Sunday, 11 September 2011

Mini Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

So this past week or two has been pretty busy hence the general lack of posts.I'm back in school and getting more homework than ever and it's only the second week!Coming home from doing a full day of school and then having to launch into doing a full nights homework leaves little time for much else.This means less time for baking.At the moment the weekends are the only time I really have to bake.Therefore by the time Friday evening comes,I'm only itching to get my hands into a delicious new recipe(I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who experiences this).
Next week is going to be hectic once again.The results of my Junior Cert exams will be coming out on wednesday(god help me!).Then on Saturday I have been asked to make something for a relatives big birthday party.She's asked me to make some form of a sweet or dessert for roughly 50 people.No pressure now.I was trying to come up with suitable recipes for ages but nothing seemed right.I knew she would be ordering a big cake herself so a cake itself was out of the question.Then,while flicking through my much loved Hummingbird Bakery book,I hit upon the perfect recipe(actually recipes!).I saw the recipes for these mini alcohol based cupcakes and knew instantly they were just right.They look absoulutely adorable,they taste delicious and also they are slightly more sophisticated than your average cupcake as they contain alcohol.This combination of factors makes me think these will be perfect for an adults party.
Just before I begin the next paragraph,please excuse the shoddily iced cupcake above,I had much better ones and really don't know why I chose to photograph this one but anyway..

So last Friday with the pending party in mind,I set about trying out one of the recipes for the alcohol flavoured mini cupcakes.I chose the strawberry daiquiri ones as my mam loves strawberry daiquiries.The recipe comes together pretty easily really.The most time consuming bit is waiting for the strawberries to soak in the rum reduction.The recipe says to soak the strawberries for about 30 to 40 minutes.I soaked mine for about 25 and one point I would make is that I found the flavour of alcohol to be very weak in the cupcakes.Therefore I think I would recommend to anyone considering making these,to soak the strawberries for the full 40 minutes to really get that hint of rum.After that the cupcake batter is like any other average cupcake batter.You place a few pieces of soaked strawberry into the base of each mini cupcake liner,spoon over the batter and pop into the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.Once they come out of the oven you spoon over a little of the rum reduction and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.While cooling the icing can be made.Its a pretty basic buttercream but a few teaspoons of the rum reduction are added giving it a lovely strawberry flavour.Once cooled the cupcakes are iced and topped with a sliced strawberry.Very pretty indeed!One thing I should mention is that the recipe states it makes 24-30 cupcakes.I managed to get 48 so keep that in mind!

Now on to the important bit,the taste.I personally didn't think I was going to like these.The main reason for this is that I generally hate alcohol in desserts.Take for example tiramisu or any other dessert which has a strong rum flavour.However,I must say these were honestly delicious.As mentioned above,the flavour of rum is very weak in these but they most certainly taste like a strawberry daiquiri.The fruit in the mixture and the rum reduction spooned over the cooling cupcakes makes for a seriously moist cupcake which is always a good thing.I think these cupcakes are best eaten on the day as after a day or town the sliced strawberry on top begins to look a bit,well,sad.Also the cupcake becomes slightly soggy due to the fruit in the batter.

I've decided I'm definitely going ahead with this recipe for the party(and also one or two others,more to come on them during the week).I'll be sure to put up a post later on in the week letting you know with how I got on making roughly 150(!) cupcakes.
For The Sponge
100 ml(3 1/2 fl.oz) white rum
170g(6oz)caster sugar
150g(5 1/2 oz)strawberries
40g(1 1/2oz)softened,unsalted butter
120g(4 oz)plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp  salt
1 large egg
120ml(4 fl.oz)whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

For The Frosting
80g(3 oz)softened unsalted butter
250g(9 oz)icing sugar
1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
4 tsp whole milk
Sliced strawberries,to decorate

1.Preheat the oven to 170C(325F)Gas mark 3,and line a mini muffin tin with cases.
2.Add the rum and 30g of the sugar to a small saucepan and bring to the boil,allowing it to reduce by half,then set aside to cool slightly.Hull and chop the strawberries and then add to the rum and sugar reduction.Soak for about 30 to 40 minutes.
3.Meanwhile,using an electrice whisk or freestanding mixer,slowly mix together the butter,flour,remaining sugar,baking powder and salt.Mix until the ingredients have come together and resemble breadcrumbs.
4.In a jug whisk together the egg,milk and vanilla essence.With the mixer or electric whisk on low speed,gradually pour the liquid mixture into the flour and butter mixture thoroughly.
5.Drain the strawberries from the rum reduction,reserving the liquid.Place a few small pieces of strawberry in each cupcake case.Spoon the cake batter over the strawberries,filling each case about 2/3 full.
6.Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cupcakes are a light golden brown colour and bounce back when pressed lightly.While they are still warm,spoon about 1/2 teaspoon on the rum reduction over each cupcake and allow to cool completely before frosting.
7.Using a freestanding mixer or electric whisk,set on low speed,beat together the butter,icing sugar and lime zest,until combined and crumb like in texture.Now mix together the milk and 4 teaspoons of the rum reduction in a jug.Pour this into the butter and icing sugar still mixing on a low speed until incorporated.Then increase the speed to high and best the frosting until soft and fluffy.
8.Smooth the icing on the cupcakes using a palette knife.Top with sliced strawberries to decorate.

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