if they weren’t used a certain small person would of dived straight in and there would of been nothing left to bake with. That’s how things normally pan out in our house. Fresh fruit, gone in 60 seconds. Berries, definitely.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Syrup
yields 16 standard cupcakes

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I suppose a lot of people wouldn’t put basil and strawberry together, but then again, a lot of people would. Maybe not so much in a cake, but it does work. Basil syrup is amazing stuff, it’s also gorgeous with brownies. At a family meal this past new year me, my mum and younger sister wracked our brains for a good pudding. This is where basil syrup came from, although granted, it wasn’t our idea. We found it all over the Internet ‘for use in cocktails’. Yes, of course. But we can use it elsewhere. So we did. Brownies (baked by yours truly), basil syrup (made by yours truly) and mango ice cream (made by my little sister). It was the best after dinner treat ever. I’ve been itching to use the syrup since. So today I did. And it hasn’t failed!

You will need;
Weighing scales
A blender
A whisk
A large bowl
Cupcake tin
Cupcake cases
220g fresh strawberries
2 eggs
200g sugar
1tsp vanilla
80ml vegetable oil
200g plain flour
1tsp baking powder

First preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190c). You need to start by blending your strawberries into a smooth purée in the large bowl, to this add 2 eggs, the sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil. Whisk until frothy and fully incorporated. To this add the flour and baking powder, combine and spoon into individual cake cases. Bake for 15 minutes until soft and springy.

For the syrup; add 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cup sugar and half bunch of fresh chopped basil to a pan and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes until you have a thick syrup. Once cool inject into cupcakes using a syringe or cut a hole in cakes and spoon in.

I topped mine with a plain buttercream icing just to cover the basil overflow.

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Pistachio & Rose Cupcakes

Hello summer. The weather was beautiful today, perfect for this flavour combination. I’m a lover of Turkish delight. Whoever isn’t is mad, plain mad. It’s amazing stuff. Pistachio and rose are my two favourite flavours, although its easy to find rose everywhere in the UK, I find it very hard to find pistachio flavour, why? Granted I don’t look very hard, I’m sure it’s here somewhere but I never happen to fall upon it in my not so distant travels.

When we were younger we travelled quite a lot, me and my younger sister now both agree with took this very much for granted. I’d love to do it all again now with my new found outlook on life. If I ever win the lottery, I’m travelling the world and showing my little girl all the things I never appreciated. Sorry mum and dad. Anyway, we once went to New Zealand. Of all things I remember Turkish delight being a part of this holiday – although I could be making this up or I could of dreamt it. There was this little hatch type shop, across from a Indian restaurant we had eaten at, it served Turkish delight cut straight from mammoth blocks right into a little paper bag, now that is my idea of heaven. I had to have it, and indeed I got it. Daddy’s girl, I am.

Pistachio & Rose Cupcakes
yields 16 cupcakes

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This is like a cupcake made for a warm Arabian night. I got so excited by the smell of just the pistachio, let alone the cooking stage. I don’t think you can find a better match. They look perfect too. The flavours aren’t overwhelming, it’s a really delicate balance so that you can taste both flavours in there, you don’t want to drown out the pistachio with the rose. It can be easily done. I’d definitely say to anyone to give this a try, it’s a beautiful cake. Do let me know what you think if you try it.

You will need;
Large mixing bowl
Weighing scales
Measuring jug
Small mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Wire rack
Cupcake cases
Cupcake tin
150g plain flour
70g unshelled unsalted pistachios
2tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
100ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
175g sugar
110g butter
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190c). Start by bashing your pistachios into crumbs (I just stuck them in the small bowl and used the end of a rolling pin to crush them) leave some bigger for added texture. When you’ve done this add in the flour, salt and baking soda and stir together. In the large mixing bowl cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. In the jug mix together your milk and vanilla extract. Now your going to add all the ingredients together. Into the butter, sugar and egg mix you need to add the milk mix and dry ingredients in stages until its all come together. Spoon into your cases and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

For the buttercream I did a standard buttercream, butter and icing sugar to the right consistency to pipe. Then added enough rose syrup for the desired flavour. As syrup strengths differ I can’t really specify what amount to use. I use KTC rose syrup, available in the world food section in larger asda stores. Of this I used around 2tsps for the right balance against the pistachio. If you continuously taste it, or have a cooled cake on hand to taste it with you should get the right balance fine.

Enjoy, I know I will.

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