Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe is where I get most of my inspiration, the Martha Stewart Cupcake cookbook.
Highly recommend if you'd like to give it a try...
Or step your game up;)

Also seen on Instagram : )
I think these cupcakes are a great spring dessert because they're almost like a cross between a strawberry muffin and angel food cake.  The cake isn't super rich like a cake, but not quite as light as angel food cake.  The frosting does add a richer element, and after decorated the cupcakes can look very elegant.

I always debate if I should make this, but at the end of the day I never regret it when I do.

So,  for the
Strawberry Cupcakes
You will need:
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20), plus about 10 more for garnish
  • Strawberry meringue buttercream (recipe following)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined.  Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters bull.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely.  Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #826 or Wilton #8B) with buttercream.  Pipe buttercream onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak.  Just before serving, thinly slice remaining strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into buttercream.
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  1. Puree strawberries in a food processor.  Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stuff (but not dry) peaks form.  Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Once all butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.  Add strawberries and beat until combined.  Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth.  Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.  Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Some side notes:
  • This is something I highly recommend doing with an electric mixer.  The frosting needs a stand mixer.  No doubt about that one!  Last time I tried to make this type of frosting using a hand mixer I killed it 5 times...And still wasn't finished with the icing.
  • This buttercream is time consuming.  Be patient, it will all work out.
  • Egg whites & sugar over heat seems strange, but works.  Be aggressive with it, whisk constantly and quickly if you can.   Eventually the sugar will dissolve.  It does take time though.
  • I find that my mixer takes longer to get a stiff peak, probably 12-13 minutes.  Sometimes I adjust the speed back and forth if I feel like my mixer is having a few issues.
  • When you add the butter, the mixture will look like it's curdling.  Keep mixing, and it will come back together.
  • When the recipe calls for egg whites I do use egg whites from the carton like Egg Beaters.  I can't stand wasting my egg yolks.  BUT, you could save them and use them for something like french toast.  See the Pioneer Woman's French Toast, for example.
  • I find that these cupcakes will be OK decorated for a few days afterwards, even if not refrigerated.  I don't recommend this if you are making this for a group of people.  Do it as close to the day you need it as possible.  The day before they will probably be ok.  Anytime after that, it could be debatable, unless you freeze as directed above.
  • The frosting is made with butter & eggs.  If exposed to heat, the icing will fall apart easily.  Just something to keep in mind;)
Feel free to ask if you have any questions!
Have a great tuesday.


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