Saturday, April 20, 2019

Baker's Corner: Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting


I must admit that don't have any interesting anecdotes to share today 😆 

But what I do have for you is a great recipe for strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting. So, if you are a fan of cupcakes, or strawberries or even better, BOTH, then you know what must be done!

My daughters love strawberries. They eat strawberries several times a week so every trip to the grocery store invariably sees me loading up my shopping cart with these red beauties. While still on the subject of berries, the two critters love blueberries and raspberries as well so you will never find my fridge devoid of berries at any given point in time 😀


During the Easter long weekend, I was feeling particularly generous so I told them that they could demand any dessert they wanted and I would make it for them. It came as no surprise to me when they chimed in unison - "Strawberry Cupcakes"! 

Cupcakes are a big hit in my household. Everybody likes them irrespective of the flavour. When it comes to the frosting, there is a clear winner - buttercream. I personally find this frosting too sweet but the rest of my family doesn't agree with me. So, I scoured the internet for what I felt would be a good recipe for strawberry cupcakes with a buttercream frosting and I found one that I liked. For me, strawberry cupcakes need to taste like strawberry. Not like pink tinted vanilla cupcakes with a generic sweet but flavourless buttercream. What appealed me to about this recipe was the generous use of strawberries in them - in the cupcake batter, in the buttercream frosting and even topped on the cupcakes before frosting (the latter of which I skipped). This recipe uses both fresh chopped strawberries as well as concentrated reduced strawberry puree. 

At the start of making these cupcakes, I decided that I did not want to use any artificial food coloring at all. I bought frozen strawberries to make the strawberry puree because they are more tart and generally have a deeper red color. I wanted the tartness to offset the sweetness of the buttercream and the vibrant hue to contribute to the lovely pink color of the finished product. But I noticed that not adding food coloring to the cupcake batter made the cupcakes take on an unappealing shade of purple-grey after baking. The frosting looked a little dull too so I added a miniscule amount of a gel-based red food coloring just to brighten it up. Whether or not you want to add any coloring is entirely up to you. No judgement here! 


The strawberry-perfumed cupcakes turned out fluffy and delicious with delightful chunks of strawberries in every bite. The buttercream although sweet had a pronounced strawberry flavour too and the sliced strawberries on top served as the proverbial cherry on the cake. My daughters were thrilled by the outcome and one of the highlights of this long weekend for them has been greedily tucking into these cupcakes 😄 I have had to negotiate to my best capability to limit it to 1 per day!

That's all from me today. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend folks! Belated Happy Easter 😊

We'll meet again soon!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time: 35 minutes; Baking time: ~ 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 12 people
Recipe category: Dessert/Western
Recipe level: Intermediate
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Cupcakes,
1-2/3 cup cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh strawberry puree (refer notes)
1/4 cup buttermilk (refer notes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 drops red food coloring, Optional
3/4 cup chopped strawberries 

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting, 
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry puree (refer notes)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, nearly at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 drops red food coloring, Optional

Additional ingredients,
More fresh strawberries (to top on the cupcakes before frosting and/or after frosting for garnish)

Method:

For the Strawberry Cupcakes,

1. Measure all your ingredients and keep them ready. Sift cake flour along with baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.


2.  Preheat oven to 350 deg F/ ~180 deg C. 

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I forgot and used the whisk!), whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy (if required, stop and scrape down bowl during the mixing process).


4. Mix in egg then mix in egg whites one at a time. 

5. Whisk together the buttermilk, 1/3 cup strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. 


6. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture (to the butter mixture) alternating with half of the whisked buttermilk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. If using, mix in the food coloring to get a cute pink color. 


7. Fold in the 3/4 cup diced strawberries. Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. 


8. Bake in preheated oven 18 - 22 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.


For the Strawberry Buttercream Frosting,

1. Add 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry puree to a small saucepan. Heat mixture over medium-low heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced to 3 Tbsp, about 10 - 14 minutes (measure and if it isn't yet 3 Tbsp then return and continue to simmer because if it is not reduced to recommended amount, it will make buttercream runny).


2. Pour reduced puree into a small bowl, then freeze for a few minutes until cool (stir occasionally for even chilling).


3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until very pale  (nearly white) and fluffy. 

4. Mix in 1 cup icing sugar, then blend in 3 tbsp reduced strawberry puree, vanilla extract, and optional red food coloring. Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups icing sugar and continue to mix until frosting is pale and fluffy, adding in an additional 1/4 cup icing sugar if needed to reach desired consistency.


5. More a more intense strawberry flavour, you can top the cupcakes with some chopped fresh strawberries and pipe the frosting around them. I'm sure this would taste lovely but I didn't do it. Using nozzle of choice (I have used Wilton 1M tip here), pipe the frosting over the cupcakes and then decorate with a whole small strawberry or sliced strawberries. 

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for a 1-2 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days. I stashed mine in the fridge right away (horrible hot and humid weather you know). 




Notes: 
  • To get the strawberry puree, puree strawberries in a food processor then measure out the amount needed. For both the puree for the cupcakes and the frosting it may take around 10-13 medium-large strawberries but that amount will vary just depending on the size of your strawberries
  • To make your own buttermilk, add 1 tsp lemon juice in a cup and add in 1/4 cup whole milk. Whisk and let rest 3 minutes
  • You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for months since cakes freeze very well


Cheers,
Megha


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