Alone with Fruit–Strawberry Cupcakes

My house is overflowing with bananas right now. But I don’t really care because the fruit food group is my favorite one. Before I can leave my house for work these past few days, I must grab a banana. Speaking of work, I had a bad case of separation anxiety the end of this week…or something like that anyway. Ha. Why you ask? Well, because now, instead of sharing an office like I have for almost a month, I have to sit in my own office (which has an empty desk mocking me because the desk didn’t go along with my Antoinette’s move-just the electronic stuff went) and eat my banana alone (while pouting and dramatically sighing of course). But, fruit does make everything better (you know, the things that cupcakes can’t fit). I especially love summer fruits. I even have fruit rankings. 2nd favorite is watermelon, 3rd favorite is grapes and 4th favorite is bananas. But my all time favorite fruit are strawberries. So combining my love for fruit and my love for cupcakes was a rather simple decision.

WEEK 5- STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES

The first thing that needed to be done was to cut the strawberries. We were trying to figure out how small to cut them (by we, I mean my mother and I of course). In the recipe it says to slice them. But we didn’t want giant hunks of strawberry. My mom cut them smaller than “sliced” I would say.

So this batter started a wee bit differently than I’m used to. The first thing to do was beat butter and sugar together. It was an interesting twist.

Then some mixing and then adding the eggs. My first egg I did cracked really strange. It made me smile. Hence the photo. :)

I then, of course, mixed my dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. I wonder how long it will be until I can start doing this in my sleep…

Then I dumped the flour in and then did more beating.

After it was done I, another “well duh” moment, dipped my finger in the batter to taste it. I thought it was insanely boring and didn’t really taste like much. I then realized that the last thing to do before adding the strawberries was to add the vanilla. So I did just that.

And then all was well.

After that, it was time to fold in the strawberries. I love strawberries.

The batter was then complete and it was time to put into cups and get ready to bake.

Once I was done putting it into the cups, I popped it into the oven.

While they were in the oven, it came time to make the frosting. This was a rather simple frosting. I’ve been making buttercream frostings but this one called for a cream cheese frosting, which was new to me. I’m actually not a huge cream cheese fan (I don’t like sour cream either randomly). But I was going to take a stab at the cream cheese frosting. Plus, my mom was helping me and she loves cream cheese as much as I dislike it.

This frosting was just powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese to start with. So my mom was mixing that and there was powdered sugar flying everywhere. But it was getting really thick and was getting stuck to the mixer. We decided to make our own decision and add milk, a tablespoon at a time, and that helped greatly.

Again came the time to fold in the strawberries. It was kind of fun because when I could mix the strawberries in, it was starting to tint the frosting. It amused me.

I then decided that I wanted pink frosting…

It was then time to take the little ones out of the oven. (I really need to find a good term of endearment for cupcakes…I’ll work on that…)

Once they had cooled a bit, I moved them over to the wire rack. When I was moving them, I noticed they were really soft and the bottom looked really interesting. The bottoms of the cupcake wrappers were almost greasy, but I’m blaming the lovely strawberries. On the cupcakes where the strawberries were on the side and touching the wrapper, you couldn’t even pick it up from there or it would crack or something.

Then came the part where I have to wait for them to cool so I could frost them (whilst waiting, my mom and I took a few photos together for joy). When I did a tester for frosting, it was quickly realized that spreading the frosting wasn’t going to work. This frosting was really creamy and with the chunks of strawberries, it was just really awkward. And I also knew I couldn’t pipe them because clearly the chunk of strawberries wouldn’t have fit through the tip. So it was decided that I would just use a spoon and “dollop” them. Because the cupcakes were still a wee bit warm and the frosting was so creamy, it spread like crazy anyways.

The minute I finished frosting them, my mom put them and a container and put them in the refrigerator. We have this theory that the frosting might firm up a bit (and it did. The next day, the frosting was perfect).

TASTE TIME! I think I managed to confuse my taste buds with this one. The cupcake as a whole was good. It was pretty heavy though and felt more like eating a muffin than a cupcake. I did like the frosting (I didn’t really like it by itself, but combined with the cupcake, it was splendid). It was confusing having fruit in a cupcake because it’s not typically done, and it was chunks of fruit. But don’t get me wrong, it was very good. It would be perfect for like a beautiful little picnic or something. My co-workers used to words “divine” and “amazing” and said it was one of their favorites. And my mom thought that the frosting would also be good on bagels…I’m not exactly sure what that means. I’m just going to visual my little picnic and move on. And I can promise you that when I’m sitting all alone in MY office next week, between emailing my Antonio who tragically left to move on to bigger/better things and taking bites of this cupcake, I will feel fantastic. Because fruit and cupcakes are the best things, even when alone.

Here is the recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting. It came from the book “Crazy About Cupcakes” By Krystina Castella.

Side note: Niether Antoinette or Antonio is my co-workers real name, even though some people call her that. ;)

Strawberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix for 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla and strawberries.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners one-half to three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

STRAWBERRY FROSTING

6 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter; at room temperature

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

¾ cup fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced

Lemon juice, as needed

  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the strawberries. Mix well. If you are using fresh strawberries, you might need to add lemon juice to reach a spreadable consistency. (I added a tablespoon of milk, one at time, instead of lemon juice to get smooth consistency).

“Would you like a straw, Barry”

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