syrup

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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Chocolate Coca-Cola Cupcakes

So… tomorrow is Fathers day in the UK. Bakers at the ready. I have memories of todays recipe, from childhood. I can remember the taste and having this before. A longterm friend of Mum must be the culprit baker. Regardless of how odd it may be it does work, genuinely. The recipe comes from deep within the pages of ‘how to be a domestic goddess’ by Nigella Lawson. Not sure if this constitutes becoming a domestic goddess – loading guests/friends/kids and the unannounced with the biggest sugar rush they will ever get from a cake – but okay!

For those that are new to such a concoction I introduce to you;

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cupcakes
yields 18 standard size cupcakes

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I would recommend any baker looking for a seriously moist but not at all oily cupcake to give this a try. The chocolate flavour is barely there, I struggle with calling this chocolate at all infact but I know it’s in there, I put it there. It’s subtle caramel undertones expected from coke, not much sweetness – considering what your adding to the cake you expect it to be very sickly sweet. I’ve topped mine today with a Coca-Cola buttercream and a cola syrup. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

You will need;
A large mixing bowl
A measuring jug
A heavy bottom pan
A sieve
Weighing scales
A wooden spoon
A metal spoon
Cupcake tin
18 paper cases
200g plain flour
250g caster sugar (white or golden)
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4tsp salt
125ml buttermilk
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
125g butter (I always happen to use salted, but unsalted is fine)
2tbsp quality cocoa powder
175ml Coca-Cola

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (180c)
Firstly your going to sieve together the flour and bicarbonate, straight into the mixing mixing bowl. Next, add the sugar and salt. Over in your measuring jug beat the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated. Separately, get your pan warm on a low heat, melt the butter with cocoa powder and Coca-Cola. When this has all melted beat into the dry ingredients until smooth and velvety, do the same again with the buttermilk mixture from the jug. When all the ingredients are combined its ready to be poured into cupcake cases. I filled mine 3/4 and they came out perfect. Simply pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Decorate as desired. I experimented at this point, coming up with Coca-Cola buttercream by adding icing sugar and cola to 100g of softened butter until I reached the taste and texture I required to pipe. I also put around 100ml of cola and 40g of sugar into a pan and heated over a low heat, reducing to a thick toffee like syrup. On a few I drizzled over the buttercream (after cooled) on others I experimented further. Finding it hardened enough when swirled into water and quickly dried off to stand in the cupcake I did this on a few too.

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I didn’t mention my daughter was assistant baker throughout the whole bake and made the biggest mess ever of the kitchen – flour clouds, sugar rain. But after, all I heard was..
“Mummy, I’m going to lick this bowl for about an hour, while the cakes cook”. Okay.
All in a successful bake for the special daddy in our house.