Eton Mess Cupcakes

This bake was inspired by the British summer, which seems ironic as while I’m writing this, it’s tipping it down outside. It may be my ignorance here, but I was thinking about the fact that there doesn’t seem to be many British puddings that are summery. I feel like, as a nation, we do winter puddings very well- sticky toffee pudding, Christmas cake and, best of all, custard. The only one that really sprung to mind is Eton Mess, which is why I had the idea to combine this classic with cupcakes and see how it turned out!

Eton Mess is traditionally made with whipped cream, strawberries and meringue- ingredients that I’ve loosely incorporated into this bake. I don’t think they went too badly- I think it’s always a good sign when you take something you’ve baked to a gathering of people and find that it disappears quite quickly. I took these to my grandparents’ where they followed a main of meat, veg, gravy and Yorkshire puddings. How very British.

The other reason I was excited to try this bake was because I’d recently bought myself a duo piping nozzle (Lakeland sell them for a good price) which I really wanted to try out. I think the whole concept of ‘duo piping’ sounds very fancy, so I was quite excited at doing something very easy which would look (I hoped) quite posh! However, those of you who don’t find the concept of duo piping so enthralling, a normal piping bag will do the job just as well!

Eton Mess Cupcakes
Preparation Time: 10 mins (cupcakes) 5 mins (meringue)
Cooking Time: 10-15mins (cupcakes) 45 mins- 1 hour (meringue)

Ingredients
110g/4oz Butter
110g/4oz Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
110g/4oz Self-raising Flour
1-2 tbsp Milk
For the icing:
140g/ 5oz Butter
Icing Sugar
Dash of milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
3-4 tsp Strawberry Milkshake Powder
For the Meringue:
2 Egg Whites
100g/ 3 1/2 oz Caster Sugar
Raspberries to decorate

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake tray with cases (makes 12).
2. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Add the flour and fold in, adding a bit of milk to reach the right consistency. Fill the cases until they are about half full.
4. Bake for 10-15 mins, until golden and the sponge springs back. Put the cupcakes aside to cool.
5. Turn the oven down to 140C.
6. To make the meringue, place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer on full speed until it reaches a thick consistency with peaks.
7. Add the sugar a bit at a time, whisking until the mixture is glossy.
8. Place a dessertspoon of mixture at a time on to a baking tray covered in baking parchment, then place in the oven and bake for 45 mins- 1 hour until firm and crisp.
9. While the meringues are in the oven, make the buttercream:
10. Beat the butter until soft. Add 5oz of icing sugar and mix until combined, then add a dash of milk and keep adding icing sugar until you reach a pipe-able but not too runny consistency.
11. Split the buttercream in half and add vanilla essence to one half and strawberry milkshake powder to the other.
13. Fill a duo piping bag with the different types of buttercream in different halves, then pipe onto the cupcakes, if they have cooled enough.
14. When the meringues have finished cooking, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool. When they’ve cooled, break them into pieces and sprinkle/ arrange the meringues on top of the buttercream (depending on how fancy you feel!)
15. Add a raspberry to the top of each cupcake.

Handy Hints
Turning the oven down- the meringues need to be in at a low heat, so make sure the oven has cooled down to the right temperature before putting them in.
Meringue mixture- If you’re feeling confident, a meringue mix is the right consistency if you can tip the bowl upside-down over your head and none falls out (go on, I dare you!)
Baking meringues- they are done when they’re firm and crisp, and when they lift off the baking parchment easily. If they don’t come away from the paper, they’re not cooked yet.
Buttercream- If you don’t have a duo piping bag, you could always pipe one half for each flavour!
Raspberries- I would only add fruit to the cupcakes if you’re eating them that day- if not save the fruit to put on before you serve them, as they may go soggy or go off- not a good look when your cupcakes have mouldy fruit on top of them!

Eton Mess Cupcakes

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