By Annie McGrail
Winter is over, the snow has melted and the flowers around Madison will soon be blooming. Cravings for the comfort of chocolate are transforming into a desire for lighter flavors and foods resembling the lightness of spring. Because of this shift, strawberry cupcakes are ideal this time of year.
From Cupcake Wars to endless specialty cupcake shops, cupcakes are the trend of this generation. There’s not much better than strawberry cupcakes topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting. The rich batter mixes with freshly chopped strawberries and bakes into an irresistibly fluffy cupcake. Swirled on top is the buttercream frosting, which has fresh strawberries stirred in to give it a fresh, spring flavor.
Strawberry Cake adapted from Martha Stewart
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, three to four minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about four minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter.
Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up. Frost cupcakes with strawberry meringue buttercream, swirling to cover.
Cupcakes may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Garnish with strawberries just before serving.
Buttercream Frosting adapted from Food Network
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cup butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whipping cream
1 ½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
In a standing mixer fitter with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed to medium and beat for another three minutes.
Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for one minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
Mix in strawberries.