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Cute with Fruit: Strawberry Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Strawberry Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

I’m not terribly fond of cute things. Babies, puppies and Emperor penguins notwithstanding, I tend to prefer modern, rustic or retro aesthetics over twee and girly. The same goes for the food I make, which is why this is the first time in my year-plus of blogging that I’m posting a cupcake recipe.

Why start now, you may wonder. Why jump on a bandwagon that’s arguably already on its way to the car park of passé trends? I claim coercion: the strawberries made me do it. There’s just something about those plump little fruits, with their fat bottoms and bright blush, that compels me to celebrate their beauty.

To make a strawberry cupcake you have two options, the first of which is to purée some fresh berries into a rose-coloured liquid and add this to the batter. This gives the cakes a lovely pink colour and strawberry scent, but all that extra liquid can impede the rise, necessitating the addition of extra dry ingredients. Subsequently, I’ve yet to find one that actually tastes like strawberries.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

The second option is far simpler: stir in some chopped fresh fruit to the batter, and call it a day. Simple enough, but something that (until now) I’ve balked at doing. My aversion to mushy, cooked-fruit desserts is well-documented here. Though there are exceptions to the rule, it still stands; give me an apple scone or fruit cobbler, and I’m bound to turn my nose up. I’d always assumed that a fruity cupcake would be no different.

How wrong I was. Perhaps my tastes are evolving, or perhaps my love of strawberries is strong enough to withstand such textural objections. I have suspisions that the mascarpone frosting may have something to do with it; when each bite is full of such luscious creaminess, who cares about a fruity chunk or two?

Besides, did you see what I did with the mint leaves? Say it with me now: awwww.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

  • Strawberry Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
  • cupcakes adapted from 52 Cupcakes, frosting from British Larder
  • makes 12 large cupcakes
  • For the cupcakes:
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    57g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm chunks
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 cup washed, hulled and roughly chopped strawberries

    For the frosting:
    60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    130g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    80g icing sugar
    6 of the prettiest strawberries you can find, hulled and halved lengthwise
    12-24 small mint leaves
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Prepare 12 muffin cups with papers, if using. (I have silicone trays and usually don’t bother with the papers, but might if I was making these again- the fruit makes them delicate.)

    2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a stand mixer or with an electric beater- just to blend and aerate the mixture. Add the butter chunks and beat briefly until they are just coated with flour. (I know it seems bizarre to have chunks of butter at this stage, but it will come together.)

    3. Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to the dry ingredients in three additions, beating after each one. You will notice that the liquid and beating cause the butter to almost immediately soften and blend in to the batter. Finally, gently stir in the strawberry pieces.

    4. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups and bake for 17-20 minutes. This cupcake shouldn’t colour much, but will feel firm when lightly touched on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

    5. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Cream the butter on its own until quite soft, then add the mascarpone and beat together until just blended. Sift in the icing sugar and quickly combine until it comes together smoothly- you don’t want to overwork this frosting, or the mascarpone may separate. Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

    6. When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the chilled frosting, using any method you like (both rustic and piped methods work with this frosting). Top each cupcake with a strawberry half and a few mint leaves.

7 comments

  1. sarah says:

    Oh, they do look beautiful, and cute. You must really like someone to make these. :) But it’s the hassle of all that icing, decorating, and so on. Cutesy is too painful to create for me. (I am so miserable, eh?) But I would love to receive them!

  2. Nicole says:

    In a world brimming with cupcakes, some clever and some way too cutesy, these stand out. I love that they have no liner and just a simple swipe of frosting. The glorious strawberries are the perfect accent. Lovely!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi,

    What a great recipe, I recently discovered the joys of baking and will add this to my cake recipe portfolio. Heard you on Radio 4 and had to look at the site. I l live in Blackheath as well, and love the farmer’s market. You have inspired me to expand my cookery repertoire, and to shop at the market more.

  4. Amanda@easypeasyorganic.com says:

    What a great way to “use up” marscapone! Hmm… might have to buy some just to have some left over :)

  5. MH says:

    Gorgeous, woman! Look at those cute little leaves. Want ‘em! Mail me some?! ;)

  6. maya says:

    these are, hands down, the prettiest cupcakes everrr!!
    i wish mascarpone would cost less. i can’t afford it :(

  7. love cooking says:

    This is delicious. I think it work for other fruits also, although strawberries always the most lovely one. Thinking to have mango flavor. It is weekend, and it’s the time to have some sweet snacks and share with my friends. :)