Buttery light vanilla cupcakes with a fresh strawberry filling and velvety crème pâtissière, trust me, they’re so irresistible, you won’t be able to stop at one.
It’s not strange that the house is full of so many baked goods at the moment, the vast majority of them produced by me. I’m a natural baker, and it is something I really enjoy especially, it turns out at times of uncertainty and stress, all I want to do is bake cakes and bread. It’s how I coped this past year. I have wonderful local free-range eggs delivered weekly, I vary the size of my order according to how many cakes I have to make each week. I increased my order the week previously and failed to amend it for this, you guessed it…too many eggs! A good reason to bake these cupcakes for The National day of Sweden. A light and fluffy vanilla sponge with mountains of whipped cream and fresh strawberries is traditional however this year I wanted to make something a little different…
Before we move onto the recipe, can I for a moment chat about the filling? I know some of you would assume jam as the best filling for these little cakes, however I firmly believe that mashing fresh berries, with or without a little sugar, depending on the sweetness is by far the better option. With the sponge and custard, a little sharpness from the fruit is really quite welcoming.
The crème pâtissière is easier than you think to make, it just requires a little elbow grease to whisk the custard vigorously, as it thickens.
An impressive afternoon teatime treat. I can’t wait to dive in!
National Sweden Day Cupcakes
- 120 g unsalted butter softened
- 120 g golden caster sugar
- 120 g self raising flour or 120g plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large free range eggs lightly beaten
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 200 g small strawberries
- 45 g caster sugar
- 200 ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 15 g cornflour
- 10 g plain flour
- a few knobs of butter
- 80-100 ml double cream
- 2-3 unsalted pistachios
- edible flowers
- 3-4 sliced strawberries
To make the cakes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a cupcake tin with 9 paper cases. Sift the flour and add the baking powder and salt, stir and set to one side. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl of a free-standing mixer and beat for 2-3 mins until pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat briefly to combine. Gently fold in the flour, in 3 additions.
- Divide the batter between the cases, ( I use a piping bag as it’s less messy) then bake for 15-18 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
For the crème pâtissière
- Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened. Whisk in the flours. Cut a vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape put the seeds. Heat the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla seeds and the pod until it comes to a boil. Leave for 5 minutes to steep. Remove the pod (save this for infusing to sugar, it must dry out first though).
- Whisk the milk into the egg mix. Pour the whole lot back into the pan, whisking all the time until thick and boiling. Take the pan off the heat and pour into a clean bowl and dot with a few small knobs of butter to stop a skin forming cover directly on the surface of the custard with a parchment disc. Leave to cool completely.
- Take the strawberries and reserve 3-4 for decorating. Hull the remaining and then chop and mash with a fork. Add a little sugar if you feel it needs it. (bear in mind the sponge and custard are sweet)
- Whip the cream until it’s slightly thickened. Loosen up the creme patisserie by whisking it, then fold and stir in 80ml cream to begin with, add a little more, if it's still too stiff.
- Remover the centre of the cupcake with a teaspoon, then place a teaspoonful of the crushed strawberries in the centre. If you’re good at piping, pipe a swirl of the crème pâtissière on the each cupcake, otherwise just spoon the mixture on each one. Top with a few slices of strawberries and edible flowers, if desired. Grate a little pistachio on each bun. Serve
- Raspberries or roasted rhubarb are fantastic fruit alternatives in this recipe.
- Add a little elderflower cordial to the crème pâtissière for a floral twist. (Cut back on the sugar in the custard though)