Sometimes I get really random urges to bake something. These urges usually come late at night and once I get the idea in my mind, I can't let it go. The week before my move, I had one such urge. I had some strawberries in the fridge so I went looking for recipes. I remembered the strawberry cupcakes I saw on Food Librarian. Like me, Mary always seems to be baking at odd times of the day and night, and her results are always phenomenal! Believe it or not, I am one of the few people who doesn't like Sprinkles cupcakes (I much prefer the Crumbs brand), but I do remember having this cupcake last year at JenFinn's birthday and I wasn't completely repulsed by it. Those were homemade as well so maybe that is the secret. I decided to pair them with a cream cheese frosting because I had some cream cheese I didn't feel like transporting and I added a vanilla bean because things are usually twenty times better with a vanilla bean thrown in. I definitely enjoyed the cake, but I wish there had been more of a pop in the strawberry flavor. The frosting was fantastic, though I may use a bit more cream cheese in it the next time. Since I just *happened* to have some toasted coconut laying around, I topped my mini cakes with it.
(From Sprinkles via Everyday Food)
Makes 12 cupcakes or 3 4.5-inch cakes
2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 or 3 4.5-inch cake tins or line a muffin pan with liners.
Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans or muffin cups. Transfer pan to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in pan before icing.
Vanilla Bean Frosting
(Adapted from Week of Menus)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 whole vanilla bean, split and vanilla beans scraped out
1 1/2 -2 cups confectioner sugar
Cream butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until texture is uniform. Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is all incorporated. Add 1 more cup and again mix on low speed until sugar is all incorporated. Add scraped vanilla beans and mix on medium speed for 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides until it is creamy.