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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes for Charleigh

Happy Birthday Charleigh!

Yesterday, Nick & I went to Amherst, MA to my cousin Charleigh's first-birthday-spectacular! I wanted to bring a sweet treat to the little lady and spied these hopelessly cute pink-flecked Strawberry Cupcakes on Martha - the little strawberry hats, blush frosting, and June-appropriate strawberry theme make them a clear winner in the festive department. I think they scream backyard BBQ + girly birthday fun.

The best part is that Charleigh loved them (she especially liked mushing the cake and frosting together in her fists) and downed an entire cupcake all on her own!

The cupcakes are a simple white cake, one of the best I've ever had. The cake is full of (8 to be exact) fluffy egg whites which make each bite airy and moist. The Strawberry Meringue Buttercream frosting is a bit labor intensive but well worth it - it taskes just like a summery mouthful of fresh strawberries & cream.

Strawberry Cupcakes:

Martha Stewart
Makes 2 dozen

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 24 small fresh strawberries, washed (hulls intact), for garnish *I used 12 large strawberries, cut in half
  • Strawberry Meringue Buttercream (below)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.
2. 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, 3 to 4 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 4 minutes. Do not overbeat.
Gently fold 1/3 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.
Strawberry Mertingue Buttercream:
Martha Stewart
Makes 5 cups
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor

1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees).

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

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.


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