If you manage to get your hands on some just-picked strawberries, make these cupcakes. They perfectly showcase the ripe strawberry flavor and look pretty cute too. If you only have supermarket strawberries, you can still make these, but they won't be nearly as flavorful, as the strongest flavor comes from the strawberries, which are not only baked into the cupcakes but also pureed and folded into the frosting. The better the berries, the better the cupcakes.
Mini Strawberry Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
Makes about 120 mini cupcakes
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2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20)
2 batches Strawberry Meringue Buttercream (single batch recipe below)
Strawberry slices for garnish (optional)
Red decorating sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners.
Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
Add whole eggs and egg white one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, and scraping down bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with milk. Beat until well combined.
Fold in chopped strawberries.
Using a small cookie scoop, add one scoop of batter to each mini muffin cup. (I experimented with two scoops and 1 1/2 scoops, but one scoop works best.)
Bake one pan at a time, turning pan halfway through, until cupcake tops spring back when touched lightly, about 11 to 13 minutes.
Transfer pan to wire rack, and let cool about 5 minutes before removing cupcakes. Transfer cupcakes directly to wire rack to cool completely. Re-line pans and repeat with remaining batter.
Once cupcakes are completely cool, decorate with strawberry meringue buttercream, and top with strawberry slices and red sugar, if desired.
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed and hulled
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Puree strawberries in food processor.
Combine egg whites and sugar in bowl of stand mixer, and set bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until sugar has completely dissolved.
Attach bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and whisk, starting on low and slowly increasing to medium-high, until stiff peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.
Once all the butter has been added, scrape down bowl with rubber spatula and switch to paddle attachment. Continue beating on low speed for another 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.
Add pureed strawberries, and beat until combined.
Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Happy 4th of July! Are you watching any fireworks tonight?
P.S. I added these to Lisa's Sweets for a Saturday.