Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sweet Sundays, Bald Cupcakes Edition

Yes. I am an amateur cupcake baker, which entitles me to the once-in-a-while screw up... And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't share my screw ups along with my success stories?!? A few days ago, I made bald cupcakes. Not because I intended them to be bald, but because the frosting sucked so bad, I just couldn't bear to ruin the cupcakes with it! To be honest, I was having a pretty bad day & almost had a little breakdown over the fact that I made the worst frosting in the world. I'm just sayin': I'll admit it, sometimes I'm just a hormonal woman. (This was also the same night I sat on my couch & bawled, alone, over the movie "Bright Star". What a beautiful romance...) ANYWAYS. The cupcakes themselves were a huge success... homemade strawberry cupcakes, light and fluffy, and I made them with both fresh strawberries (for a slightly tangy taste) and homemade strawberry jam (to increase the sweetness of the cake). Sounds delicious, right? They were perfect, and that recipe will follow, but I completely screwed up the frosting. I thought it might be a good idea to make my standard buttercream and add freshly pureed strawberries. Theoretically, the sweet buttercream should only be enhanced by the addition of a semi-sweet strawberry puree, right?? WRONG. The puree made the buttercream almost slimy, caused the butter and milk look curdled, and it took beating the frosting for about 10 minutes to gain a consistency that could stand, and wouldn't slide off the spoon like soup. There go my good intentions and creative endeavors! So, I pouted a little bit, was too exhausted to make another batch of frosting, put the cupcakes (looking quite naked) on my cake display, and called it a night.

As you can see from the picture, the next morning I made my standard cream cheese frosting (which became a great pairing for the sweetness of the cupcake), and actually frosted some of the cupcakes with the bad frosting (which I had refrigerated overnight, and had actually kind of turned out alright). In the end, the batch turned out quite well, and everyone who tasted them loved them (although the strawberry frosting almost knocked me off my feet, it was so sweet!)

If you like strawberries, (I had bought a HUGE tray of fresh strawberries from Trader Joe's, so this recipe originated from my realization that I had an over abundance of strawberries and nothing to do with them...) try this recipe out. Hopefully you'll have more success with the whole process than I did.

Strawberry Cupcakes
  1. 2 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup cake flour (not self rising)
  3. 1 tbs baking powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  6. 2 1/4 cups sugar
  7. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  8. 3 large whole eggs, plus 1 egg white
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. 1/2 cup strawberry jam, room temperature (I used my Mom's homemade, but store bought will work!)
  11. 2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20) plus about 10 more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350*. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium 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. Add strawberry jam and blend well. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries with a wooden spoon.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golded and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean (about 19 minutes for mini cupcakes, about 26 minutes for regular sized cupcakes). Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes, turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 and 1/2 sticks of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  3. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  4. 3/4 box of 10x Confectioner's Sugar (powdered sugar)
With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, mixing on medium speed until the frosting is light and creamy. Pipe with a pastry bag onto cupcakes, and before serving, thinly slice remaining strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into the frosting.

So there you have it, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Happy cupcake-ing!

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