*100g plain all-purpose flour
*65g unsweetened cocoa powder
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*250g caster sugar
*2 tablespoons full-fat milk
*175g butter, melted
Fresh berry core
*2 tablespoons raspberry jam
*150g sticks butter
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
*350g icing sugar
*50g white chocolate, melted
*2–3 tablespoons full-fat milk
*12 strawberries, halved
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
2 Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl, and set aside.
3 Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk), and beat the mixture at medium to high speed for 1–2 minutes, until light and fluffy. If using a stand mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter along with the milk, mixing at low speed to combine. Add the melted butter and beat until blended. Do not over-mix.
3 Using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling to almost two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4 To make the fresh berry core, place the strawberries, raspberries and jam into a blender or food processor, and blend until almost smooth – it is quite nice to have a little texture to the purée, but this is entirely up to you. You can sieve it to remove any seeds, if you like. Alternatively, mash with a fork.
5 To make the buttercream, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk), and beat until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix again, until combined. Sift in half of the icing sugar and, mixing at low speed, mix until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar, then beat slowly, until all the sugar has been incorporated. Add the melted white chocolate and the milk, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. If the buttercream is stiff, add a little more milk.
6 To assemble the cupcakes, use a sharp knife or apple corer to remove a small section from the centre of each cupcake. Using a teaspoon (or disposable piping bag), fill the holes almost to the top with the fresh berry filling.
7 Spoon the buttercream into the piping bag and pipe a swirl or rose onto each cupcake. Alternatively, spread the buttercream onto each cake using a palette knife or metal spatula. Arrange two strawberry halves and a fresh raspberry on the top of each cupcake to decorate.
8 Using a good -quality white chocolate is important, try different brands before incorporating in your delicious bakes and treats so you know what you’re working with.
LOLA’s Cupcakes Forever (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99) Photography by Peter Cassidy