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Peggy Porschen’s Summer Berry Cupcakes

Ever tried one of Peggy Porschen's fabulous summer berry cupcakes from her iconic London bakery? Well, now you can make them at home too! it’s bursting with juicy berry flavours and decorated with vibrant pinks and purples. The buttermilk sponge ensures a light and gentle texture making this a go-to recipe for anyone wanting to have fun with classic summer tastes.

  • For the vanilla sugar syrup
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the summer berry buttermilk cupcakes
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 85g salted butter
  • 440g caster sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 400g plain flour
  • 400g self raising flour
  • 400g buttermilk
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 punnets of fresh raspberries
  • 1 punnet of fresh blueberries
  • For the summer berry meringue buttercream:
  • 30g raspberry purée made with 60g raspberries, cooled
  • 30g Strawberry Purée made with 60g strawberries, cooled
  • 30g Blueberry Purée made with 40g blueberries, cooled
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 65ml water
  • 150g egg whites (from approx. 5 eggs)
  • 340g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • Pink food colouring paste
  • For the decoration:
  • 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries, crushed
  • 12 medium-sized fresh strawberries
  • 24 fresh raspberries
  • 24 fresh blueberries
  • 24 edible carnation flowers (or you can use any other edible fresh flower decorations, such as violets or pansies)
  • Specialist equipment:
  • 2 x 12-hole cupcake trays
  • 24 red paper baking cases
  • Large piping bag
  • Large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle

Make the berry purees (either using 3 separate pans or one after the other). Wash the fruit and remove any stalks. Chop the fruit into small pieces and put into a saucepan together with 1 tbsp water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until the fruit turns mushy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the cooked fruit with a stick blender or crush with a fork until the fruit turns to a thick purée. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing it through the sieve with a rubber spatula into a small bowl, to remove any pips or pieces of skin. Ensure that all the pulp has been pushed through and scrape any that’s left on the back of the sieve. Weigh to check if you have the required amount (and consistency). If it is too runny, continue to cook a little longer to reduce the purée down. Allow to cool completely. This will be used for the meringue buttercream

Make the vanilla sugar syrup. Put the sugar, water and vanilla extract in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 195°C/Fan 175°C/Gas 5. Line 2 x 12-hole cupcake trays with baking cases.

Put both butters and the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream together until pale and fluffy. This will take a while, so do this as a first step to allow plenty of time to aerate the mixture.

Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then slowly pour them into the butter and sugar mix while beating on medium speed. Watch as the eggs combine with the butter mix and stop pouring if the batter needs time to come together, then add more. The eggs and butter should both be at room temperature to avoid splitting. However, should the mixture split, add 1 tbsp flour to bring the batter back together before adding more egg.

Add the flour and buttermilk to the batter in alternate batches and mix until combined. Add the required flavouring to the batter and mix in. Makes a 15cm (6in) layer cake or 24 cupcakes. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together and immediately, as it bubbles, add it to the batter.

For cupcakes, fill a large piping bag with the batter and snip 2.5cm (1in) off the tip. Pipe the batter into the baking cases, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Drop 1–2 large raspberries and 2–3 blueberries on top of each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. The cupcakes are cooked when they are golden, the tops spring back to the touch and the edges of the baking cases have shrunk away from the sides of the baking tray. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the cupcake trays for a few minutes.

Brush the tops of the cakes with the vanilla sugar syrup while still hot. This will ensure the sponges absorb the moisture and prevent a dry crust from forming. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Wipe the bottoms with a damp cloth if sticky from the syrup. Do not leave the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake tray, as the cases may stick to the tray.

Make the meringue buttercream. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add a sugar thermometer. In another bowl, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Once the sugar reaches 121°C (softball stage), remove the pan from the heat. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites in a thin and steady stream while mixing on a low to medium speed. Once all the sugar syrup is added, turn the speed up to high and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled and the meringue is stiff and fluffy. Now slowly add the soft, diced butter to the meringue, whisking all the time, until it is all incorporated. The texture should look smooth and glossy.

Mix the cooled berry purées together and carefully mix into the meringue buttercream. Ensure that the purée and buttercream are at the same room temperature to prevent the mixture from splitting.

Spoon the summer berry meringue buttercream into a large piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe a rosette on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle the crushed freeze-dried raspberries over the top. Cut the strawberries in half and place half a strawberry on top of each rosette, followed by a raspberry and blueberry. Add an edible flower to each cupcake. Serve as soon as possible at room temperature. Store in the fridge if not eaten right away and consume within 24 hours (to prevent the strawberries from drying out, brush the cut surface with apricot jam).

Ingredients

  • For the vanilla sugar syrup
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the summer berry buttermilk cupcakes
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 85g salted butter
  • 440g caster sugar
  • 2 small eggs
  • 400g plain flour
  • 400g self raising flour
  • 400g buttermilk
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 punnets of fresh raspberries
  • 1 punnet of fresh blueberries
  • For the summer berry meringue buttercream:
  • 30g raspberry purée made with 60g raspberries, cooled
  • 30g Strawberry Purée made with 60g strawberries, cooled
  • 30g Blueberry Purée made with 40g blueberries, cooled
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 65ml water
  • 150g egg whites (from approx. 5 eggs)
  • 340g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • Pink food colouring paste
  • For the decoration:
  • 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries, crushed
  • 12 medium-sized fresh strawberries
  • 24 fresh raspberries
  • 24 fresh blueberries
  • 24 edible carnation flowers (or you can use any other edible fresh flower decorations, such as violets or pansies)
  • Specialist equipment:
  • 2 x 12-hole cupcake trays
  • 24 red paper baking cases
  • Large piping bag
  • Large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle

Method

Make the berry purees (either using 3 separate pans or one after the other). Wash the fruit and remove any stalks. Chop the fruit into small pieces and put into a saucepan together with 1 tbsp water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, and cook until the fruit turns mushy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the cooked fruit with a stick blender or crush with a fork until the fruit turns to a thick purée. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing it through the sieve with a rubber spatula into a small bowl, to remove any pips or pieces of skin. Ensure that all the pulp has been pushed through and scrape any that’s left on the back of the sieve. Weigh to check if you have the required amount (and consistency). If it is too runny, continue to cook a little longer to reduce the purée down. Allow to cool completely. This will be used for the meringue buttercream

Make the vanilla sugar syrup. Put the sugar, water and vanilla extract in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 195°C/Fan 175°C/Gas 5. Line 2 x 12-hole cupcake trays with baking cases.

Put both butters and the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream together until pale and fluffy. This will take a while, so do this as a first step to allow plenty of time to aerate the mixture.

Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then slowly pour them into the butter and sugar mix while beating on medium speed. Watch as the eggs combine with the butter mix and stop pouring if the batter needs time to come together, then add more. The eggs and butter should both be at room temperature to avoid splitting. However, should the mixture split, add 1 tbsp flour to bring the batter back together before adding more egg.

Add the flour and buttermilk to the batter in alternate batches and mix until combined. Add the required flavouring to the batter and mix in. Makes a 15cm (6in) layer cake or 24 cupcakes. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together and immediately, as it bubbles, add it to the batter.

For cupcakes, fill a large piping bag with the batter and snip 2.5cm (1in) off the tip. Pipe the batter into the baking cases, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Drop 1–2 large raspberries and 2–3 blueberries on top of each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. The cupcakes are cooked when they are golden, the tops spring back to the touch and the edges of the baking cases have shrunk away from the sides of the baking tray. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the cupcake trays for a few minutes.

Brush the tops of the cakes with the vanilla sugar syrup while still hot. This will ensure the sponges absorb the moisture and prevent a dry crust from forming. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Wipe the bottoms with a damp cloth if sticky from the syrup. Do not leave the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake tray, as the cases may stick to the tray.

Make the meringue buttercream. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add a sugar thermometer. In another bowl, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Once the sugar reaches 121°C (softball stage), remove the pan from the heat. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites in a thin and steady stream while mixing on a low to medium speed. Once all the sugar syrup is added, turn the speed up to high and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled and the meringue is stiff and fluffy. Now slowly add the soft, diced butter to the meringue, whisking all the time, until it is all incorporated. The texture should look smooth and glossy.

Mix the cooled berry purées together and carefully mix into the meringue buttercream. Ensure that the purée and buttercream are at the same room temperature to prevent the mixture from splitting.

Spoon the summer berry meringue buttercream into a large piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe a rosette on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle the crushed freeze-dried raspberries over the top. Cut the strawberries in half and place half a strawberry on top of each rosette, followed by a raspberry and blueberry. Add an edible flower to each cupcake. Serve as soon as possible at room temperature. Store in the fridge if not eaten right away and consume within 24 hours (to prevent the strawberries from drying out, brush the cut surface with apricot jam).

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