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The Bake Off’s Back! Pimms Cupcakes…

This year more than ever I’m extremely excited about the Great British Bake Off returning. Not just because the idyllic English country garden setting reminds us that we are still in the season of summer. Or that, in a rather peculiar way I’m oddly attracted to the silver haired hard man of baking Paul Hollywood. But largely because it’s only this year that I actually started having a bash at baking myself. And not only were people rather impressed with my results (cappuchino meringue cupcakes were a definite life highlight for many) but I really, REALLY enjoyed it. The sense of achievement, the (mostly) relaxing methodic process and of course, the regular taste testing. I always amaze/scare myself at how much buttercream I can eat in one go.

So I realised this week I haven’t done a good bake for a while, mainly as with the heat I haven’t craved cakes as much. Well…not enough to bake a batch. Plus we decided to have a bake off competitiono on the show. So I decided to find a summer alternative. And obviously I stumbled across Pimms cupcakes! It doesn’t get any more British, middle class and twee than that. M & S will be snapping these up in no time…

For the cupcakes:
150g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
15g cornflour
zest of 1 small orange
175g soft unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
100g mixed raspberries and strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped and lightly crushed, plus 3 extra whole strawberries, sliced, and 12 raspberries to decorate
For the Pimm’s syrup:
150ml Pimm’s
50g caster sugar

For the Pimm’s buttercream:
275g unsalted butter, softened
50ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp Pimm’s
350g icing sugar

To decorate:
baby mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with gold or silver foil cupcake cases.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and cornflour into a large bowl. Stir in the orange zest.

In a separate bowl, using an electric whisk, cream the soft butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Alternately whisk in the beaten eggs and the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the lightly crushed fruit.

Divide the mixture evenly among the cupcake cases. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

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Squeeze in a quick oven baking selfie

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While the cupcakes are baking, make the syrup. Gently heat the Pimm’s with the sugar in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and let it bubble for 5-7 minutes until thick and syrupy. Pour the syrup into a small jug.

As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, prick the tops a few times with a toothpick and brush them with the Pimm’s syrup.

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Leave to cool in the tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Using an electric whisk, mix together the butter, milk and Pimm’s in a medium bowl until smooth. On a low speed, gradually add the icing sugar and continue to beat until smooth and thick. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, generously pipe each one with the icing, then decorate with sliced strawberries, raspberries and the baby mint leaves.

Ta da!

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