Strawberry Daiquiri Anyone? It’s edible!

It was my birthday recently and apparently there is a rule that all bakers have to bake their own cakes, although I’ve never heard of such a thing.

So I asked ‘what should I bake?’ and the vast majority said Strawberry Daiquiri cupcakes … hmm …  OK! After the great success with my mojito cupcakes last year (also during my birthday – does anyone see a pattern forming?), I was excited about trying these out.

I started by mixing the rum and some of the sugar and letting it reduce by about half; the strawberries were then chopped into small pieces and soaked in the rum for about 30 minutes. I thought I didn’t need anymore more strawberries so took a quick break to munch my way through the rest of the pack. Yum!

Once the strawberries were soaked long enough I started on the rest of the recipe; mixing together the ‘dry’ ingredients with the butter to create a crumb like mixture and whisking together the ‘wet’ ingredients.  These then get mixed together bit by bit.

I then drained the strawberries and put a few into each cupcake case.  The batter went on top they all went into the oven for about 15minutes.

Once out I drizzled the remaining rum reduction over each cupcake and left them to cool while I prepared the icing. This is when I read the ingredients for the frosting and realised I needed the strawberries I had recently eaten. Dammit! Time for a quick run to the nearest shop! My tip of the day therefore is:

Make sure you don’t need any spare ingredients before you start eating them!

With a new pack of strawberries in tow, I started making the icing by mixing the butter, icing sugar and lime zest.  4 teaspoons of rum reduction and 4 teaspoons of milk were then whisked in until it was soft and fluffy. I went for the traditional ‘Hummingbird Bakery Swirl’ with a few slices of strawberry on top. Et Voila! Alcoholic cupcakes that didn’t last 5 minutes in the office.

They were beautifully soft and creamy with a gentle kick of alcohol.  The strawberries also provided a nice difference in texture. I do, admittedly, prefer the mojito version; however I think this is due to my preference to the alcoholic beverage rather than my preference in cake.

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Strawberries and Cream … and Cheese … and Biscuits!

It was my dad’s birthday recently and I wanted to bake something special.  Everyone has been getting a bit sick of the constant cupcakes, and I still haven’t managed to find the right pie dishes, so I decided on the Strawberries and Cream cheesecake.

I started off by making the base for the cheesecake; I love doing this mainly because I means there’s digestives in the house, but also because I can bash the living daylights out of them! The crushed biscuits got stirred in with the melted butter, squished into the cake tin and put into the oven for 30minutes.

Then came the hardest part of the recipe – chopping and cooking the strawberries without eating them all. I’d definitely suggest buying and extra box of strawberries for you to nibble on while you work, to save enough for the actual cheesecake.

The chopped strawberries were put into a saucepan with sugar and a little water, boiled and reduced by half.  I think I put in a bit too much water but left it as it was.

While this was cooking, I realised I didn’t put the right measurement of strawberries in… damn.  I let the first batch cook and took out the strawberries once it was done.  I then put in the rest of the strawberries into the simmering sugar water, added a tiny bit more sugar and cooked that.

I then prepared the cheesy bit of the cheesecake by beating the cream cheese and sugar and adding the eggs one at a time.  I stirred in the strawberries but left a little of the juice left, so that the consistency wouldn’t be too runny.  This went into the oven with a water-bath on the shelf underneath for about 30 minutes.

Now my biggest problem with cheesecakes to date have been cracks; cheesecakes are meant to have bit of a wobble in the middle once it’s ready but I always overcook it for fear of it being too wobbly and undercooking.  This time I stuck to the recommended time exactly, and it didn’t crack! Well, that’s a lie, there was a tiny crack but a huge improvement to the Lime and chocolate cheesecake!

This was left out to cool and then to chill in the fridge overnight. The next morning I started on the cream part of the cheesecake.  I whisked together the mascarpone and sugar in one bowl and the double cream in another.  I then folded the two together and spread it over the cheesecake.  This went back into the fridge to chill until after the birthday dinner.

After dinner, I chopped up a few fresh strawberries and added a candle to come out – this year my dad was officially one (we only had one candle!). I was a bit worried it would be too sweet and I’m  not the biggest fan of cream. But I had nothing to worry about, all the different ingredients complimented each other really well and everyone really enjoyed it, especially my dad.

 

Be aware that this is quite a sweet treat so some people might not be the biggest fans. But don’t be put off – this is definately a great dessert and will be something i’ll bake for Wimbledon season. If you want a really nice, indulgent cheesecake that’s not too heavy, then I’d definitely suggest you try this!

A Loaf of Lemoniness…

Another first for me but a different type of first: still cake, different tin.  A lemon loaf. I’m guessing it’s called a loaf because of the tin but you never know, there may be an extremely scientific or arbitrary reason.  Anyone who can enlighten me, please do.

Any-who, I digress.  I have a love/hate relationship with lemon cakes: love the taste; hate the effect it has on my poor fingers.  This recipe only called for 2 lemons to be grated (thankfully) so it didn’t take too long to get started on baking.

 

The recipe seemed to be the reverse of you’re normal cake making process, as the butter went last.  I actually had to switch the bowl I was using because I immediately put the butter in first.  Oops.  Other than this there weren’t any huge dilemmas.  I used the same technique of greasing and dusting the tin to stop it sticking.

Ok. I lie.  There was one other mini mishap.  I had a bit of a panic when it came to putting the batter into the cake tin; nothing too dramatic, there just seemed to be a lot of batter in relation to my cake tin.  I was a bit worried that the cake would seriously overflow into a gooey mess while baking so held back on using the rest.  Instead I improvised and made a few lemon cupcakes.

After going in the oven, the cake took around an hour to cook (this was less time than the recipe suggests but I put that down to not using all the batter).  The loaf came out really nice and golden; to be fair I could have used all the batter without making a mess but this is a learning curve.

 

The syrup was easy enough to figure out: sugar, water, lemon zest and juice.  You’d think that I couldn’t manage to mess that one up right? Wrong.  I got a bit eager and started preparing the syrup as soon as the cake started to bake and then took it off the heat when it was ready and the cake had a long way to go still.  With the cake timer beeping I came back to see my syrup had gone a bit sticky and, well, solid.  It was saved quite easily by putting it back on the hob for a minute or two but I ended up with less syrup than I should have had.  I would suggest starting on the syrup when the cake is out of the oven.

Another tip for pouring the syrup, make little holes in the loaf before you pour the syrup over.  Doing this makes some of the syrup go through to the cake and makes it that much nicer.  The loaf came out really nice and moist and was greatly enjoyed by the lucky person who got it as a present.