Monday, August 31, 2009

Perfectly Strawberry Cupcakes

Welcome to the new blog!
I'm Anna, and hopefully you got here via my original baking blog, Life's Too Short For Mediocre Chocolate ,or my new blog, Baked By Anna. I am continuing to post as regularly as I can on my regular blog, but I finally decided that I had so many cupcake recipes taking up space in my head, I needed a place for them to go. So, a cupcake-dedicated blog. Because I need another project, don't you think?

I was inspired by the concept of Sprinkles, the original cupcake bakery in LA. I live only an hour away, but haven't had the chance to eat there yet. (Soon!) As a starting point, I plan on drawing from their original menu of about 22 flavors, and creating 22 completely original cupcake and/or frosting recipes. From scratch, of course!
My goal is not to copy Sprinkles, and this blog is in no way connected to them. I just do much better if I start a project with boundaries and goals, rather than wandering around, with no end in sight. What can I say, I need structure.
So while that is the plan for now (and I already have a few recipes down), I don't plan on leaving out flavors and recipes that they don't have--if inspiration strikes and the recipe is a success, then it will be posted as well.
With as crazy as my life is with two little ones in school and a brand-new baby, this blog will be a long-term project. I look forward to seeing it through, hopefully with a few readers along the way!
The first cupcake is near and dear to my heart--Strawberry. One of my favorite flavors, and I happen to have been born and raised in the strawberry growing capital of California. There are always berries here, picked that morning in a field ten feet away.
The secret to a cupcake that tastes like a burst of fresh strawberry while retaining a wonderfully light and uniform texture (with no soggy lumps of berry) is to use freeze-dried berries that have been chopped up in a food processor. They add the perfect amount of flavor, no extra moisture like a fresh berry, and don't affect the structural integrity of the cupcake.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Buttercream
Baked By Anna

284g (2 1/2 cups) cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tub or package (1- 1 1/2 oz, about 35-42 grams) freeze-dried strawberries
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) butter, 65-70 degrees
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins with liners.
In a food processor, pulverize berries until finely chopped, about pea size pieces.
Mix together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl for a full minute, including crushed berries.
Mix togther yogurt and vanilla.
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy and almost white in color, at least 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and scrape bowl well. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add 1/2 of flour mixture, beating til just blended. Add half of the yogurt mixture, then half of the remaining flour, then the rest of the yogurt. Mix til just blended, then remove and scrape well with a spatula until all ingredients are incorporated.
In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold gently into cake batter. Portion into muffin tins, and bake 20-22 minutes, til toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest in tins 5-10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Buttercream (American style)
1 stick (4 oz) butter, soft
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, soft
1 box powdered sugar
pinch salt
1 basket fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, pureed, and strained of seeds

Whip together butter and cream cheese til smooth. Add powdered sugar, and add strawberry puree by the tablespoon (up to 1/4 cup) til frosting reaches a good consistency. Chill until firm enough to spread or pipe, 1-2 hours. You will have leftover puree.
Garnish with leftover berries, if desired.

** Notes about next time.
The freeze dried berries absorb moisture quickly, so use an unopened package and process it right away.
These cupcakes are incredibly tender, with almost no gluten. Don't fill liners more than half-full, or they'll flatten out over the tins unattractively. I may try to strengthen them a wee bit in future tests--in the meantime, don't hesitate to stir the flour in vigorously.
If you'd like a softer, more delicate frosting, add a few extra teaspoons of puree and apply with a spatula. You can also use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream flavored with the puree.
As with all cupcakes and cakes with a cream cheese frosting, refrigerate to store, but bring up to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
For an extra dimension of flavor and zip, add a little bit of lemon zest to the cupcake. Just a little!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments!