Friday, May 16, 2014

Fresh strawberry cupcakes with strawberry-lime filling, and strawberry meringue buttercream frosting


  • I have a confession to make: I have been craving so much sweets during this pregnancy... unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if you want to take this as a wake-up call), I failed my glucose test! That did NOT happen with either of my first two pregnancies, so I was very shocked/ashamed... I certainly felt guilty for all the sweets I let myself eat... And you know what? Do you know how hard it is to crave something when you are told you can't have it? Until I took the 3-hour glucose test, I tried really hard to cut back on my cravings, and ate some sweets in moderation. Well, test is over (after being poked 4 times!!!) and so I let myself bake :) I still don't know the test results yet, but at least I let myself make these cupcakes that I have been dying to bake. 
  • The cupcakes are from Confections of a Foodie Bride and the frosting is from Martha Stewart's CUPCAKES. And just to add a little extra fun, I mixed half lime curd (that I made for another recipe) and half extra strawberry puree (leftover) and filled the cupcakes. It added a nice brightness to the cupcake, giving it an extra dimension. Definitely worth giving this recipe a go!
  • AND, these cupcakes were made with my friend Laura in mind, who just had her baby girl! Congratulations Laura and Michael; squeeze that adorable bundle of joy every chance you get because she will definitely grow up too fast! :)
  • Ingredients:
  • For the strawberry puree:
  • 24 oz very ripe strawberries, hulled (or no-sugar-added frozen strawberries)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • For the cake:
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 4 whole eggs, room temperature 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
Directions:

  1. Slice and toss the fresh strawberries with a teaspoon or two of sugar and cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, until nice and juicy.
  2. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake (the rest you can use in the frosting, or as a filling for the cupcakes/cake).
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8- or 9-inch pans: spray inside with baking spray with flour (or use some sort of grease/flour combination). If making cupcakes, line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. 
  4. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine puree, milk, and vanilla and mix with fork until well blended; set aside. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5.  In a bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together for about 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Start adding flour mixture, alternating with puree mixture, in three ways. Mix just until all the flour is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops (or fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full).
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary).  For cupcakes, bake for about 15-20 minutes (start checking at around 13 minutes). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
  1. 1-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, in puree form (8oz)
  2. 4 large egg whites
  3. 1-1/4 cups sugar
  4. 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
Directions:
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved, about 160 degrees F.
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. once all butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until combined. Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth. 
Recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride 

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