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Strawberry ice-cream cupcakes

When I was in primary school, I used to get a day off school every year in August. I wasn’t ill, nor was there a family emergency, it was possibly the best day of the year except for Christmas and my Birthday. It was Ekka day (the Royal Queensland Show).

Mum would pick up my grandma early in the morning and the two of us would catch the train in to the show. I would ride the rides, throw balls in clown’s mouths, shoot darts at balloons and toss rings towards a stick. Then it was time to go and check out all the animals and for my grandma to catch up with old country friends (she’s a bushie).

One year while my grandma was chatting away in the middle of a stable, a calf, being led by a young boy not much older than me, stood on my little toe. I was trying so hard to be good and not interrupt my grandma’s conversation I sucked up the pain. I think I probably pictured the show bags I was about to buy and that got me through.

Strawberry ice-cream cupcakes

The show bag pavilion was always the last stop of the day and was conveniently located near the train station so we could buy our bags and be on our way home. There was a lot of careful planning that went in to choosing a show bag and I remember saving up for months. Of course my grandma usually bought us one too.

It was such a wonderful day and a great treat to get one-on-one time (my sister would go on another day). Apart from the show bags, rides, games and revolting Dagwood dogs, the Ekka has another time-honored tradition – the strawberry ice-cream.

I’m probably stripping myself of the right be called a Brisbanite by saying this but I’ve never actually eaten one. The last time I went to the Ekka I was still terribly fussy and didn’t eat strawberries! Can you imagine?

This Ekka holiday, I still won’t be able to sample the famous treat so I thought I’d pay homage to it in a cupcake form. I must say, if the ice-cream is anywhere near as good as my cupcake version, I might just have to pop in there today and get one.

All in the food processor

I used my fool-proof cupcake recipe for the cupcakes and whipped it all together in my new food processor along with some strawberries (picked fresh the day before).

Pretty pink cake batter

I love how pink the batter is despite only having 3 strawberries in it. I did have the pink food colouring out just in case but it most definitely wasn’t needed.

Ready for baking

If you can get cones with a fat bottom on them I would recommend them. Getting them to stay standing in the tin was a bit tricky but before the batter was cooked they stayed upright reasonably well.

I baked them at 180C fan-forced for about 18 minutes. The time will vary depending on the shape of your cones so start checking them at 15 minutes. It’s better to err on the side of over-cooked rather than under-cooked with this recipe.

Baked

This is where the top-heavy cones and I had a little falling out. From oven to stove top above the oven they stayed put perfectly and smiled for their photo. When I lifted it up to move it to the other side of the kitchen and on to the wire rack, they started diving out left right and center. It was cone carnage and that’s why you’ll see quite a few with busted lips.

Cooling

I tried to stand them up to cool them but the lazy little fellas just wouldn’t co-operate so I let them lie down for cooling.

Strawberry icing

When they were well rested and nice and cool I topped each one with a healthy serve of strawberry butter-cream icing.

Cream on top

Just like the classic, ice-cream version, the cakes got a nice blob of whipped cream (I used a star-tipped nozzle) on top.

Strawberry on top

For the finishing touch – a fresh strawberry.

Strawberry ice-cream cupcake

These little cake cones were absolutely delicious. I think the cone helped to cut the sweetness and there was something exciting about the layer of crunch around the cake.

Because everyone has an ice-cream eating method (no, just me?) I’ll share my cupcake ice-cream eating method. I liked to break off the bottom half and dip it in the icing and then eat the strawberry and save the top with cream and icing for last. Yum! Enjoy!

What about you? What’s your fondest local show memory from your childhood?

Strawberry ice-cream cupcake

Strawberry ice-cream cupcakes

Strawberry ice-cream cupcakes

Yield: 20

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeeze mandarin (or orange) juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g (11oz) strawberries
  • 20 ice-cream cones

ICING

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 large strawberries
  • whipped cream
  • 20 strawberries for topping

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C(356F) fan-forced and line a mini muffin tin with ice-cream cones.
  2. Throw the juice, eggs, butter, caster sugar, flour, vanilla and strawberries in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the cones so that they are 3/4 full.
  4. Bake the ice-cream cakes for 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Transfer the ice-cream cakes to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Make the icing by beating the butter with an electric mixer then adding the icing sugar. Add the strawberries and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  7. Add milk if the icing is too thick.
  8. Pipe the icing on top of the cones nice and high to look like ice-cream.
  9. Top with a blob of whipped cream and a strawberry.
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