Hooray for strawberry season! This time of year, with the glut of soft Summer fruits is my absolute culinary favourite. I’m excited to say my strawberry plants are fruiting (more on that soon – meanwhile I used their flowers as props here!) and while you can’t beat a bowl of strawberries and cream I’ve been itching to bake with fresh strawbs. Enter these polenta and strawberry cupcakes: fresh chunks of strawberry in a light, zesty sponge, topped with strawberry icing. The polenta lends the cakes an earthy flavour and texture, while the fresh icing, made with strawberry juice, adds just the right amount of sweetness – not to mention a fantastic, all natural rosy hue. They’re easy to whip up and perfect for a Summery afternoon tea – especially during Wimbledon! To make them, you will need:
140g unsalted butter
140g caster sugar
Grated zest 1/2 a lemon
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
140g strawberries, hulled and chopped into chunks.
140g icing sugar
3 strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
6 strawberries, halved, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 180C/ Fan 160C/ Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Add the polenta, beating until well-combined, then add the eggs one at a time.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, folding it in quickly until you have a thick batter (it may look a little lumpy because of the polenta) then stir in the milk to loosen a little.
Gently fold in the chopped strawberries, then divide the mixture between paper cases.
Bake for 20 minutes or until they are risen, golden and springy to the touch. Cool for a few minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack completely while you make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and mash the chopped strawberries with 1 tsp lemon juice.
Push them through a sieve and pour over the icing sugar, a drop at a time, stirring until you have a thick but fluid icing paste.
Dip the top of each cake into the icing and top with a piece of fresh strawberry.
Leave to set, then serve!
What are you baking this weekend? What’s your favourite strawberry bake?
Recipe via BBC GoodFood.