Strawberry & White Chocolate Fairy Cakes – We Should Cocoa 10
Much as I try fight it, I am irresistibly drawn into bookshops if ever I’m passing one, especially into the cooking section. On one such occasion, I was flicking through the rather gorgeous copy of British Baking by Peyton and Byrne when I came across a recipe for Strawberry Jam Fairy Cakes; the picture was just too scrumptious and I not only had to buy the book but I had to make these cakes at the earliest opportunity. I have to confess, I created the opportunity myself by choosing strawberries for this month’s We Should Cocoa. However, it was also the recipe for Strawberry Jam Icing which drew my attention. It used the Italian meringue method of making the buttercream and although I’d promised myself to have a go at this, I still hadn’t managed it. The only change I made to the fairy cake recipe was to add some white chocolate and use less sugar to compensate for the additional sweetness in the chocolate. Oh yes, I also used vanilla sugar and vanilla white chocolate instead of the vanilla extract. For the icing, I halved the recipe as it seemed as though there would be way too much. I was all ready with some beautiful Cornish strawberries, a jar of a friend’s strawberry jam and some pink fairy cake cases.
This is what I did:
- Melted 50g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 100g vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the white chocolate.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs.
- Sifted in 150g flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white) and 3/4 tsp baking powder.
- Stirred in 2 tbsp Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp strawberry jam.
- Spooned into 13 cupcake cases (meant to be 12, but I had a bit too much mixture) and baked at 180C for 15 mins. This wasn’t actually long enough for six on the bottom shelf – they sank. I put them back in for another 5 mins, but it was too late by then.
- Whisked 1 large egg white (duck egg in my case) with 75g caster sugar over a bowl of hot water until the sugar had dissolved and the mixture was thick (about 8 mins).
- Took of the heat and continued to whisk with a balloon whisk until the bowl was cold and my arm couldn’t stand it any more. By this point the soft peak stage was meat to have been achieved. Mine was thick, but still a bit runny. I gave up hoping it would all come right in the end!
- Whisked in 80g very soft butter, bit by bit, ensuring all was incorporated before adding the next bit.
- Stirred in 2 large mashed strawberries and 2 tbsp strawberry jam.
- Placed in the fridge and crossed fingers the mixture would firm up.
- It didn’t. Luckily, when I related my tale of woe to CT when he arrived home that evening, he managed to talk me into whisking it all again with the electric beater; this time the mixture came together enough to stay on top of the cakes.
Oh, I had such high hopes for these and oh I was so disappointed! First off the cakes on the bottom shelf sank. Then when I turned them out, the specially chosen pink papers pulled away making the cakes look shrivelled and messy. My icing was runny and the day was so dark I couldn’t take any decent photographs anyway.
Now the question is, do I blame Peyton and Byrne or do I just try to make them again using different cases and cooking them a little longer? The icing? I really don’t know, it’s the sort of thing I’d like to see someone doing to be convinced it could really work.
However, in the end, I managed to get five fairy cakes looking reasonable enough to take to friends that evening, where we’d been invited over for supper. And I have to say, both slightly underdone cake and rather runny icing both tasted extremely good, delicious even. The flavour of the strawberries was very much present in both cake and icing and the white chocolate added a certain touch of unctuousness. They may be a little on the sweet side, but they are the sort of cakes where this seems highly appropriate.