There are cupcakes. And then there are these incredible Strawberry Eton Mess Cupcakes. Strawberry cakes, filled with sweet strawberry jam, and topped with a very special extra creamy flour buttercream.
Oh, and don’t forget the fresh strawberries and meringue pieces on top. It’s all the best bits of British summer-time, in a cupcake.
Let’s start simple. Not sure what Eton Mess is? Think whipped cream, crispy meringue pieces, and strawberries, all mushed together. It’s pretty much the best thing to do if you try and make a meringue and it doesn’t turn out looking as pretty as you wanted. Just bash it up, cover it with strawberries and cream, and pretend that’s what you meant to do all along.
If only everything in life was that simple.
There are a few little things all coming together here to make these Eton Mess cupcakes so god damn yummy.
Firstly – the strawberry cupcakes. You’re going to mix fresh pureed strawberries into the batter, using just enough to give it a subtle strawberry flavour. It’s going to make the baked cupcakes a little darker than usual, but you’ll know they are ready by using the toothpick test. The base for this cupcake batter is taken from my best ever vanilla cupcake recipe, of course.
After baking, you’re going to hollow out the middles (using an apple corer or a sharp knife) and pipe a generous dollop of good quality strawberry jam right on in there. Extra special occasion, or just feeling fancy? Why not treat yourself to this Tiptree Champagne Strawberry jam.
So, you’ve got strawberry cupcakes filled with strawberry jam. Where’s the cream?
You could top these cupcakes with freshly whipped heavy cream. But, we’re not going to. Instead, we’re going to make an incredible type of frosting called Ermine buttercream. It’s got less sugar in it than normal buttercream, so it’s also a little less sweet. Katie flipping loves it, so expect it to crop up around here time and time again.
The buttercream is made by heating up sugar, single cream, and flour in a saucepan, to make something that resembles wallpaper paste. Doesn’t sound too appealing. But once you add it to some whipped butter, it transforms into something a little bit special.
It genuinely tastes like cream, but without the drawback of having to keep the cupcakes in the fridge. It’s a miracle!
Add fresh chopped strawberries, meringue pieces (by them or make your own), and a bit more strawberry jam, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer cupcake. Enjoy with a glass of Pimms whilst watching Wimbledon, or as a sweet treat for your next picnic. Wherever you are, I guarantee these cupcakes will be a hit!
- 150g (1/2 cup) fresh strawberries
- 175g (7/8 cup) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- 125g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g (2/5 cup) full fat Greek yogurt
- 175g (1½ cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 160g (½ cup) strawberry jam
- 4 tablespoons plain or all-purpose flour
- 200g (1 cup) caster sugar (US granulated sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 275ml (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) single cream (light cream)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 whole strawberries
- 6 mini meringues
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (160°C fan) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases or liners.
- Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor, and puree. You can also use a fork to mash the strawberries up, but this may take a while. Set the pureed strawberries aside.
- Put the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a medium sized bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and beat for a minute or so until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat well for at least a minute, scraping down the sides if needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, until they have been incorporated into the butter.
- Add the vanilla extract, yogurt, and pureed strawberries to the bowl and beat well for a minute or two, scraping around the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is well mixed. Add the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt and fold together on a low speed until well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, filling about two thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until springy on top and golden brown. These cupcakes will look a little darker than vanilla cupcakes because of the strawberries. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcakes should come out clean, without any crumbs on. Leave the cupcakes in the tray to cool for five minutes, and then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once completely cool, use an apple corer or a knife to remove a hole in the centres of the cupcakes, not quite reaching the bottom. Pipe most of the strawberry jam or conserve into the holes, filling them all the way back up.
- Place the flour, sugar, salt, single cream, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan, and whisk together. Heat on medium-low, whisking occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the mixture starts to get a little lumpy, then whisk continually whilst still on the heat for two minutes or so, until a nice thick paste forms. The paste should hold its shape for a while when drizzled back on itself (like cream at soft peaks).
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and leave to cool for a few minutes. Pour into a small bowl and cover the surface of the paste with clingfilm to stop a skin from forming, and pop in the fridge to cool (this may take up to an hour).
- Beat the butter for at least five minutes in a stand or hand-held mixer. Once light and fluffy, add the cooled flour paste one third at a time, beating well between additions.
- Spoon the buttercream on top of the cupcakes, and smooth out with a palette knife. This doesn't need to be too neat, as you are going to hide it with the strawberries and meringue pieces. Pipe swirls of the remaining strawberry jam on to the top of each cupcake. Cut the strawberries and meringues up into small chunks, and then place 5 or 6 chunks of both on top of each of the cupcakes - see photos above for guidance.
- The cupcakes will stay fresh for 3-4 days, although the meringue and strawberry pieces are best added on the day you will be consuming them, as otherwise the meringue will go soft and the strawberries will wilt. The unfrosted and unfilled cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature overnight and then fill and frost.
- You can also frost these cupcakes with regular buttercream if preferred, although the flour buttercream used in the recipe above has more of a fresh cream taste.