Opening the oven door when you’re sunburned is a special kind of hell. But it was worth it for these Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. I had the pleasure of visiting the Flemington Craft Market on a breezy beautiful Sunday, where I stumbled upon everything cute, homemade and pretty. And edible. Yes, there was icey lemonade and ginger beer to quench a killer thirst, cupcakes for sustenance and happily, punnets of fresh strawberries. Those stacks of juicy red orbs and their spikey little green hats were calling … eat me, eat meeee.
I’ve had romantic dreams of swanning around the strawberry fields in a cute sun dress and hat, effortlessly picking berries for my quaint little basket and soaking up some sunshine since the first whiff of spring. However, I fear that reality might be somewhat different from my dreams: hot, dirty, sweaty manual labour. Carting my lazy self to a Strawberry Farm might take a little more effort and planning, but in the meantime there’s always Farmer’s Markets held virtually every weekend bringing gorgeous fresh produce far closer to the city.
With the arrival of warm weather, I wanted to make something sweet and light using spring fruits. These strawberry cheesecake cupcakes were calling my name from the pages of my trusty Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. They have a layer of fresh strawberry pieces at the bottom, which imparts an extra soft texture to the vanilla sponge cake spooned on top. A smearing of cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of crushed digestive biscuits finishes the cheesecake taste. The strawberries go smooshy as they cook and remain at the base of the cupcake, so keep these in their wrappers.
Although the original recipe calls for fresh strawberries, the creamy frosting and vanilla cake would also work perfectly with other juicy fruit such as mango and peaches. Enjoy with a pitcher of iced tea.
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Makes 10 generously filled cupcakes or 12 pattycakes.
You Will Need:
120g Plain Flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
40g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
120ml Whole Milk, warmed to room temperature (use the microwave)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Egg, room temperature
12 large strawberries, diced into small pieces
100g Digestive biscuits, crushed
300g Icing Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
125g Cream Cheese, softened slightly
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line a 12-tin cupcake tray with patty cases. Divide the chopped strawberries evenly between the cases.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and softened butter in a mixing bowl and beat (with an electric mixer if you have one) until you get a sandy mixture. Slowly pour in the warmed milk and vanilla extract and beat until all combined. Be sure to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time-to-time to make sure it’s all mixed together. Add the egg and beat for a minute, or until it’s incorporated well into the batter.
Spoon the batter over the top of the strawberries until two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden on the top and the centre springs back to shape when gently pressed. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the pan before removing to a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the creamcheese frosting. Beat the icing sugar and softened butter together until you get a sandy texture (use a paddle attachment if you have an electric mixer, or you can rub in the butter by hand to form crumbs). Add a quarter of the creamcheese at a time, beating well with each addition. It might look really dry at first, but as the creamcheese softens further you’ll see a dramatic change to a soft creamy frosting. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for at least 5 minutes to fluff the frosting.
When the cupcakes are cool, smear a tablespoon of frosting onto the dome of each cupcake and sprinkle with a generous amount of biscuit crumbs.