Happy 2011 <3
I had a pretty crappy year, so I have high hopes out of this one! It always happens doesn't it, that you hit a low, and from there you've only got to rise! So here's hoping for an awesome year/decade, for me and you too!!!
My oven had been on the fritz for the past 2-3 weeks, through Christmas [I know!], and it only just got repaired. With the strawberry season in full swing, I made these gorgeous cupcakes that I've had my eye on since forever. The pinky girlishness in them has been calling out to me since oh so long!
I'm not a fan on the butter-sugar buttercream, but this swiss meringue buttercream is something I could just gobble up. It's like a rich, buttery but not overwhelmingly so, sinful ice cream! The cupcakes are perfectly moist and tender, and if you do make these, you'll love how the batter looks too :) The buttercream is actually pretty easy to make, so don't worry about it!
The cupcakes are nicely sweet, and combined with the not too sweet buttecream, are totally dreamy! Perfet for any strawberry lover, because the flavor does really shine through
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Yield - 34 [I got 30]
For the cupcakes -
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup [2 sticks/226 g] unsalted butter, at room temp
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries [about 20], plus about 10 more for garnish
2 cupcake/muffin pans
- Preheat oven to 350 F [180 C]. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the white one at a time, mixing between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, adding the milk twice in between i.e. dry, wet, dry, wet, dry, micing just until combined. Fold in the chopped strawberries by hand.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake pan, filling not more than 3/4 full. Bake till a skewer inserted comes out clean, and the top feels spongy firm to touch, about 25-30 minutes.
- Lay out on a wire rack till completely cool, and only then can you apply the icing.
For the swiss meringue buttercream -
This makes the perfect amount for the cupcakes.
1 1/2 cups [8 oz] fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped.
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups [3 sticks / 339 g] unsalted buttter, at room temp.
While I have made this with a hand mixer, it's a LOT of work, and subsequent arm pain, so having a stand mixer is highly recommended.
- Puree strawberries in a food processor, set aside.
- In a large heatproof bowl, [you can use the bowl of your KA] add the egg whites and set over a pan of simmering water on medium heat.
- Never stop whisking the whites, and add the sugar in bit by bit. I find that adding the sugar in parts helps it melt faster and easier, alternatively, you could add it all right in the beginning. Keep it over the heat until the sugar has completely melted. You can test this by rubbing a bit of the meringue between your fingers, it should feel completely smooth, and not gritty or grainy. Once it is completely smooth, you can stop whisking, and attach the bowl back to your stand mixer.
- Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium high until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and, if you're using the same bowl, the bowl is cool to touch, about 8 minutes
- One thing to take care of is that the butter should be at the correct temperature. It should give slightly when you press down on it with a finger, and leave a small indent.
- Now reducing the speed to medium low, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time. letting each get incorporated completely before adding the next. When you're a little more than halfway done adding the butter, the buttercream might look curdled. Don't worry about that, it's supposed to happen, and just keep beating the mixture until it becomes smooth again before adding any more butter.
- Once you're done adding all the butter, scrape down, switch to the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Add the puree and mix till incorporated. You just made Swiss meringue buttercream :)
- This can be left out for a day or two. After that, let the frosted cupcakes/cake/whatever you use this on sit out for about 10 minutes before you eat it, so that the butter can warm up a little bit.
- If you're refrigerating or freezing before using it, you must let it come down to room temperature, and preferably beat it on low for about 4-5 minutes using the paddle attachment.