Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Swiss Meringue Buttercream

While everyone seems to be naturally talented at making cupcakes, I struggled with them because I was seriously put off by the frosting. The most common method used for frosting, it seems, was to use LOADS of icing sugar and butter. I hated the idea of ingesting so much sugar and so, whenever I attempted at making frosting, I would skimp on the icing sugar. The result of that? Frosting that was waaaay too soft.

I have heard of the swiss meringue buttercream but wasn’t confident that I would be any good at making it. The process sounds complex: whisk egg whites with sugar in a bowl placed over gently boiling water, whisk until the whole thing reaches 60C, remove from heat, whisk on high speed until stiff, glossy white peaks can be formed, then add cubes of butter one by one, then beat until the buttercream comes together.

A media session at The Kitchen Society showed me how easy it was to make the swiss meringue buttercream. Along with some newly learnt piping skills, I decided to give cupcakes another shot this weekend.

When I make cupcakes, I usually like to try unique flavor pairings, combos that you can’t usually find in the shops. I had a punnet of strawberries in the fridge and I remembered someone said to me once that strawberries and basil actually work well together. So I decided to make strawberry cupcakes with basil swiss meringue buttercream!

The finished result was a dessert that had notes of berry and herb – very unique and sophisticated. Herbaceous notes in a dessert might be an acquired taste for some but I totally love them. If you like stuff that aren’t very “typical”, I strongly recommend you give this a go.

strawberry cupcakes with basil buttercream

Ingredients:

For the basil sugar (to be used in the buttercream)
A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 cup caster sugar

For the cupcakes
4 – 5 strawberries, pureed
1 and 2/3 all-purpose flour, plus 1 tbsp
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
115g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup strawberry yoghurt
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the basil swiss meringue buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup basil sugar (see above)
227g of butter, cubed and slightly softened (though the cubes have to still retain their shape)

Steps: 

To make basil sugar
Mash the chopped basil into the sugar, pressing the herb into the sugar. Set aside.

To make the cupcakes
Heat your oven to 170C. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan – be very careful not to burn it. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture takes on a pale yellow color. Then beat the egg into the mixture. Then add the yoghurt, milk and vanilla bean paste, stirring to make sure everything is well mixed together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix slowly, making sure it gets as lump-free as possible. Then fold in the strawberry puree. Fill each liner halfway and then bake inside oven for 20 minutes.

To make the buttercream
Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over a pot of gently boiling water. Your temperature shouldn’t be too hot cos you are not cooking scrambled egg. Once the mixture reaches 60C, remove from heat and whip on the highest speed until stiff, glossy white peaks form. Then add the butter in one cube at a time, beating on medium speed, making sure each cube is completely incorporated before adding the next. When you are done adding the butter, the mixture could look clumpy and curdled. Proceed to beat at high speed until the entire thing comes together into one smooth, creamy lump. Then pipe the buttercream over the cupcakes.

Eat.

To order, click here.

Check out other Alpha Bakes’ creations here.

Strawberry cupcakes with basil buttercream, $34  (delivery within Singapore), $24 (self-collect), for half dozen.

Strawberry cupcakes with basil buttercream, $34 (delivery within Singapore), $24 (self-collect), for half dozen.

 

 

 

 

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