Strawberry and Marshmallow Cupcakes

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You might be starting to think that I survive solely by eating cupcakes and baked goods. As much as I love cupcakes I can’t slam them down in the same way that I can eat a packet of corn chips or other savoury delights (anyone who has witnessed me eating Dorito’s is never quite the same again). I get rid of most of my surplus by sending them to our various places of employment and earning some serious brownie points. Although sweet stuff might not be my favourite thing to eat, it is most definitely my favourite stuff to cook. I find baking therapeutic and putting food in peoples mouths extremely satisfying.

I was inspired to bake by these gorgeous Eton Mess Cupcakes but I also had a hankering to try a Marshmallow Frosting recipe that I’ve had saved on my Pinterest for a while. Apparently it tastes like a spreadable marshmallow fluff that is popular in the US but I have never had the original. To me it tastes like soft and smooth meringue, a perfect match for strawberries. I added the toasted almonds for crunch and because I just can’t stop sprankling them on everything I make. The almonds soften over time so eat on the day they’re made while they’re still crunchy. The icing recipe makes more than enough to generously decorate the cupcakes and then some, so I piped out the rest onto baking trays and baked them at 90 C for 2 hours to make little meringues.

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I found the strawberry flavour in the the cake pretty subtle but you can always jack it up with some strawberry essence. I wouldn’t recommend adding more strawberries unless you add more dry ingredients to compensate for the extra moisture.

Strawberry and Marshmallow Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from Sally’s Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Icing recipe adapted from Marshmallow Frosting over at Pixels and Paperie.

Strawberry Cupcakes:

4-5 large strawberries

3/4 cup milk

1 2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup caster sugar

115g butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 C, line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners.

Hull the strawberries and place in a blender with the milk, process until the strawberries are completely blended into the milk.

In a bowl large enough to hold the finished mixture whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl mix together the sugar, melted butter, egg, yoghurt, vanilla extract and the strawberry milk.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well to combine, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter between the 12 paper liner and bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to rest in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Marshmallow Icing:

3/4 cup flaked almonds

4 large egg whites

1 cup caster sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place the flaked almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir until toasted and light brown, transfer onto a plate to cool.

Mix the egg whites, sugar and salt in a metal mixing bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).

Whisk the egg mixture constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Take the metal bowl off the heat and beat the egg whites with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until the mixture has become fluffy and light.

Pipe or spread onto the completely cooled cupcakes.

Sprinkle the toasted almonds onto the iced cupcakes, alternatively roll the sides of the icing in the toasted almonds.

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Marisa’s Meringues

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The Chocolate and Almond Meringues that I posted earlier were an experiment with a new recipe gone wrong (and then right again). These meringues are my tried and true recipe that I make for a good friend of mine pretty much whenever I see her. They’re less labor intensive than the first recipe but maybe not quite as pretty. Having the chocolate inside also means you don’t have melting chocolate all over your fingers, which is great because if you’re anything like me or my friend you won’t be able to stop eating these.

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For every egg white you use 55g of caster sugar so you can make these with whatever number of egg whites you might have hanging around your fridge or freezer. I used a medium ice-cream scoop with a scraper to form the meringues, it was the first time I’ve used it for meringues and it was way easier than using spoons to dollop them. If you use a large round tip on your piping bag you could probably pipe them out but you will need to chop your almonds really fine and possibly use mini choc chips, to avoid clogging.

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Marisa’s Meringues

4 large egg whites

pinch of salt

1 tsp white vinegar

220g caster sugar

1 packet dark choc chips

1 cup of raw almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 90 C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Place the egg whites in a clean and dry mixing bowl with the salt and vinegar.

Beat with a hand mixer until it starts forming soft peaks, then start adding the sugar a few tablespoons at a time until it is all added.

Keep beating until the meringue is thick and shiny, if you rub some between your fingers you shouldn’t be able to feel any grains of sugar.

Gently fold in the choc chips and almonds and mix until they’re evenly distributed.

Use a medium ice-cream scoop to form meringues, placing them 1 cm apart on the lined baking trays.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the two trays halfway through, until you can easily peel one off the baking paper.

Turn off the oven but leave the meringues inside with the door slightly open until the oven has cooled down completely, then place them on a wire rack.

Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate and Almond Meringues

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As happy as I am with how these turned out it was actually a salvage operation. I was following a recipe that was meant to produce perfectly crispy white meringues but after 20 mins of beating my mixture was refusing to form soft peaks. When I piped the meringues out they spread a little more than they should have and lost their cute little peaks. What to do? Cover them in chocolate of course.

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Toasted almonds have become a recent favourite of mine, they add so much texture as well as their lovely toasty warmth. The only problem is that I forget to put them on stuff! I bought a packet the other day to keep in my cupboard as a reminder. Watching my meringues flatten in the oven I had the idea of blanketing them in chocolate and sprankling them with toasted almonds.

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They actually got little feet and resembled macarons by the time they finished cooking. I don’t know what I did wrong to alter the consistency of the meringues but in the recipe I wrote down exactly what I did, so hopefully if you want your meringues to be flat on top that’s what will happen. Next time I will use 70% dark chocolate because the one I used was a bit too sweet for my taste.

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You could do so many toppings for these little morsels. An almond praline would be super tasty and if you’re a fan of dried fruit I think dried cranberries would go nicely with white chocolate. These would make cute little presents or could be part of a morning tea selection.

Chocolate and Almond Meringues

Meringue recipe adapted from Linda’s “Perfect” crispy meringues over at Call Me Cupcake!.

3 large egg whites

3/4 cup caster sugar

3/4 tsp lemon juice

150g dark chocolate

3/4 cup flaked almonds

Heat oven to 80 C, line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan filled with simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl).

Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture reaches 60-65 C when checked with a thermometer, or when you rub it with your fingers you can’t feel any granules of sugar and the mixture feels quite hot.

Remove the bowl from the heat, add lemon juice and use a hand mixer to whip it to soft peaks (or, like me, until you’re pretty sure soft peaks aren’t going to happen).

Place meringue in a piping bag and pipe out bite sized meringues onto the lined baking tray.

Bake on the lowest shelf in the oven for 50-60 mins.

At this time, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there with the door ajar until the oven cools completely (even overnight).

Place the meringues on a wire rack with baking paper underneath it.

Melt chocolate gently in the microwave, set aside to cool until it is a good drizzling consistency.

Place the flaked almonds in a dry saucepan on medium heat, stirring until light brown then place on a piece of paper towel to cool.

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the meringues (the baking paper will catch any drips) and sprinkle them with the toasted almonds.

Place in the fridge to set.