Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberry and Orange Cream Cheese Cupcakes – the 3-second rule applies !

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 When my sister got married, she made a special request. Would I please, please, please make “that amazing carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting” as her wedding cake. While I’d never made a wedding cake before, I was delighted to oblige.
Strawberries and Cream Cheese - the perfect marriage!
The project got off to a bad start...  As I was transferring the largest of the cakes into the oven, the base fell out of the tin, dumping batter all over the bottom of the oven... the floor... my shoes... I made up some new swear words that day.

The hours to the wedding were ticking down so I rolled up my sleeves, gritted my teeth, and started again.
By next morning, the three tiers were baked and frosted. Before the ceremony, I went to the hotel to set up the cake. I had my list: Cake boards ... ü Ribbons ... ü Dowels ... ü Pillars ... ü Roses ... ü It was like a mini-construction site, complete with landscaping.  With the multi-storey cake set up and refrigerated, I went off to the ceremony, much relieved. Job done!
At the end of a wonderful meal, the cake was wheeled out. Was it just me... perhaps the champagne... or was there an ever so slightly Leaning Tower of Pisa look about the cake? Hmmmm...  

I Strawberries
Thankfully, the cake made it through the photos. I had turned back to chat to my fellow guests when I heard a collective gasp, followed by a soft thud, as if someone had fainted. I refused to look and moments later, the groom tapped me on the shoulder. “Great cake, Hester” he said, “but the engineering skills need work!”  Ooops! The light fluffy carrot cake just wasn't up to the task of supporting several kilos of pillars, and frosting, and roses and the layers of cake above it. (Doh!) Luckily there was enough in the surviving tier for everyone in the room.
Funnily enough, there was no sign of the fallen cake when the hotel staff arrived to clear it up. I have a sneaking suspicion that the 3-second rule was employed by the hungry boy children in the room.

Lower fat cupcakes: "Does my bun look big in this?"
For the most part, I’ve stuck to single-storey cakes since then, but my love of cream cheese has grown so much that as well as using it for frosting, I now put it in various cake batters in place of butter. It adds a whole new flavour dimension as well as cutting the fat content dramatically. Butter is about 81% - cream cheese is around 23%.
The 3-second rule applies to these cakes. In my experience, that’s about how long they remain on the plate J
For 12 cupcakes you will need:
150g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
Grated zest of an orange
150g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Pre-heat your fan oven to 160°C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake papers

1          In a mixing bowl, whisk the Philadelphia together with the sugar until smoothly blended. Add in the eggs and the orange zest and continue whisking until well combined.
2          Sprinkle in the flour and baking powder and continue whisking until the flour is incorporated into the mixture.
3          Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake papers and transfer to the preheated oven.
4          Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until risen and evenly golden.
5          Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before piping on the frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting you will need:
125g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
125g softened butter
325g icing sugar
1 punnet of fresh Irish strawberries

6          In a mixing bowl, whisk the Philadelphia together with the butter then slowly add in the icing sugar, whisking continuously until all the sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is smooth and thick. Transfer to a piping bag with a large star nozzle and refrigerate until needed.
7          To finish, pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake and top with a fresh strawberry. Apply to face. Grin happily! 
Apply to face...
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