Strawberry Cupcakes with Honey and Danish Blue Cheese Frosting
I’ve spoken before about having to last-minute adapt recipe ideas to what’s readily available in Japan. My initial recipe for this bake date was intended to be a pear cupcake with feta cheese and honey frosting, but unable to find plain feta (even in international grocers I could only find it in antipastos or olive oil mixes) I switched to blue cheese, and unable to find pears, I switched to Ichigo, strawberries, which are crazy popular in Japan, and come in a HUGE selection and price range, and are super delish with blue cheese.
I searched online for cheese based frosting recipes, and surprising came up with…. nothing. Obviously there is a veritable fuck-ton of cream cheese frostings, but no one seems to be delving into more savoury varieties. Although I found a few over at the Cupcake Project, which look great, they weren’t quite what I had in mind. I say surprisingly because 1, there are so god damn many cupcake fiends and fans online, trying all manner of cool whacky shit in their recipes, it seems unthinkable that no one has gotten into cheese yet, and 2, because cheese and fruit are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good together. I remember as a kid when I discovered cheese didn’t only come in yellow and go in toasties, but could go with pretty much anything! Apples even! Raisins! Honey! It was an awakening, liberating, like the first time you have really good sex, a whole new world
So yeah. Cupcakes. I am very, very happy to say that my cheese frosting was an awesome success, although it got mixed reviews from tasters, Shana and I both loved it. I think it matters a lot whether you are a blue cheese lover, because the flavour is prominent, and it is somewhat an acquired taste. Also, this might be my first proper frosting success, hurray! Success as in it looked like a proper frosting and tasted awesome with no major mishaps along the way.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of my ichigo cakes, which I would not make again or recommend. For my cupcakes I used exactly the same recipe as my mango cakes, but with strawberry puree. I wanted to use strawberry puree rather than chunks, as chunks scream “muffin” to me, not cupcake. I added a little more strawberry puree than the mango recipe called for, hoping for a stronger flavour.
They didn’t completely suck, but they left a lot to be desired, and I overcooked them at too low a temperature, thinking this would make up for the extra liquid I added to the recipe. WRONG. The outside was crisp, chewy, and the inside dense, which I usually love, but in this case was not a good match so the strong, rich frosting. I would love to make these flavours again, however I would ideally find a lighter, spongier cupcake recipe, and perhaps even bake a strawberry in the centre to get a stronger flavour.
Something like this recipe from Gastronomy Blog could be the answer.
The only thing I would change with my frosting is using a different honey. Because I don’t read Japanese or think things through, I accidently bought ginger infused honey, not at all what I wanted, luckily Shana had a little tucked away at home, which I thoroughly plundering, leaving none spared. It was a standard table honey, which tastes mostly like sweet, whereas I now think I would prefer a much stronger rich honey taste. I don’t know aaaanything about honey varieties, but after some quick googleing can now tell you red gum, macadamia, buckwheat or avocado honey might be a good choice. Daaamn, I wanna try avocado honey! That sounds dope! Thanks, google.
I was mostly making this recipe up as I went along, and therefore don’t have super acurate measurements, but this recipe you can tweak to your flavour preferences anyway.
BLUE CHEESE and HONEY BUTTERCREAM
50gms Blue Cheese
100gms Cream cheese
2 tablespoons Honey
1/2 cup icing sugar
Blend the honey and blue cheese until as smooth as possible. This part is tricky as there is only a small quantity of cheese and honey, perhaps mashing up the cheese with the back of a spoon or using a handheld mixer would be the way to go.
Blend in chopped up cream cheese.
Add icing sugar a little at a time until you have the desired consistency.
This recipe is not the one I used, it is direct from Gastronomy Blog with no alterations, and it is what I will use when I make these cupcakes again. Because I want more strawberry flavour in them, I’d like to make these with a fat strawberry baked inside!
PLEASE NOTE: This recipe is for 12 cupcakes: my frosting is for 6, so halve one or double the other.
2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
I frosted my cupcakes in little spirals topped with a strawberry slice, but a whole strawberry would be awesome too, the flavours together are goooooooood.