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Eclecticisms: Strawberry Cupcakes

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

Ever since I took my cake decorating class, I've been wanting to do more decorating. I was going to show Sara some of the fun techniques I learned and since I didn't want to make two cakes, we made cupcakes instead. I broke about every rule I learned in class but still got some practice in and we had a lot of fun.

This Martha Stewart strawberry cupcake recipe called for a Strawberry Meringue buttercream, but I went with the swiss meringue buttercream instead, since we wanted to color the icing. They were very good, but a tad too sweet for me. (As you might remember, I'm a salt and butter kind of gal.)

Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 Cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 Cup milk
2 Cups finely chopped strawberries (about 20)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with paper liners. (Recipe makes about 34 cupcakes.)

Sift together flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In your standing mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and finally the egg white, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.


Reduce speed to low and add flour in two batch, alternating with the milk, beating well until combined.



Fold in chopped strawberries.

Divide batter evenly between cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes (toothpick should come out clean) and allow to cool on a wire rack.



Allow cupcakes to site overnight, or cool thoroughly before icing. You should really use a crumb topping if you want to make these fancy, but we skipped that part, partially because we were afraid we didn't have enough (it turned out we had PLENTY of icing) and partly because it was 9:30 PM and we wanted to decorate them and not wait for them to chill. Oh, and our fridge is packed and a total mess. Fitting something in there wasn't exactly something I wanted to do.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients

5 large egg whites
1 Cup + 2 Tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in your standing mixer's bowl and put it in a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved. (The mixture will feel smooth between your fingers.)


Attach the bowl to your mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix on low, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Martha says stiff, dry peaks will form, and then you will go for a more fluffy and glossy effect. you'll mix until the bowl has cooled, about 10 minutes.


A few quick notes:
1) I have never, ever been able to form "peaks" with anything I make.
2) It has never mattered before.
3) It didn't matter here.

On medium-low speed, add the butter a few Tbs at a time, beating well after each addition. Once the butter has been added, mix in the vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat until the buttercream is smooth. This took us about 10 more minutes of beating. The buttercream looked like a wet cottage cheese for quite awhile which had me nervous, but we let it go and it came together quite nicely.



Gross.

Yum!
Dye with gel coloring and use as desired. Here are our less-than masterpieces but still fun cupcakes! (I think we spent more time laughing than anything.)






We had too much leftover icing to waste, so we mixed it all together and froze it. The color is sort of a gross desert rose, but might make a great crumb topping frosting at a later date.

Happy baking!

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