These delightful gems are sweet, buttery, fluffy, and filled with strawberry flavor. Vanilla hot milk sponge cake topped with a dollop of strawberry jam, then cloaked in a swirl of strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. The key to the cupcake’s lovely strawberry flavor is powdered freeze dried strawberries.
The hot milk sponge cupcakes are easy to make – in and out of the oven in about 30 minutes. The Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a bit more technical, but still within reach of the novice baker. This is a classic Swiss meringue buttercream recipe – silky smooth and less sweet than a powdered sugar frosting. And on the plus side, the addition of the powdered freeze dried strawberry to the buttercream serves to stabilize the end product.
I developed these cupcakes for an outdoor Spring time picnic, and they were met with enthusiasm. I recently recreated this delicious little treat for the 40th birthday for new friend, who had remembered loving them at the picnic. Enjoy!
Strawberry Buttercream Cupcakes
makes about 30 cupcakes
30 Hot Milk Sponge cupcakes (recipe below)
one batch Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)
3/4 cup strawberry jam
10 fresh strawberries, cut into thirds (for garnish)
For each cupcake, remove a small bit of cupcake from the center of each cupcake to create a divot for the strawberry jam. Place one teaspoon of strawberry jam in the divot. Pipe a generous swirl of Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream around and over the cupcake and jam. Garnish with a slice of fresh strawberry.
Hot Milk Sponge (from 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book)
makes 30 cupcakes
2 cups (14 oz) sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 TB unsalted butter
2 cups (9.5 oz) unbleached, all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt, fine
Line 30 cupcake tins with papers. Preheat oven to 375.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Heat the milk until it just boils, then add the butter. Stir until butter is melted, set aside.
Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, beat the eggs on low until slightly foamy, then increase mixer speed to high. When the eggs have begun to rise in volume add the sugar in a gentle stream. Beat on high until the egg/sugar mixture is light and pale.
With mixer on low, add the hot milk/butter mixture and then the flour mixture. Blend until combined, then remove the bowl from the mixer and give the batter a couple of turns with a spatula to be sure the ingredients are all combined.
Pour into the prepared tins and bake until the tops are golden brown, beginning to check for doneness after 16 minutes. Remove from the cupcake tin and cool until room temp.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
makes enough for 30 cupcakes
The key to making this buttercream is to read through the whole recipe first, get all your ingredients ready and to be patient. A great video tutorial is here.
5 egg whites (approximately 6 oz)
1 3/4 cup (12 oz) white sugar
4 sticks + 4 TB (18 oz) unsalted European style butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered freeze dried strawberries
Pour 2 inches of water in a medium sauce pan. Heat on high until simmering, then turn burner to low to maintain heat in the water.
In heatproof mixing bowl, mix egg whites and sugar. Stir to combine egg whites and sugar, then place the mixing bowl over the saucepan, creating a water bath. Continually stir the egg whites and sugar while over the hot water, checking temp with a thermometer, until the mixture reaches 140 degrees. The sugar will have dissolved in to the egg white by this time, and the mixture will feel smooth and slippery.
Transfer mixing bowl to the stand mixer, or onto the counter if using a hand held mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until it the sugar/egg white mixture is fluffy and cooled to near room temp. It should be a soft marshmallow consistency.
Switch to paddle attachment and add the butter, 2 TB at a time on low speed. When all the butter has been added, increase speed to medium and beat the buttercream it is smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the powdered freeze dried strawberries.