Liefmans Fruitesse strawberry and lime cup cakes

If you can add beer to bread, or to the batter of fish and chips, or to marinades, why not cupcakes as well?

The addition of cherries, bilberries, elderberries, strawberries and raspberries to its traditional sour brown Belgian beer make it something special, and Liefmans Fruitesse adds vibrant red fruit flavours to the billowy cakes. The sparkling fruitiness of Liefmans Fruitesse means that it will find friends even with people who think they don’t like beer.

Over ice, Liefmans Fruitesse is an exciting thirst quencher for summer — and it’s an idyllic ingredient to enliven desserts. The fruity flavours of the beer mean it can be added to sweet foods such as cupcakes, ice cream, trifles and chocolate.

Liefmans has been one of the cult breweries of the Oudenaard area of Belgium since 1679. Its Fruitesse is its wild child, launched in 2010 as an alternative to sparkling wines. This bright red Belgian beer is matured for 18 months on cherries (stones and all) in the Liefmans cellars where the cherries mature in the dark brown beer. There, wild yeasts and their more cultured cousins transform the barley’s sugars into alcohol, flavour and carbonation — and with more than a hint of marzipan from the cherries’ stones.

Then, bilberries, elderberries, strawberries and raspberries are added to give Liefman’s Fruitesse its exuberant lively flavour — a blend of fresh ripe fruit and acidity. It is a blend of old and young, refreshing to taste, sweet on the tongue, and with more than a lick of sparkle.

Liefmans Fruitesse strawberry and lime cup cakes
Recipe by Maisie Johnson

Ingredients (makes 12)
Cup cakes
100ml semi-skimmed milk
100ml Liefmans Fruitesse
115g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp strawberry flavouring
12 tsp strawberry jam

75g unsalted butter
Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
275g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the milk and Fruitesse together in a measuring jug.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until a creamy texture is formed. Add the eggs separately, then pour in the flour and beat well.

Add the milk/Fruitesse mixture and beat again until smooth. Then pop in the strawberry flavouring, along with the baking powder, and mix.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, dividing evenly, approximately three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until moist. Tip: insert a skewer into the middle of the cup cakes, and if the stick is left clean, then they’re ready to leave the oven.

Once baked, transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool.

Using an apple corer, remove the middle of each cup cake to create space for a gooey jam centre. Using a piping bag, insert the strawberry jam until it reaches the top of each cake.

For the icing, beat the butter with 5 tablespoons of the freshly squeezed lime juice, along with the icing sugar, until creamy. Pipe swirls onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with the lime zest. To give it a colourful finish, pop a fresh strawberry, or a strawberry sweet onto each cake.

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