Natalee’s Summertime Strawberry Cupcakes
My friend Natalee is a veterinarian living in Washington state with her husband and 2 awesome kids. Imported from Canada some years ago, she does things with cupcakes you just cannot believe.You can find her other amazing contributions to the blog here.
I wrote her a few weeks ago and asked her to make me a cupcake worthy of the first day of summer. I have to tell you — this is my new favorite cucpake recipe. I may forever and always do strawberries. YUM. And, the ladybugs just were the perfect touch to these amazing cakes.
Natalee’s Summertime Strawberry Cupcakes
Summer, the mere mention of the word intoxicates me with thoughts of wading pools, grilling, long warm nights (and when up in Canada thoughts of waterskiing up to midnight), garden fresh produce, popsicles, and the smell of freshly mown lawn. Of course it also fills me with the dread of baring my pale white, often bruised legs in shorts and bathing suits and the fantasy ends right there. One thing I can hold dear to living in the Pacific NW is strawberries, you cannot get good strawberries out of season so the time is now and frankly when I’m given the challenge to eat something NOW, I don’t pass it up. So when asked to do a first day of summer cupcake post for Hallee, well, strawberries were the answer (who really wants a BBQ or corn cupcake anyway).
First we will start off with my favorite strawberry cupcake recipe, it’s denser than the average cupcake but incredibly tasty and moist. I decided to do a strawberry cream cheese frosting but this easily lends itself to a dollop of whipped cream, plain cream cheese (or magical mascarpone), or vanilla buttercream as well. This cupcake is a family favorite and is often the first choice for the kids at their birthdays while I have to convince them for a chocolate companion.
SUMMERY STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or almond extract is nice here too)
2¾ cups sifted cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1¼ cup mashed strawberries plus ¼ cup juice
STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
½ cup strawberry puree (chunky is good here)
8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup unsalted butter
Pinch of coarse salt
3½ cups icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Orange decorating sugar
black licorice whips
Milk Dud candies
Muffin tin liners
Preheat oven to 350° degrees F (120° degrees C).
Line your cupcake tin with baking cups.
Place strawberries in the food processor with 2 tablespoons of sugar and blitz until chunky. Let sit for a few minutes. If you aren’t lazy like me you can chop the strawberries and toss them in sugar and let macerate before this step. I am impatient and never remember (or I use leftover macerated strawberries) If you macerate once they are soft and mushy, squash them with a fork but leave them a bit chunky. Place the berry mash or puree in a strainer and drain as much juice as you can but remember to keep that yummy juice!
In your mixer cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Then slowly add one egg (and egg white) at a time and mix well after each until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. Once eggs are well blended add vanilla or almond extract and mix again for a few seconds.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternating flour and milk add a small amount of flour followed by milk repeating until both are gone in about 3 additions. Blend the batter well in between each addition.
I now take the batter off of the mixer and fold in the strawberry mash and juice. I mix it until it’s pink but it will often have a bit of marbling throughout. Fill baking cups 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20-24 minutes. They should be lightly golden and a toothpick should come out clean when they are done.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
In a mixer blend cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and salt and blend well. Then alternating strawberry puree and icing sugar blend on low speed until incorporated before mixing on high speed until light and fluffy. YUMMY!
TO MAKE SUMMERTIME LADYBUG CUPCAKES:
Making the cupcakes for this blog post was an exercise in resourcefulness as my cupcake tins (standard size) were out on loan all 6 of them from having just finished a marathon night of 200 cupcakes for a bake sale. So I made mini cupcakes then tried (even though I knew it was doomed to fail without the foil wrapper to bake them without the tin. Spreadable, messable, non-fun! I also tried my yorkshire pudding tin but they were too narrow and the liners were rumpled. So mini cupcakes it was!
Next I had to decorate these mini cupcakes, never satisfied with plain piped cupcakes I was stumped. That is until a little orange ladybug landed on my daughter Amelia’s finger. Now I could have piped chocolate ladybugs, or made pretty fondant ladybugs but where is the fun in that. I like to make cupcakes out of things I might have laying around, often something that the kids can help with (and they did help with these), or just in the style of the “Hello Cupcake” folks. So here she is…
Little Lady Ladybug Cupcakes
First frost the cupcakes with whatever frosting you like. I then placed them in the fridge for a minute since this frosting is so soft so it would set to make the next step easier. If you are using a stiffer frosting you don’t have to place them in the fridge first.
Then I rolled the frosted top of the cupcakes lightly in sanding sugar (in this case orange but since you’re probably going to use red go right on with your self on that one). Press the cupcake gently into the sugar to imbed the sugar and give the top a nice smooth surface to work with.
Next I used black licorice whip cut to the size of the cupcake to make the separation of the wings (and also later for antenna) and a milk dud for the head.
The spots are easy. Simply take chocolate chips and put them upside down into the frosting. Viola!
Now you can put eyes or antenna or mouth, whatever fits your fancy. These cupcakes take no time, are kid friendly, are cute to look at and even better to eat!
about 20 cupcakes
|Low in sodiumHigh in Vitamin C|
I would love to hear any feedback about this recipe. Did you make it? Did you enjoy it? Did you make any adjustments to it?
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