Strawberries and cream cupcakes

It might be a good year or just the wonderful local Turkish shop where I buy my fruit, but this year I had the best strawberries in a while. From mid May till now, I always
have a box in the fridge ready to dig into! Then, when a special co-worker was leaving, she said she likes Victoria sponges, cheese cake and cupcakes. So I decided to bake her a batch of these wonderful cupcakes made with strawberries and ricotta. Strawberries and cream cupcakes are the perfect summer recipe I found in the book Eat Me! By Cookie Girl, a great source of inspiration when I feel like baking something special and getting creative with the decoration! This time I knew I had to decorate the cakes last minute in the office – which is why I did as little preparation as possible and decided to go for a messy look, like in the photos! This will make 12 cupcakes.

Strawberries_and_cream_cupcakes

Ingredients:
110g unsalted butter
110g sugar, plus 1 tsp to sprinkle on strawberries
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp milk
110g strawberries
85g ricotta cheese
icing sugar (optional) to decorate
30g mascarpone
a few extra strawberries, sliced

Step 1 – Begin by setting the oven to 180º and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Make sure the butter has rested out of the fridge for long enough to reach room temperature (if it’s not, melt it a little) and mix it with the sugar till you get a creamy, fluffy texture.

Step 2 – Add the eggs, one by one, then the vanilla essence. Then slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder to the mix, adding one or two tablespoons of milk to keep your dough soft.

Step 3 – Chop the strawberries roughly into a separate bowl and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Try to resist the temptation to eat them all there and then! Add the ricotta to the mix and stir gently so you have an homogeneous cream, but you don’t destroy the strawberries.

Step 4 – Put one flat tablespoon of cake dough into each case, in a way that it is one third full, making sure that the base of the paper case is covered. Then add the same amount of the strawberry cream, making sure it’s all levelled. Then once again add one tablespoon of cake batter to seal the pink heart.

Strawberries_and_cream_cupcakes

Step 5 – Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes till the top feels springy to the touch. Remove and let the cakes cool on a rack.

Strawberries_and_cream_cupcakes

Step 6 – When your cakes are cool, decorating them is entirely up to your taste and fancy. You can use the remaining ricotta (if any) by adding some sugar to it and coat each cupcake with a spoon of ricotta and a slice of strawberry; or you can simply sprinkle icing sugar on top of them. I used the mascarpone and mixed it with a bit of icing sugar to obtain a cheesy but sweet cream, I dolloped a messy teaspoon of this cream on the top of each cake and then topped it with a slice of strawberry. The result was beautiful, even if messy, and the taste was a delightful summery indulgence – perfect for a weekend with friends, perhaps while watching Wimbledon!

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