Strawberry and champagne picnic cupcakes

Strawberry and champagne picnic cupcakes
Strawberry and Champagne Picnic Cupcakes
Finally, it's picnic season! These beautiful cupcakes look gorgeous nestling in their new indigo Tala Orginals tin and will liven up any picnic, even if the good old British weather lets you down! If you want non-boozy cupcakes, just leave out the champagne syrup and add half a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the buttercream.
The recipe calls for you to fill the cupcake cases higher than you might normally – don't worry, we want a nice big dome on each cake to cut off later. If you are looking for pretty cupcake cases, choose Tala – made with sturdy high quality paper, no grease spots or colour changes – your cupcake cases will look as beautiful after baking as they did when you put them in the tin.
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
3 free-range eggs
150g caster sugar
150g baking margarine or softened butter
200g self-raising flour
3 tbs milk
0.5 tsp baking powder
For the syrup (optional):
70ml champagne
sugar (filled to the 70ml mark in the measuring cup)
For the decoration:
250g butter, softened
350g icing sugar
l dsp leftover syrup (optional)
15 smallish strawberries, hulled, washed and dried
Equipment

12-cup muffin pan
12 cupcake cases
mixing bowl
silicone-headed spatula
cooling rack
small saucepan
wooden spoon
bread knife
small sharp knife
dessert spoon
large piping bag fitted with large star tip

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius (338 degrees Fahrenheit).

2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

3. Cream the sugar and margarine. Then mix in the eggs followed by the flour, baking power and milk, beating until the mixture is smooth.

4. Divide the mixture equally between the cupcake cases and bake for about 25 minutes until the cupcakes are well risen, golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow the cupcakes to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

5. Measure the champagne and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a little (or fully if you have time).

6. Prepare the buttercream by creaming the softened butter with the icing sugar until soft and pale then add two dessertspoons of champagne syrup and beat until smooth. Set aside for later.

7. When the cupcakes are cool, use a serrated breadknife to level off the top of each cupcake. Cut so that the rounded top is kept in one piece and keep all these sponge 'hats' for later.

8. Use the small sharp knife to cut a cone shape space in the top of each levelled cupcake. The space should be about the size of one of your strawberries, and it should point downwards, like an icecream cone.

9. Drizzle about a dessertspoon and a half of champagne syrup into the cone-shaped holes and around the sides of the cupcakes surrounding the holes.

10. Push a whole strawberry into each hole, it doesn't matter if the top sticks out slightly as you will pipe buttercream over shortly and it won't be seen.

11. Transfer the buttercream to the piping bag and pipe a flat spiral or swirl shape over the top of each cupcake, covering the strawberry entirely. Then reach for the cut-off sponge 'hat', place it on top and pipe a small, this time 'peaked', swirl on top decorated with a quartered strawberry on top.

12. Snuggle them fairly tightly into the tin so they don't fall over and enjoy with friends in the beautiful outdoors ...

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