It’s April. In Wisconsin. In some places that means spring. Here it means we go outside in shorts and t-shirts in 40-degree weather.
I’m done with winter. It snowed today. On April 1st. Don’t misunderstand me. I love the snow. I love winter. I am a Wisconsin girl through and through. But enough is enough. I’m ready for outdoor farmer’s markets and hammocks and vegetable gardens.
I bought some strawberries at the grocery store last weekend.
They were not perfect, juicy, ripe summer strawberries, but they’re still lovely little signs of spring.
After I bought these lovely strawberries I ran out of things to do. I got bored. So, I decided to make some cupcakes. I’m on a bit of a cupcake kick these days. These cupcakes that I made up on a whim were quite frankly, delicious. They were like little baked bits of spring. It was exactly what I was hoping for on a cold spring morning.
I think even my dogs are wishing for spring. My 18-pound puggle keeps refusing to come in when the sun is out, even when he starts shivering.
Ok, back to cupcakes. My husband called these baked strawberries.
He said they are more like strawberries then they are like cupcakes. This is a good thing.
After making these cupcakes, I would change one thing. The cake is perfect, the frosting is divine, but a bit of fresh strawberry puree in the middle of the cupcake would have been simply amazing. Enough talk, lets eat some cupcakes.
· A note on this recipe: I decided I wanted a small batch of cupcakes. So I quartered my stand-by cupcake batter. The measurements are odd and small, but it makes 24 mini cupcakes perfectly. So stick to the small amounts or double it, or even quadruple it.
1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 stick plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup pureed strawberries
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup mini cupcake muffin tins with baking cups.
2. Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Stir milk and vanilla in another small bowl. Beat butter in mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add sugar slowly while mixing. Beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Scrape bowl and beat until smooth.
3. Reduce speed and slowly add 1/3 of flour mixture. Alternate adding milk mixture and flour mixture until all ingredients added. Add pureed and chopped strawberries.
4. Divide batter among muffin tins. Using a small cookie scoop is the easiest way to do this, filling each cup with one level scoop. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 14 minutes. Cool completely. Fill center with more strawberry puree using a squeeze bottle if desired. Frost with strawberry cream cheese frosting once strawberry center has set for a few minutes.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pureed strawberries
1. Beat cream cheese in a mixer on medium speed with paddle attachment until smooth. Add butter and beat until light and fluffy.
2. Reduce speed to low, add 2 cups of sugar slowly, beat until light and fluffy. Add strawberry puree and mix until smooth. Continue to add sugar until frosting has reached desired thickness.