Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Strawberries are nearly in season

Other bakers have 'ranges' of cupcakes, and business could be busier so I thought I might try out some new recipes in order to (hopefully) stimulate interest.  I can do various flavours, but people generally want vanilla with colours - which is always fun. 
And I've been doing a lot with blueberries recently, then noticed that strawberries are on offer and finally looking good.  They aren't local, so not ideal, but the girls have been asking to eat some for weeks now and I've not wanted to buy them because they aren't in season yet.  Kinda difficult concept to get over to young, hungry kids but I did my best.
So I bought a few punnets, looked through some of my favourite books and thought I'd like to do a taste comparison test, and offer the cakes around to our Facebook fans and friends for their opinions.  And, to be quite frank, the Team are getting sick of cake - shameful, I know.  Not the whole Team you understand, but some of them.  And apart from that, while strawberries are a wonder-food and healthy, by the time you add in the cake batter and icing, it's harder to agree that they're good for you.  So, to aid my health-and-seasonal based teachings, and save our waistlines - I baked up a batch of each recipe and offered one of each on the proviso that I had to receive honest feedback.  And we're off!
At the top, in the white cases, are the bases for the Strawberries and Cream cupcakes. These have crushed berries throughout the batter, and are to be topped with vanilla buttercream and half a fresh strawberry.  At the bottom, in the brown cases, are the cake part of the Strawberry Cheesecake cupcakes.  As you can see, these have pieces of fresh strawberry mixed through the batter, and are to be topped with cream cheese buttercream icing and crumbled biscuits - to resemble the layers of a cheesecake.
The cheesecake icing, naked.  I'm pleased with the swirls on these, though would like them even fatter.
And now they're dressed and ready for their close-up.
These are the naked Strawberries and Cream ones.  I got the buttercream whiter by extra whipping and a touch of Superwhite by Sugarflair.  I don't see this as cheating, rather it's a way to offset the ivory tinge caused by using real butter.
Here we see them fully dressed.  Pretty, aren't they?
Side by side, they created quite a buzz on our Facebook page.  And from the top...
I noticed later on though, that a little bit of water had run off after I'd washed the berries.  It won't affect the taste at all, just doesn't look wonderful.  What do you think?
P.S.  The feedback so far is very positive, with Strawberry Cheesecake winning at the moment.  But only 3 votes are in at this point - more to come later tonight I hope!