I think cupcakes are one of those things that became uber trendy years ago and everyone and their dog opened cupcake shops to sell the most tooth achingly sweet treats. To find a cupcake that not only has a moist crumbly cake that is full of flavour with real buttercream that isn't too sweet or full of bright fake colouring, is like searching for nirvana (ok maybe thats a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point, right?).
But these strawberry cupcakes are in a completely different league. They were great.
Despite how much butter and sugar is in the cakes and the buttercream, the strawberries managed to make everything taste so light and fresh. If you haven't done any baking yet with fresh local strawberries then you owe it to yourself to make these cupcakes. Your friends will love you for it, trust me.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
For the cakes:
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (plus small ones for garnish)
For the buttercream:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup butter, softened and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture. In a small bowl mix egg white, milk and vanilla.
Add a little of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix well, followed by a bit of the wet ingredients. Continue to alternate between adding wet and dry to the butter making sure to end with the dry ingredients. Stir in fresh strawberries.
Line muffin/cupcake pan with paper cups and fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the center. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to wire wrack to cool completely.
Meanwhile heat up egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and using a mixer or egg beaters beat on medium for about 5 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until soft glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add butter one piece at a time, making sure to let butter mix completely before adding more. Reduce speed to low and add strawberry puree. Refrigerate until needed.
Use a piping bag (or ziploc bag with a corner snipped off) to pipe the buttercream onto the completely cooled cupcakes and garnish with a single strawberry.
*If you don't have cake flour add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the regular flour and sift a few times to combine.