Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Our weekly desserts are still chugging along in Casa Sposetta (slash-Regnier), but last week, thanks to Harris Teeter's weekly sales, we decided to switch it up.  We were all ready for Lemon Pie Bars: I had lemons, graham crackers and butter on my shopping list, and my zester was just waiting for me.  However, things didn't turn out that way.

We're still hooked on Back in the Day Bakery, so nothing changed there.  I came home with four pounds of strawberries Friday night, and by Sunday morning, half of them were turned into little heavenly bits of flour, butter and sugar compounds.

These cupcakes different than any I've made in the past.  First, they use egg whites, giving the batter a light, feeling, and reminding me of homemade pancake batter (which also has egg whites; however, they're normally whipped and folded in).  The cupcake itself, once baked, was the texture of what I want cornbread to be: dense but not heavy.  I didn't want to feel like I was eating a brick, but this was a cupcake to savor instead of gobble.  The cupcake is a light pink, almost white, color, flecked with seeds throughout.  If you've had the Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker strawberry cupcakes, try not to compare the two.  The box mixes contain a lot of red food coloring and artificial flavorings.  This recipe contains neither--instead, the flavor comes from the pound of strawberries pureed into the batter.

I did have a problem with the icing, thanks to apartment living.  Last week in DC, it was a beautiful 70-80 degrees.  We had the windows open and I didn't have to even think about tights.  However, because we don't have our own house, we don't have control over our air conditioning.  The heat isn't turned off until next week, so even with the windows open Saturday night, it was around 85 degrees in the apartment.  The icing melted.  It was so sad!  I stuck it in the freezer for about a half-hour or so to chill it, and once I did, it was fine.  It just reinforces my pining for a house, though.

Strawberry frosting, already melting
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
(makes about 24 cupcakes, though I got 30)

For cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole strawberries, pureed into 1 1/3 cups liquid--I used my food processor for this and it was satisfying
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
For frosting
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
  • 2 one-pound boxes of confectioner's sugar (8 cups)
  • 1 cup whole strawberries pureed into 1/2 cup liquid
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake tins.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  
  3. Whisk together pureed strawberries, lemon zest, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and egg whites gradually, beating after each, until combined.  Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients (you've already combined) to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl and mix another minute or so, to make sure that is incorporated as well.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake tins, filling up 2/3 of each tin.  Bake cupcakes 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting: beat the butter until creamy, then add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, sea salt and strawberries.  Continue beating until very light and fluffy.  Pipe or spread frosting on completely cooled cupcakes.

First, buy this book:

As you can see, my copy is very, very well-worn already.

Then, make the brownies, the bread pudding and the cupcakes.  And maybe the lemon squares.  I'll let you know about those next week.

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