Mini Strawberry & Basil Cupcakes

Inspired by one of the desserts I had recently at a fabulous afternoon tea at The Connaught hotel in London I wanted to try out the flavour combination of Strawberry and Basil and decided a cupcake was probably the way to go.

I’ve attempted strawberry cupcakes in the past from various recipes but the strawberry flavour never quite comes through enough for me. I came across a recipe by the Hummingbird Bakery (my favourites) for Strawberry Cheesecake cupcakes where little pieces of strawberry are placed in the bottom of the cupcake case before the batter is added and thought this sounded a good way to get the strawberry in.

Now for the basil! I didn’t really want bits of basil in the cupcakes, but upon doing some research (it turns out I’m not the first person to think of doing a strawberry & basil cupcake) I found a couple of recipes using basil infused milk. As the HB cupcake recipes use milk, this seemed like the way forward!

I also thought these would work really nicely as mini cupcakes 🙂

The flavour of these cupcakes was delicious – the basil came through well but wasn’t overpowering. The only issue was that the strawberries didn’t really bake into the cupcake sponge, but stuck to the bottom of the cases. I’ll try rolling them in flour next time and adding to the cases after the batter (but I don’t know if this will work better – let me know if you try it!). Anyway, here is the recipe I used:

PiggyBakes Mini Strawberry & Basil Cupcakes
Makes approximately 16 – 20 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes
120ml milk
1/2 bunch basil leaves (approximately 8 leaves)
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g soft unsalted butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 large egg
6-8 strawberries, chopped into small pieces

For the frosting
250g icing sugar
80g soft unsalted butter
25ml milk
2 tsp strawberry jam
a few drops pink food colouring
2-3 basil leaves, torn into small pieces (to decorate)

– Put the milk into a small saucepan with the basil leaves and gently bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and infuse for around 1 hour.

– Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and mix together using a handheld electric whisk on a slow speed, until you get a sandy consistency.

– Sieve the basil infused milk into a jug, add the egg and beat together briefly. Pour three quarters of the milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk again slowly until combined and smooth. Add the remaining milk mixture and continue mixing for a couple of minutes on a medium speed, until smooth again.

– Add a few pieces of strawberry into each cupcake case and then top with around 1 -2 tsp of cake batter. (Alternatively fill the cake cases with the batter and then push in a few pieces of strawberry, rolled in a little flour first). Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the tin for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

– Place the icing sugar, butter and milk into a bowl and beat slowly until combined and starting to form a creamy consistency. Increase the speed and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the jam and food colouring and whisk again until evenly mixed. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes (or swirl on with a spoon if you don’t have a piping bag or your bag decides to split like mine did!) and top with the chopped basil leaves.

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