Last fall, I won a super awesome giveaway from lovely Lindsay over at Love and Olive Oil. When I first got an email from her notifying me as a winner, I was happy. But when the box came, it truly felt like Christmas. Among many wonderful items that I found in my goodies bag was this Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe cookbook. I quickly went through each page as I tried to not drool on my new book, while bookmarking almost each one of them. I secretly wished that some of the recipes would come in “easier to half” measurement. First of all, there was no way that I would make all of those recipes (serving eight and more) and try to finish them all. But this strawberry cupcake recipe was one of the ones that stuck in my head. I had also made their to-die for banana pudding, which I realized now as I am typing that I had never posted. I probably forgot to take pictures, and now I have a reason to make it again.
Now back to these strawberry cupcakes. There was nothing pretentious about this cake, or its frosting. The cake calls for fresh strawberry puree that is mixed directly into the batter. The batter uses all cake flour and egg white, which is responsible for its beautiful crumbs and texture. The mixing method was a little bit new for me – instead of creaming the butter and adding the flour into the the wet-ingredients, this one calls for the butter and strawberry puree into the flour mix. I have no explanation for that method, but it worked magically. This should have been called the dream cake. Because the strawberry tastes so fresh, light, and is perfectly balanced. And the frosting? Just a simple buttercream frosting mixed in with puree strawberry that turns the frosting to a lovely pink color. No artificial ingredients, just pure goodness that comes from ingredients enjoyed at its peak season. Now you may ask, what was the occasion? My lovely nanny’s birthday. I think this was a perfect celebration dessert for someone who has been responsible to make sure that my daughter is safe, happy and always has tons of fun when we’re at work.
2 cups fresh and ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed and hulled
2 1/3 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
Strawberry Butter-cream Frosting
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fresh strawberry puree reserved earlier
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper cupcake liners into standard-size muffin pans. Puree the strawberries in a food processor. Measure 3/4 cup for the batter and reserve 1/4 cup for the butter cream.
Sift the cake flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and baking powder and blend on low just until combined. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix on low until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low, scraping bowl as needed. Mix on medium a few more seconds until well combined. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop batter into mini cupcake liners.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Bake about 20 mins for standard cupcakes. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove from pan and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.
Strawberry Butter-cream Frosting
Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the confectioners sugar about a cup at a time and beat just until blended.
Add the puree and vanilla, scrape bowl as needed and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes (mine was perfect at about a minute).
Frost cupcakes and decorate as your heart desires.
Yield: 72 mini muffins or 20 standard cupcakes
Adapted from Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe