225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
A pinch of salt
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs
225g self-raising flour
60ml Champagne syrup
About 250g Peggy’s Strawberry & Champagne Jam or good-quality strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 175°C/Gas mark 4 and line two 12-hole muffin trays with cases.
Place the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and cream until pale and fluffy. Whisk the eggs lightly in a jug and slowly add to the butter mixture while beating quickly. If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 2–3 tablespoons of flour. This will rebind the batter. Once all the egg has been incorporated, sift in the flour and fold until just combined. Using a piping bag or tablespoon, fill the cases until two-thirds full.
Bake for 15–20 minutes, depending on your oven. The cupcakes are cooked when the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or skewer into each sponge; it should come out clean.
Once cooked, let them rest for a few minutes outside of the oven. Brush the tops with the syrup while they are still warm.
Remove from the trays and leave to cool on a wire rack. When they are cold, hollow out a small hole in the middle of each with a melon baller and fill with the jam.
Use the champagne cream cheese frosting on page 60 and top with a bonbon.