Monday, July 02, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

I love these cupcakes! They are made by folding sweet, delicious chopped strawberries into a classic yellow cake batter. The cake is from Martha Stewart, and I will tell you that her cupcake recipes work GREAT in my experience.

The frosting is the simplest buttercream flavored and tinted slightly with more of those fresh berries, pureed in a food processor. It's the best buttercream I've ever had, at least in recent memory. It's so lovely and light textured. Pipes like a dream (not that my piping skills are awe-inspiring, but I'm happy with the results).

I've been obsessed with mini strawberry cupcakes since having some at my cousin's wedding in March. They were made by an Atlanta bake shop, and they were stunners. I actually emailed the owner and asked for her recipe OR any tips she might offer, knowing it would be totally remarkable for a bakery owner to give her recipe to some random lady in an email.

The owner replied so kindly, and did in fact offer a few tips. These cupcakes are as good as the ones at the wedding, and for me personally, even better (it's hard to beat freshly homemade cupcakes). I didn't make them immediately after the wedding because I wanted to wait for in-season berries from the farmer's market. On the first farmer's market day of the summer, I was there when they opened and got these:

And then I made these:

Try them and let me know if you love them as much as I do!

Mini Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Cupcakes adapted from
My Chicago Metallic mini muffin pan has rather short and wide molds that don't hold much batter.  I've seen pans that make slightly larger, taller minis, and I think that is what most commercial bakeries use. If your pan has the taller/larger molds, you'll get a few less cupcakes, and you may not want to fill them right to the top as I did--go about 3/4 full instead. I believe this recipe would yield about 15 regular-size cupcakes. I haven’t tried it, but I would estimate about 20 minutes baking time.

Makes 44 mini cupcakes

3.5 oz cake flour (3/4 cup)
3.5 oz all-purpose flour (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), at room temperature
175 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
6.5 oz diced strawberries (1 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a mini cupcake pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla, then beat in eggs on medium speed, one at a time, until incorporated. With mixer on low speed, add the flour in 3 parts alternating with the milk in 2 parts, mixing until just incorporated. Add strawberries and mix until just combined.

Fill prepared pan with batter, filling cups nearly to the top (remaining batter may rest at room temperature while first batch bakes). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 14 to 15 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Strawberry Buttercream
By Julie O’Hara
I used a large food processor to puree the berries. As noted below, you will not need all of it. If you have a smaller processor or blender and can puree a smaller quantity, 1/3 cup of berries should give you plenty of puree. I love my extracts, and the strawberry will pump up the flavor a bit, but don't worry about skipping it.

6 ounces unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), at room temperature
12 ounces confectioner’s sugar (about 3 cups), sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract (optional)
3/4 cup chopped strawberries, pureed and used AS NEEDED (I used about 3 tbs)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until very light and fluffy, 6 to 8 minutes. Add extract(s) and beat until incorporated. Add 2 tablespoons of the strawberry puree and beat until incorporated. Add more puree in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon increments until frosting is the desired color and texture (light, airy and easy to spread or pipe). Use to frost completely cooled cupcakes.