Eton Mess Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan oven/ Gas Mark 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with Muffin Cases.
In a bowl cream together the margarine and sugar until pale and smooth. Mix in the eggs and Vanilla Extract – if the mixture begins to curdle add a spoonful of flour. Sieve in the flour and fold into the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the Muffin Cases and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. Once baked the cupcakes should be risen and golden in colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cakes are cooling make the meringues, reduce the oven temperature to 100°C/ 80°C/ Gas Mark 1. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Make up the egg white powder following the instructions on pack. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time whisking after each addition until the sugar is mixed into the egg white. Once all the sugar is added whisk the meringue mixture on a high speed until stiff white and glossy.
Take a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle – if you do not have star nozzle you can cut the end of the piping bag to create a 1cm hole. Paint 3 or 4 stripes of Red Colour Gel up the side of the piping bag and fill with your meringue mixture.
Pipe meringue kisses slightly spaced apart onto the lined baking tray.
Bake your meringue kisses in the oven for 30 minutes until they are baked, once baked the meringues should not stick to the grease proof paper and come away easily.
Take a sharp knife and cut a circle out of the top of each cake at an angle about 1cm (½ inch) from the edge. Chop the middle off the circle of sponge to it is flat. Fill the hole with strawberry jam and place the sponge top on the jam.
Place the cream, icing sugar and Vanilla Extract in a bowl and whisk to form soft peaks.
Place the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe a swirl of cream on each cupcake – keep in the fridge until you are ready to decorate and serve.
Reserve 12 meringues to place on top of the cupcakes and crush the remaining meringue.
Once you are ready to serve your cupcakes, cut the strawberries in half and place half a strawberry on each cupcake. Sprinkle with meringue and place a meringue kiss on each cupcake. Drizzle any left over jam over each cupcake and you are ready to serve and enjoy!
Decorate the cupcakes just before serving as the meringue will not hold its shape and become sticky.
The meringue can be made 2 week ahead and stored in an airtight container until required.