These are probably the most involved cupcakes I have ever made, with 4 components, including store-bought extras. It's inspired by Nadija Hussain's recipe which goes all out with the sugar content. I've tried to cut mine back a bit with a refined sugar-free cupcake. Using strawberry ice cream is quite the indulgence but it does give the buttercream a strawberry kick. If you don't have any handy you could use strawberry jam or flavouring essence. For me, it was an excuse to buy some neapolitan ice cream!


Base:

12 plain round biscuits (I used Girl Guide biscuits, Nadija uses sandwiched vanilla cremes)

12 medium strawberries


Buttercream:

175 g butter, softened

350 g icing sugar (about 2 3/4 c)

100 g strawberry ice cream, melted


Cupcakes:

125 g butter, softened, or coconut oil

1/2 c rice syrup

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 eggs

1/2 c milk of choice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt


Decoration:

freeze-dried strawberries


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place paper cases inside a 12-hole muffin tin and put a vanilla biscuit in each case. Cut the stalks off the strawberries and place each one flat side down in the middle of each biscuit.

To make the buttercream, in a large bowl whisk the butter until smooth. Slowly add in sifted icing sugar and whisk until fluffy. Whisk in the ice cream until just combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with your nozzle of choice or none at all if you want a plain swirl. Put in fridge to chill if the cream is very soft.

To make the cupcakes, in a large bowl cream the butter and liquid sweeteners until smooth. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and and whisk well. Fold in flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined. Spoon or pipe the batter around the strawberries in the paper cases. Don't overfill, you should still be able to see the tips of the berries.

Bake for around 15 minutes until cooked through.

Leave in the tins for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, pipe buttercream on each cupcake and sprinkle with crushed-up freeze-dried strawberries. The freeze-dried strawberries add a tang to the cupcake which cuts through all the sweetness.

Delight in cutting through a cupcake to reveal the whole strawberry and biscuit base.

Store in the fridge.