Eton Mess Cupcakes

Doable with a bit of effort, massively impressive (if you make the meringues)

So so doable, massively impressive (if you buy the meringues)

This week has been characterised by some seriously British institutions: Glastonbury, Wimbledon and strawberries. Kanye caused some controversy, Murray appears to be still in and Kent is heaving out those juicy berries of delight by the tonne load. British summertime, we love you.

In celebration of all this, that makes me proud to live on this here fair isle, what better excuse than to make some cupcakes in the guise of our favourite summertime dessert and to make use of Kent's best export - I bring you Eton Mess Cupcakes.

A couple of notes on these beauties:

My original aim was to make some elegant cupcakes, that were stunning and delicate. Instead I ended up with a really kitsch, slutty looking, bright pink batch, which still make me want to bury my face in. If you want a more delicate look, ease up a little on the food dye. Pink seems to be the slut- making culprit.

Meringues - I have a love of piping things. Not everyone does, and quite frankly some people can't be arsed to make meringues, if you can buy them. For this I do not judge you. Buy away my friends and save yourself an hour extra in the sunshine with a bucket of Pimms. If you do decide to make these, I salute you. Have a bucket of Pimms on me.

Makes 12

Ingredients:

For the meringues (makes around 20 mini kisses, like in the photos, 10 mins prep, 45 mins in the oven):

1 egg white

60g white caster sugar

red food dye (if you want them pink)

For the cupcakes (makes 12, 20 mins prep, 25 mins in the oven):

150g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

170g plain flour

1 tbsp milk

200g strawberries (100g for the  cakes and 100g for decoration)

You will also need 12 cupcake cases and a cupcake tray

For the icing and decoration:

250g unsalted butter

200g icing sugar

red food dye

100g or 12 raspberries

Packet of shop bought meringues (if you are not making them yourself)

9 tsps strawberry jam

Method:

For the meringues:

1) Pre heat the oven to 200C (fan oven).

2) Meanwhile, using an electric whisk the eggs to form soft peaks (soft peaks is when you lift the beaters out of the egg and the peaks bend over slightly. DO NOT LIFT THE BEATERS OUT WHILST THE WHISK IS ON - CHAOS WILL ENSUE).

3) Keep the whisk going and gradually add in the caster sugar. Beat until stiff peaks (when you lift the beaters out, the eggs should form rigid peaks). There should be no grittiness in the mixture at all. This will take a few minutes. Turn the oven down to 100C.

4) To get pink, mottled meringues, dip a skewer in red food dye and circle through the meringue mixture a few times.

4) Line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper. Fill a piping bag with a star nozzle full of the pink mixture. Pipe on mini kisses and put in the tray in the oven for 45 mins at 100C.

For the cupcakes:

1) In a bowl, whisk/beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, keep mixing.

2) Add the vanilla essence, milk and salt, and sieve in the flour and baking powder.

3) Mix together until smooth.

4) Remove the green tufts from the strawberries and cut in half. You will use one half to decorate the cakes with the icing and the other half goes in the bottom of the cupcake cases. Cut that half into quarters so you have 4 small bits of strawberry in the bottom of each case. Then cover in the cake mix. Put in the oven for 25 mins.

5) Remove from the oven and cool cakes on a wire rack. When cool remove the centre of each cake by cutting a hole with a knife and removing. This is to create a whole to put the jam in.

6) To make the icing beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth.  Add 3 tsps strawberry jam to the mixture. For bright pink icing add a drop of the red food dye.

7) When the cakes are cool and you have put 1/2 tsp jam in each hole, smooth on the icing with a palette knife. Finish by adding the remaining half strawberry and a raspberry. Add on a meringue kiss. If you are using shop bought ones, break off a shard and place on each cake. If you have an meringues left crumble meringue dust over the cakes.

8) Serve in the garden with a cup of tea or Pimms and Wimbledon on the radio. I just hope the sun is out!

 

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