Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello Lovely Ones,

How have you been? I am so happy to have you here with me today, sharing the cupcake joy. I really enjoyed doing these cupcakes and making them look all pretty in their pastel sweetness. I had to go digging into my stash of kitsch cuteness for the props and it did not disappoint. Oh what fun. Everyone needs a sparkle of joy in their week and my wish is that you may just find a little piece of happiness right here as you look through these pretty pictures.  

Last week I mentioned how much I adore the Queen as the world began mourning her monumental loss. Did you watch her funeral? Apparently over half of the world’s population tuned in to bid a final farewell to Her Majesty. That’s a lot of people! I loved every minute, and yes,I confess tears were shed. I was so impressed by the well planned (and rehearsed) attention to detail, ceremony, honour and splendour. What a fitting farewell to one of the world’s most incredible humans. Bless you dear Lillibet. 

In other news, this week I was delighted to discover that I am not the only human on the planet who abhors minimalism and prefers a much more eclectic, dare I say cluttered style of household decorating. Facebook, in all of its clever people spying, drew my attention to a group called ‘maximise design and decor’. My curiosity piqued, I checked them out and couldn’t believe I’d finally found my people!! WOW! Lovers of colour, full walls of mismatched prints and quirky collections, odd bits and pieces and creative flair everywhere…Ahh, and the heavens rejoiced. SO much personality and heart reflected in each carefully decorated room. So little restraint shown, I just love it! Over the top dust collecting pieces of gorgeousness filling every nook and cranny. One person’s nightmare is another’s dream! ha ha.

Anyway, let’s talk about these amazing cupcakes. They are fast becoming my favourite. The secret ingredient is most definitely freeze dried strawberry powder. I feel like I have stumbled upon some magical flavouring, because not only is it super healthy, made from all natural ingredients, it also tastes so incredibly delicious. I buy mine online from Berry Fresh,  which is reasonably priced. You can also get cheap little packets of freeze dried fruit from IGA. The powder does give a bit of a grainy look to your frosting, but otherwise doesn’t affect the consistency at all. You only need a couple of drops of colouring and before you know it, you will have the best buttercream of your life.

Strawberry Delight Cupcakes


A light vanilla cupcake with strawberry compote filling, topped with all natural strawberry freeze dried fruit powder Swiss meringue buttercream.
Servings 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 310 grams chopped salted butter.
  • 5 tblsp strawberry freeze dried fruit powder
  • 2 -3 drops pink food gel pate colouring (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with 18 cupcake papers
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, mix eggs, vanilla, oil and sour cream.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and castor sugar.
  • Slowly pour wet mix into dry mix. Hand whisk until well combined and there are no lumps.
  • Use and ice cream scoop to put mixture into cupcake liners, until each is about 2/3 full.
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes or until brown on top and firm to touch. Cool on a wire rack.
  • When cupcakes are cool, use an apple corer to remove centre of cupcakes. Fill with cold strawberry compote. Top with strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.

Strawberry Compote

  • Rinse and hull two punnets of strawberries. Dry on a paper towel.
  • Roughly chop strawberries and place in a medium saucepan.
  • Sprinkle two tablespoons of castor sugar over strawberries, stir carefully and simmer on low for about half an hour or until strawberries break down and become slightly mushy. Strawberry compote will thicken once cooled. Set aside.

Strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream

  • Carefully separate egg whites. Put into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Add casto.r sugar. Hand whisk to combine
  • Put bowl onto a medium saucepan with an inch of water in the bottom Or use a double boiler. Whisk occasionally until all sugar is dissolved and you can't feel any granules between your fingers.
  • Remove mixer bowl and attach to your stand mixer. Mix on high until stiff peaks form and it looks like meringue mixture.
  • Turn mixer onto low and add butter a few pieces at a time until it is all combined. This will take up to ten minutes.
  • The mixture will deflate and look soupy. Keep mixing. It will then come together like curdled scrambled eggs. Keep mixing and don't lose heart. Eventually it will come together into silky smooth buttercream. This may take up to ten minutes.
  • Slowly add fruit powder, one tablespoon at a time until well combined. Add food colouring if using. Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes.

The next best part about these sweet little cuppies is the generous dollop of homemade strawberry compote in the centre. If you are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend roasting the strawberries first, which heightens the flavour. (Try this recipe here). Otherwise just hull two punnets of strawberries and pop them in a medium saucepan, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of castor sugar and simmer on low heat until they smell insanely delicious and look a bit mushy. When cool, spoon into each cupcake. 

The cupcakes aren’t too sweet. Again, the freeze dried strawberry powder takes all the credit. It balances out the meringue buttercream, giving more of a flavour punch than sugar hit. Honestly, these cupcakes are as good as I’m trying to make them sound. Are you convinced yet?

I’m finishing up this post on Saturday morning. Running a bit late this week. I confess I’m so in love with these pretty pictures that I am struggling to choose which ones to include. I want to show them all to you. Pastels aren’t really my natural habitat but there is something undeniably soothing about this colour palette which draws out the inner child, making one feel all is well with the world.  And we all know that you can never go wrong with pink.

I have 60 cupcakes to finish today for a baby dedication. I can’t wait! Every part of the process brings me so much joy. I know something as small as a cupcake seems insignificant in the broader scheme of things, in the realities and stresses of life that we all experience, but the power of beauty to lift an aching heart, give a moment’s pause, allow an exhale of peace, extends to the creations of our own hands that are made with love.

And so I continue to create beauty, in my own little way, and often against many challenges. My heart is to spread love and joy in a hurting and broken world, one beautiful cupcake at a time. As I was reminded recently, never despise small beginnings. 

A girl’s gotta dream right?

Use what’s in your hands and never ever think your contribution of beauty to the world is too small to make a difference in the life of one, or two or even many. 

until next week,

Love Anna xx

1 comment

  • Well my friend, your cupcakes certainly have brought much needed delight over these previous weeks. Thank you ????

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